Meet Sander de Jong – General Manager of Novotel Den Haag World Forum
Despite his young age, Sander has over 18 years of experience in the international hospitality industry Sander de Jong has worked for several hotel chains such as Van der Valk, Fletcher, Carlton, Dorint, Hilton and Eden, with the most recent project doing an extensive renovation of a resort in the Caribbean, always making sure sustainability is considered in business decisions.
How come you started to work at Novotel den Haag World Forum?
After working for 5 years for the Dutch Hotel Chain “Van der Valk” I started to work for Accor in the beginning of 2020. After 1,5 year I heard that my predecessor would leave the Novotel Den Haag World Forum. He was always very enthusiastic about working for Pandox and Grape, so that is why I sent my CV right away and before I knew it I was the General Manager of this hotel.
What would you say is the best part of your job as a General Manager?
The all-round character of the job. At one moment you are discussing CAPEX for large investment projects and the other moment you are at the front desk coaching colleagues. Then the maintenance guy shows up and ask you to check a leaking pipe on the roof of the hotel and moments later you have a meeting about the breakfast items. Every day is different in the dynamic environment of a hotel.
What is your focus at the moment at your hotel?
Recruiting and training to get the teams back up to speed and adapting to the recovering market climbing out of the pandemic.
What are some of the biggest challenges in your work?
At the moment it is staffing. Lots of hospitality professionals left the industry and kind of lost the trust because of the uncertainty during the pandemic. The biggest challenge is to get them back. Although we have lack of personnel after the pandemic, we are seeing an increased number of applicants on outstanding vacancies.
Have you any experience working with sustainability prior to your role as a General Manager?
Yes! When I worked in the Caribbean, on the island of Bonaire, we had a solar panel park with around 400 solar panels, and we stored the electricity for during the nighttime. Also, we had a plant to filter salt water to drinking water. These were also powered by the solar panels. Naturally, in any job I have had, we have made sure to do the standard sustainable adjustments like changing the lights to LED.
What would you say is the most important sustainability issues in your hotel right now?
We use a lot of electricity so installing solar panels somewhere would make a huge difference. Also changing all the lighting to LED. And isolation all the piping from the central heating would make the building more efficient and sustainable.
What is your greatest contribution to sustainability at Novotel Den Haag World Forum?
I have only been working at this hotel for 8 months now, but we have already made some important sustainability implementations such as changed some lighting to LED
and all the shower heads to water saving ones. And we encourage our guests to, for example, use their towels for several days.