We are very proud of our Alumni and the role you play as Ambassadors of Hotelschool The Hague. It is so nice to hear of all your achievements and accomplishments. You are all great role models to our current students who are poised to embark on rewarding careers in hospitality.
Keep in touch
Join us on LinkedIn by ensuring Hotelschool The Hague is part of your LinkedIn profile. In addition, you can join our LinkedIn Alumni community.
You can always email us at email@example.com, for instance to sign up for our quarterly newsletter!
It is essential to us to keep in touch with you, our Alumni spread all over the world. Our Alumni occupy international leading positions in hospitality and hospitality related industries. The HTH Alumni community is active, successful and inspiring, resulting in Alumni Chapters being developed all over the world. We believe that the local HTH Alumni Chapters are a powerful networking platform for all our HTH Alumni.
Currently we have active HTH Alumni Chapters in Bangkok, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Curacao, Dubai, Dublin, Hong Kong, London, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Rotterdam, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Vienna, Washington and Zurich.
Moreover at this moment, a new HTH Alumni Chapter is being created in Frankfurt, Miami, Phuket and Bali. The HTH Alumni Chapters are a great way for Alumni to interact and network when being in the same city. They also keep the spirit of your special HTH community alive in all corners of the world.
In case you are interested in joining one of the local HTH Alumni Chapters, make sure to join them via Facebook! Or if you are interested, open a new one by contacting Alumni@hotelschool.nl
Click on the map below to view the locations of the Alumni Chapters all over the world:
Via the Read More button, you can find a ‘how to’ on the subject of opening a new HTH Alumni Chapter.
The London Chapter aims to create greater coherence among industry professionals - expanding beyond just the hospitality sector, providing a versatile networking platform in London and the UK. So far the London Chapter has proven a great success having organised several events (on the banks of the Thames, in Eight Members Club in the City of London and Apple's European Headquarters to name a few) with strong turnout and positive feedback.
We are very proud to present to you to the Alumni Dubai Chapter, founded by Gustavo de Hostos, Anne Overwater and Felix Hamman. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Dubai.
Follow the HTH Alumni Dubai Chapter and sign up:
We are very proud to welcome you to the Alumni Singapore Chapter, a job well done by Dirk-Jan Rijks, Floortje Cleef, Liang Tan and Nellie Rogers. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Singapore.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Washington Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Washington.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Stockholm Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Stockholm.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Hong Kong Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Hong Kong.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Curacao Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Curacao.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Oslo Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Oslo.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Berlin Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Berlin.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Zurich Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Zurich.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Brussels Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Brussels.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Munich Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Munich.
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We are very proud and excited to welcome you to the Alumni Paris Chapter. This chapter allows Alumni to interact and network with other alumni living in Paris.
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Alumni Reunion 2016
The Hotelschool The Hague Alumni Symposium & Network event took place on 17 November 2016. The event focused on the current trend “high tech – high touch” with the question: What is the role of service and hospitality in a technology and data driven world and how can we link high tech with high touch?
Please find the slides of keynote speaker Marc Westeneng of Flow Resulting here:
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Newsletter 4, December 2015
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Alumni Career Paths
In our interview series Alumni Career Paths, we introduce some of our successful alumni on a quarterly basis and tell you about their career path and exciting jobs.
If you would like to be featured yourself in one of the newsletters, we would kindly ask you to send us an email to email@example.com together with some information on your current position and professional career.
Dirk-Jan Rijks (The Netherlands, 1987)
The first interview of this series took place on 30 September with our alumni Dirk-Jan Rijks. Dirk-Jan is the Vice-President of Global Human Resources of Accor’s Luxury and Upscale Brands, who works and lives in Singapore. He graduated Hotelschool 1991 and then toured the whole world, working in the hospitality industry. We would like to express our gratitude to Dirk-Jan for sharing his story with us:
His career path
After his graduation, Dirk-Jan started working in the Caribbean, where he worked for the Avila Beach Hotel as an F&B manager. During his time there, not only Queen Beatrix stayed at the hotel, but he also helped transform the hotel, doubling the amount of hotel rooms and adding an additional F&B outlet.
After three years he joined Hyatt International and was in charge of the F&B operations of the first Hyatt Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan. There he discovered his passion and talent for training and was soon asked to take over the Human Resource Manager position.
From 1998 to 2001 he was the HR Manager and responsible for two hotels in Israel and two hotels in Egypt, making him be present during critical times as the Intifada and 9/11.
In 2002 he moved to Moscow, where he was part of the opening team of the Park Hyatt for a short while.
Then his path took him to Dubai, where he was in charge as the HR Manager of the Hyatt Regency and then to Cairo, where Dirk-Jan became the regional Director of Human Resources.
In 2008 he changed companies and became the Vice President of Human Resources for Sofitel Luxury Hotels in Asia. In April of 2014 he was promoted to Vice President Global Human Resources, Service & Attitude for Luxury & Upscale Brands for Accor and moved to Singapore.
His connection to the Netherlands and the Hotelschool:
Even though Dirk-Jan left the Netherlands in 1991 to make his path in the hospitality industry, he still has a strong connection to the Netherlands and the Hotelschool. This is what he told us about working in Singapore:
“The Senior Vice President is my neighbour and he is actually from Holland as well. With him I sometimes speak Dutch and we can still talk about Stroopwafels and Pindakaas. Whenever we go to Holland, we get Stroopwafels and I always have Pindakaas and Appelstroop in my reach as well.”
And about staying in touch with his former classmates:
“Last week I was in Holland at the gathering with my dispuut “Partycolare”. What is interesting is, that I am probably one of the only few that have really continued their career in international hospitality. A lot of Hotelschool graduates from my year go on to do a masters. Either they go to Nijenrode or somewhere else to do a masters in marketing for example. Only very few actually stay in hospitality. In my dispuut, there are quite a few entrepreneurs, meaning they run their own businesses in Holland or do party catering and events and they do it quite successfully.”
His work (and trends) in HR:
Currently Dirk-Jan is the Vice President of Global Resources for Accor. Therefore he keeps a keen eye on the developments and trends in the Human Resources of the hospitality industry. Here are some of his thoughts:
About trends in Human Resources:
“We have one program where we are in the final stages of rolling it out to the hotels. It is called “Priority and resolution” a training module around complaint handling, but instead of calling it complaint handling, we are now teaching our employees to treat complaints as priorities. It is a different mind-set, a different way to look at it. Another thing is, we are now launching an F&B blended learning program where we are partnering with an external company to apply blended learning with e-learning, short videos in YouTube style and coaching and mentoring from the F&B manager in the hotel. It is something very new, it is not the old fashioned e-learning. It is really going to another level, a blended learning approach, which makes it really fun for employees to go through the learning materials, because they can download it on their tablets or their mobile phones, so they can learn and pick up new things whenever they like.”
And about developments in the hospitality industry:
“I think what is still important today and was probably 10 years ago, is that there is a high turnover in the hospitality industry in general and the only way to overcome this challenge is for the leaders to lead by example and to walk the talk. If the leader or the manager is not doing so and does not work close on the floor with his people, they will walk away. So the focus on developing middle-management is key and sometimes the hardest part, because you can have a very good waiter or receptionist, but that does not mean that they will be a good manager for their organization.”
About Dirk-Jan’s future ambitions:
“My biggest ambition would be to work at Hotelschool one day. Maybe not in Holland, but at a Hotelschool in Asia or in Africa. I would not mind being the Susanne Stolte of South Africa or in Vietnam. I think, with my background experience of having worked in hotels and doing human resources and training, I can add value to the education ofyoung students.”
His advice for today’s students
Dirk-Jan certainly also has some good advice for today’s students at Hotelschool who would like to follow an international career in hospitality:
What is key:
“If you have chosen the Hotelschool to really stay in hospitality, go international as soon as you can. That is number one.”
How you will be successful:
“When you are young, probably single, but especially when you are young, it is easier to make the international jump. If you are a little bit older and already set in certain ways, you are less likely to make that jump. It is also possible to work in France, in Spain or in Germany, which is also something I see some of the graduates doing, but if you truly want to go international, go as quickly as possible and in the beginning, be extremely flexible, also in terms of what is being offered to you. Later on, you will pick the fruits. If you are willing to make that investment in the beginning, then later on, when you become a department head like a director of F&B or General Manager, you are able to earn a good salary and have a good income. And today, I believe you can become a General Manager earlier than in the past. You can be the General Manager of a Novotel e.g. when you are 30 or 32 years old. Novotel is a mid-scale hotel brand. It is four-star-based and we hire people into the Sofitels and into the Pullmans from Novotel. It sometimes works like a stepping stone.”
What to focus on in school:
“My advice to students today, is to learn Mandarin. That is a language which can help. Brazil is another country that is up and coming and they have huge shortages of people in the hotels, and who speak Portuguese. Another upcoming market. So the possibilities are still here. Like I said in the beginning, people might have to be a bit flexible in the package that is being offered. I think, if you want to come to Asia, the hardest step is the first step. Once you are here it is easier, because people look for potential employees with Asia-experience, when they are hiring.”
Boudewijn Marten (The Netherlands, 2000)
His career path
I fulfilled my last internship at the HR department at Hilton Amsterdam Airport, after which I joined Hilton. Eventually there was an opportunity for me to move to Belgium, to become the Front Office Manager at Hilton Antwerp. This was a totally new experience to me, as I had to cope with the differences between the Dutch and the Belgian working culture. The biggest contrast between these cultures is the fact that as a waiter, doorman or concierge you have few to no rights and can easily get fired, due to the contract terms, which was quite confronting to me.
It was a fantastic hotel to work for, at that time I thought I would continue working for Hilton my entire career! After three years, they asked me to go somewhere else abroad, however I wanted to wait for a year or so that my girlfriend could join me. When they told me this was not possible, I left the company.
I then started to work for Apollo Hotels and Resorts. It is quite a new hotel chain, it only exists for 6-7 years. I think that was one of the best decisions I could have made. Within this company I was able to grow really fast in terms of positions. The Ramada Apollo Amsterdam Center Hotel was opened two years ago and I really wanted to work there. They asked me to do so, to join as Hotel Manager, it was the biggest step. It is amazing to be the Hotel Manager of such a large hotel.
His time at the Hotelschool:
I started working in Hospitality, when I was about 14 or 15 years, doing the dishes at a restaurant in my home town. I was the only kid who was fine with serving people and working hard for a minimum wage. When I started working as a bartender, I realised I wanted to do something more with hospitality. Studying at Hotelschool The Hague, was a major change for me, as I went from living in a small village surrounded by my friends and family, to living in Skotel with all new friends. It was amazing, I loved it, it was the best year of my live.
I loved the surroundings of Scheveningen and the international world that opened up to me. I had never been outside of Europe. I remember the first week being so overwhelming, that I was glad when I sat in the train on Friday, heading back to my parents to have some rest.
Nevertheless, I have a group of approximately 10 friends I met at the Hotelschool, we see each other quite often. I am the only one still working in the Hospitality Industry. But I think I am one of the happiest of all of them, doing what I do.
About Boudewijn’s passion for the industry:
A while ago we hosted the Hotel Leaders Network Conference together with the Hotelschool. I was still a student 8 years ago and now I am the Hotel Manager of the hotel adjacent to the Hotelschool! The CEOs were being interviewed afterwards and I was standing at the back of the green room. I was so proud, because they were all sitting in my hotel and that was actually a moment that I thought: “This is why I have worked so hard to get here, this is what I wanted”. I still have that feeling. With a fully booked hotel, which means 446 rooms and 850 hotel guests, the hotel becomes a city within a city. And I have to run it, and make decisions on so many different aspects.
His advice for today’s students:
I remember that I was not the brightest student, but the owner of the restaurant where I worked when I was a little child, always told me that I needed to work twice as hard as the rest and not only work hard for one day, but for every single day. You need to make sure that the people that you are reporting to, know and understand what you are doing. And even when they ask you to work a night shift on a Saturday, when you have already worked for 7 days, do it. Because it always gets back to you. For me it certainly did.
Hans Kennedie (The Netherlands, 1979)
His career path
After his graduation in 1982, Hans already set his mind to an international career. By sending out a direct mailing (by air post) to companies in South Africa, Singapore and Malaysia he was looking forward to a leap in the international hospitality business. Meanwhile an opportunity at Crest Hotels came along and that’s where Hans started to work. Soon after he made a transfer to Golden Tulip Hotels.
From 1986, for the duration of 5 year, Hans has had the opportunity to work as Head of Sales & Marketing for Golden Tulip in North America. This has been a life-changing experience for him. Working and living in the USA, dealing with the mentality and the work ethos as well as the cultural differences made this an exciting challenge and learning experience.
In the 90s, Hans’s career path developed equal to the changes in the world and the way the hospitality business evolved. Hans has held leading positions in the Golden Tulip group, and has been involved in the many changes, acquisitions and private equity dealings. Golden Tulip hotels had been a daughter of KLM; in 1998 it was taken by Krasnaplosky Group, which merged with NH Hotels. In 2002 it became a fully independent entity.
From 2002 till 2009 Hans has been the CEO of the Golden Tulip Hospitality Group. At this point in time the hotel chain was responsible for 250 hotels, with offices in Europe, China and the Middle- East. In total Hans has worked for Golden Tulip for 26 years.
Combining all acquired knowledge with the urge to be able to offer consultancy, in 2009, Hans created HEAL & Partners, as managing partner. This service company for the hotel business does brand and concept development, analyses and offers specialized services for hotels such as marketing & strategy. The next step for Hans has been to become President & CEO for the Swiss International Hotels & Resorts. A growing hotel company with currently 25 hotels under management and under affiliate management. At this point in time, Hans is stationed in the United Emirates for the last 2 years now.
His connection to the Netherlands and the Hotelschool:
Even though Hans left the Netherlands in 1986 to make his path in the hospitality industry, he still has a strong connection to the Netherlands and the Hotelschool. Just recently, late 2014, Hans has been able to attend the reunion of his semester. This is what he told us about his experience: “It was very valuable to meet up with old semester friends, after 35 years. It was heartwarming how, we as a group, all were able to share life and work experiences in an open and honest manner. Without the need to polish the truth. At this point in our lives we have been through good and bad times and we cherish the value of old friendships”
These life-long friendships have found their roots in the Skotel, 35 years ago. At that point there were 40 rooms and 75 students. Living together, studying together 24/7, has created a bond that is strong. Hans holds precious memories about the student association, of which all students were members back in the day and the sports weekends to Maastricht. Where the main attraction was the stunt of getting at the location, only using a hand driven means of transportation.
