Kempinski Hotels has appointed Riko van Santen as its new Vice President Digital Strategy & Distribution. The 41-year old will take over his responsibilities on June 1, 2012, and will be responsible for designing and implementing a successful and measurable electronic distribution strategy, including optimal pricing & distribution best practices, global content management optimisation and development of social media, as well as SEO and SEM. Developing and expanding sales via mobile devices will also be part of his responsibilities. Van Santen will report to Duncan O’Rourke, Kempinski Hotels’ Chief Operating Officer, and will be supported by a team of five people.
“With Riko van Santen we have a real expert onboard,” says Duncan O’Rourke about the new Vice President Digital Strategy & Distribution. “With his high level of expertise, his innovative ideas and his experience, he will bring Kempinski’s online strategy into a new league.”
After graduating with an honours degree in Hospitality Management from Middlesex University in London, Riko van Santen began his career in 1995 as Front Office Manager at five-star Hotel Okura in Amsterdam. At the time, he was entrusted with the introduction of a new hotel software and training the Front Office teams in Property Management (PMS) and Revenue Management (RMS) systems. Two years later, van Santen took over Revenue Management at the same hotel. In 2000, he became Group Revenue Manager at Utell Hotels & Resorts in London, a member of Pegasus Solutions and one of the world’s leading providers of sales, marketing and distribution solutions. Three years later, he was appointed Director of Electronic Distribution at Golden Tulip Hotels in Lausanne, before becoming Vice President Electronic Distribution & Information Technology at Golden Tulip TOP Hospitality Group. In this role, he was responsible for the hotel group’s central reservations system, Goldres, which was among the first systems to achieve full NGS Connectivity, Total Pricing and BAR functionalities. Before joining Kempinski Hotels Riko van Santen was Vice President Electronic Distribution at Louvre Hotels Group in Paris, which has a portfolio of seven hotel brands, ranging from one- to five-star.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, van Santen gives guest lectures at various hotel schools, such as the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne or the International University of Hospitality Management in The Hague and the Breda University of Applied Sciences, on Electronic Distribution and Revenue Management, and holds seats on the Board of Directors HTNG (serving as VP), HFTP EHTEC Advisory Council, Pegasus Solutions Customer Advisory Board, and HSMAI Digital Marketing Advisory Board.
A Dutch national, Riko van Santen was born in Tokyo, and has lived over 20 years abroad – in Tokyo, London and Paris, among others. In addition to being Dutch mother tongue, van Santen speaks fluent English and Japanese, as well conversational German.