Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Van Emmenes

Michael Van Emmenes

Director, Food & Beverage, Landsdowne Resort

Born in South Africa, with a passion for food/beverage, service and travel, Michael Van Emmenes left his country and jumped on cruise ships to travel gain exposure to various cultures, customs and people. He was very fortunate enough to travel through Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Mediterranean. All ports of call offering him new insight into various foods, beverages and service levels. Post cruise ships, Mr. Van Emmenes knew the importance of an education and attended the Swiss Hotel Management School in Caux, Switzerland - studying Hotel Management with a specialty in Events. While attending college he was fortunate enough to land internships at the prestigious Lausanne Palace in Switzerland and then at the One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai (part of the Kerzner Collection). After graduating Mr. Van Emmenes secured a position at the Hilton Atlanta where he honed his service skills; while working there he had opportunities to travel and assist various sister properties (including opening of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort). After 3 years in Atlanta Mr. Van Emmenes received a promotion and moved to Chicago where he worked at the historic Palmer House Hilton; assisting the hotel through the $200m renovation of the hotel and creating the hotels new concept restaurant and bar. Mr. Van Emmenes was then asked to join the opening team at the Hilton Orlando Convention Center. The hotel won the Connie Award for best service within the company - an accomplishment he believes is from the execution of hiring the right team for the perfect job. Mr. Van Emmenes has now settled down in Northern Virginia at Lansdowne Resort as Director of Food and Beverage and hopes to bring his service culture, personality and passion for the industry to his new found home.

Mr. Van Emmenes can be contacted at 703-858-2107 or mvanemmenes@benchmarkmanagement.com

Coming up in September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.