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November 18th 2015 | Cut Tourism VAT’ campaign and creating a fair digital marketplace, to the future of hotel IT systems and changing guest expectations, to be discussed at the ‘HOSPACE 2015 Interviews’ with BHA Chief Executive Ufi Ibrahim and citizenM’s Michael Levie

Date Issued:  23 October 2015

 ‘Cut Tourism VAT’ campaign and creating a fair digital marketplace, to the future of hotel IT systems and changing guest expectations, to be discussed at the ‘HOSPACE 2015 Interviews’ with BHA Chief Executive Ufi Ibrahim and citizenM’s Michael Levie

HOSPACE 2015 – HOSPA’s cutting-edge Annual Conference and Exhibition for hospitality finance, revenue management, IT and commercial professionals – to be held on 26 November at the Sofitel London Heathrow, Terminal 5



HOSPA is delighted to announce that the two ‘HOSPACE Interviews’ at HOSPACE 2015, on 26 November, will be with two of the hospitality industry’s most influential and dynamic leaders – British Hospitality Association Chief Executive Ufi Ibrahim and citizenM hotels co-partner, founder and Chief Operating Officer Michael Levie. 

“We are delighted to welcome two such distinguished and influential industry leaders as Ufi Ibrahim and Michael Levie as the subjects for this year’s HOSPACE 2015 interviews,” said HOSPA Chief Executive Carl Weldon. “The interview with Michael will be one of the Conference’s morning highlights; and the afternoon interview with Ufi will, together with our second HOSPA Spotlight session, bring the day’s conference proceedings to a climactic close.

“Michael Levie (see Notes to Editor for biography) is an hotelier, turned entrepreneur, who has created citizenM hotels with Chairman and co-founder – Rattan Chadha. It is a highly successful group of luxury contemporary hotels for the mid-market traveller – somebody with lots of aspiration, but not necessarily the wallet for traditional luxury. Indeed, Michael has been quoted as describing a citizenM hotel as ‘a retail store for guest satisfaction’, so he is extremely well placed to discuss guests needs and expectations. He is a great champion of the industry and has much to say on current issues affecting it – particularly in the field of IT, such as hoteliers’ dependence on IT vendors and the future of hotel systems.”

HOSPA is very pleased to announce that Michael Levie will be interviewed at HOSPACE 2015 by leading financial journalist Andrew Sangster (see Notes to Editor for biography), who is founder and editor of Hotel Analyst.  

Carl Weldon will be interviewing Ufi Ibrahim (see Notes to Editor for biography). “I will be finding out more,” he said, “about the BHA’s vitally important ‘Cut Tourism VAT’ campaign, currently supported by 135 MPs across all parties, and Ufi’s hope to reach the target of 200 MPs by May 2016. The BHA is focused on highlighting the benefits of the hospitality and tourism industry to the UK economy – recently organising a Westminster Hospitality and Tourism Day, and commissioning an Oxford Economics Study which showed that hospitality is Britain’s fourth largest industry, supporting 14 per cent of total employment and delivering £143bn a year to Britain’s economy. In addition, the sector has created one-in-five of all new jobs since 2010.

“I shall be discussing the findings and implications with Ufi; and the need for government support to fully unleash the industry’s potential – on tourism VAT, on speeding up and simplifying the visa applications process to encourage more visitors from growth markets such as China, deregulation, and creating a fair digital marketplace by banning so-called ‘Rate-Parity’ agreements. The latter prevents hotels from being able to offer the rooms to customers who book directly at a lower rate, or offer any benefits for booking directly. The argument is that ‘Rate-Parity’ limits savings that hotels can then pass on to guests, who decide to book directly with them.”

In addition to the interviews, there will be a fantastic line up speakers and topics (including two in-depth Spotlight sessions on ‘Hospitality and the Digital Challenge’; and ’The Challenges of Effective Outward and Inward Hospitality Management’), with the full programme being announced shortly. As in previous years, HOSPACE 2015 will be hosting its ever popular and growing exhibition of hospitality technology solutions – providing delegates with a ‘one stop shop’ to view and interact with the latest and ‘best in class’ technologies – covering all eventualities for any hospitality business, whether they be start-up, established independent, or multi chain-owned, operations.

The event’s grand finale Gala Dinner – including the signature ‘HOSPA Pub Quiz’ – is one of the traditional social networking highlights of the Conference.

