"This place is one of the best kept secrets in the Hague"
Meet Remco van der Jagt, General Manager at Novotel den Haag World Forum, who tells about how he ended up in the hotel industry, about sustainability and why you should stay in his hotel.
Please tell us a bit about your background and how long have you been in the industry?
My career in the industry started already in the hotel business school, during my internship at the Dorint Hotel at Schiphol the GM offered me a job at the night shift. That was the start of my journey. During my years at Dorint I’ve worked at all departments and finally when I worked as deputy manager at the Dorint we joined the Accor family. It was the start of a new challenge, I started to work at the commercial department at the Accor Head office. Being responsible for the Airline department at the BeNeLux, working there for 7 years was a great experience and I was lucky to travel all around the world and meet a lot of international colleagues. I decided to go back to operations due to fact that I really missed the operational part at the hotel and with our Daughter Sophie on her way I wanted to travel less abroad. I got the opportunity to join the International Hospitality Management Program at the Essec University in Paris and to start as a GM at the Ibis Rotterdam City Centre.
What is the best part of your job?
To create good teams working together in the hotel and to meet and see happy guests.
For those of us who have not yet visited Novotel den Haag World Forum, how would you describe the hotel?
This place is one of the best kept secrets in Haag. The view is great! And the location, within a few minutes you can either reach the city center or have your feet in the sand at the beach or go to some great green areas if you prefer that.
You have been a part of Pandox operation almost a year now? Does Pandox differ from other property owners, and in case in what way?
Haha, it’s different in every possible way. Pandox is an active owner with a high level. I feel like being a part of a family. Everybody is competent and good at their jobs.
How do you work with sustainability in your hotel?
The building is rather old, but we’ve taken a lot of actions in Accors Planet 21 program. We are now at Silver level and aim for Gold next year. So far, we’ve changed lights to LED, reduced the use of plastic, increased our recycling rate and started to collaborate with our neighbors around waste. We also work actively with social responsibility and support our local youngsters not living in the best parts of Haag. Offering them coaching, lecturing about jobs in the hospitality industry, practicing job interviews and flexible trainee programs in our hotel with regard to the child needs and capability.
What feedback does the guests give around sustainability?
Many guests are not aware of this work, especially not the corporate guest. We will create a wall in the reception area and show our focus areas to increase the awareness.
How du you feel that has changed over the years?
Last couple of years this has really developed, more follow up now in Pandox. Before the focus was more on internal documentation than external communication. Now we share more information and learn from each other. The importance of data has increased, the Sofi-system is user friendly and beneficial.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for a sustainable hotel?
To match the need of the costumers and the cost. Being sustainable and environmentally friendly cannot interfere with the guest’s expectations. It’s also important that we don’t lose focus on sustainability during this Corona times, now the use of plastic increases. We must restart our reduction program for plastic and waste. This might be an USP in order to get the guests back.
If you were not a General Manager at a hotel, what would you do instead?
That’s an interesting question. I still think I would work in the hospitality industry. I like to talk to people and always be in connection with others, to organize and create teams. Despite these hard times with restrictions around Covid-19 I go to work with a smile and are very grateful we’ve been able to keep the staff employed.
It sounds like you are the right person at the right place?
Haha yes, working in this industry is like an addiction to me!
Read more about Novotel den Haag World Forum här.