About the education Hans told us: ”The school was already very focused on the international development of the students. I very much enjoyed the theory semesters, and the management placement in the Kurhaus in Schevingen. My least favorite subject was science of nutrition”
His work (and trends):
Currently Hans is the President & CEO for the Swiss International Hotels & Resorts, headquartered in the Emirates. This is what Hans shared with us about his position: “It is great to be in the so-called second career. I am able to apply and to share all the know-how I have acquired during the first part of my working career. I enjoy developing new markets and transferring the knowledge I have obtained over the years”
This is what Hans shared with us about living in the Emirates: “It is great to live in such a vibrant, diverse surrounding. Personnel is highly educated, has the right attitude, including discipline and respect. It is fascinating to be part of the newest developments in e-commerce and to be able to integrate this in our day to day work. In the Emirates everything is available and done online”
About trends: “Living in the Emirates shows us how the world changes rapidly, how the society is paperless and how the digitalization is in our veins”.
His advice for today’s students
Hans certainly also has some good advice for today’s students at Hotelschool:
What is key:
“Try to set your objectives as soon as possible. Knowing what you want to achieve makes it easier to reach for it. The path as a plan” .
Bert van Walbeek (The Netherlands, 1961)
Our esteemed alumnus Bert van Walbeek allowed us to have a glimpse into his adventurous life and career path. We were happy to be able to have an interview with him shortly after his return from Nepal after the hazardous earthquakes hit the region. We would like to express our gratitude to Bert for sharing his story with us:
His career path
After his graduation in 1964, Bert decided to go to Paris and worked in the kitchen of the three Michelin stars restaurant Tours d’Argent for one year, before moving back to the Netherlands to do his military service. After various other stations, he joined the Amsterdam Hilton as Chief Steward where he learned how a hotel is run. After changing to the former Alpha Hotel in Amsterdam, which is today the Novotel, as a Duty Manager, Bert joined Intercontinental as a Sales Manager.
With Intercontinental and Sheraton, Bert held multiple positions in Munich, Lisbon, Bangkok and Cairo where he was promoted the Vice President of Marketing for the Middle East. After three years he decided to go back to Bangkok to work for Siam Express as Executive Vice President in charge of the International Leisure & MICE Division.
In 1993, he finalized his concept for The Winning Edge and opened this unique boutique consulting company. His company focuses on training hotel managers in Thailand in Sales and Marketing, engaging the MICE market as well as mystery shopping. After publishing an information brochure on Risk and Crisis Management in cooperation with the Pacific Asia Travel Association in 2003, this branch became the primary source of business for Bert. Today, The Winning Edge is involved in projects in Bali, the People’s Republic of China, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Bahrain, Taiwan and Thailand.
His connection to the Netherlands and the Hotelschool:
Bert still likes to think back to his time at HTH. Especially with Henry Thijs, who was the instructor in the kitchen back then, Bert had a lot of fun and learned some valuable lessons. Not only was he a fantastic chef and teacher, but he also always motivated his students with his charm and his famous saying: “Il faut arroser. Toujours arroser.”
In 1963 Bert and a group of friends snuck out of the students’ dormitory of the Badhuis Hotel and went to lay the first stone of the, back then, new building at Brusselselaan.
During the three years Bert spent at HTH he did not hear the word marketing once. Instead, it used to be very practical school focusing on subjects like “Menu en Serveerkunde” and only a little bit of administration and business. Nevertheless, the basics he learned back then, are still applied in the same way nowadays.
Bert still visits the Netherlands twice a year to lecture a special session about tourism at the NHTV Breda. At the reunion in 2010 he met up again with old classmates, but most of his classmates already retired and live a very different lifestyle. Most alumni and his friends from back then stayed in Holland where it is easier to retire than in other parts of the world. Bert, on the other hand is still focused and challenged every day and does not even think about retiring yet. His wife and him are enjoying every day and try to have all the fun they can have in Thailand and other parts of the world.
His work trends in the industry:
Many organisations start realising that the old rule of planning and preventing applies in the hospitality industry. Duty of care forces companies more and more to act accordingly and have impact on all destinations worldwide nowadays.
Due to the consumerism and social media, the reputation of any business needs much more protection than in the past. These mediums can share a bad experience of a customer easily with over 100,000 people. Therefore organisations realise that they need to act more preventive and insurance companies are picking up on this trend as well. The attitude of avoidance and ignorance which is still in place in many places worldwide is still to be overcome, but this advanced transparency is accelerating this process.
Bert’s expectation is that within the next 10 to 15 years, the major hospitality companies will fall apart and become real estate companies. Bert notices that, already today, the executives are often chosen from other fields than the hospitality industry. Bert states: “ General Managers today, sometimes walk through the lobby without greeting a single guest, but care more about their bosses’ on the executive level. And this trend needs to find an end soon, so hospitality can return to hotels. The guest satisfaction figures must be more important than the quarterly results!”
Resulting from this, boutique hotels are still up and coming and guests are seeking smaller hotels where they are greeted by name instead of their room number.
In 1992, Bert stepped up during the so-called black May and developed the “The World, Our Guest”-campaign as the chairman of the TAT Marketing Working Group. Thailand was able to bounce back after the crisis and tourism soon became one of the major sources of income for the country.
Also during the protests 2010 and 2011, Bert played a crucial role behind the scenes. He ensured that the industry was up to date with current developments and was able to come up with and co-author a plan for the industry to “Bounce Back” as described in his published booklet with the same name.
This publication led to further engagement with a Taiwanese magazine for which Bert wrote a series of articles on the topic of event management. 32 of these articles have been published in a book which is now used by various Chinese universities as a case study book. For these publications he was honoured with the title Dr Mice!
His advice for today’s students:
For today’s students, Bert has also been eager to share some advice.
- Firstly, it is important to realise that EQ is much more important than IQ. Attitude is key when starting a new position. Unfortunately, students often leave their schools with the impression that they know much more than the managers. Even if this is the case, it is much wiser to keep this to yourself and not have this attitude. Then you will be able to benefit much more and move up faster, because people are eager to invest more into you.
- Never stop learning! Go to conferences or check online what is new in the industry and what the real trends are.
- Listen more and talk less: students from a lot of different universities in Europe should really observe more when moving abroad. During your internships you are still a student, so take the time to learn more and study also the different cultures and the people around you.
- Be tolerant against the people around you and when meeting people from different cultures. Do not judge other people on your own values, especially when you are a guest in a foreign country.
General Manager InterContinental Marseille-Hotel Dieu
For our fall edition, we are very proud to share the career and life path of our esteemed alumna Madelijn Vervoord with you. Madelijn graduated from Hotelschool in 1991 and has been living in France for over 20 years already. We are very happy that she shared her experiences about the hospitality industry and living and working in L’Hexagone.
Madelijn about her Career Path and her future outlook:
I started at the Hotelschool in 1987 with the dream of once living in Paris, which is why I did my practical placement in the Hotel St James et Albany in Paris. During the placement I met my now husband, Régis Lecendreux who I was taking over from at that time and who first started to train me in the hotel. After graduating from Hotelschool in 1991, I moved to New York to work for the Radisson Empire Hotel in the Housekeeping at first and after on in the F&B department. Two years later we moved back to Paris and I started in the Rooms Division department of the Golden Tulip St Honoré for five years. This was followed by another three years at the Castille Westin Demeure in Paris. In 2010, I stepped out of the industry for 3 years to teach my children Dutch. After these 3 years I was offered an opportunity with InterContinental and started with a 9-to-5 office job, but soon rushed back into the day-to-day operational business. After nine years in various departments, I became the Hotel Manager of the InterContinental Paris Le Grand in 2008 which is the greatest InterContinental operation within Europe with over 700 employed staff members.
Since 2012 I am the General Manager of the InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu, where I started during the pre-opening process. Our official and grand opening took place in May 2013 and was a great success. In 2014 we received the award for the best InterContinental Hotel in Europe! My passion is to work in the hospitality industry and in 5 star luxury hotels as it offers a unique dynamic and gives you the feeling of travelling though you are not, due to the environment you are in and the international guests.
Personally, I really believe that IHG has moved forward tremendously during the last few years and has implemented many projects. IHG also provides a great environment in which people are valued. For me that is the main reason why I would see myself staying with the company in the future. Also due to my passion towards the operations and daily excitement I see myself more at the operational level rather than head office.
Madelijn about her time at Hotelschool:
With such an intensive start of your life at Hotelschool, I think there are a lot of vivid memories. Back then, it was different on how students were taught and the whole curriculum was still in Dutch. Especially the first semester, living in a house called, Bella Vista, with 40 to 45 other students still comes to mind quite often. However the major thing I retain from Hotelschool are the friends you make friends for life! I am still in contact with many former students from my semester who live all over the globe. Especially the ones who are still working in the hospitality industry I come across from time to time and then reconnect again via LinkedIn or Facebook. Moreover, you feel like finding back a long lost friend when meeting other former students of Hotelschool The Hague. Currently I am still in contact with Marianne Metselaar-Berkelder (1991), who does not work in the hospitality industry anymore but who I shared an apartment with when doing our practical placements in Paris. Also Bart Spoorenberg (1991) who is nowadays the General Manager of Il Salviatino in Tuscany. Furthermore, Monique van de Heuvel, who has worked for Hotelschool in the Amsterdam branch and who I had the pleasure of recruiting in Paris when working for the Golden Tulip. There are also Dirk van Rijks (1991) working at Sofitel as well as Yvanka Vogels or Barthy Bredenoord (1991) whom I am still in contact with. Every summer when I visit my family in the Netherlands, I organize a barbecue for friends and everyone who is available joins. It is exciting to see how we started with no kids and now most of us got married, and bring their families along.
Her memories and rewarding moments:
There is always something rewarding in the job you do, as you would otherwise not put the hours and effort in the job. Rewarding were all the promotions I received throughout my career, as it showed that I was appreciated and others saw potential in me. Of course other tangible achievements were the great opening we did in Marseille, the Michelin-Star that we received at the Castille with Alain Ducasse as well as the one in Marseille with our Chef Lionel Levy. Also, during my first year of being the Executive Housekeeper in Paris I was able to change a tense and conflictual department into a peaceful work environment which was a great personal reward.
Lastly, opening the InterContinental Marseille Hotel Dieu which is nowadays considered the flagship hotel within Europe of IHG, was the greatest step in my career so far. We are proud of what we have achieved with this hotel as a team. An opening is very nerve-racking and intense for the whole team. We all nearly divorced, collapsed and had nervous breakdowns, but in the end everything came together and we were awarded the best InterContinental Hotel within Europe in 2014!
Current trends in the Hospitality Industry and IHG:
Most of the guests nowadays skip intermediaries and agencies as everybody goes online to make a reservation. Despite being online all the time, and that is the paradox of our business, the personal approach and local recommendations the staff at the hotel give are still in very high demand and make the difference. Our guests at the level we work seek authentic interactions and experiences when they travel. E.g. the traditional concierge desk has changed into a walk-around concierge who works on his iPad while interacting with guests in the lobby. The approach of choosing a standardized hotel where one knows what to expect changed to guests choosing their hotel because of the hotel being an experience and destination in itself. In Marseille we operate two restaurants of which one has a Michelin Star. We are really a resort hotel in a city destination, which means that a guest does not need to leave the hotel to experience the local flavour. Our restaurants welcome about 80% of local clientele which shows well that the experience is within our walls. The relationships that we build up with our guests become much more personal and loyal, which is essential when a guest has so much choice today.
Nowadays, guests are more open to share their opinions instantly and are preparing themselves by reading reviews on TripAdvisor etc. The word already became a verb; to tripadvise!
In working life, a lot of things are constantly changing. Having troubles finding new staff, the hospitality industry nowadays needs to accept these differences and adapt to them. IHG already identified these trends three years ago by changing a training day to online trainings that can be done anywhere and anytime with only 15 minutes per unit. Another factor influencing the current changes are employees coming from another background than hospitality like business schools, as you do not necessarily have to have an operational background to become a General Manager nowadays...
Her advice for today’s students:
For the current students my advice would be to move and work abroad as the experience of different cultures and languages you collect is unique. Also, be open for opportunities within your career path, as others might see qualities in you that you have not yet seen yourself. Push yourself to go further, out of your comfort zone. Work hard, it is the only way you will move forward. And lastly, have fun, share your drive, people want to work with people who energise them!
Interview with Karin Kersten (1993)
When I work on a project I get attached to two things: the problem and the people.
Karin about her Career Path:
After HTH I studied Business Administration and, as I had a great affinity with numbers, in the end I switched to Business Economics. After graduating I went into Investment Banking and joined MeesPierson. I was responsible for IPOs, mergers & acquisitions, making valuation models, advising boards of companies on transactions and the like. When working on valuations, I always wondered, why are we doing this transaction? Why are we bringing these particular companies together? I liked to work with company boards, but I wanted to think further, develop strategies.
So I decided I should work for a strategy consultancy firm and applied for a job at McKinsey & Company. It gave me the opportunity to look into different industries and several different countries. You get to see the companies all the way from the canteen to the Board of Directors- a great learning experience. After several years, I discovered that when I work on a project I get attached to two things: the problem and the people.
After McKinsey & Company I joined ABN AMRO in 2003. What drew me to Transaction Banking was that it is at the heart of day-to-day banking, the daily line to your clients. You also work in a large team and with clients. And at the same time, you have to roll up your sleeves and get things done.
Karin about her time at Hotelschool and future outlook:
I am a person who really enjoys solving complex puzzles - I like to find a solution to tricky dilemmas. If somebody says “This is too difficult” or “This is impossible”, I jump right in and make it happen. On the other hand, I love working with people, rolling up my sleeves and just getting things done. At Hotelschool I also noticed that I enjoyed getting things done, while connecting with people and working in teams.
HTH attracted me because I liked the service industry. When I look back, I don’t think of the theory I learned, but the team spirit, attitude and human interaction. People from Hotelschool The Hague have a common mentality. They are truly client oriented and have a ‘can do’ attitude. The selection procedure is an important part of this.
Living on campus was a whole experience in itself, coming out of my shell and learning to speak up. For me it was a journey of personal development. I experienced my first challenge when I was living at Skotel, as my roommate was an evening person and I was a morning person. We quickly had to find out how to live with each other, how to adapt. In a way it was good that we were so different. I still see many other alumni. A funny thing is that ABN AMRO (where I work now) is listed as one of the top 3 employers for the Hotelschool, so there are quite a lot of alumni at my work.
