Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Van Deventer

Paul Van Deventer

President & Chief Executive Officer, Meeting Professionals International (MPI)

Paul Van Deventer joined MPI in April 2013 as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In this role, he leads the strategic direction of the association and is responsible for managing its global staff, operating budget, and membership programs and services. In addition, Mr. Van Deventer works closely with MPIs Board of Directors and serves as a liaison to the MPI Foundation. He has held a variety of leadership positions throughout his career and has a proven track record for driving business growth and creating brand value. Mr. Van Deventer most recently served as divisional vice president of the Health & Wellness Division at Walgreens, the largest drug store chain in the United States. Prior to Walgreens, he was the senior vice president of Sales and Field Services at Mitchell International, Inc., a leading provider of information, software and business solutions for the automotive insurance and collision repair markets. Earlier in his career, Mr. Van Deventer spent 22 years with American Express where he gained experience with the business travel and meeting and event industries. He held positions as director of Multinational Sales and Operations, managing a global business unit with responsibility for more than 50 business travel customer service centers, 500 employees and a meetings/events group focused on the automotive industry. He also served as vice president and head of Corporate Services Sales Australia and New Zealand, with responsibility for corporate card and business travel services, and later as vice president and general manager of Corporate Services, Western United States and vice president and general manager of the Multinational Client Group. Mr. Van Deventer currently serves as a board member for the U.S. Travel Association and Convention Industry Council. He is also an advisory board member for Women In Travel (WINit). Mr. Van Deventer holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Villanova University and an MBA with a finance concentration from Columbia University. Please visit http://www.mpiweb.org for more information.

Mr. Van Deventer can be contacted at 972-702-3098 or pvandeventer@mpiweb.org

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.