Top Hospitality Experts to Follow to Keep Up with the Industry

Top Hospitality Experts to Follow to Keep Up with the Industry



April 23, 2024

April 23, 2024

The global hospitality industry, including hotels and food-and-beverage (F&B), reached $4.7 trillion in value in 2023. It is forecast to rise to $5.8 trillion in 2027, marking a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5%.

Staying up-to-date on the latest trends in the hospitality industry means closely following experts and influencers on platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram.

But with an industry of this size, it’s no surprise that many want to be labelled ‘hospitality experts.’ Yet, many of these so-called experts have little-to-no-following, a vanity metric, and even worse, don’t post content of value to the industry.

That’s why we’ve scoured the internet in search of ‘real’ hospitality experts, we won’t call them influencers, and here’s what we’ve found.

You may also look at the people on this list as ‘rising’ hospitality, hotel and F&B, experts.

Top F&B and hospitality experts 

Omar Knio, head of branding and corporate communications at Foodics 

Knio is one of the leading experts, or influencers if you wish, in the Saudi F&B industry.

Having led Saudi-based restaurant point-of-sale (POS) provider Foodics’ marketing and now branding teams, Knio is well-versed in the F&B scene. Specifically, the F&B scene in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt, where Foodics operates.

With over 12,000 followers on LinkedIn, Knio regularly publishes content about F&B, tech, and branding. He shares content in both English and Arabic.

Follow Omar Knio on LinkedIn

Aloki Batra, CEO of FIVE Hospitality Group and The Pacha Group

With over 35,500 followers on LinkedIn, Batra is a leading hospitality and hotel expert in Dubai.

As the CEO of the FIVE Hospitality Group and The Pacha Group, Batra offers interesting, and sometimes exciting, insights into the world of hotels, bars, menus, and the hospitality industry as a whole.

Follow Aloki Batra on LinkedIn. 

Alexander Galarraga, Partner at Booking Success

As a partner at hospitality-focused marketing agency, Galarraga offers unique insights and tips for businesses in the hospitality industry, specifically hotels.

He regularly talks about building customer retention, loyalty, and boosting revenues for hotels, including luxury hotels.

Follow Alexander Galarraga on LinkedIn.

Marvin Alballi, Global Restaurant Industry Executive and F&B author, and keynote speaker

With over 25 years of hospitality and F&B sector experience, Alballi is one of the top hospitality experts to follow on our list. He is also the author of Restaurant Excellence: The Ultimate Guide to Success in the Food and Beverage Industry.

Alballi has been a regular on the Helen Farmer Show on Dubai Eye Radio and Bloomberg Intelligence. He’s also spoken at The Future Hospitality Summit, Dubai Restaurant Week, and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), among others.

He helps F&B businesses revamp their brand reputation, improve guest experiences, build strategic, long-term solutions, and grow their revenues.

Alballi regularly shares video content to over 9,450 followers on LinkedIn. He offers tips for restauranteurs and F&B managers to help them grow their F&B concepts.

“Some people would argue that the best food in the world will not make up for lousy service. And I totally agree. The fastest route and the shortest way to generate high sales and revenues is by having happy guests, who come more often. And this is achieved through delivering great experiences.” – Marvin Alballi

Follow Marvin Alballi on LinkedIn.

Samantha R C Wood, Founder of FooDiva

Samantha is one of our top hospitality experts and one of the top food bloggers in Dubai. She is the founder and voice behind FooDiva, a popular food blog and newsletter in the UAE.

Wood is a British-Greek-Cypriot and for 25 years, a Dubai resident. She describes herself as “wearing many hats.” She is a a food writer, event organizer, and consultant with three decades of experience in the UK and the Middle East across the F&B, hospitality, and tourism segments.

In 2011, Wood left corporate communications and set up her food blog FooDiva with a “no-freebies, no-invitations editorial policy that has collected over a dozen awards.”

Wood has 3,600 followers on LinkedIn, while her FooDiva page on LinkedIn has nearly 2,000 followers. She’s more active on Instagram (33,200 followers) and Facebook (6,600 followers) where she regularly blogs about Dubai foods and dining experiences. Check out her FooDiva website and newsletter.

Follow Samantha R C Wood on LinkedIn.

Gabrielle F. Mather, Founder of 1640 Bistronomy, Cornerstone 61 Consultancy, and Restaurant Secrets Inc

Gabrielle F. Mather is a multi-business founder in Dubai, the UAE. She is the founder of not one, but three UAE-based businesses.

She has founded 1640 Bistronomy, a ‘social gastronomical hub operating multiple concepts,’ Cornerstone 61 Consultancy, and Restaurant Secrets Inc, a UAE business incubator and F&B consultancy firm.