Around my second placement I discovered that I like to work with figures and that I like to solve problems. After that it was a step-by-step process, and I gradually moved towards a career in Finance. I now work at ABN AMRO. Working at a bank means you have to solve complex problems while you dealing with financial services, working with clients, colleagues and other stakeholders.
I am also passionate about putting sustainability into practice in very tangible ways - the ‘little big things’. It’s all about believing in something. It’s also about giving meaning to the concept ‘green means business’. This is not only an idealistic concept; you have to make a business case out of being green; making little steps that move on to a greater meaning. I believe in combining sustainability and innovation in a way that is meaningful to clients.
Some people have a clear destination in their career, a goal they are aiming for. I don’t have that feeling. For me the journey is much more important than the destination. I want to have a challenging journey, and I don’t yet know where it will end.
Co-Founder Foodhallen – Amsterdam
‘We all inspire, motivate and help each other’
About his career path and future outlook:
After Hotelschool, I went to Shanghai to work there, came back, and started a small company importing Bonsai Trees; I did that for a year, still wondering what to do with my life. Afterwards, I opened a Chinese and Japanese restaurant in Rotterdam and then the opportunity came along. Two of my friends and current partners went to Madrid and got inspired by Mercado de San Miguel; they came back and then we talked about it, thinking: this is really what is missing in Amsterdam.
We opened three interrelated concepts within the Foodhallen Amsterdam. Brasserie Halte 3, opened first in August 2014. It is an all-day concept, starting with breakfast, which flows over into lunch, dinner and it is a place to go for drinks. Our menu has something for everyone, especially for local residents. The second concept, Meat West, only opens for dinner at 18:00. It focuses on meat and wine and is more ‘fine-dining’. This second concept opened in September 2014. The third and largest concept, the Foodhallen, with 1, 100m2, opened in October 2014. The Foodhallen encompasses 21 food concepts where we provide the space and all the facilities, like chairs and tables. We own the five bars inside. It is a meeting place for friends to catch up and have a drink with a snack. You can come here with a group of people and everyone can eat something completely different.
Not everything is perfect nowadays: we are still learning. We opened recently and want to learn from our own mistakes: what did we do wrong, what could have been better? We listen closely to complaints, from ‘there are too few seats’ to ‘it’s too hot inside’ and ‘the quality of the air inside could be better’. These are all points we are working on, to keep improving all the time. You have to keep developing to stay new and interesting for people to keep coming back.
For the future, we are thinking about opening similar places like the Foodhallen in other cities, adjusted to that particular city and the people from that city, maybe also abroad.
About his relation to Hotelschool The Hague:
My parents always owned restaurants so as a kid I grew up in restaurants, always walking around in kitchens and behind the bar – I did not know anything else. First I did not want to go into the restaurant business myself, complaining about the long hours and the lack of free time, but when I went to an open day at Hotelschool The Hague with a friend, I knew: this is it, this is what I want! It is in my blood. I learned a lot at Hotelschool The Hague, especially management skills: how to be a good Manager and how to approach your staff and how to inspire them to believe in what you believe.
I have a close group of friends that I know from Hotelschool The Hague, who I still meet with every week. We were friends from day one at the Skotel, now 14 years ago. Those are wonderful memories. Today, I just give them a call or send them a text saying: shall we have dinner tonight? And they will all be there! To me that is so special. A lot of those friends from the Hotelschool now have opened bard and restaurants in Amsterdam. They are starting companies, doing something. It is great to see each other grow, also getting girlfriends, wives, and children. We have been to each other’s weddings. It is funny to see: Alumni from Hotelschool The Hague are taking over Amsterdam. Some time ago, there was an article in the newspaper: ‘Where can you eat the best steak or best burger in Amsterdam?’ It was a top five, and I was in the list, Riad Farhat was on the list, Matan Shabraque was on the list, all Alumni. So of course we posted it on Facebook, tagging each other: how funny is this? We are all from the same school, all friends, and we all opened places in Amsterdam. We all inspire, motivate and help each other. It was Riad who told me to come to Amsterdam: I did not believe him at first – now I know he was right.
Chong’s rewarding moments:
My most rewarding experience is the one that I am still in, having opened and now running the Foodhallen. In the first three months there was no time to stand still and reflect. There was a huge buzz around the Foodhallen, so everyone wanted to come and see what it was all about: every night hundreds of people turned up, seven nights a week, it was insane. When there’s a buzz, you have to deliver and live up to everyone’s expectations.
After about five months, things started to calm down. Operations were running smoothly, everyone knew what to do. Only then did we have time to stand still, take a look around and realise: wow this is what we created. What we’ve done is crazy, in three months opening three huge concepts, going from zero staff to 160 employees; it was a lot to handle. Operations, staff, suppliers, other partners, everybody wanted something from us. Working seven days a week, 12 hours per day, it was a crazy roller coaster ride. Now I can sometimes take a day off. Which I really need sometimes, to be away from it all, to clear my mind and to come back with a fresh, clean mind-set and new ideas.
“It was meant to be.”
Philippe van de Wetering and I know each other from Hotelschool The Hague. We established Boosty seven years ago. After our graduation we decided to travel through Australia, New-Zealand and Asia. We were inspired by the several conscious food concepts we experienced during our trip; convenience food, but healthy.
We loved this idea and wanted to bring this to the Netherlands. The idea for Boosty was born; a fast-fresh formula with the focus on delicious and healthy food. We found a great location on the Frederik Hendriklaan in The Hague we were able to rent; it was meant to be! From day one it proved to be a success. The second restaurant in Curacao has just been opened and is the fourth restaurant of Boosty.
Our concept is based on the idea that fast and fresh can go together. You can create your own juice, sandwich or salad with our self-order system. This is especially convenient for people with certain allergies or diets. Besides that, we focus on getting a smile on every customers face. We also made signs with the effects of the different ingredients. The tomato, for instance, is the love apple. It helps you to relax and take hesitations away. We work together with the Haagse Hogeschool, who often does research with the dietetics department to get all this information about nutrition, which means we are always up-to-date.
After two years, we opened our second restaurant at The Frederikstraat in The Hague. We just opened two restaurants on Curacao and are currently looking for franchisers to work with in the Netherlands. In the end, we would like to have 20 restaurants within 5 years in the Netherlands.
I really enjoyed my time at Hotelschool The Hague. I had studied at Oxford two years, and I could start at Hotelschool The Hague half a year earlier, which was very convenient. Both Phillippe and I were active members of La Confrerie. The most valuable course for me was TMV, Training Management Skills. Still every day I benefit from it greatly. You learn to really deal with people, with your staff. How you can motivate them and how to give feedback. It is so important to keep your staff motivated. Because of our management style people find it also very nice to work here.
The hotel school is such a fun place to be, you’re surrounded with like-minded people. When a hotello applies for a job here, we don’t even need an interview because the selection has been made by Hotelschool The Hague. So every hotello who ever worked turned out to be a top notch employee. They always peak above the rest. First we only worked with Hotel School students, but that turned out to be not convenient. If it’s exam week you have no staff.
The future for us is franchising. We want to focus on the Netherlands for now, which is the easiest for us. We are busy talking to potential franchisees. We are especially looking for franchisees in Amsterdam. Our plan is to have 20 branches in five years.
Where are they now?
Robbert van Rijsbergen (2014)
The HTH memories that I cherish the most today are those of the social aspects of studying at HTH: living in Skotel, the Club Bar, the many dinners, drinks and nights out with fellow students. The social life at HTH really helped me build human connections with fellow students and some HTH staff and faculty members that I’m still connected with today. ‘Enthusiasm is contagious!’ – my favorite quote from Glen Hepburn.
I did my final placement in 2010 in Shanghai and officially graduated in 2014. I delayed my placement report way too long – don’t recommend anyone doing this…
After my final placement, I came back to The Netherlands and worked for the Amstel Hotel for some three and a half years in Sales, dealing mainly with high profile entertainment clients and the luxury leisure market. I then decided to completely change my environment, get out of my comfort zone and move to Brazil, where I started my own boutique consultancy firm. Nowadays, I work exclusively for Virtuoso, focused on business development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Virtuoso members generate US $15.5 billion annually in travel sales, making the group the most powerful in luxury travel.
I love living here in Brazil. It’s the right place for me to be in this phase of my professional and personal life. São Paulo, the city where I live, has more than 21 million inhabitants and a fantastic culinary scene. Being an economic powerhouse in the region, Brazil offers lots of opportunities for growth and exploring new horizons within the travel industry. I am trying to put together an Alumni Chapter in São Paulo but I haven’t connected to many HTH Alumni in Brazil yet – so if you’re reading this and you’re based in Brazil, please connect with me through social media / Linked-In / the HTH Alumni office.
Never stop learning, be yourself and enjoy every moment at HTH to its fullest. Right now, you’re building a foundation for the rest of your professional life. Take advantage of all the resources that HTH offers you – and don’t forget to have fun!
If you’re just starting in your first position after completing your studies, I’d recommend you to stay humble, work hard, pay your dues and good things will happen to you. Be patient and learn from everyone you work with – they all have their own stories to tell. Don’t try to jump to a management position instantly, learn the role and responsibilities of the people from the bottom to the top. You’ll end up being a much more well-rounded leader. You’ll lead naturally and not because of authority.
Ligia Shimizu (2014)
The entire experience at HTH has changed my life. Coming from Brazil, it was my first time living in Europe which was a large culture shock! I guess when I look back at my time at HTH, I remember two very challenging moments: having to pass all the exams during IFT Summer Course and the outdoor week before the MO block. HTH also gave me the opportunity to learn German, which was my dream ever since I was a child!
I graduated in July 2014. 3 months afterwards, I was offered the position of Learning Assistant Manager at Grand Hyatt São Paulo. I was 23 and I was in charge of all learning programs in a hotel of 500 employees. 2015 was a year of 'learning every day'; processes, compliance, procedures and all managerial skills that you learn in HTH. Then, in 2016, I was promoted to Learning Manager and I was also in charge of Recruitment & Selection. It brought even more responsibilities but it was very rewarding!
Since the age of 21, I have been involved in the opening of hotels. First, I joined the opening team of Hyatt Regency Mexico City. Then, we opened Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro, Hyatt's second hotel in Brazil. Even though Rio is only a 50-minute flight from São Paulo, their working culture is very different from my hometown, which was the most challenging aspect to overcome during the opening. Next came Hyatt Centric Montevideo, in Uruguay, followed by Hyatt's third hotel in Brazil: Hyatt Place São José do Rio Preto.
After this, I spent 40 days at Hyatt Regency Cartagena, in Colombia where I gave trainings in my second language, Spanish. I enjoyed this opening the most because I compiled all my previous opening experiences and I was able to really emotionally connect with the employees (most of them with whom I still keep contact).
All of these experiences have taught me that doing what you love is priceless! Maybe you will find out that you won't work for hotels, and that is fine. We should all be able to discover what it is that makes us not DO our best but to BE our best!
Pedro Celli (2012)
My time at Hotelschool The Hague came to an end in 2012. When I look back, my highlights were practicals and internships. My first internship took place in Barcelona and my second was in Brussels; two very different cities which enabled me to meet new people and experience different cultures within Europe.
Once I graduated, I started working for Starwood HQ in Brussels, followed by a Master degree in Groningen and now, I am working for an American tech start-up company, named Revinate. I have been working here for nearly two years as Territory Sales Manager for Portugal and Africa.
I am originally from Brazil, so obviously, I am a long way from home! Although it was a large culture shock when I moved here, I now feel that I have completely adapted to the Dutch lifestyle and culture. While I miss my family, I have no plans of returning to Brazil.
Instead, I look forward to continue growing here in Holland. The added bonus of staying in Holland is that I get to see many of my former classmates since many still live in Amsterdam. Also, I travel abroad regularly which gives me a great opportunity to visit the rest of my HTH friends that are living in Europe.
What I would say to the current HTH students is enjoy your time but don’t think that university is everything. Life starts after that experience. You will learn a lot but mostly, you learn while on the job and pursuing a career.
Matthias Welschof (2012)
When looking back, I have numerous good memories that I associate with my time at Hotelschool The Hague. The PIFT summer course, ‘running’ the warm section of La Mangerie as an MO Student as well as uncountable conversations, discussions and get-togethers during group work and Kinderbar are among some of them!
After my graduation in 2012, I took a gap year and travelled (take time to travel), worked (money always comes in handy) and prepared for my GMAT, which served as an admission test for my Masters. I finished the pre-master and specialized within the fields of finance and investment through my M.Sc. at Rotterdam School of Management. Since I still loved hotels and was also passionate about finance and investment, I wanted a job which combined both of these interests. I have found this at CBRE Hotels where I now work in the fields of transaction and advisory services for hotel real estate owners and investors.
I still feel part of the HTH spirit since I am always in direct contact with Alumni. I organize annual Oktoberfest events for all IFT students (4th Edition in 2017), I administer the Facebook group for IFT Alumni and I have also founded the HTH Alumni Chapter of Munich with a few others.
As a founding member of the ‘HTH Alumni Munich Board’, I really enjoy organizing numerous events and bringing together the 50+ Alumni living in Munich. I also love staying in touch with Alumni, seeing how each of us develops, discussing the latest industry trends and rumours while simply having a good time together. Hotellos remain Hotellos - it is always so easy to get along and just have a fun time!
What I suggest to current students is: “Study hard, aim for good grades and find out what you are passionate about. Aim for a good employer for your placement, as this is your first reference on your professional experience CV. And don’t forget to always develop further and walk the extra mile while reflecting on your actions.”
Mark van Rijmenam (2006)
My journey at Hotelschool The Hague started in 2001 and what a great experience it was! I really enjoyed my time at HTH and I still think it is a really good education, with a great mix of business skills, personal development and international exposure.
I did my first internship in Antigua and my second in Dubai, where I was part of the opening team of Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, the first ever ski resort in the Middle East. After a Master at Nyenrode, I discovered my interest in technology which lead me to start my own company in 2011. I founded Datafloq, a platform around big data and I give keynotes around the globe on these topics. Although I moved away from the hospitality industry, I still believe it is one of the best industries to work in!
Currently I live in Sydney where I am doing a PhD on how organizations are affected by new technologies such as Big Data, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence.
Besides this, I am currently setting up the HTH Alumni Chapter Sydney, along with my fellow Chapter Heads. We always enjoy getting back in touch with other Alumni, so once we noticed that there are quite a few Alumni living in Sydney, we thought it was a perfect opportunity to set up the Chapter. It is always fun to meet up with other Hotellos and share our memories over a beer, or two! If you are living in or near Sydney, click here to follow and stay up to date with our upcoming events.