For regularly updated information on HOSPACE 2015, visit the HOSPACE Website at: www.hospace.net . For bookings and further details for HOSPACE 2015, contact the HOSPA Membership and Events Office on telephone: +44 (0) 203 418 8196; or email: bookings@hospa.org


For further information:

Jane Pendlebury,

Head of HOSPA Membership and Events Office  

Longdene House


Surrey GU27 2PH

Tel: 0203 418 8196




Dr Julian Demetriadi FIH MTS

Managing Director, CommunicationsPoint

Tel:        01722 238 627     

iPhone: 07585 505309






Michael Levie, Partner and Chief Operating Officer of citizenM hotels  


Michael Levie, upon graduating from ESSEC Business School with an MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI Cornell University/ESSEC), worked for various international hotel chains, including Sonesta International Hotels Corporation and NH Hotels all over the world. As Vice-President of Operations, he managed large hotel portfolios. Michael also worked for SynXis, where he started and headed up the European office. Michael Levie is currently a founding partner, and in charge of operations, at citizen hotels.   


Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association


Ufi Ibrahim is the Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the national trade association for the hospitality and tourism industry, representing more than 40,000 businesses across the UK. Since joining the BHA, she has helped to spearhead ground-breaking initiatives including; the establishment of the Tourism Industry Council – a joint government and industry working coalition chaired by the Minister of State for Skills and the then Minister of Tourism, the Agenda 300,000 Jobs by 2020 (unifying 40,000 businesses to drive the political and economic agenda for growth) and The Big Hospitality Conversation (targeting the creation of 60,000 new career opportunities for 16 to 24 year-olds across the UK by 2016), and The Hospitality & Tourism Summit (the ‘Davos’ of the UK industry). Ufi is the immediate past Chairman and serves on the Board and the Executive Committee of the Tourism Alliance. She also serves on the Advisory Council of Hotel Futures, and the Advisory Board of the World Tourism Forum, Lucerne. Ufi also advises the Hotel Investment Conference Europe. She became a Visiting Professor of the London Metropolitan University, London in August 2011. Ufi is also a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and a Fellow of the Tourism Society. Before joining the BHA in 2010, Ufi was Chief Operations Officer of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), where, working with governments and industry across the world, she advised on policymaking and the development of planning frameworks for economic and social prosperity through the long-term success of travel and tourism. As a keen promoter of public and private sector dialogue, she was pivotal in the establishment of the Global Travel & Tourism Summit – the annual meeting of world leaders to discuss and agree key priorities for the industry. Prior to joining the WTTC in 2000, she was in charge of the American Express Global Passport and Visa Unit for five years. She studied at the London Metropolitan University, graduating with a BA in Leisure and Tourism management, and graduated with distinction in her MBA from the Open University.



Andrew Sangster, leading financial journalist and founder of Hotel Analyst


Andrew Sangster launched Hotel Analyst more than 12 years ago and it has grown into a publishing business that now encompasses the original title and Hotel Analyst Distribution & Technology. Included under the Hotel Analyst umbrella is a separate report publishing business and three London-based conferences: The Hotel Distribution Event; The Hotel Alternatives Event; and the Hotel Operations Conference.

Andrew has been a journalist for his entire career, starting out on trade press titles before joining the national press and a brief spell at the BBC. He launched his own business focused on providing high level information on a subscription basis after despairing at the quality of what the old business model of selling advertising space was producing. You can find out more about the Hotel Analyst titles at www.hotelanalyst.co.uk.

Andrew holds a BSc in economics and a MA in journalism. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and three children.



HOSPA (Hospitality Professionals Association for Finance, Revenue Management and IT) is a non-profit educational organisation which has evolved from BAHA (British Association of Hospitality Accountants) which was formed in 1969. The aim of HOSPA is to bring together those hospitality industry professionals involved in Financial Management, Revenue Management and IT. Whereas BAHA has been recognised as the UK”s authoritative voice in the hospitality industry on financial management, technical accounting issues, taxation, and hotel valuation, HOSPA now is additionally the leading arena for debate on hotel systems and Revenue Management topics through their annual Conference and meetings programmes. The membership has expanded to nearly 1,100 members. HOSPA – which has provided an industry specific, hospitality focused programme in Financial Management for over 23 years – has recently introduced a similar programme for Revenue Management. For more information, visit: www.hospa.org