Meet the Visionaries at the Sleep & Eat Conference

Sleep & Eat, Europe’s leading design and innovation event for the hospitality sector, combining a conference, concept room installations and an exhibition, returns to London Olympia on 19-20 November. With the theme of "Social FlexAbility", the show will be exploring what hospitality can contribute to human interaction in our age of digital isolation.

Amar Lalvani, CEO of Standard International, will be flying in from New York to deliver the opening keynote. With his latest hotel just completed in London and plans afoot to quadruple the company’s footprint in coming years, he will tackle the challenging issue of how to continue running the group as a platform for creativity. Also from the States, Josh Wyatt, the driving-force behind NeueHouse, the US based provider of collaborative workspace, will consider how creativity and design can act as financial drivers for investors and take a look at how NeueHouse is using these to create a unique and non-replicable company.

The trend for hybrid spaces where guests socialise and work will be under the spotlight when a panel of operators gathers to discuss "Social FlexAbility". Today, it’s a given for most hotels that public areas need to be engaging and offer strong food and drink concepts. However, what does that mean operationally and how must brands adapt to manage this efficiently? These are just some of the questions that Dale MacPhee, General Manager of the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh and Business Women Scotland’s Hotelier of the Year 2017, citizenM’s London Area Manager, Eylem Ozgun, and Grant Powell of Central Working will seek to answer, moderated by veteran hotelier and Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, Robin Sheppard.

A session entitled Bedrooms are Boring will bring together some of the most respected names in F&B leadership among global hotel brands. They will include Karian Elias from The Langham, Lydia Forte of Rocco Forte Hotels, Gustaf Pilebjer of Marriott, and, from Hong Kong, Anurag Bali of Shangri-La International. Together, they will seek to answer the thorny question – have hotels finally caught up with independent restaurants and bars in offering social excitement?

Day two of the conference will open with a keynote by Christoph Hoffmann, CEO of 25 Hours Hotels. Five years ago, he was adamant about two things – having fun and creating a powerful brand rather than a hotel group or chain. Has his romantic idea of hospitality changed? How has scaling, expansion beyond Europe and partnering with Accor affected the core essence of 25Hours?

The conference will close with Guilt Free Experiences, a debate for our times when it’s hard to find a hotel brand without sustainability among its values. The speakers, Callie Tedder-Hares, Founder of Volume, James Dilley of Jestico + Whiles and Sigurdur Thorsteinsson from Design Group Italia, will be

asked to suggest what defines a true eco-hotel and whether luxury hospitality with its associated price tag can ever truly be a guilt-free experience.

Nine pop-ups, each specially designed by an international design firm, will offer a response to theme. From guestrooms to bars and a restaurant as well as co-working and networking spaces, they will offer inspiration and insight as well as places for visitors to gather and socialise.

The event will also feature an international Exhibition. With over 160 world-renowned manufacturers, artisanal companies and fit-out specialists, this is a showcase renowned as the place to discover newly launched collections and to do business.