My advice to current students would be: “Whatever you wish to achieve, if you really want it, you’ll be able to get it. It is such a cliché, but perseverance, focus, discipline and a positive attitude will get you anywhere!”
Marco Schuster (2011)
In 2011, my time at Hotelschool The Hague unfortunately came to an end. Looking back, the summer course that I undertook as a preparation for the IFT programme was one of the most formative times of my life! On the one hand, it was extremely challenging as we were under pressure to pass numerous exams in a very short amount of time. However, living and studying all together in Skotel was truly amazing, especially with such a great community!
Some of you may remember Mr. Huizing. He was definitely one of my favourite lecturers! I really liked the way he taught us all about marketing, in such an inspiring and motivating way. He was a perfect coach with a good knowledge of human nature.
Once I graduated from HTH, I fulfilled Front Office Supervisor position for Hilton. Then, I decided to do my Master in Hospitality Management at the University of Applied Sciences Munich, which led me to my current job as a Revenue Analyst at AccorHotels in the headquarters in Munich. I am now responsible for the revenue management of 20 hotels in total.
I am currently one of the Chapter Heads of the HTH Alumni Chapter Munich. I really enjoy the constant interaction that I have with other Alumni in Munich. I also meet former classmates regularly when I am on trips or if they are visiting Munich. Last year, I even spent a holiday together with former classmates!
My advice to current students would be: “Make sure you build a solid network at HTH and enjoy your time at this great school to the fullest. If you put in the effort, you will definitely profit from it in the future.”
Stefan Hannig (2010)
After graduating from Hotelschool The Hague in 2010, my hospitality career started with a property of the Leading Hotels of the World. After this, I followed a Corporate Leadership Training by Hyatt which took me to exciting new destinations like Germany and the United Arab Emirates and then, two years ago, I came to the beautiful city of Zurich in Switzerland and I started working at the Park Hyatt Zurich. Currently, I am employed as the Associate Director of Sales of the Park Hyatt Zurich. I have been with Hyatt for almost 6 years now and I have not regretted staying at the same place, at all. It is a great employer, which never forgets the right values and it cares as much for their employees as they do for their stakeholders and guests.
Looking back at my time at Hotelschool, my most vivid moment was when I was accepted to my first internship in Antigua in the Caribbean. Needing to be in the first selection round to get your preferred placement destination showed me that giving your best always pays off. Also, I will never forget all the fun beach activities in Scheveningen as well!
I am still in contact with several people from Hotelschool, which I really enjoy. I believe every Alumni has the same stories to tell. You visit a city somewhere around the world and you always bump into old friends whether it is in Dubai, in Munich or somewhere in the United States. This really reflects our industry and it is the people creating this dynamic atmosphere.
To the current HTH students, I would advise you to stay who you are, wherever you are, no matter what someone expects from you or tells you to do. There is no wrong decision, no wrong career path, there is only experience you gain. If you take a wrong turn, you know that this was not the right way and you can try another one. Secondly, always remember the motto: There is no wrong time to do the right thing.
I recently opened the Alumni Chapter in Zurich as I have seen that a lot of Alumni of HTH are based in Switzerland missing out on the opportunity to network with other former HTH students. Also, there are several other leading Hotelschools in Switzerland which are very strong in building Alumni Chapters in the area, who need a bit of competition!
Graduating from Hotelschool The Hague was not that long ago for me, so I still cherish many memories of exciting moments, sleepless nights (not necessarily all-nighters) and adventurous stories. When thinking of the most vivid memory, however, I would say it is the strategy course in the last phase – SDV. This course and especially the “Abroad” element played such a spectacular part in my life that I will probably remember it forever.
Inspired by a course that a group of students from FIU (Florida International University) took: a two-week course taking place on a cruise ship, to study about the Cruise Line Industry, I initiated the development of SDV Abroad. Together with three other students, we formed a team in which we finally developed the concept - an intense and well-structured course where students spend 4 weeks in Miami working on a strategic project with one of the leading hospitality companies. This would involve various networking opportunities as well as incredible learning experiences. We selected 20 of the brightest students at HTH to attend the course and I personally believe it was a great success. We made SDV Abroad happen and it is still going strong in the HTH curriculum today!
Since HTH, I am still pursuing my passion for hospitality. After completing my final internship as a Corporate Human Resources Trainee for Hilton Worldwide in Vienna, I then joined the Elevator Fast Track General Management Development program with Hilton. The program is 18 months in total, the first 9 of which I am spending in the flagship property – London Hilton on Park Lane. My ultimate goal for the future is to obtain a General Management (GM) Position within Hilton. I still find this position extremely exciting, challenging and fast-paced and I am really looking forward to a future in this direction. Also, I know that wherever in the world my career takes me, I will always feel the strong HTH network. I have already experienced this in Vienna, where I took part in one of the Alumni events and I am definitely seeing this now in London, where there is an extensive HTH Alumni community.
My experience at HTH taught me many valuable lessons which I will carry with me in my future career. So, what I would say to today’s students is: “Recognize your achievements, but always stay humble and true to yourself. No matter what you do in life, do it with integrity and do not give up on the things you truly want and believe in.”
Oliver Cable (2013)
My time at Hotelschool The Hague began in 2009. I remember the strong sense of community that the Hotelschool offers, in the way that everyone knew each other; not only the students, but all the lecturers and instructors too. I remember marvelling at Mr Gallicano’s endless stream of knowledge as well. His lessons always motivated me to go and learn more.
When I graduated in 2013, I moved to London to work for the Financial Times and now, I run social media for their events team. I am also proud to announce that on 29 July 2016, I published my first novel, Fresh Air and Empty Streets, available through all the major booksellers.
I am still in contact with some of my former classmates, some of whom I speak to every day. There were at least ten at the book launch, some of whom flew over to London to be there especially for the evening. There’s those I don’t speak to so often, but you pick up the thread as soon as you meet them again. The Hotelschool bond runs deep. I also take active part in the Alumni Chapter in London which helps me keep up to date with the Hotelschool community.
To today’s students, I advise you to be flexible as to where you’ll end up and the path that will take you there. Who knew when I left Hotelschool that I’d run social media for the Financial Times’ events? Also, have a personal project – whether that’s an Alumni group you’re running or a business plan you’re writing in your own time – and build towards it every day. It means your life is bigger than just your job.
The advice that I would give to current HTH students is to ‘Keep looking for new opportunities and don’t be afraid to fail!’ This is a motto I have stuck by since I graduated from Hotelschool The Hague.
The most vivid memory I have of my time at Hotelschool is definitely the first year in Skotel. I mostly remember living all together, waking up together and going to bed together. Our living room was always filled with people enjoying drinks, watching movies or just hanging around. Never a dull moment!
Funnily enough, I still live together with three Hotellos. This summer, I even went to Rio de Janeiro to work at the Holland Heineken House where I worked together with another 21 fellow HTH students. This just shows how big the HTH community is!
I did two Lycar internships. The first one at EME Hospitality Projects where I developed the new restaurant concept for The Student Hotel, named The Pool. Then, I got the chance to do another internship for a client of EME Hospitality Projects in Milan. I have to thank my Lycar coach, Mr. Keehnen, for supporting me through this phase. He is a great coach and knows how to get people to the next level.
In May 2015, I started working for Hotelchamp as the Sales Executive for the Benelux in Amsterdam. Hotelchamp is a start-up company which helps hotels to boost direct website bookings and create a healthier balance between direct bookings and bookings through OTA’s. I am growing professionally very fast at Hotelchamp, meeting clients in hotels in the whole country and talking to potential clients all over the world; USA, Dubai, Curacao, Australia and many more! It is teaching me so much about the industry and about setting up such a business.
My ultimate goal is to start running my very own business within a couple of years. I am still unsure what kind of business this will be, but I feel confident that I will find something in the coming years… because as I said before, I just want to keep looking for new opportunities and failing will make me learn!
Joosje Hardus (2012)
My life at Hotelschool The Hague started in 2007. To this day, my most vivid memory of my time at school is outdoor! I still remember my last day of outdoor when my teacher said to me that she had never seen someone looking so sad to leave, after a week sleeping in discomfort. The outdoor activities, the campfires, the mental games, the teamwork, the sneaky beers at the camp site and the stars, I wish I could go back every year!
For my final internship of HTH, I worked for the company, DiningCity.com in Hong Kong, where I organised the famous dining event, Restaurant Week, both in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. I was lucky to continue with this company once I had graduated from HTH. I want to thank all the people that made it possible for me to stay in Hong Kong after my internship, I graduated from here and that was only possible because of the help of some great teachers!
After two other jobs in Hong Kong, I realised that I wanted to create something of my own. I always had it in the back of my mind but it was only when I bumped in to my current business partner at a work event that my ideas took off. We realized that we both missed a good sandwich shop here in Hong Kong, so we started chatting and six months later, we opened our first shop, called Knead. We do fresh sandwiches and salads, all made on the spot.
Business has been great so far. It looks like we were not the only ones that missed a good sandwich in this city! In a couple of months, we want to start looking at a second shop and eventually take over the sandwich culture of Hong Kong!
I am lucky that six of my friends from HTH live in Hong Kong and some others in Asia. Last year we went on holiday to Myanmar and met a friend living there, another friend flew in from Buthan, one from China, one from the Netherlands and me from Hong Kong. Imagine trying to explain that to other travellers…
After all my adventures and experiences abroad, I would advise the current HTH students to go abroad, travel the world and never give up on your ideas!
Eric-Jan van Haastrecht (2003)
My time at Hotelschool started in the summer of 1998. What I can remember most vividly about my time at school was the practical classes and Skotel.
During my practical block, I really enjoyed working in the kitchen and learning all the different techniques. I can still remember the day our instructor put his hand in a pan of boiling water as if it was no big deal!
I also had a great time in Skotel where we could all get along with each other and have great fun. However, I remember the weekly cleaning checks were always a pain, they could always find something that was wrong and had to be rectified!
I did my management traineeship in Crowne Plaza Jinan, China, and after I graduated in 2003, I was extremely eager to continue working there. However, due to family affairs I decided to work in the Netherlands first to support the family.
But after 1 year of working in Mercure Hotel Zoetermeer, I still had a very strong urge to go back to China where the hotels were much bigger and with more challenges. Therefore, I accepted a job as Restaurant Manager of the Brazilian Churrascos Restaurantin Crowne Plaza in Beijing under local contract.
After 1,5 years I moved to Kempinski in Beijing as I had the opportunity to become Assistant F&B Manager. After 6 months, my old boss contacted me and asked me if I was interested in joining the pre-opening team of Shangri-La in Chengdu as Assistant Director of F&B. After having worked in Chengdu for 1,5 years, I transferred internally to Kerry Centre in Beijing to support the Olympic Games. I stayed there for 2 years, including 4 months acting as F&B Director in their flagship hotel, China World.
In the meantime, I got married and my daughter and son were born. The company wanted me to move to Malaysia but I preferred to stay in China and I moved back to the Crowne Plaza hotel in Beijing where I became F&B Director. After 2 years, I was promoted as EAM and a year later I was promoted as General Manager of Crowne Plaza Lanzhou.
Being apart from the family was too hard, I could only see them every 2 months, so I moved internally to Hotel Indigo in Tianjin after 1 year. Another year later I was asked to move to InterContinental Financial Street in Beijing where I became Task Force General Manager, which is where I am currently working today.
Since last year, alumni Willem Pentermann had started the Alumni Chapter in Beijing where alumni from Beijing and surrounding areas gather together every two months for dinner and drinks. As he had to go back to The Netherlands, I took over as the Chapter Head.The chapter, which consists of around 10 alumni, continues to meet regularly where we all share stories of our time at Hotelschool, including a lot of gossip about the old teachers!
I believe today’s students are very different from the generation X that I belong too. But what I have learnt is to see every challenge as an opportunity to improve yourself. During my time in Jinan as Management Trainee I was suddenly asked to be in charge of the all day dining restaurant as the Restaurant Manager and Chef were fired due to a fight. At that time I was overwhelmed and did not have the confidence to be in charge. But I did it and have learnt a lot from that.
I had chosen to go to China and I am very happy I did. Everything in China is bigger and more complicated, which are great ingredients for students to learn more things. Some people see their management traineeship as a holiday, but it is the stepping stone in building a succesful career.
Sebastian Kessel (2013)
When thinking back at my time at HTH, I would say my most vivid memory is the summer course that I was part of as an IFT (International Fast Track course). It was five crazy weeks with I guess about 20 exams and an intense housing experience at The Hague Skotel. Overall these are great memories!
There is an endless list of the idols at HTH, many staff members are very inspirational. However, at this point, I would like to outline three of them: Dr. Lin for discipline, Jereon Bosman in terms of entrepreneurship and lastly Mr. Feigenbaum when it comes to networking.
After graduating in 2013, my career developed quite unexpected. I started working at a small start-up company, MICEview, as a data analyst. This start-up business was great and I still hold contact with them. However, when AccorHotels calls you, you should always answer the phone! They offered me to work at the Central Europe Head Quarter in Munich in the Sales and Distribution Department. This has been over a year now, being the Representative B2B B2C Distribution and I am still enjoying it a lot!
As it has not been long since I graduated I am still in contact with many of my former classmates, especially former IFT. Moreover many IFT and other semesters are now moving to Munich. This is why, when we reached a critical mass is, we decided to form and launch the Munich Alumni Chapter. If you are in Munich and would like to get in touch, please do so!
For the current students my advice would be to remain open for new experiences. Most of the times it does not turn out as planned. And remember: Seize an opportunity when it unveils itself!
When I think back of my years at the Hotelschool The Hague (HTH) there are many fun memories that come to my mind, especially from the years of the practicum-series; baking 300 pancakes in the instruction kitchen together with my Practicum group maties one morning for a last-minute le Debut lunch. We laughed so much; tears were rolling down my face. I will also never forget the sound of boiling lobster. One evening a napkin took fire in the training restaurant, the way we dealt with it, no guests ever remarked. Het kinderbarretje, Skotel, the beach in Scheveningen where we used to go before and after class, outdoor in Belgium as co-trainer. Not to forget to mention the placements: my internships at Gleneagles (Scotland), dressed up in a penguin suit and white gloves working in the restaurant I had to fillet Scottish salmon, -fresh catch of the day from a lake nearby-. My management traineeship I did in Mexico, a completely different experience. All the friends I made, the fun we had, too many beautiful memories..
