The HI Design Seminar Programme is world-class. It will educate, inspire, challenge and entertain. Impeccably hosted and moderated by Guy Dittrich, four sessions are delivered over two days. Audience participation is positively encouraged.

The 2020 Seminar Programme will be published shortly. Meanwhile, here is the 2019 programme:



08:30 – 09:30

Asia: where the projects are

What you know and who you know – this is the stuff that hotel project success is built on. And it all starts with a good understanding of what’s happening in the region – who’s building what where. And why? STR knows, it’s what they do. Fenady Uriarte will deliver an in-depth, up-to-date picture of Asia’s hotel performance landscape with details and insight on the hotel business in the region, calling out the top performers and revealing the major trends shaping the industry into 2020 and beyond. The traditional HI Design scene-setter – essential stuff!



14.30 – 15.30

Beyond Holistic Design

We like to give our delegates what they ask for and the names of Colin Seah and his Ministry of Design have popped up quite a few times in recent post-event surveys. Projects such as the New Majestic Hotel and COO Boutique Hostel & Socialtel in his home city of Singapore, Macalister Mansions in Penang and Vue Houhai in Beijing illustrate the broad range of talents he orchestrates at his Ministry of Design studio. The appeal of their experiential design ethos sees several of MoD’s hospitality projects recognised in the AHEAD Asia Awards run by our media partner Sleeper magazine.  Colin will present just some of his ideas followed by a Q&A with you and our conference curator, Guy Dittrich.



08.30 – 09.30

Experiential Design

What do you think you see when you open your eyes? Do you think you see the world as it really is? Do you see reality? It’s a very simple question, with a surprising answer.
The answer is No. You don’t see reality as it is, you see it AS YOU ARE! It’s your brains that put it all together. We experience things through our senses and our brains offer you an explanation based on your habits, beliefs, and assumptions. Understanding how our brains and those of other people, perceive and interpret incoming information, is an essential skill for a designer and creative thinker.

What if creativity isn’t about thinking outside the box? What if there is no box?

Most designers and companies believe that creativity directly impacts results, yet few understand how it comes about or how to put it into practice. If we identify and remove the box around our thinking, we can unlock streams of creativity and problem-solving.

This talk will look into what experience actually is and what experiential design is. We will delve into why we get stuck in poor thinking habits and discover what the cognitive drivers of change and creative thinking are. It will show you how to overcome Selective, Reactive and Assumptive thinking that often hold back creativity.



13.05 – 14.05

The Panel: Design Tendencies Asia

The search for difference is relentless.  What are the anticipated new and next trends?  This is the question on everyone’s lips.  And the answers are here! 

Our panel has a host of experience coming at you from a variety of perspectives.  We have two design principals from the region, one based in Shanghai and the other in Hong Kong.  Throw the COO of a global hospitality player into the mix and we have a lot of angles covered.  Join them to discover their opinions on the wider picture of hotel design.  We expect to hear yours too.



Guy Dittrich is an independent commentator on hotels and design. He has been our expert curator and moderator since HI Design began 15 years ago.

Guy’s specialised journalistic experience make him a natural choice but it’s his humour and temperament that put him right at the heart of the HI Design family and that bring the HI Design Seminars to life. Writing for a variety of titles and businesses, Guy also contributes expert hotel reviews for our media partner, Sleeper magazine, for whom he is Editor-at-Large.  Leveraging his knowledge and presentation skills Guy has successfully developed a niche in conference curation which sees him delivering and hosting seminar programmes worldwide, including Sleeper’s AHEAD Awards.  Born and raised in Zimbabwe and having lived in both Germany and Belgium, Guy has recently relocated to the UK. Prior to his career in writing and moderation Guy was the UK Managing Director for Design Hotels™.