october september 2010 2007 home previous next / next
HAVE YOU HEARD?
A HUgE sHRimp cOcktAil
A DRAgOn bOAt RAcE
tHings YOU wAnt tO knOw
FriDAY 5 november,
the hAGue !
take me to the Hilton: in the
Hague ! From left to right: Reonald Donata, karin van den berg, Floris licht, Jan van der putten
october FebruArY october 2010 2008 home previous / next
take me to the Hilton, now
finally in the Hague!
Remember the Hilton promotion campaign (around the end of the last century) with the ‘Take me to the
Hilton’ posters? Well, you could do that in every major destination – but in The Hague (our seat of the
government and host to the Court of Her Majesty the Queen) you just couldn’t.
Until recently that is! The Summer of 2010 brought great weather for the beach pavilions, but also, on
the 2 nd of July, the first day of five-star international hospitality at the new Hilton the Hague.
Two months later Cluster General Manager Jan van der Putten (1983) sits in the lobby and explains why
guests already feel so much ‘at home’ in the new Hilton.
“We try to create, within the crew, an atmosphere of mutual respect and friendliness, and guests notice
that immediately. Team members should feel happy and appreciated – that also helps to retain our
bubbly and extravert colleagues for a long time and reduce turn-over”.
“Having said that, team members are the most important thing, but the interior decorator and architect
also contributed in a major way in creating our atmosphere with lots of ‘couleur locale’.
Jan opened three hotels for Hilton, coincidentally one of each hotel category: a resort (in Malaysia) a
top-of-the-bill airport hotel (Copenhagen) and now a downtown hotel, ‘embedded’ in the local scene.
Of course, with all his experience, Jan also has a major piece of advice for the ‘rookies’ in hotel
Grand Cafe Pearl
“Our business is really
not complicated, so
I always say ‘Keep it
Simple’. And remember:
service first, the process
next” (the last one is
really food for thought,
with the local industry
knows that a preopening
is always a
very hard job where
everybody is a ‘jack of
all trades’ and does
whatever work needs to
be done. And all of the
above in a hurry, because the deadline that looms in the distance comes closer every day. Even though
all hotel openings are different, you will always have a healthy amount of challenges” says Jan.
“Simple hardware things like cold water from the hot taps and vice versa (Copenhagen) or fire alarms
with a life of their own (The Hague) keep the boredom away”.
We all remember that Conrad Hilton (in less complicated times) had three priorities: location, location
and location. Of course, at Zeestraat next to Panorama Mesdag, Hilton The Hague would have obtained
his approval immediately.
For today’s other priority – great team members – Jan wanted a good combination of Hilton people and
colleagues with a local background. “That way, knowledge of the brand standards, general Hilton knowhow
plus a feeling for the local market is all assured”.
Back in time. May 16, 2006 was the date of the contract signing ceremony between Dutch investors and
Hilton. In his speech Wolfgang Neumann (at that time President Europe for Hilton) also said that “finally
the best hotel chain in the world has come to the city of the best Hotelschool in the world”.
That was of course very nice of Wolfgang, but little could he know at that moment that the management
team that later opened the hotel would
be almost completely ex-Hotelschool The
Karin van den Berg, Hotel Manager, just
wanted to ‘get away’ and see the world
when she was in her last year at the school
(1997). First stop was Phuket in Thailand
(through alumnus Rutger Verschuren, now
GM for Starwood in Libya).
Then two years at the impressive Peninsula
in Beijing (now managed by alumnus Hans
After that it was ‘living out of the
Samsonite’ for some time, installing Fidelio
for Hilton. Opportunity gave her a role in
The Mesdag Ballroom
FebruArY october 2010 2008
The Hilton The Hague terrace in the open air
the integration of Scandic and Hilton (getting to know Jan van der Putten in the process) – followed by
revenue management culminating in the position of Senior Director of Revenue Management Europe.
“During the years, my hospitality heart was joined by a strong and experienced business mind and I
felt it was time for Profit and Loss responsibility”, says Karin. “Fortunately, I was at the right spot at the
right time and after a short spell substituting for the hotelmanager of Hilton Soestduinen (who enjoyed
maternity leave) I joined the Hilton The Hague in January 2010”. No regrets until now, Karin?