After graduation I started working in HR and I did a Master in Organisational Change and Development at VU Amsterdam. I completed my thesis at KLM, Schiphol. I worked as a management consultant and researcher for a consultancy firm based in Amsterdam for a few years. Then I moved to Asia. Since 2008 I live in Singapore with my French/ Lebanese husband and two children. Upon arrival I set up, launched and ran The Dutch Chamber of Commerce in the role of first Executive Director. A great experience, which I would have never wanted to miss. I currently have my own Singapore based consultancy practice, CleMonde Pte Ltd which focuses on Organisational Change and Development. The majority of my clients are multinational companies from the services industry, headquartered in Singapore in Asia. My projects have both a local and/or regional scope.
In addition to that, I do new business activities. I work closely with HTH, representing them in this part of the world. I am one of the founders of the HTH Alumni Chapter Singapore and I enjoy being involved in activities, like recruitment in Singapore.
I am also still involved in some activities with The Chamber. For example, last year with the Dutch Business Awards and more recently I co-initiated a new ‘Hospitality and Travel’ interest group for Dutch executives working in this industry in Singapore and the region. We get together on a regular basis and we organise company site visits; last month we had a meeting at Expedia offices, next month we go to Jetstar Regional office at Changi Airport for example.
It’s great to be in Singapore. Singapore is booming, Asia is booming, and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be and live in this part of the world for a while, to be exposed to so much change and development around me. An eye-opener.
As a fact, Asia is young; Indonesia has approx 253 million inhabitants, median of 30; Vietnam half of the total population of 93 million is less then 30 years old. Nowadays Asia has the biggest online population compared to the rest of the world; people all have access to mobile. Just taking it from the Travel and Hospitality industry point of view; by looking at international hotel chain investments only, like e.g. Starwood has 155 new projects in Asia pipeline, IHG is planning to double its presence, Accorhotels is about to open 39% of total new projects in Asia-Pacific Region.
I am still in contact with my classmates, on a weekly basis, via WhatsApp. Every time I go back to Holland I always make an effort to see them. I have friends living around the world; in Dubai, Uruguay, Germany, China, France, Philippines, Australia and we do keep in touch easily thanks to WhatsApp, Facetime and Skype.
In Singapore, I am actively involved in the Alumni Singapore Chapter, which is another great way to re-connect with alumni after many years.
To the current HTH students I would like to say: “Go out there, go abroad. Travel is like education. Go and meet new people, discover other cultures, different ways of doing business, learn a new language. You won’t regret it, you will always learn something which is most valuable for your career and your development. Get out of your comfort zone, try something different. It will broaden your horizon. No worries, you can always go back. Upon graduation Hotelschool students have a ticket to the world, make full use of it, enjoy it – it’s only the beginning. J “
For those who are interested in Singapore or have questions about Singapore or the region, feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rike Erdbrink (2007)
Since graduating in September 2007 Rike’s hospitality career has taken her to a lot of interesting places in the Middle East and Asia:
I am currently the EAM-Rooms of the Grand Hyatt Sanya Haitang Bay Resort & Spa (due to open in Q2 of 2016) – for those of you who wonder – Sanya is located on the beautiful island of Hainan in the south of China. It is referred to as the „Hawaii of China“.
Looking back at my time at HTH I have many great memories. I particularly enjoyed working in the Admission Office with Susanne Reimering and Arnoud van Delft. We travelled around Europe, promoting HTH and interviewing potential candidates. Moreover, I was fortunate to attend the ‘Train the Trainer’ class with Anne Smulders, which taught me a great deal on how to give and conduct trainings. In addition to that my favourite way of ending a day was to have a Lingot Martin in Zinq with some friends!
After graduating I moved to Hong Kong and started as an Assistant Manager Front Office at the Grand Hyatt. Throughout the years I held various positions in the Front Office and did cross trainings in Spa, Learning & Development, Marketing as well as Housekeeping. After three years I moved to Abu Dhabi and did my first pre-opening as Front Office Manager at the Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi – the world’s furthest leaning tower! This is when one realizes how small the world can be and that paths always cross again. We were four former HTH students helping during the opening. Two years later I had the pleasure to return to Hong Kong to lead the Rooms Division Team. I started as Front Office Manager and then moved up the latter being the Assistant Director of Rooms. Moreover, I had many opportunities over the years to support Hyatt sister properties throughout Asia on task force assignments – Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, Grand Hyatt Bangkok, Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay Resort and Grand Hyatt Dubai (just to name a few).
The hospitality world is very small. I have met and worked with quite a number of Hotelschool graduates and it is always nice to run into familiar faces. Nowadays, I am still in very close contact with a few of them and we do manage to see each other on a regular basis - despite living in different parts of the world.
My advice to all current students is to get as much practical work experience as you can get. Be adventurous in your internships and open to new cultures and countries! Don’t underestimate the power of networking. For myself it has always paid off. Throughout my career with Hyatt I have met many great colleagues and friends. I met people who believed in me and have worked for Hyatt since 2001 (apprenticeship at the Park Hyatt in Hamburg) followed by a fast track program at the Hotelschool from 2004 – 2007. Loyality does pay off J
Frank Tideman (1980) and Manouk Tideman (2015)
Frank: After graduating, I worked in The Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky for 6 years and then worked for 12 years for Forte Hotels/ Meridien Hotels in the UK and in the Middle East. After my time there I joined Marriott and worked for them in The Middle East and Asia.
I am finishing now 9 years in Dubai which has been a mixed experience as partly Dubai (government) deserves credit for how they positioned themselves worldwide but under this ‘golden’ top layer there is often still a limited business culture and ethic. Now after 25 years coming back to The Netherlands in January 2016 I have shared a lot of the Dutch business approach and straight forward attitude internationally and perhaps I can now share the international experiences in our country.
Manouk: After my internship in Events at Nike, I was offered a job in the Supply Chain Management department at Nike, which I am currently still doing. My next step is probably going to be a Masters, with a focus on the Arts and creative industries.
Frank: While I was studying at the HEAO close friends urged me to change to Hotelschool which is when I send my application and passed the selection day successfully. I choose HTH as it had and still has the best reputation and was international. The international aspect was even more important when Manouk had to choose between Maastricht and The Hague as she was accepted by both of them. This is because one of our key strengths is our ability to adopt quickly in international different settings and to different cultures.
My father was a lecturer at Hotelschool which created some awkward and funny moments over the years. The irony of this story is that my father, a very specific character as my fellow students and staff will acknowledge, taught at Hotelschool and the Erasmus University in Rotterdam at which both of my daughters later studies after their international childhood. It is a small world after all!
Manouk: Personally, I did not plan on studying at HTH until only a few months prior to starting there. My dream had always been to have a career in the film industry. However when this choice became doubtful, I felt lost and unsure. During that period the encouragement of my family and especially my father made me apply at different Hotelschools. My mother had attended Hotelschool Maastricht, and my father HTH, so you can imagine that it was not an easy choice. Though, after visiting both Hotelschools, I chose for HTH as I felt that it had a more international setting and open atmosphere, but also offers a degree with a wide foundation and many possibilities in various career paths after graduating.
Frank: During my father’s and my time at HTH, a lot has changed as the hotel industry changes rapidly and Hotelschool always changed accordingly. A fun memory is that my father would challenge the students to drop their calculators and do the calculations themselves to one digit. With today’s dependence (addiction) on computers and telephones the old man might have been one step ahead of his time after all.
Manouk: My father would tell me stories of how the Villa used to be where the girls boarded and the top two floors of HTH where the boys boarded. They would climb over the roof to visit the girls at night and play hockey with oranges in the corridor and many more things. Moreover, my dad was part of La Confrerie and chairman for a year.
Frank: My most vivid memory of my time at HTH would be my year as chairman of La Confrerie and being member of the Jubilee committee. Both taught me nearly as much as the whole study. In general the great social life beside the studies is something I will never forget and which hopefully is part of every student’s life.
Manouk: There are many vivid memories when thinking back. I remember the night of Mamma Mia very well, as it was a project that I put a lot of effort in, alongside all my Phase 2 courses. Despite not being a member of La Confrerie, I was involved in a lot of activities of La Confrerie and Senti Questo. Moreover, I have a lot of memories from Skotel, especially all those dreaded exams in the gym (and the fact that it was ALWAYS sunny outside when I had to do an exam)!
Frank: I am still in contact with former classmates but not enough. Something I do regret especially now as I am coming back in January 2016 to The Netherlands I would like to get back in touch again. The Hotelschool years and the first years after there has been a great and positive exchange between us, which unfortunately dissolved over the years partly due to living abroad.
Manouk: I am still very much in contact with my former classmates! I still see a lot of my HTH friends on a weekly or monthly basis, and I’m still involved in cabarets and Picasso at HTH. This is a great opportunity to make friends with younger semesters and seeing how they develop throughout their years at HTH.
Frank: The hospitality industry is becoming more and more a key driver to the economy in many countries which will create the need for good mangers to drive the businesses forward giving the today’s students a great opportunity. Therefore, for the current students, remember that the name Hotelschool does not really reflect the width and depth of the study today as only over half of the students go into the hotel industry. However it is a positive sigh too, as it reflects the hospitality trend that hotel business management has entered many other parts of the business world. Therefore, be open for opportunities.
Manouk: My advice would be to get involved with as many clubs, associations and activities as you can. You learn so much from your studies but also the activities around them. Become a Student Assistant – I worked for two years in the Admissions department and it taught me so much about time management and balancing different responsibilities, as well as having a flexible job alongside classes.
Lastly, don’t compare yourself to everyone else. It’s important that you ‘run your own race’. Compete WITH others, but don’t compete AGAINST others!
(picture 1: Father and daughter, picture 2: Grandfather)
Aster Cheng (2009), Jasmyn Cheng (2012) and Merel Cheng (current student)
Aster: My career developed a lot since graduating. I am happy where I am now. I have been working at Groupon for 3,5 years and I am currently holding the position of Revenue Manager for our Goods business line.
Jasmyn: After graduating I went to the Brighton University to pursue a Masters in Marketing & Branding. I had a small stint in the recruitment business until I stumbled upon an opportunity at my current company TravelBird. Nowadays I am working as an SEA (Search Engine Advertising) specialist."
Merel: Currently I have a quite specific plan in my mind. I would like to work for a company like Maiyet, which is a sustainable luxury fashion brand. They form partnerships with artisans from all over the world to promote self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship in developing economies. I am hoping that my last internship will help me head in the right direction as I also want, as many others, to see the world and travel.
Aster: When thinking back at Hotelschool, which has been a long time (6 years since graduation and 10 since I first walked into Skotel), I think the parties at Skotel are definitely the ones that I will never forget. It was when Skotel had less rules than now. Where Ketchup was smeared all over the doors, people were playing with deodorant and fire and many other things that should not be mentioned! Then also my first internship at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh which was fantastic!
Jasmyn: Personally I have many vivid memories, ranging from trying to set an all time toilet cleaning record (as a team) as a practical student in Housekeeping School over Singing along to "alla som inte dansar" at Kinderbar. Moreover, coming up with various dishes together with my other MO (Øystein) during the 2010 World Cup. And finally memorizing level 1,2 and 3 French with my Skotel roommate and best friend Kristina Haga.
Merel: I am currently in phase 2 but already have many memories from my time here. The most memorable ones are from my time in Skotel. For example when our microwave was set on fire during our last night in Skotel and we had to evacuate the house in our pyjamas in the middle of winter. Moreover the Gentlemen’s Club parties as well as my internship in London I met amazing people who taught me very valuable life lessons.
Aster: As we lived in Singapore and were continuously surrounded by people from all over the world, the international atmosphere is something that we are used to. We had the opportunity to stay in various 5 star hotels during that time (luckily!) and that's when my love for the industry grew. I guess that I was looking for the same kind of environment. Especially the operational side fascinated me and how everything was well organized and service oriented. This is when I decided to be part of it and applied for Hotelschool.
Jasmyn: Aster started at the Hotelschool in 2006 and when I was visiting her in Skotel, I became aware of the fact that I also wanted to join the school. I was studying something else at the time, which I promptly quit and applied to HTH. HTH offers the international vibe as well as the combination of practical skills and theoretical knowledge. It is a well rounded business school, set in a very interesting industry.
Merel: HTH was not my first choice for university, initially I wanted to study fashion design in Amsterdam. However, I did not like the school or more the atmosphere and moved on to my alternative choice, HTH. Both of my sisters had studied there and I knew that they had enjoyed it thoroughly. Moreover I believe that HTH will give me many career opportunities within and outside the hospitality industry.
Aster: From the start I wanted to go to HTH and was supported by my family. They wanted me to have a great education which HTH did and does still offer.
Jasmyn: I think what motivated my sister and parents to promote HTH to me was the business aspect of the school, I feel that my father always dreamed of his children having their own hotel :). At the end they wanted us to study something which could be valuable in the future and at the same time enjoyable.
Merel: My parents were not very supportive of me attending an arts school. Moreover they knew due to my sisters that HTH had a good reputation and would help me to get a job immediately after my studies which is why they encouraged me to take that path.
Aster: Occasionally I am still in contact with former classmates. We get together during reunions. Some grow up faster than others!
Jasmyn: I am still in contact with quite a few of my old classmates.
Aster: My advice for today’s students would be to choose a company you see yourself growing in and working at in the future for your management internship. This is a crucial point in your life as it will be difficult to find a job you are passionate about when you have just graduated. Therefore choose wisely. When it comes to the practical internship though, have fun! Do not make it too difficult for yourself; it is not essential for your career.
Jasmyn: My advice would be to take it all as it comes. You cannot prepare yourself for everything. There will always be crappy days, but a lot of very good ones too. It helps you to deal with changes which is a valuable skill in the work place or your other future studies. Moreover, do not skip classes of subjects you find difficult (ex. RM, MFD, languages) as they are the hardest to recover from with the most challenging exams.
Merel: I could still use some advice myself. What I would say though is to not let the little things get to you. To not care too much about what other people think or say, after all this isn’t high school. Invest in your friendships and value the experiences you have together. My mentors in the first week of school told me to ‘work hard, play hard’ and applying it does prove to create a nice work and life balance.
Kirsten van der Woning (2011) and Birgit van der Woning (2013)
Kirsten: I am currently working as a Web Analytics Consultant and Lead Consultant for a few large companies within The Netherlands. I am very pleased with my personal career path! After my last internship and graduating from HTH, I started working in the media industry, in particular for several (magazine) publishers. I ended up working for the National Geographic Magazines as a Product Manager and E-commerce Coordinator. Thus this pictured my dream to work for such a beautiful brand, I wanted to be part of the digital and online revolution. This is when I started to specialize in web analytics at the well-known online marketing agency OrangeValley eight month ago. This has been a perfect decision.
