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 MPI's 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 +1 972-702-3098 or pvandeventer@mpiweb.org

Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.