“Not at all, it is good to be back in Operations and actually meet guests again – which is an important
part of my job satisfaction. I want to learn all the time, find out better ways to do things, and my position
makes that possible. I even have a good social life, not living in planes as in my revenue time!”
The hotelschool, with all the practicals, the placements and the outdoor taught me to show what you
stand for!” Food and Beverage, amongst others, is in the hands of Operations Manager Reonald Donata
(2000). He feels that his hotel career really started in his second year at the school, as trainee at the
legendary Gleneagles in Scotland. As ‘Private Dining Management Trainee’ he learned to make Melba
toast by hand and to line up tables straight with a long piece of string, the basics really.
“At the school, TMS, being co-trainer, and especially the outdoor taught me a lot about group dynamics,
which later allowed me to really make a lasting impression when training staff in a newly opened hotel
(after renovation): the British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Bahamas. Next to that, Mosac taught me the
theory behind processes of change”.
“Before that, I was F&B Management trainee in the Emirates, then Assistant F&B Manager in Watford
near Hilton’s European Headoffice. I started in the Hague the 4 th of January 2010, after working in
Nassau until the Christmas dinners were finished”.
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“My big challenge here is getting the team into a routine that allows assuring consistent quality. Well,
and even my social life is ok again! My Sonnema Dispuut is an incredible network and also lots of fun!
The future? My wife, Annemarie Rebel, also former student, and I want to continue working worldwide
until the kids are ten or twelve years old.
Last but not least, Cluster Director of Business Development Floris Licht (2003) has a similar story to
tell about his career. After his management placement at Amsterdam Hilton, working for F&B Service
Manager Rogier Braakman (1999) now co-president of Sandton Hotels, the GM, Roberto Payer suggested
the Hilton Elevator Programme. After 9 months Operations and HR at the Hilton Metropole in London,
he was moved to Frankfurt where he met and worked for GM Ronald van Weezel (1975). After a spell
in Brussels for GM Maud Goppel (1999) getting to know accounts, he got the advice to get more
“And then the wide world
called!” says Floris. “So
together with my girlfriend
I left for Australia and later
during a short vacation
in Holland I spoke with
Jan van der Putten which
resulted in the position
of Director of Business
Development for Hilton
Schiphol in late 2008. A
few months later Hilton
Rotterdam was added
and late 2009 Hilton The
Hague – altogether a great
It turns out that Floris
identifies similar favourites at the school: practicals, TMV, practical placement (President Wilson,
Geneva, Starwood Luxury Collection), teamwork, the 9 key competences.
“My future? In the near future I will take part in an assessment for SHINE, Hilton’s development
programme for a GM position – so, que sera, sera. My private life is for sure going to change, I’ll
hopefully be a father in January!”
For all four executives goes, that they have not yet met the famous Black Hole that often appears after a
pre-opening – however, they keep a watchful eye; nobody wants a suddenly increased turnover….
Finally, for the younger generation – tips for the future:
- The world is small, spend time on your network; spend energy on Facebook and LinkedIn.
- It is difficult to give direction to your life if you do not have a set goal.
- The business is not really complicated – so Keep it Simple!
- Service first, the process next.
- An atmosphere of mutual respect and friendliness helps to retain staff.
And about the hotel: walk in and spend a few Euros on lunch or a drink: it tells you more then a
Arnoud van Delft
Hilton The Hague Hotel room
01 25 39
2008 2007 home previous / next
“Failure is no option”: about winning
a dragon boat race
our student Johannes Ader did his practical traineeship in the sheraton nanjing
Kingsley hotel in china. there, his team of hotel staff members won the important and
prestigious dragon boat race with a sheraton sponsored boat:
“this dragon boat challenge was initiated in 2001, this year (2010), the race was
held for the 10th time and 29 teams took part in this competition, mainly on behalf of
Western companies in nanjing, e.g. siemens, Ford or ericsson.
As one of nanjing’s major events, reflecting chinese culture and a great opportunity to
socialize and network with other
businesses, the dragon boat Johannes Ader
challenge attracted approximately
80,000 visitors this year. the training for the team of the sheraton started ca.
3 months before the race. hotel employees were selected to become team
members and had to “pass” an aptitude test regarding their personal fitness to
decide if they are capable. Due to the intensive training and previous winning,
team members took the preparation for this race very serious, eager to perform
at their best and to win (again).