Birgit: Even though it was very difficult to find a job during the time I applied, I was lucky and found a position as Assistant Manager in a restaurant after graduating. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a different job than expected and I decided to reorient myself. However the company did not want me to leave and offered me another position at a new location as Restaurant Supervisor. This was a great opportunity for me as the restaurant was not yet open and I was able to learn from scratch how to open a restaurant and to develop my leadership skills. After a year, I felt that I wanted more as I always preferred working in Marketing & Sales and/or Events. This is when by chance the position as Sales & Events Coordinator was open and offered to me. I am currently still working in that position evolving daily!
Kirsten: When thinking back at my time at HTH, I find many vivid memories. From the start till the end I enjoyed my time at school (excluding some minor hiccups here and there, nothing is perfect). However, Skotel was great, one year of great fun and meeting many awesome and new people. This was followed by the next highlight being my internship in Barcelona, a great city where I had a great working experience. Thus there would by many more, I would like to mention working with Marit Berssebrugge as a Marketing Student Ambassador. It has been a pleasure working with her on Selection and Open Days.
Birgit: Throughout my time at HTH, there have been many great memories. I loved staying at the Skotel, however was happy to leave it after one year. Personally Outdoor has been a unique and awesome experience as well as my first and second internship. Moreover like my sister I enjoyed the opportunity to work as a student ambassador as I learned a lot from this experience and enjoyed it!
Kirsten: I was the first one in the family to study at HTH to work in the hospitality industry. I started to study Travel and Leisure Management during which I met another Dutch student on an internship who studied Hotel Management. I got very impressed by the knowledge and skills she obtained during her study and got inspired to apply for Hotelschool The Hague. I applied for HTH due to its good reputation.
Birgit: About 2 ½ years later, I applied for HTH. It was while I was studying to become a teacher that my sister’s HTH stories made me realize that becoming a teacher was not my dream. And as my parents always supported me to do what I loved the most, at a certain moment I just knew for sure that HTH would be the right choice and I applied. This was mainly due to its reputation as well as my sisters own positive experience.
Kirsten: Even though times goes by fast I am still in contact with many former classmates. In fact, many of my best friends today were my housemates in Skotel, we became incredibly close after living together for one year. Besides these close friendships, I still get together annually with all the 8 high house flatmates. We enjoy dinner and drinks together while catching up. And to end this story in a classic manner, I also met my boyfriend, same semester, at HTH and we have now been together for almost 7 years!
Birgit: I am still in contact with many old class mates, not all of them though. However, I made some very close friends at HTH. Moreover, we all have Facebook and now and then it is nice to have a little chat as I had quite some “inti” friends.
Kirsten: To the current students my advice would be to make most out of your studies while not forgetting to be a students, meaning to have a lot of fun. Moreover, figure out what your interests are and start focussing on them during your studies. This helped me to launch my career. And lastly; Go digital, it is the now and the future.
Birgit: Personally I believe it is essential to carefully think about what you want to do and to not choose a study because you have to. It is important to do what you love in order to become who you want to be and what you want to be!
Bree Wijnaar (2006)
Photo Credit: Denisse Benitez Photography
I was one of the lucky few to enter the Vita Futura program with Starwood Hotels & Resorts after my studies. I was placed in New York City, so I jetted off to New York where I worked for 18 months getting my first experiences in hospitality under my belt across all departments within a hotel.
I ended up choosing the Rooms Operations Leadership path upon completion of Vita Futura and worked in Starwood Properties in London, Puerto Rico, and Los Angeles following VF.
About 1,5 years ago I changed career path from Hotel Operations to Corporate Technology and today I work in the capacity of a Business Systems Analyst at the Starwood Head Office in Stamford Connecticut.
I aspire to become a senior leader at Starwood. I also hope to grow by blog, TheTallSociety.com over the years and continue the dialogue of loving yourself and self-acceptance with my Tall Sisters. “Ambition is the path to success and persistence is the vehicle you arrive in” I will always be aggressive in the pursuit of happiness and success.
The idea of starting an online platform for Tall Woman is something that had been on my mind for years. But to be frank, my previous jobs were very time consuming and did not allow me to start this venture. A better work/life balance came with my current role and I started working on The Tall Society as soon as I was comfortable in my role, which was earlier this year.
The Tall Society:
The Tall Society is unique in many ways. As social media is taking an increasingly important role in everyone’s lives, I did not see myself represented, which was disappointing. There are numerous bloggers addressing everything under the sun within the fashion arena.
I did not see women that looked like me. Women that understand what life is like at 6’4 /194 cm, women that I could relate to. I am a lot taller than the average woman and being tall as a female comes with its own set of experiences, challenges and opportunities. We were not represented in the blogger sphere and I set out to change that.
The Tall Society is quickly growing into an inspiring and encouraging community of Tall Women and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.
If any taller than average ladies are reading this, make sure to have a look and / or reach out via www.TheTallSociety.com.
You can also follow me on Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat - @thetallsociety
Her time at Hotelschool The Hague:
I remember my very first day walking into school, and the first friendly face I saw was that of Mr. Lam. He welcomed me and little did I know that he would become an important person for me during my studies at HTH.
Mr. Lam at the Front Office in The Hague stands out for me because he had a very positive influence on me. He had this unspoken trust and believe in my abilities. He took me under his wing and I became a Student Assistant after my practical period in Front Office.
The experience of managing my responsibilities as a Duty Manager as well as managing the students was an early test on my management skills and I believe that it prepared me for the roles with increased responsibilities that would follow after my graduation. I ended up managing teams as large as 50 individuals in several Rooms Operations leadership roles. That is 50 opinions, the emotions of 50 people and 50 people to motivate while still holding them accountable for their respective responsibilities. Managing people successfully requires a lot and I think my time as a student assistant was an important first step in building my leadership skillset.
We were a close nit team at the Front Office and will never forget that experience.
Current contact to classmates:
I made friends for life while in attending HTH.
Also I was a member of La Confrérie; I met 7 extraordinary ladies during my introduction week that formed my yearclub PUUR. I am also a member of sorority Oloroso and made some good friends there as well.
I have lived abroad for 10 years now, so I miss most events but the foundation of these friendships are really forever.
Her advice for current students:
Take advantage of the opportunities available to you at HTH. It is a great institution and it is your responsibility to maximize the successes you derive from your time there. At the same time a bit cliché, but have lots and lots of fun! I think back fondly of my time at HTH it truly were some of the best years of my life.
Charlotte Alberson (2015) & Isabelle Aberson (student)
Charlotte Aberson- 25 years
Project Coordinator Hotel Okura Amsterdam
Why did you originally decide to study at HTH?
After obtaining my VWO diploma, I was investigating many different studies, however I found HTH more interesting than expected. Before studying, I always stated that I would not go to the same school as my parents, however in the end I found out: “the art of hospitality was already in my blood”
Would you choose HTH again?
Yes absolutely, I think the way of teaching students is really beneficial for students’ personal development. After HTH you have a great network all around the world.
Can you tell us about your time at HTH, what did you enjoy, what were your most memorable moments?
The most memorable moment was my first internship at Hilton Curacao, this was the moment I truly celebrated life with many other HTH students. Besides this internship, the student association ‘La Confrerie’ was fun, resulted in many close friendships and enabled me to build a great network.
What were the most valuable lessons you learned during your time at HTH?
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.”
Would you recommend HTH to other family and friends?
Yes, already many relatives enjoyed HTH and I would recommend it to everybody who would like to start their own business or would like to obtain a management position in the future. All knowledge you gain is very applicable for the hospitality industry but also to many other industries. “The world is your oyster!”
What do you do now and can you tell us about your possible future career path?
After my management traineeship at Hotel Okura Amsterdam I was able to stay and have been appointed as Project Coordinator. I plan, organise and execute projects for many different department. I would like to perform additional challenging projects and gain more knowledge about this industry. Looking at the future, hotels will need to adapt to their continuously changing environment, so enough work waiting for me.
Have you used your HTH education in your career (so far)?
Yes, I use my gained HTH knowledge related to; change management, quality management, business model innovation. Also my previous company projects achieved at HTH enable me to perform research efficiently and write clear management advices.
What advice can you give future students about studying at HTH?
Enjoy every minute of it! Afterwards you realise even more you were in a privileged position surrounded by these students and lecturers who would always go the extra mile for you.
Isabelle Aberson – 23 years
Writing her thesis in order to graduate
Why did you originally decide to study at HTH?
I come from a family where my parents, my sister and two cousins went to HTH. After all great stories I became curious and went to several open days. I also visited other schools, but I immediately felt in place at HTH. This was the school for me!
Would you choose HTH again?
I would do it all over! I had a great time, I’ve met great people and the network you build is amazing. Currently, I am at the beginning of my career, I am looking through this network for opportunities and it seems like at every company you visit, there is a Hotello on board.
Can you tell us about your time at HTH, what did you enjoy, what were your most memorable moments?
I have so many memorable moments! What I appreciate most is the connection you create with people. Confrerie, living in skotel and doing everything together within the Hotelschool community creates such a strong bond. That’s something I would not like to miss out on.
What were the most valuable lessons you learned during your time at HTH?
That you should not worry too much, because there is always a second chance. And if not, you choose a different path to reach your goal.
Would you recommend HTH to other family and friends?
I would definitely recommend Hotelschool The Hague to family and friends. It is an university that gives you great opportunities for a future career.
What do you do now and can you tell us about your possible future career path?
I would love to discover the industry in the upcoming time and see if I can discover in which field my passion lies. After having done that, I would like to obtain a Master degree and broaden my knowledge on this aspect.
Have you used your HTH education in your career (so far)?
I only had the chance to use it in my final placement at the Conservatorium hotel in Amsterdam. As I mentioned before, I am at the beginning of my career and there are still many steps to take.
What advice can you give future students about studying at HTH?
Enjoy, before you know it is over!
Jurrien Theuvenet (2009)
I don’t think I was ever really made for the hospitality industry at least not as clearly as others were. Neither did I as a kid dream of inventing a 1 click solution to fastening and loosening shoelaces; to never have loose laces or the hassle of untying double knots. You keep your eyes open and jump into adventures that feel exciting and challenging. The Hotelschool is a gate to the world and its treasures. Its curriculum and staff provide great tools that enable one to add at the level of basic needs, the provision of good food and shelter. The key hospitality element that I learnt at the Hotelschool was: How can I exceed expectations? This attitude, I continuously use in my day-to-day business life and I am still very grateful for that.
Thinking back of the Hotelschool; the whole time there was amazing. Solid friendships were closed while I especially enjoyed the practicals. Skotel was a lot of fun and the buzz of freedom and ambition were contagious. When I was still in school, I gained a lot of inspiration from the classes and the other students there; especially those who had an energetic vibe and who shortly after graduation also started their own businesses. Entrepreneurs often have a similar mindset as well as energy and our semester, as it turned out, had a lot of successful ones which were and still are stimulating.
I have a vivid memory of Mr. Lam as well. He embodied hospitality and represented the high standards of the Hotelschool at all times. He transferred to me a very good understanding of what real hospitality encompasses. If there are people who are born for hospitality, he definitely is one of them.
After the Hotelschool I started as an Operations and Marketing Manager for a small startup called Surgytec, a platform for medical specialists who shared their knowledge through videos and slide shows. It was not the hotel or restaurant business we are trained for but there is a strong sense of hospitality that comes along if you want to welcome people onto your platform and make them feel comfortable and appreciated. I stayed there for about two and a half years and learnt a lot about the challenges and problems that startups have. Developing a new product and putting it in the market with a very limited budget was a great learning experience which I really enjoyed.
Nevertheless, introducing an innovation to the market can be challenging which is when I started my own company; ClickTight. You come up with an idea, which brings a solution to a problem you are experiencing but you are not sure if you represent a wider audience. At the start I was lucky enough to work with the leading Dutch research institute TNO and make it to the finals of the two biggest innovation competitions in the Netherlands. A very important development for me and ClickTight was receiving the help of Hans Koeleman, a two time Olympian and long distance runner with a long career at Nike. He not only endorsed the product, but also gave us a lot of information and helped us develop the product and the brand further. More and more athletes have started to use ClickTight with the highlight of last month being Wilson Kipsang, the winner of the NYC, London and Berlin marathon (World record 2013) stating on his website that in preparation for a marathon you need to hydrate, focus en keep your laces together with ClickTight.
We just set up a big scale production and are focusing on selling the ClickTights through retail, online platforms and events. Especially for the events we customize our ClickTights to the design wishes of our customers. ClickTight is the perfect tool for brand activation as you wear it on your shoes at all times and show the logo of the event and its sponsor. KLM was the first to order a batch for the Curacao marathon and other races have followed since. ClickTights are always visible, unlike T-Shirts or other items which might be covered up during the winter months. So if you are currently looking to activate your brand and get your name out there, or simply keep your laces together without the hassle of untying double knots make sure to check out www.Clicktight.nl!
Hotelschool has proven to be a great school for entrepreneurs because we all learnt to think in solutions. “Be creative and always try to find a way to comply with the various requests of a quest” was a much repeated mantra during my time at HTH. Nothing is impossible. My outlook on life in general is pretty positive and I really want to create and learn new things.
Benno Busscher (1991)
For the last 14 years I have been working for Marriott International in several properties in Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Nice and back to Paris, where my focus was on opening, closing, renovating and re-branding hotels. At the moment I am managing a 5-star boutique hotel in the center of Paris, the Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero hotel. So yes, I am still a Hotello! Although distances play a part, I am still in contact with a few of my former class mates who actually do not work in the hotel industry anymore.
One of my most vivid memory from my time at school is creating reports, making summaries or working on business cases with a typewriter, having a little pot of tippex on the side. In my last year we changed to the first generation of computers with the big floppy disks that kept on crashing thus starting over again, and again, and again.... At that time I did not have any idols other than some French Chefs, like Ducasse and Bocuse, as I always wanted to start my own restaurant. But after the third semester with the 'practice' in the kitchen it was clear to me that I should be focusing on something different as the kitchen was not my thing.
If you are currently at Hotelschool, I would say stay authentic, work hard but do not forget to play as well. And when you are in a manager's role make sure to treat your staff the best way possible!
Lieke Stover (The Netherlands, 2009)
Lieke recently graduated Hotelschool the Hague (March 2015). She has taken on an exciting new challenge this summer in Tuscany, Italy: working in a pop-up hotel.
