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 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.