The year 2020 has seen little activity, especially after March, when the lockdown started. In recent weeks, with some activity kick starting, HOSI was back with what must be, among the first hybrid events in our industry in the country. As Manav Thadani, chairman, Hotelivate, organizers of the conference said, “HOSI 2020 was India first true blended hospitality conference”, a truly memorable experience in the new normal.

“We hosted it from the Indian School of Hospitality (ISH) where we had around 40 persons attend the in-person event including some speakers of the sessions. The rest of the delegates totalling some 1,940 virtual delegates, logged on during the daylong event”, he said. Such a number would have been impossible in the old format, as a pure physical event. Clearly, leveraged around the power of internet, HOSI was able to interface with more people than ever imagined before.

This year’s virtual conference program encompassed a series of keynote addresses, a select few live sessions hosted at ISH by distinguished speakers, and a gathering of thought-provoking discussions followed by the announcement of MakeMyTrip HOSI General Manager of the Year Awards – 2020. 

Unlike other recent webinars the delegates may have attended, HOSI promised to be solutions focused. The virtual platform was purposed for the delegates to have one-on-one meetings with other attendees and peers through chat & video, gaining virtual insights into the best operational practices as the industry prepared to exit Covid-19 in India.

Since the event was mostly virtual, the organizers were able to attract a larger portion of international speakers from around the world. These included:  

 Deepak I. Shahdadpuri, Founder and Managing Director, DSG Consumer Partners

 Christo Popov, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, FastTrack Europe

 Ingo Schweder, Chief Executive Officer, GOCO Hospitality

 Matthew Burke, Regional Manager – Pacific, STR

 Priya Daniel, Principal, Five Scale Design

 Rohit Sachdev, Managing Director, Soho Hospitality

 Roshan Abbas, MD, Geometry Encompass and President, EEMA

Asked to comment on one big takeaway from the conference, Thadani said it must be the lessons learnt from others around the world, in their sharing of how they coped with the impact of COVID.

Asked on the learning curve from the event, and looking forward to hosting the annual HICSA ( which was cancelled for this year), Thadani shared “Looking at the success of this event we are tempted to do a few of the main global speakers virtually and keep the proportion of HICSA in person to 250 (government rules permitting). Since February 24-25th is still 5 months away we are still in early stages of program planning”.

An important event in creating new synergies, with the event hosted at Dilip Puri’s ISH, with the announcement of the GM of the Year, in association with MakeMyTrip and learnings for HICSA to be held at Hyatt Andaz, in February, 2021.