In high school Lieke already had some experience with the Hospitality industry; she dealt with customers at the bakery and she was a waitress at a restaurant. Even then Lieke showed leadership qualities; she organized parties, she tutored other students, was on the student council, was in several bands and enjoyed playing the lead role in the school musicals. It was her high school economics teacher who suggested Hotelschool The Hague to her. “I joined an open day and that’s how it all started, it all went pretty fast”.
“Going to Hotelschool was a whole new experience, I was 19 and living on my own for the first time. The first week made a huge impact, it was very intense. I met so many people in such a short time and there were so many stimuli. It was like a challenge, I enjoyed it very much because I am always looking for new things. My first year at Hotelschool was the year I grew the most”.
During her time at Hotelschool The Hague, Lieke further improved her leadership skills. She was active in the Student Association, she became a member of the sorority - Primavera - and she was part of the Kitchen Crew. She did an F&B allround internship at the Miramar Hotel in Barcelona and for her LYCar she did a Sales & Marketing internship at the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam. At the Lloyd Hotel, “I really learned what my qualities are: I am always looking at things from a customer or guest perspective, always anticipating their needs”.
Last summer Lieke went on Holiday to Tuscany. One of her friends, Leonard Crijns, who is also an Alumnus, had started a pilot project; a pop-up hotel, called Novanta, open for 90 days. It was a great success; during that first year they already had an occupancy rate of 70%. “I visited the hotel with two friends and it met all my interests; it was back to basics, working with local produce, and quality service with a personal touch. I enjoy the small things in life and that is what Novanta is about”.
“The idea of Novanta is to contribute to the village, blowing new life into it”. At Novanta, Lieke is responsible for hospitality. Moreover, this year she will be responsible for their new line of organic soaps and beauty products based on the local herbs as well.
Paul Janssen Vanmoorlegern (1991)
I am currently working as the Director of Operations for NS in Franceand in charge of our 14 monop'stations and 3 fastfood locations of which 2 in the station of Disneland Paris. I joined the company already in 1997 working for one of their subsidiaries: Servex. It is great to be back in France, because I already worked for Disneyland Paris for over four years after leaving Hotelschool in 1991!
I still like to think back of my time at Hotelschool. I made a lot of friends there with who I am still in touch today via Facebook and LinkedIn. It was always a great atmosphere at the school where students and teachers worked together and helped each other out at all times. It enabled me to follow a career which I did not expect to follow back then.
If you are at Hotelschool today, I would advise you to follow your feeling. Do not focus on a career path but on the work that you are hired for. If you do your job well you will be amazed how many possibilities are proposed to you.
Reinier Bunnik (2002)
Director of Rooms at the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam
After having worked several years mainly in the United States, I am currently working as a Director of Rooms at the Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam. After attending Hotelschool The Hague I entered the industry through the Starwood’s Corporate Leadership program „Vita Futura“ at The St. Regis Resort in Aspen, USA. After this I moved to the lively city of Washington DC, working at the W Hotel and then later on for the majestic Willard Intercontinental Hotel. Before settling back in the Netherlands, I worked in Aruba for one year, as part of the renovation team for the Holiday Inn Resort.
When I think back of Hotelschool The Hague, I immediately remember the first presentation about “The World of Hospitality” by Mr. Daane Bolier which has accompanied me throughout my career. Another big idol of mine at Hotelschool The Hague was Mr Lam who was always impressing me with his classy service at all times as well as Nico from Café “The Paljas” who was seemingly familiar with everybody from Hotelschool The Hague.
For the students at Hotelschool The Hague today, I recommend you to enjoy the time at Hotelschool the Hague to its fullest! Find your passion and go out to see the world. Think about staying in the hospitality industry, because hotels can offer very interesting and unusual career paths and you are certain to run into your old classmates more often than you think!
Floris de Winter (2000)
Associate Director of Sales at Goedhuis & Co
"After graduating, I was fortunate enough to enter the wine industry in China with Links Concept, which is owned by fellow Hotello called Patricio de la Fuente. It was the opening of a new branch office in Shanghai, which was incredibly exciting. After having worked in Shanghai and Beijing, I landed in Hong Kong about five years ago. I am currently the Associate Director of Sales for a British Fine Wine Merchant called Goedhuis & Co. Wine.
One of the memories at HTH that is most vivid to me is after service in Le Debut whilst cleaning, one of my fellow students was scrubbing the floor with an unusual substance. The reaction of the Chef realising it was a bucket of fish stock was priceless! In general all the friendships I made during my time at Hotelschool are amazing! Especially all the activities within La Confrerie were great bonding experiences with good friends I am still in touch now".
"Students today, I would advise to enjoy your time at the Hotelschool, but also to network and pick your traineeships wisely".
Lucas Schopman (2003)
I finished Hotelschool with an internship in F&B at the Sofitel The Grand Amsterdam, after which I was able to become the Assistant F&B Manager at the Ambassade Hotel. Even though I always knew that my passion was in F&B, I decided to make an unusual step and went to South America to learn Spanish.
After a few setbacks, I started working on Ibiza as the Restaurant Manager of the Blue Marlin. It was in this very restaurant where I met Patrick Henk, the founder of EARTH Water, who offered me a job and got me onboard his company. Today, I am the Sales Manager Horeca for EARTH and stand strongly behind the concept. 100% of our net profit goes to humanitarian projects around the globe. Just €500 is enough for us to build a well which provides 3,000 people with clean drinking water. Currently we are expanding our product line and also introduced EARTH Coffee and Tea. We want to make the world a better place by being innovative, offering high quality, a beautiful appearance and sustainability to our consumers.
I still remember the great times I had at Hotelschool The Hague. One of the greatest teachers I had was Mr Gropas who is still teaching today and pressured the importance of total quality to us. I would also like to thank Mr Dupre who gave great marketing lessons. I would recommend Hotelschool the Hague for everyone and ask today’s students to sometimes rather take a step back and think about what you really want rather than accepting the first job offer that comes your way.
Jan-Willem Blom (2009)
My great adventure of working in the Event Industry started in 2008 with my management internship at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. After having spent 6 months in South Africa, I continued my career in Events in The Netherlands, where I joined Amsterdam RAI as Floor Manager Front Office in 2011. During the summer of 2014, I moved to Monaco and worked in the IT Business; a complete different world where I learned a lot about operations strategy. But as the entrepreneurial spirit rose this year, I opened my own Event Services Company on the Côte d'Azur: Lantern Creations.
When I think back of HTH, I only recall good memories. HTH has offered me the perfect mix to develop operational and strategic skills in my day-to-day life. Most importantly, we had a lot of fun during our time there and I can truly say that I made friends for life. Furthermore I am also proud and very happy to announce that Shani Revivi, who graduated with me in 2009, and I got married this summer and are enjoying every moment together.
My advice to all HTH students is to enjoy the HTH life to the fullest, to be eager to learn and when the possibility comes by to go abroad, to take it.
Sandra Sahusilawani (1989)
Global philanthropy advisor.
Advice: "I would say that Hotelschool students in general are very result orientated and they always want to climb the ladder. I think that everyone reaches a point in their career and they are on top of the stairs and they contemplate to whether they should climb another ladder or look for fun. Or they ask themselves, “do I look for something that will impact lives in another way?” In the end you want to be proud of what you achieved and it’s not only with monetary value. Climbing up the corporate ladder is great, it’s definitely a great ride. But make sure to stay close to what you like and where you’d like to invest your time. Step back and make sure you know where you are going. Ask yourself, is this going to fulfil my dreams?
What I think is important at my job and what I learnt at Hotelschool is that you relate to all kinds of people. With my job I talk to a lot of influential people but at the same time also with the SOS staff in the field. And making the connection between different levels and showing that they are all part of the overall mission is something you learn at the Hotelschool.
Before SOS Kinderdorpen I worked in the financial sector for 15 years. I’ve reached this point in my career where I have done certain things and I made a certain about of money but I was wondering what my next step was. I felt that my social responsibility was neglected. So I was trying to find ways to volunteer or do things that would help others. So then I found this job, where they needed someone who was used to talking to others about money and liked to work with people.
I used to work with a lot of people that wanted to use their luck to make more money, and now I work with people that want to spend their money to improve other people’s luck. That is a different position to work from and to actually see what that money does is very fulfilling."
Astrid Lambrechtsen-van Dijk (2000)
Fundraiser in the Acquisition department.
Advice: "At the Hotelschool, You are told that you are the best of the best. But there is a world after Hotelschool The Hague. So make sure you are prepared for it."
"What I learned at Hotelschool is that I can recognize people from the Hotelschool everywhere. It shows in their behaviour and it is easy to relate to them. They give you a warm welcome and are quite hands on as well. It’s easy to do the strategic thinking part but Hotelschool taught us how to carry out plans and get things done.
I had the Simon Sinek oriented training and they kept asking me, “what was my ‘why?’ in life?”
And my why was that I wanted to help people. Making a better world starts with helping and giving love to one child. This one child is going to spread that love to their children. And that’s why SOS Kinderdorpen is sustainable organization."
Monica van der Meeren (1989)
Managing the team for the major donors and corporate relations.
Advice: "Invest in your relations and keep up with them. Make sure to keep in touch."
"I think many things you learn at the Hotelschool will help you in your career. Especially working with a lot of different people from different backgrounds. That is something I really value from my period at Hotelschool The Hague. I worked with a Dutch children’s daycare organization. It is wonderful to use my experience in the profit sector in a non-profit, but professional organization such as SOS Children’s Villages."
Willemijn van Benthem (1992)
PR manager / press officer at SOS Kinderdorpen.
Advice: "If you like what you are doing, you are going to do it well."
"I learnt all these things mentioned by my colleagues but what really affected me was the very practical side of everything. That you get into action and you get things done. That is also visible at SOS Children’s Villages. We are all practical and motivated people, but we are also creative. When you say creative people you don’t usually think of people that graduated from the Hotelschool but in fact, there are a lot of creative people at Hotelschool The Hague. With creativity you think in solutions and those solutions can be applied to everything. After Hotelschool The Hague I worked as a Journalist, and it is great to be able to use all the different experiences, from the media and from the Hotelschool, for such a good cause: children around the world who are alone and need a family."
Margit Duijker (2008)
"Since I graduated from Hotelschool The Hague in 2010, I have been working for Booking.com in various functions. I started off as a Sales Coordinator for the Hotels Team Benelux and moved to the United States in 2013 to New York City as a Senior Account Manager. I opened in 2014 the Washington D.C. office where I am now working as the Area Manager USA North East for Booking. However I am very excited to report that I will move back to Amsterdam to work as Project Manager- Global Hotel Support as of 1st of April.
I still have vivid memories of Hotelschool The Hague, where I started in 2008 with the International Fast Track program. Especially the summer course will stay in mind where we certainly worked hard, but also bonded very quickly with a very diverse and interesting group of people. I am still happy to see Hotelschool The Hague alumni in my work life every day, at Booking and within the industry!
Today’s students I would advise to work hard and be flexible! Stay humble and earn your credits, to move into management positions. With your expertise and educational background you can truly make a difference!"
Nathan Pinto (2000)
"I am currently working as the Far East Area Sales Manager for Steelite International, combining all my interests. I am very happy to be able to travel a lot in my job and experience hospitality everywhere I go and still being able to work in an F&B related field.
I still have Mr Danne Bolier in mind who impressed us during the classes of our first semester and who ensured me that I had taken the right track on my education, as he was so passionate about hospitality himself. Furthermore, I have very fond memories about my time in Skotel, the Practicals and of course the intense summer course! I am also very happy to see former classmates all around the globe, especially in different places around Asia. It is always a pleasure to share your experiences with those who have the same interests on their mind!
If you are studying at Hotelschool today, I would want you to enjoy your time at Hotelschool The Hague and select your internship well in the direction you want to develop further in."
Tanja Bulátovic (2002)
"I worked for Hilton Istanbul, managed my own advertising agency, and then I worked for Movenpick Hotel. Which is a small boutique hotel in Istanbul, after that, as a marketing manager at the Sofa Hotel. Before I decided to do my MBA in Sweden. (I now have a masters in) International marketing."
Sara Lamberth (2002)
"I went with 4 Seasons and did an internship in Los Angeles. I moved with them back to London afterwards but then I left the company after 3 years. I went into a more business role and I work for Vertu for 4 years now. At Vertu Im the head of concierge and life style. Which Means I look after all the product management of all the services that are attached to a luxury device."
Mark de Leeuwerk (2002)
Promoted to: EAM - F&B at Park Hyatt Tokyo
"I am currently the Director of Food & Beverage at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. I have been here for the last three years after moving from Dubai, where I was also at the Grand Hyatt but as Assistant Director of F&B. The last few years have been amazing, albeit turbulent and eventful due to natural disasters and political unrest in Thailand. Both of my kids have been born here in Bangkok, and we are loving the city and the country."
Kristin I. T. Skinnerland (2002)
"Im a senior HR business partner with Specsavers service Norway. It means that I’m responsible for HR services within Norway. I worked in 4 seasons in Egypt as a management trainee. Went back to Norway, worked within Scandic Hotels as a sales manager. Then I completed my MBA at regency college London, UK, then I worked within IT, and now I’m in Specsavers."
Marjolein Broodman (2009)
"I recently started as a Human Resources Coordinator with the Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel. Set in the historic part of Amsterdam, the hotel offers a prime venue for meetings and events due to the unique 17th century Koepelkerk, (Church) catering for events up-to 700 attendees, I am part of an active HR team. My responsibilities entail; all aspects related to recruitment, new hires, payroll and internal communication; communicating job opportunities, selection of suitable candidates, interviewing potential new employees, introduce the new hires to the company, pay roll administration, contracts, communication to personnel and organising social events for personnel. Looking back on my time at Hotelschool The Hague I can say that I appreciate the overall general business schooling, the personal development and writing a business plan for my final conclusion of the studies."
Rogier Simon (2009)
“I am a project manager at Roozen van Hoppe, a developer in the Tilburg area. We will start building a complex called the Leyhoeve in the first half of 2014. The Leyhoeve will contain 199 apartments for the 50+ market and 85 fully equiped health-suites. At this moment I am responsible for the letting of the apartments and in the past 6 months we have already let over 90% of our apartments. When opened, the complex will contain over 1500 square meters of hospitality outlets, a swimming pool, and a completely concealed healthcare infrastructure in every apartment. This to ensure our tenants that we can adapt the apartments to every possible need which might develop in the future. This project will hopefully be finished before the end of 2015 and we (obviously) aim to build more "Leyhoeves" in the future.”
