Aleksandra Woźniak

Digital Content Assistant Manager, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts

A digital whizz with vast content, website and project management experience, Aleksandra has applied her expertise to great effect, enhancing since joining the corporate digital team in 2016. She’s made her mark with her flair for design, content and marketing and has been instrumental in executing some of the group’s major campaigns.

Polish-born Aleksandra is multilingual, has degrees in French, Spanish and translation, and in her last role, managed websites in eight languages. A certified Scrum Master with extensive computer skills, she has helped deliver successful web and digital marketing strategies for several major companies including Emirates Airline and Aggreko.

When Aleksandra leaves the office, she switches her attention to yoga or the big screen – independent cinema is her passion and she’s a fan of TV series too. Aleksandra also loves to travel and says her heart is in Madrid, but at home in Dubai, she enjoys discovering the city’s hidden gems, particularly its up-and-coming restaurants.

Amro Khoudeir

Director of Digital & Distribution, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts

Amro relishes a challenge, preferably one that involves technology, so he’s found his niche in the online world as a digital strategist, creating successful business solutions and online marketing strategies in the hospitality industry over the past nine years.

Educated in his native Syria, as well as the UK and his current home, Dubai, tech savvy Amro has a degree in hospitality management and as you’d expect, is a certified Project Management Professional and Scrum Master. He joined Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts in 2014 as Director of Digital Products, launching the company’s new booking engine and mobile website to great success, and has since reimagined the online Mövenpick experience. Today he manages the company’s global digital and distribution teams.

A futurist with a healthy obsession for the Internet of Things and virtual reality, Amro enjoys online gaming with friends in his spare time, often with a view to mastering a video game and quickly reaching top rankings. But the natural world beckons too. His ideal day? Chilling out or playing games with his family at the beach or the park.

Benchaphan Phala

Front Office Manager, Mövenpick Siam Hotel Na Jomtien Pattaya

Benchaphan says creating happiness is an art – one she always strives to master in her role as Front Office Manager. Problem solving and ensuring her guests experience the “time of their lives” makes her tick, a passion that has seen her excel during her 10 years working in customer-facing hospitality roles.

Benchaphan is enthusiastic about travel and authentic experiences, speaks three languages and is a keen photographer, enjoying nothing more than snapping the skycrapers of bustling Bangkok – a hobby born from her love of architecture.

Often invited by universities to lecture on hospitality-related topics, Benchaphan inspires students with her positive attitude, her formal training, including her Certificate of Focus on Service Excellence from eCornell School of Hotel Administration, and her decade of experience making memories for guests.

Benjamin Habbel

Founder & Vice President of Global Business Development, Voyat

A tech entrepreneur with an impressive CV that includes significant roles with web search giant Google, Benjamin is fascinated by how new technologies can address challenges facing humanity. Professionally, he’s excited by the potential of blockchain and distribution technology and personally, any innovations that benefit the environment, particularly those that conserve water and protect the oceans.

After leaving university with a degree in Hotel Management and Business Administration, the German-American entrepreneur joined Google before establishing himself as a tech superstar in his own right, founding his own company, Voyat, in 2012. While the highly popular hospitality booking platform was acquired by Intent Media in 2016, Benjamin continues to oversee the company’s global growth strategy, based at its New York HQ.

The Big Apple is one big playground for Benjamin – he lives in Brooklyn and loves nothing more than checking out its hip bar and restaurant scene. An avid traveller, when Benjamin heads overseas with his wife and son, you’ll find him on the ski slopes or visiting the zoo!

Christopher Thiele

Food & Beverage Manager, Mövenpick Hotel Lausanne

A self-professed foodie, as you’d expect, Christopher is happiest when he’s cooking for friends, sampling fine wines, discovering new restaurants and in his capacity as a professional coach.

The German-born, F&B maestro learned from the best at the École Hôtelièr de Lausanne, where he attained a Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management. He has gone on to forge a successful career working for leading hospitality firms, including Mövenpick.

While Christopher is results-driven, he is also fascinated by human behaviour and enjoys nothing more than helping staff realise their full potential. When he’s off duty you’ll find Christopher cycling, travelling around Europe and enjoying the simple things in life. His guilty pleasure? Eating pizza in full view of the stunning Swiss Alps.

Jess Houlgrave

MA Art Business student, Sotheby’s Institute of Art

Jess is a globetrotter, adventure sports enthusiast and a former investment banker who is now studying an MA in Art Business at the prestigious Sotheby’s Institute of Art in the UK. Here she is researching how blockchain technology can impact the art ecosystem, indicative of her out-of-the-box thinking, desire to find innovative business solutions and excitement about new technologies.

A firm believer that exploring the world broadens the mind, Jess has been lucky enough to travel for business to experience this first hand. Since graduating from Oxford University with an Economics and Management degree in 2010, she has worked as an investment banking analyst for Credit Suisse, and in portfolio management for a Canadian pension fund, a role that involved managing alternative investments and meeting people from all over the globe.

