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LAUSANNE, Wednesday 16th of March 2016 - The 7th Edition of the Young Hoteliers Summit 2016 started at the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne and warmly welcomed over 80 motivated delegates, accompanied by their professors, as well as distinguished hospitality leaders from recognized companies all over the world. Launching with an exceptional Opening Ceremony, the two first days of the Global Summit included various workshops, focus groups, keynotes and panels, led and held by representatives of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Dorchester Collection, DBRC Continental, Expedia, FRHI and The Leading Hotels of the World. The highlight within the first two days was the announcement of the challenge.

At 8:00 on Monday 14th March, over 120 people attended the successful Opening Ceremony of the 7th edition of the Young Hoteliers Summit, moderated by William Downey and Lee Köppel, the electric Masters of Ceremony. On this occasion, the results of the YHS Rankings were unveiled, with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts winning the prize of the most preferred employer among hospitality students. Following next, The Ritz-Carlton came in second place and W Hotels came in third for the category of Luxury & Upper Upscale hotels. For the Upscale & Upper Midscale hotels, Disneyland Hotels took the upper hand while Ibis Hotels were in first place for Midscale & Budget properties. In addition, YHS was very proud to introduce Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts as the challenge provider this year. Rachel Begbie, Regional Director of Human Resources EMEA at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, was invited on stage to present the company and give an exclusive insight to the challenge. The ceremony continued with the first speaker, Lorenzo Stoll, Head of Western Switzerland for SWISS International Airlines, who shared his vision on how the digital world will shape the future of competitive environments.

Delegates were given the unique chance to attend selected focus groups and workshops. These activities were the opportunity for delegates to get to know more about the companies present, sharing their experience with various hospitality experts in a more interpersonal environment and learn from their views of the hotel industry. In the evening, the first panel discussion took place, featuring a conversation about the generation issues within the working environment. The speakers of this panel were Heather Jacobs, Senior Vice President International and Corporate Human Resources of Four Seasons & Resorts; Eugenio Pirri, Vice President of People and Organizational Development at Dorchester Collection; Jérôme Bühlmann, Director of Talent Management at FRHI and Pablo Alcacer, Director of Business Performance EMEA at The Leading Hotels of the World. The first day concluded with an exquisite gala dinner at the Hotel Royal Savoy.

On Tuesday, the summit continued with the second panel about the changes of the online distribution landscape. Geneviève Materne, Director of Distribution Strategy EMEA at Starwood Hotel & Resorts, Huda Malhas, Director of Marketing Communications for EMEA at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, and Kevin Mauffrey, Director of Market Management at Expedia, provided their expertise in this discussion. The panel covered the impact of Online Travel Agencies and their growing influence on the hospitality industry. In the afternoon, Simon Casson, Regional Vice President and General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Dubai at Jumeirah beach, took the stage to share his opinion about how technology has increasingly become a part of the hotel industry. At the same time, he managed to introduce and give an insight about Four Seasons’ newest App. Mr. Casson believes that good service and technology can be combined: “Like a good marriage, they complement one another. But they are less one without the other. We cannot become an industry that relies solely on technology because we are a human business and I think the memorable moments and experiential part of our business will always be delivered by humans.”

Last but not least, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts announced the challenge this Tuesday evening: “Create game changing career paths that go from University to G.M in nine years.” Groups were formed and immediately started working to come up with a solution that will finally clear the issues of this exciting challenge. Stay tuned to find out about the ingenious ideas that the teams will present on Wednesday, where one of the many teams will be awarded a prize while providing Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts with a revolutionary solution.

About Young Hoteliers Summit

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Contact: Leandra Kall, Press Department / +41 77 254 36 42

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