Gustavo de Hostos (2009)
"I am currently the Managing Director of H-Hospitality Middle East, a branch I recently opened for H-Hospitality in Amsterdam (HQ). Around Europe and now the Middle East we specialise in creating F&B concepts for the hospitality industry. Our scope might vary from project to project but we have a dynamic yet united team that may undertake projects from the idea conception to outlet openings.We serve as a one-stop solution for our clients in terms of market research, concepting, design, graphic identity, operationals and more. Therefore my role is extremely diverse but could be narrowed down to: handle and grow the business while executing projects closely with my team in Amsterdam. My professional activities revolve around: administrative tasks, prospecting for business, meeting and handling clients, executing projects, making financial and market researches, liaising and supervising with third parties, brainstorming and creating aspiring hospitality concepts. We have also recently created a Facebook page (H-Hospitality) that serves as a blog where we share several F&B concepts from around the world that inspire us, which also takes a few minutes of my everyday life. Looking back on my study at Hotelschool The Hague I would say that all lessons learnt at Hotelschool The Hague where extremely necessary, and those that I did not appreciate back then, I am studying for at the moment."
Ellen Schmid (2009)
“I am an Analyst for Eden McCallum in Amsterdam. I work together with McKinsey & Co -trained independent consultants - on strategy projects for a variety of international clients, (so far) reaching from private equity funds to medical device manufacturers and radiator producers. The project work often feels similar to that of Hotelschool The Hague courses, and I am able to apply virtually all the skills I learnt in Phase 2 and 3, taking it all several steps further now. My next project might be London-based for a hospitality client, looking forward to that!"
Boy Glansbeek (2009)
"Currently I work at the Regional Sales Office of Design Hotels in London as a Sales Executive. My role is to represent the brand in our regions, build strong relations with strategic partners, effectively execute sales activities and explore new business opportunities. Design Hotels represents and markets a curated selection of 260 independent hotels in over 43 countries across the globe."
Erik Tengen (2008)
“Based in beautiful Amsterdam, I have started my own company called Oaky. Focused on creating a win-win situation where guests are motivated to engage with the hotel pre-arrival and in-property, Oaky portrays a better understanding of what the guest wants – which means the hotel can offer exactly that to the guest. With pilots coming up in Benelux and Scandinavia I look forward to a truly exciting period ahead. Leading up to the launch in March-April we have also been invited as guest lecturers at Hotelschool The Hague and Glion in Switzerland late February.”
Alexander de Haan (1991)
"I am currently working for SES S.A. in the role of Manager, Financial Accounting. The company’s headquarters are in Luxembourg and we are the world-leading satellite operator with a fleet of over 50 geostationary satellites. SES provides reliable and secure satellite communication solutions to broadcasters, ISP’s, network operators and corporate and government customers worldwide.
After graduating from HTH in 1995, I developed into Financial Accounting, firstly by pursuing a degree with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in London and then by working for Intercontinental Hotels Group as an analyst.
Today’s students, I would like to recommend, that you study hard, stay focused, but also enjoy the Hotelschool life in all its diversity. Nowadays I am still in touch with about 20 other alumni on a regular basis, mostly people of my old semester: 1991-I"
Kees van Hamersveld (1992)
I am the owner and director of Holland’s smallest 4-star hotel chain. I am in charge of the Hotel Huis Vermeer, De Zwarte Boer Boutique Hotel & Restaurant and the Boshuis Drie. We are trying to offer our guests glamorous stays in our hotels, which are stylishly decorated and focus on each individual guest.
After finishing Hotelschool The Hague in 1995, I travelled through the world a little bit, working a lot in Asia as a Human Resource Development Manager for KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Can you imagine to be responsible for training programs for over 3000 staff at the age of only 25 already?!
Nevertheless, in 1999 I moved back to the Netherlands and took over my grandparent’s restaurant “Boshuis Drie” and developed it into the business I run today.
I am still in contact with some of my former classmates, especially with Joost Peeperkorn, who is one of my closest friends. To today’s students, I would recommend to stay focused, respect others, work hard and lose the attitude.
Joachim Pietsch (1991)
I am currently preparing for my next job in the finance sector, however my last job was Director of F&B at LSG Sky Chefs Lounge, which caters for all Lufthansa lounges in Germany.
I was in the first group of students at Hotelschool The Hague, which had a truly international background and could not speak a word of Dutch. I can say that it was exciting to be part of this development at Hotelschool The Hague during that time. Even some of our first notes we received from our lecturers and our report cards were still in Dutch at the beginning. I also liked it how socialising played a big role at Hotelschool. It was a great experience to live and deal with different of people and prepared us well for what came after graduation.
I would like the current students at Hotelschool The Hague to keep in mind to work hard, but also to have fun! It is very important to have a balanced life style if you want to stay happy and healthy!
Betsy de Haan (1957)
My name is Betsy de Haan and I graduated Hotelschool The Hague way back in 1957. Obviously, back then Hotelschool was very different from today, nevertheless the focus has always been on hospitality. After I graduated I always stayed in the industry, owning and operating my own hotel and restaurant, Herberg van Badhoevedorp, together with my husband, whom I met at Hotelschool.
Today’s students, I can only tell to go and take initiative yourself!
Henk Muller Kobold (1957)
My name is Henk Muller Kobold and I am a graduate of Hotelschool The Hague’s class of 1957. After studying at the Hotelschool, I decided to travel and work outside the Netherlands, especially in St. Maarten and on Aruba, where I worked for a lot of different hotels, before making it safely back to the Netherlands. Here I also worked within the hospitality industry and opened up my own consultation company.
The most important thing I learnt at Hotelschool is solidarity and to treat each other in a normal and respectful way. Also have a social conscience.
Rijk van Veen (1959)
My name is Rijk van Veen and I graduated from Hotelschool The Hague in 1959. Today I am 81 years old and do not engage in daily operations anymore, however I still like to keep up with the current trends and developments in the hospitality industry.
After Hotelschool I worked in several positions, until my wife and I decided to take matters in our own hands and opened our own hotel, the Hotel Oepkes on Terschelling. Together, we managed the hotel from 1965 until 1998, when one of our sons took over the business. Besides managing our own hotel, I have also been a member of the Council in Terschelling and from 1998 until 2002 I have been elected City Councellor of Terschelling.
I like to remind myself of the great time I had at Hotelschool and always enjoy the Hotelschool reunions.
Emile Termote (2006)
My life at HTH started back in 2002. For my final internship, I worked for a Hospitality and Consultancy firm. I balanced this alongside my usual job as a Chef during the weekends. After five months of internship, I realised that this position at the firm wasn’t really my thing. As you can imagine, sitting behind a desk for hours a day was very different to my usual working environment, standing in the kitchen!
So once I graduated in 2006, I returned to working full-time in the kitchens for a former Michelin star chef, Chef Herman den Blijker in Rotterdam. I worked in the restaurant, Las Palmas, where I helped organise the pre-opening and opening of the restaurant and then I continued working there for several months afterwards.
Next, I applied for another Hospitality and Consultancy firm specialized in the hospitality industry and worked in Concept Development. After a year and a half, I became Sales Manager for the Bilderberg hotel, nearby Skotel The Hague. I stayed for two years and then I was asked to join the Sales team of Dorint Hotel in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The next step in my career was joining what is nowadays the Marriott The Hague hotel to lead the Sales team. All of these different positions and companies inspired my interest in recruitment, psychology and career development. I find it very interesting to know why people make certain decisions in their career.
I still remember the day when I met my business partner for the first time, 7 years ago. We spoke for around 2 and a half hours, afterwards we both had the feeling inside that one day, we would become business partners and start working together. This became a reality 2 years ago when I joined the company, CourtesyMasters, which is a Global Hospitality Executive Search & Recruitment company. We work with hotels, cruise liners, casinos and hotel chains, not only in the Netherlands but in the Caribbean, Middle East, Southern Africa and all over Europe as well. We help these companies source talented professionals for management and executive positions.
Imagine a job position for a General Manager. We use our own networks and databases as well as LinkedIn to source the right persons for these jobs, we interview them, present them to the client and manage the whole process until they’re hired for the position. CourtesyMasters was founded in 1999 so we have 17 years of experience and knowledge.
Alongside Courtesy Masters, I also work with start-up Hospitables. In a nutshell, Hospitables is an upcoming job board for the hospitality industry worldwide. Currently, there is nothing in the market like us. There are job boards focusing in the Netherlands on the hospitality industry and others in the UK and Middle East, but there is currently no job board worldwide dedicated to this industry.
We believe that the people deliver excellent service is the biggest asset there is in the hospitality industry. Your hotel can have incredible rooms and facilities in the best property, however if there is terrible service, then no one will ever want to return to your hotel. So, we want to help you, present your company and find the best professionals and talents for your company.
By contacting over 20 different hotel chains worldwide, I interviewed HR managers and directors and in-house recruiters and I found out their opinions on job boards. With these views in mind, we have designed and developed the perfect platform based on what companies want – ease of use, privacy, safe and secure. We offer this “For, By and With” the Industry. Furthermore, we only store data for the particular job you’ve applied for, so optimal privacy.
After all of this testing, I am excited to announce the launch of Hospitables at the end of August. I am proud of what we have created, especially with a small but dedicated team!
The main obstacle to overcome for the launch is to convince hotels and other companies to launch with us and have their vacancies posted on our job board. Thankfully, we are overcoming these obstacles successfully as we already have 10 hotel chains to launch with us. We are lucky because we have the experience, the background, the network within the industry so we can use our existing contacts to get our foot in the door.
The way I see it is that Hospitables is not my job. Instead, it is my extended hobby because I love what I do. What I enjoy most about it, is watching the project develop. It started as an idea two years ago. Since then, we have developed it, tested it and verified it with clients and hotel chains. The best part is the confirmation we receive within the industry. The moment I hang up the phone or leave an interview, knowing that the client said yes – it is such a rewarding feeling!
This start-up company is full of potential. My long-term goal for Hospitables is to grow it big so it is known globally as THE job board for the hospitality industry worldwide. In terms of my personal goals for the future, I just want to keep on learning, developing and being challenged each day.
Looking back at my time at HTH, the most valuable lesson I learnt is to cherish your network. I have found that it takes a special breed of people to study at HTH and I discovered how much of a community and tight-knit group we are, which we should invest in and treasure.
I am lucky to still be very close to several friends of mine from HTH who are attending my wedding in a couple of months. I value the friendships I made and how they still live on 13 years later.
My advice to the current students of HTH would be to be passionate and follow that passion. HTH gives you an excellent jumpstart for your career so make the most of it and appreciate the network and community that we have created! Want to discuss your career challenges, please don’t hesitate to contact me!
Gaby Maaswinkel-van den Bosch (2007)
I started my HTH journey in January 2003 and it ended 4,5 years later in September 2007. For my final traineeship, I worked as Management Assistant at the Best Western Apollo Museum Hotel in Amsterdam (part of Apollo Hotels & Resorts). This is where I experienced the diverse aspect of hospitality. It was a relatively small hotel and I literally did everything. One moment, I was making schedules and the next I was baking eggs for the guests’ breakfast. Thereafter, I was asked to stay with the Best Western Apollo Museum Hotel and I became the F&B supervisor.
Nine months later I was offered to set-up the hotels reservations department. Thus not having any experience, however being young and eager, I thought ‘let’s give it a go!’. And that is what I did for more than two years, learning a lot every day. After those two years, I transferred to Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam and started as Assistant Revenue Manager and worked my way up to Revenue Manager.
Four and a half years later, currently as Commercial Development Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam and the upcoming hotel Park Inn by Radisson Amsterdam City West, I am responsible for not only revenue and reservations but also for sales as well as meeting and events. What I enjoy most about this job is its diversity. When I go home at the end of a day I am happy and satisfied when having done a range of different tasks. Further, I am still learning new things every day!
The reason that I was able to develop myself so much is also that Carlson Rezidor really invests in its people. The motto ‘We grow talent; talent grows us’ is very much applicable to the company every day.
When looking back at my HTH experience, the period in Skotel was absolutely great! I was just 18 when moving out of the comfort of the parents’ house and in to the Skotel. Thinking back, the idea of getting a roommate on the first day who you have not met before is unbelievable. However it has taught me a lot and prepared me for the future. In the future you will not pick your colleagues and will have to adapt. Therefore, Skotel has taught me to develop a management style; to get along with the roommate and make a house of 16 people work. I would not have missed Skotel for the world!
Moreover I enjoyed working for the Marketing & Communication department. One of my duties was to do presentations for the selection- and open days. This is how I overcame my fear of presenting in front of a large audience. It was very valuable for me.
During my time spend within Carlson Rezidor I have experienced many exciting projects.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam has just completed its 4 years renovation after also celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2015. The hotel’s façade, lobby, meeting rooms and guest rooms have all been renovated and designed by the Dutch designer Edward van Vliet. Thankfully, the process went rather smoothly without any major delays or struggles. Thinking back of planning it, I remember making several displacement analyses and thoroughly planning each step of the renovation, together with the rest of the management team. The team at the hotel is a great mix of people, with some of the staff members having worked here for 15 to even 25 years and others being new to the team. This diverse mix of experience and new creative thoughts all came together and contributed to finalize the renovation project. We are currently very excited to announce that the Radisson Blu Hotel, Amsterdam is participating in the European Hospitality Awards in the ‘Best Renovation’ category. Additionally, we are also very often a pilot hotel for numerous projects that are being rolled out within our company; this is also the reason that one of our meeting rooms is turned into a real ‘Brainbox’.
As well as this, I am responsible for the opening of the Park Inn by Radisson Amsterdam City West. My duties for this opening include many things, but setting the overall commercial strategy is my main task. However I have also just been promoting the hotel at the IMEX fair in April, so this job is also very diverse. The hotel is part of the project Ven Amsterdam. It’s a huge project and it will be housed in the former headquarters of the Dutch telecom company, KPN, next to Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station. The hotel will fill 2/3 of the building, giving space for long stay apartments, a casino and a rooftop bar. This hotel has a unique character, designed by Karim Rashid. This hotel is going to attract several segments with its innovative concept, by having 3 to 4 stars and providing the same service as a 4 to 5 star hotel. It will have 476 guest rooms as well as a meeting room academy of 20 meeting rooms, including a large ballroom of 680 m2. It is expected to open in early 2017 and will be like no other hotel!
My advice to current students would be to enjoy their time studying to the fullest. It will be over before you know it! Also I would advise to first find a job you are passionate about, even though it might not immediately give you the financial reward you want. As time passes and you develop yourself professionally, the financial reward and the titles will follow soon enough. So, first do what you love, take the time to grow and develop and then work your way up.
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