Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference

14-16 April 2020 | Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, U.A.E


Emma Banks - Advisory Board Insights

F&B has always influenced hotel operations and revenue. Hear what Emma Banks learned with Hilton during the past year as she led the brand's F&B strategy and development team in the EMEA region.

Please introduce yourself & share your key learnings and opportunities for our industry in the past year?

Emma Banks: Hi. I'm Emma Banks, the Vice President of F&B Strategy and Development at Hilton for EMEA. I believe the key learnings and outtakes for the industry over the past year have been the ongoing importance of a empathetic resilient and flexible leadership style. The increase in elevated hygiene and security for our team members and guests alike. The opportunity of the external space to provide more covers and an interesting environment for your guests and customers. A push towards even more measures to support local sustainable solutions, plus a drive to support strategic food security initiatives within your markets. Accelerated technology, the continuing growth of the online food delivery platforms supported by cloud kitchens, operating flexible F&B venues. However, I do believe the key learning is the importance and the guest desire and demand to return to great venues to enjoy fantastic food and beverage experiences.

Many are calling this period the Great Reset. In your view, how should the industry build back better & rise together?

Emma Banks: The industry will rise again and come back stronger because we've seen a huge pent up demand for the emotional and human connection, the spirit and soul and magic of hospitality, of visiting a restaurant and bar to enjoy time with loved ones and friends. This is no replacement for dining at home or an online delivery experience. How we can come together and rise stronger - continue to invest in your people. Define your concept, ensure you deliver the spirit of magic of hospitality through great atmosphere product and environment. Also continue to reinforce your sustainable and environmental initiatives, because this is what guests are looking for.

What are you looking forward to discussing with the industry in September at AHIC 2021?

Emma Banks: The topics. I would like to discuss at the event are how we continue to elevate the Middle East as a gastronomic destination for residents, visitors and tourists alike. I'd also like to discuss how the industry can come together and act as a stronger body to support environment and sustainable solutions in this region, which can often be challenging with supply chains and the environment that we live in. However, I believe together we can find good solutions, commercial solutions and solutions that are right for the planet.

Why are you joining the GRIF community at AHIC 2021? What are you most excited about it?

Emma Banks: I'm attending the event to support the industry, continue to learn, network, meet new people, hear new ideas, be an ambassador for food and beverage, an ambassador for Hilton food and beverage, and identifying any opportunities for our business and our teams. And also genuinely want to support the resurgence and the continuing growth of hospitality, travel, and the tourism industry in this region, which I so passionately enjoy working in.

Next article

Tea Ros - Advisory Board Insights