Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Van Emmenes

Michael Van Emmenes

Director, Food & Beverage, Landsdowne Resort

Born in South Africa, with a passion for food/beverage, service and travel, Michael Van Emmenes left his country and jumped on cruise ships to travel gain exposure to various cultures, customs and people. He was very fortunate enough to travel through Alaska, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Mediterranean. All ports of call offering him new insight into various foods, beverages and service levels. Post cruise ships, Mr. Van Emmenes knew the importance of an education and attended the Swiss Hotel Management School in Caux, Switzerland - studying Hotel Management with a specialty in Events. While attending college he was fortunate enough to land internships at the prestigious Lausanne Palace in Switzerland and then at the One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai (part of the Kerzner Collection). After graduating Mr. Van Emmenes secured a position at the Hilton Atlanta where he honed his service skills; while working there he had opportunities to travel and assist various sister properties (including opening of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort). After 3 years in Atlanta Mr. Van Emmenes received a promotion and moved to Chicago where he worked at the historic Palmer House Hilton; assisting the hotel through the $200m renovation of the hotel and creating the hotels new concept restaurant and bar. Mr. Van Emmenes was then asked to join the opening team at the Hilton Orlando Convention Center. The hotel won the Connie Award for best service within the company - an accomplishment he believes is from the execution of hiring the right team for the perfect job. Mr. Van Emmenes has now settled down in Northern Virginia at Lansdowne Resort as Director of Food and Beverage and hopes to bring his service culture, personality and passion for the industry to his new found home.

Mr. Van Emmenes can be contacted at 703-858-2107 or mvanemmenes@benchmarkmanagement.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.