Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. van Santen

Riko van Santen

Vice President Electronic Distribution, Louvre Hotels Group

Riko van Santen graduated with an honours degree in Hospitality Management from Middlesex University, London, and also holds a degree in Japanese business studies and various software administration qualifications. Following experience in various rooms division and revenue management functions at luxury properties, Mr. van Santen joined Pegasus Solutions/Utell in 2000 as Group Revenue Manager. In 2003 he was appointed Director of Electronic Distribution and by 2007 V.P. of Electronic Distribution & ICT for the Golden Tulip TOP Hospitality Group. Currently based at Louvre Hotels Group‘s headquarters in Paris, Mr. van Santen architects the group’s distribution and e-commerce across 6 brands, ranging from 1 star to 5 star properties. The group’s Central Reservations System Goldres was among the first hotel reservations system worldwide to achieve full NGS Connectivity, Total Pricing and BAR functionalities. Golden Tulip’s award winning website was the first hotel brand website to use RSS technology, Mobile-Device distribution, Facebook API, online guest reviews (UGC) and multi lingual Online Distribution Database usage worldwide. Mr. van Santen specializes in delivering evolving competitive hospitality distribution solutions with fast-to-market, cost effective deployment. Experience also includes the RFP, procuring and deployment of 3rd party cloud based systems such as Revenue Management Systems, Rate Trackers, Commission Processing Systems, multi-chain electronic RFP solutions, POS, ERP and Property Management Systems. Property systems consolidated towards “cloud” solutions include mail Server, payroll Server, POS server, PMS server consolidation as well as cross border VOIP and complex IPVPN rollouts internationally. Mr. van Santen lectures at various hotel schools and global industry events on Distribution trends and Revenue Management, and holds seats on: HTNG Board of Directors (current Vice Presidency), HFTP EHTEC Advisory Council, Pegasus Solutions Customer Advisory Board. A Dutch national, Mr. van Santen was born in Tokyo and having lived over 20 years abroad, currently resides in Paris, France with wife Christel and their two sons.

Mr. van Santen can be contacted at 33-1-42.91-4740 or rvansanten@louvre-hotels.com

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.