But it’s “off-the-beaten-track” adventures, discovering new cultures and environments, that excites Jess the most. Out of office hours you’ll find her hitting the high seas – she’s a competitive sailor – or the mountains where she hikes and skis. Her collection of old maps and sea charts encapsulate her three great loves: travel, adventure and art.

Maxime Friess

Co-Founcer & Director, Lifetree Capital

Hospitality is in Maxime’s blood; he was born and raised in Switzerland to a French hotelier family and went on to study hospitality management and economics at Essec Business School Paris. He has a way with words – speaking French, English, German, Swiss German and Spanish – and with numbers, having specialised in finance during his studies and his career.

Maxime has excelled in a range of executive roles, from real estate private equity for high-profile companies such as BNP Paribas, to trading commodities derivatives for Standard Chartered Bank and Trafigura in Singapore and Geneva. Based on this experience, in 2015, Maxime co-founded Geneva-based Lifetree Capital, a company that acquires, builds, finances and manages hospitality real estate assets across Europe.

A keen sportsman and adventure-seeker too, away from the office you’ll find Maxime snowboarding –he’s a former Swiss regional competitor – mountaineering, deep-water diving, playing golf, or rolling out a mat to perform some yoga moves.

Norman Pyhan

Senior Sales Manager, Mövenpick Hotel Zürich Airport

Norman is an experienced hotelier with a “profound interest” in customer engagement strategies. He’s intrigued by how the behaviour of the Millennial generation will transform the hotel sector and has big ideas on how innovative booking channels, social media and on-property technology can set Mövenpick apart from the competition.

Highly-motivated and results-driven, the German-born sales professional has proven a customer-relationship expert since joining Mövenpick Hotel Zürich Airport in 2016, boosting room revenue for the property in a fashion that reflects his entrepreneurial spirit. At the same time, he’s studied Business Administration at University of Applied Sciences Zurich, which has fostered his fascination in intercultural team engagement and strategic management.

Norman has spent the past 13 years honing his hospitality skills, starting out as a trainee at a Frankfurt hotel and working his way up to management level. During this time he has travelled the globe, seeking out the latest hospitality trends. His favourite holiday spot is Lake Constance bordering Switzerland, Germany and Austria, and away from work he likes to head off road on his mountain bike in search of adventure.

Victoria Unmuessig

Senior Manager Market Access GlaxoSmithKline GmbH &Co. KG, Germany

Victoria is an expert in pharmaceutical market access and in her current role at GlaxoSmithKline, based in Munich, she leads a small team and is responsible for defining and implementing the company’s respiratory market access strategy. She is also a people person and thrives on the Human Resources aspect of her role, aiding her employees in their professional development. She joined the pharmaceuticals giant in 2011 as a ‘Future Leader Trainee’ in health economics, a subject she has studied in three major cities – Cologne, Los Angeles and Maastricht. Her expertise in this field has earned her two promotions at GSK in five years.

Personal improvement is important to Victoria, a passionate member of Rotaract – a Rotary-sponsored club that’s not only dedicated to providing community services, but offers its members professional development opportunities. This appeals to Victoria, who’s keen to learn from inspiring business personalities and Ted Talks.

The great outdoors is another source of motivation for Victoria, who loves to sling on a backpack and either hike in the Bavarian Alps in her native Germany, or travel the world, seeking out small boutique hotels. When visiting a new destination, she’ll always ask a local where they would spend their Sunday afternoons and then head there straight away. At home in Munich you’ll find her practicing her tennis skills, at the opera listening to one of Verdi’s pieces, at a local beer garden, or visiting the Viktualienmarkt farmers’ market, which she describes as ‘foodie heaven’.

Vineta Dastoor

Assistant Manager Brand & Quality Assurance- Food & Beverage, Mövenpick Hotel Karachi

A real go-getter, Vineta relishes a challenge, and has currently set her sights on becoming the youngest Pakistani female general manager of an international hotel chain – but that’s just the short-term. She aims to fast track her career with a view to securing a high-level executive role in the not-too-distant future.

Vineta has already impressed Mövenpick, having been promoted to Assistant Manager in April 2016 at Mövenpick Hotel Karachi, after starting as an executive at the property in November 2014. Her competitive spirit is evident in all her pursuits, from state-level swimming and public speaking to creating new dishes that depart from traditional recipes.

With a passion for travel and a colourful personal development profile – she was born in Germany, raised in Pakistan and graduated with a dual degree in International Hospitality Management from Lancaster University (UK) and Sunway University (Malaysia) – Vineta enjoys meeting new people and learning about their culture. In her spare time, you’ll find her exploring historical sites or taking part in water sports at the beach.