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 June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.