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 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.