Named one of “24 of the Middle East’s most inspiring women in F&B,” Mather shares content about the F&B industry in general and the GCC and UAE scene in particular.

While she’s not the most active on this list, she is certainly a hospitality expert worth following.

Join over 5,880 followers and follow Gabrielle F. Mather on LinkedIn

Simon Ritchie, Communications Director at Yolk Brands, Pickl, BonBird, and 1762

Ritchie is a Scottish wine-lover based out of Dubai. He is the comms director at Yolk Brands, Pickl, BonBird, and 1762. The latter is a Dubai-based deli, established in 2010. That said, Ritchie mainly describes himself as the “ultimate fun officer.”

His posts about F&B, dining, food, drink, and everything in between, are, for a lack of a better word, ‘fun’ to read.

With over 3,900 followers on LinkedIn, Ritchie recently saw Dubai-based BB Social Dining name a drink after him.

Follow Simon Ritchie on LinkedIn.

Dr. Naim Maadad, Chief Executive & Founder Gates | Chairman Australian Business Council

With over 25 years of experience in the hospitality sector across Australia, Asia, and the Middle East, it’s no surprise Dr. Naim Maadad is one of top hospitality experts to follow.

For the past 12 years, Dr. Maadad has been based in the Middle East, specifically the UAE. He says that during that time he has witnessed “tremendous industry growth, gained a deep cultural understanding,” and received endorsements from “principals and agencies alike.”

Now, he acts as the CEO and founder of Gates Hospitality, a Dubai-based hospitality company “representing handpicked concepts catering [to] the affluent lifestyles.” Gates Hospitality has helped launch 23 restaurants, 11 hotels-and-resorts, 28 spas, along with 26 new concept developments.

With over 35,000 LinkedIn followers, Dr. Maadad is one of the most active hospitality experts on this list. He posts regularly about the hospitality scene in both the UAE and Australia, his features, among others.

Follow Dr. Naim Maadad on LinkedIn.

Tjalling van den Burger, VP of Enterprise at Adyen

One of the top hospitality experts on our list is Tjalling van den Burger. Having worked for brands like Apple, Swvl, Foodics, and others, van der Burger boasts years of experience in fintech and F&B.

He is also an advisory board member at UAE Restaurants Group. When he isn’t working, van der Burger is a foodie and a wine geek.

As the VP Enterprise at Adyen a payments platform, he helps businesses scale with data-driven insights and financial products.

Van der Burger posts regularly about F&B and finance to over 5,600 followers on LinkedIn.

Follow Tjalling van den Burger via LinkedIn.

Fay Economides, executive managing director at M Management Company

For the past 9 years, Fay Economides has been the founder and executive managing director of M Management Company, a Dubai-based hospitality group with 5 award-winning F&B concepts. She is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Dubai Restaurants Group.

Fay regularly posts about the F&B sector, concepts under the M Management Company, and women in hospitality and F&B.

“Building a concept that works involves more than creating craveable dishes; it requires a keen business acumen, a deep understanding of your audience, and an unyielding dedication to delivering on the authenticity of the brand, day in and day out, consistently, no matter what.”
– Fay Economides

Join 4,400 followers and follow Fay Economides on LinkedIn.

Rabih Fakhreddine, Founder and CEO of 7 Management

With over 12 years of experience in the F&B industry, Rabih has successfully launched and managed numerous award-winning concepts, including February 30, Seven Sisters, Antika, Limonata, Sayf, The Theater, Lucia's, and Parasol. He is now the Founder and CEO of 7 Management, a UAE-based company, specializing in establishing F&B, nightlife, and entertainment concepts.

He was named Nightlife Operator of the Year at the inaugural Caterer After Dark Awards and Caterer Middle East named him in their Power List 2022.

With a career spanning F&B across Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, Fakhreddine brings a lot to the hospitality, dining, and nightlife scenes. He regularly posts about 7 Management’s brands, entertainment, dining, and hospitality.

Join over 15,000 followers and follow Rabih Fakhreddine via LinkedIn.

Alexandra Leung, author of The Restaurant Marketing Insights newsletter 

Hong Kong-based Alexandra Leung is an expert and influencer in the food-and-beverage industry.

Leung runs The Restaurant Marketing Insights newsletter, on LinkedIn, where she shares insights, data, and trends about the global restaurant industry.

In her newsletter, which has over 1,000 subscribers, Leung tackles topics from ‘the importance of branding for F&B concepts’ to ‘the power of food influencers’ to tips for struggling cafés, among other topics.

Follow Alexandra Leung on LinkedIn and check out her newsletter.

Further reading

Posted by :

Mohammed Rafy