Taking place at the Sofitel London Heathrow on 22 November, HOSPACE 2012 will include three major panel debates tying into the conference's title - Taking the Investment Forward - Making the Most of the Investment in Your People and Business to Create Value,
The crucial issue of obtaining hotel finance will be discussed in a panel debate overseen by HVS Chairman Russell Kett. Panellists include Sylvia Matthews, senior vice president finance at Jumeirah Group, John Stuart of BDL Management, Graeme Smith, partner at Zolfo Cooper Corporate Finance and Tim Helliwell, head of hotel finance, hospitality and leisure at Barclays Bank.
With the issue of boosting investment in the world's hotel sector the single biggest challenge it faces today, Kett will ask what the industry needs to do to kick-start lending again.
"In the UK there is little investor appetite in the provinces where trading continues to languish in all but the best-run hotels," said Kett. "Obtaining debt finance for hotel acquisitions is tough and a number of re-financings due in the next year will prove challenging to accomplish in the current environment without a significant chunk of fresh equity and an understanding bank.
"The HOSPACE 2012 finance panellists will discuss what the market really needs to do to kick-start finance - whether new sources of finance could emerge, perhaps from insurance companies, or whether operators must do more to influence the banks to lend."
Another issue the conference will look at is whether the outsourcing of IT services can support the needs of the industry and its guests or not and whether the hospitality IT manager has a future.
Panellists in the HOSPACE IT debate, chaired by Bryan Steele of Jireh-Tek, will include Jeremy Ward, president IT at Kempinski Hotels, Paul Missen, vice president technology EMEA for the Mandarin Oriental Group and Raman Rama, chief technology officer at JHM Hotels and president of the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals. They will discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing IT services.
"Due to the cost of keeping up with the rapid advances in technology, its growing complexity and ever increasing customer IT expectations, there is an increasing trend for hospitality operators to turn to outsourced 'above the property, cloud-based IT services' for their technological support," said Steele. "The big questions the HOSPACE panel has to address is whether such outside services really support both the back-of-house and customer-facing needs of the industry and in the future will there still be a place for the hospitality IT manager?"
Other topics up for discussion at the one-day event organised by HOSPA will include Revenue Management: What is its contribution to strategy and future leadership in hospitality? There will also be a Leaders Panel debate looking at the current issues within the industry, trend and developments.