The winning team and Johannes
From a personal point of view, during the weeks of training for the dragon boatfestival,
my performance at the sheraton was almost equally balanced between
working as a Guest relations manager and being a member of the dragon boat-team, as trainings took place during working hours
reflecting the time before and the day of the races, i felt an incredible spirit amongst the team members. After weeks of physically
challenging training, passionately supporting each other to be faster and
better, each member knew their role in the team and was ambitious to
win, for oneself for the hard training and the team.
realizing that we have won the races after the final competition was
an intense moment, incomparable to any previous sportive successes i
the joy about winning, the paying off of all these months of training
and most of all, this euphoria shared amongst our team, created an
experience i will remember for a long time” .
by Johannes Ader, hotelschool’s trainee in china
my shanghai experience!
together with my colleague Arnoud van Delft i made a short trip to
my first impression of shanghai is that it a true metropolis, that could
have easily been located on any other continent.
on our way to the hotel i saw few characteristics of the chinese
culture. of course, everything written is in chinese characters, but
almost always with english subtitles. but shanghai could have been
any other non-chinese metropolis.
something that immediately struck me, is that it is a clean and green
city, in which everything is rather new or looks new. During my days in
shanghai, there was a quiet atmosphere, despite the fact that millions
of people were on the move because of the expo and a national
holiday; everyone behaves very civilized.
We met some former students, like martijn van der valk, now General
manager of the puli hotel & spa (Leading hotels) and michel
Koopman, now General manager of the interconti expo.
We also visited quite a few hotels with reference to future placements,
such as the brand new Waldorf Astoria, the park hyatt in the highest
building of the city, the second and brand new ritz carlton, the new
peninsula and the Fairmont peace hotel both on the most important
street of shanghai, the bund.
this hotel is one of the few ‘Grand old Ladies’ in shanghai, all in
Jugendstil style and recently beautifully renovated.
on thursday evening, we hosted a well attended gathering with former
students and trainees in the bar of the interconti.
it was a very successful and pleasant evening with approx. 35 guests.
Arnoud van Delft and myself had ample opportunity to talk to everyone
it is always fascinating to see how many alumni
have great positions in the hospitality industry, even
very far from home.
Wim Dooge, president board of Directors
01 25 39
FebruArY october september october 2010 2008 2007 home previous / next next
world’s biggest shrimp cocktail!
on 18 september, student Association La confrerie broke the world record: three members of the
association made the biggest shrimp cocktail ever!
in beach club ‘hart beach’ in scheveningen, they produced a cocktail that weighed 116 kilos, offered in
a martini glass of 1,70 meters high with 1 meter across. For the cocktail 20 kilos of whisky sauce and 90
kilo pink shrimps was used.
The Board of La Confrerie
the three students, Folkert Deenik, Andre
van den toorn and Wouter de blank,
all members of La confrerie’s white
brigade, distributed 1,000 portions of
shrimp cocktail among the people present
and delivered large portions to various
locations of the salvation Army.
now let’s wait and see whether they will
be mentioned in the Guinness book of
Have you heard?
About Eduard Kelderhuis (2004), Tom Dingjan (2007) and
Reinier van Dieren (2007)?
They started a band, called ‘Immens’.
Coming year they will tour in several theatres in the Netherlands, and at the same time release their brand
All alumni are welcome to attend their concerts, tickets are free!
However, people are invited to donate whatever they can because the profits will all go directly to
‘Stichting Doe een Wens’ (Make a Wish Foundation), a charity organization that grants the wishes of
children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and
For the musical world an unusual approach which really deserves your full support!
For more information and for a musical treat: www.immensmuziek.nl
Immens: Richie Reichgelt, Reinier van Dieren, Tom Dingjan and Eduard Kelderhuis
looking down on shanghai
by coincidence, i was in shanghai three times this year – not for the school, but for the city of the hague’s
presentation at the expo’s Dutch pavillion and later for a project at the pavillion.
As during each and every visit to the people’s republic (its 61 st birthday was celebrated when i was there last) i
was deeply impressed with the economic progress.
Wim Dooge (who was there for the school) and i had lunch at the restaurant of the park hyatt – with an
incredible view over shanghai from an immens height.
other impressive hotels were the new peninsula hotel (the first ever new building on the bund) and the also
brand new inter.continental expo where i could enjoy the hospitality of alumnus michel Koopman (1983) for a
michel and Wim Dooge co-hosted a very ‘gezellige’ hotelschool cocktail party with almost forty guests. W\hat a
difference compared to the seven guests of five years ago! michel proved himself to be a great supporter of his
old school by (together with intercontinental hotels) making this party possible.
by the way, it looks like the expo (closing october 31) is a great success, attaining almost certainly the
predicted visitor’s count of 70 million.
the Dutch pavilion alone (!) celebrated 7 million visitors at the end of september.
As you may remember, one of my favorite subjects is the craziness of carting 30 tons of bottled water from
northern italy to holland (1200 kms, with the ‘vlam in the pijp’) – a useless exercise that only brings damage
to the environment. the travel section of the ‘telegraaf’ last weekend reminded me – they discussed bottled
water. however, not because of the environment but with the price in mind. After having your bottle impounded
by security, you have to spend € 2,50 to 3,00 to buy half a litre of water! At the same time, tapwater in holland
is the best in europe, at a price of € 1,60 for a thousAnD liters! the only logical advice: take an empty bottle
(allowed, of course by security) and fill it up airside at schiphol (or whichever airport with acceptable water)
under a tap.
And last but not least: for something completely different: good friend and supporter of the hotelschool, husband
of our former student ellen huerst-esser, hyatt vice president and Gm of the Grand hyatt berlin, Fred huerst,
was elected German hotelier of the year 2010! A long-deserved honour, after many years of superb hospitality,
hyatt quality and economic success at his hotel (without doubt, by the way, the best
business hotel in Germany).
congratulations, and thanks for always supporting our internships programs.
Don’t let fall depression get you down, and enjoy the reunion at 5 november!
Arnoud c. van Delft, LL.m.
Arnoud van Delft and Victor de Vries
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Alumnus Victor de Vries (2001), enjoys China to the fullest and sees it as a great challenge after ten years in Athens for Hilton.
Victor, who is half Greek - half Dutch, is Director of Business Development of the 714-room Hilton Shanghai.
FebruArY october 2010 2008
things you want
climbing tHE stAiRs
claudia gierens (2009), hr coordinator
hotel imperial and hotel bristol, vienna (both
Luxury collection hotels/starwood)
marlies Verstoep (1999), manager business
Development Amsterdam rAi
Dieuwke Reuvers (2002), Front of house
services, intercontinental Le Grand, paris,
torsten van Dullemen (1993), hotel manager
mandarin oriental bangkok
Daniel van Hulst (2010), customer service
executive Yotel, London head office
Rike Erdbrink (2007), Front office manager
hyatt capital Gate, Abu Dhabi
madelon boom (1986), General manager
conservatorium hotel Amsterdam
This brand new hotel will appear right opposite
the Stedelijk Museum and will have 130 rooms
and suites. At this moment, the hotel is being
renovated and the aim is that the 5-star hotel
will open next spring. Madelon Boom started
her career as GM at Hyatt at the Lowndes
hotel in London, after that she was opening
GM for Park Hyatt Hamburg, Corporate
Director of Operations for the Golden Tulip
Chain and she worked for a huge real estate
agent in the United States
cynthia de Jongh-Veerman (2003), hr
officer bilderberg europa hotel, scheveningen
niels mekenkamp (1998), vice president
consulting services, easy rms (revenu
management solutions), London
bianca van Ooijen (2003) and willem van
der pot (2003)
lisette Roelofs (2006) and peter Heule
bob boersen (2000), and evelyne bitar
miriam van der Horst (1999) and bas de
christine Jongbloed (2005) and vincent
Fleur s. de Jong (2000) and pieter Zoontjens
sEEn tHE ligHt OF liFE
chrisje, daughter of marlies Verstoep (1999)
and Jan steinebach (1997)
tom, son of mariska van benthem (2000)
tom, son of isabelle stoové (2002) and
Johan Otto (2001)
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Kyra, daughter of Ananda groag (1999)
Kate, daughter of Vicky de bruijn (1997) and
taco Dols (1996)
tijn, son of Renee van ingen (2005)
Gabriella, daughter of Jasper timmermans
Giel, son of madeleine gaarlandt-Jansen
ioannis, son of niels mekenkamp (1998)
tygo, son of mariska Appel (2000)
nico van der Heijden (1975)