An Interview with Robbert van Rijsbergen

What does your job entail exactly?
Well, I oversee the Sales & Marketing department. We take room and restaurant reservations, organize meetings & events, look after revenue management, sales, marketing and public relations.

That’s a whole lot. How do you oversee all those different activities?
It is quite dynamic indeed. What’s most important, is having the right people around you. At the Dylan, we have a few senior staff members and several external partners who I can trust blindly. That allows me to maintain a bird’s eye view and overlook various projects all at once: from our new website to proactive sales activities.

And is there any hot topic you’re working on now?
Yes, a new strategy is “automate the predictable so we can humanize the exceptional”. That means nothing more than robotizing workflows to have more time for human interactions with guests. This involves activities such as setting up a smart Customer Relationship Management System to new ways of using current systems.
Another topic we’re working on is our brand recognition in The Netherlands. We are well known overseas but we need to further spread our name in the local market.

It seems that you enjoy your work. Why are you made for this job?
Simply, because of its dynamics, creativity and human interaction. I used to work for a large travel organization, which is a completely different game than working for a boutique hotel. I very much prefer a small-scale organization and working closely within a smaller team.

How do you qualify your management style? And how do keep your team strong?
By keeping the atmosphere strong. There are many theories about management but in the end, it’s just a feeling and sense of empathy. We laugh, drink lots of coffee and go out for dinner once in a while. If the atmosphere is not good, I will sense that immediately, especially in a small organization such as ours.
When it comes to leading a team, it’s a very individual and a tailored process. Senior team members, for example, only want you to share some ideas and opinions, whereas other team members may need more coaching.

Down to the content of your job now. How do you position the Dylan?
We’d like to stay in the top 5 of the city’s high-end hotels and remain the only real luxury boutique hotel. Therefore, we want our guests to feel as if they’re staying with a well-to-do family member in Amsterdam. That lifestyle and residential feel should always be present at the Dylan. It’s also the reason why we do not use lots of signage in the hotel for example. Or another example is that we try to gather preferences and the purpose of our guests’ stay before their arrival. Whilst respecting their privacy of course.

And do people abroad understand this concept?
Generally, yes. I travel a lot to the U.S. and most of our clients there know The Dylan and its boutique concept.

And if they already know the hotel, how do you sell it then?
Well, most likely they don’t know about our recent updates and renovations. So, I will first update them about our new developments. Then I will further stress our location and unique mix of room types. I think we have a room style for nearly every type of guests. Most important is to discuss our tailored approach. This is also applicable to our reservations and meeting & events team. If for example, a couple is interested in organizing their wedding, we prefer to meet them personally. And, more than in other hotels, we can agree on organizing even the smallest details.

How do you foresee the future of hotels? Anything that will change?
I consider artificial intelligence an important trend. Without harming the essential human interactions, this technology can help us to smoothen certain service encounters. Think for example of a chatbot helping our guests to make restaurant reservations in the middle of the night.

And is there any news we may expect from the Dylan soon?
Well, we’re finishing our upgrade of the reception area. The physical front desk will be removed, and we will receive our guests with refreshments in a lounge type setting.

Sounds like a perfect fit for the Dylan?
Exactly. Our personal approach and family feel set us apart from other hotels. If for example I walk out of the door here, and I see a group of guests arriving with plenty of suitcases, my team and I are happy to help them with their luggage. We just don’t work on organizational islands, which is good for our team spirit and the value to our guests.

And if you had to take this group of people through Amsterdam. Where would you go?
I would hop on an open boat and cruise along the canals, followed by a few bitterballen and drinks on a terrace. And finally, I would end the day with some comfort food at the ‘Food Hallen’.

And, what is your favorite food exactly? 
I love Japanese and Thai food, but you could also wake me up for a Dim Sum lunch on a lazy Sunday.

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View from luxury boutique hotel, The Dylan Amsterdam. A view on the secluded garden.

As a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The Dylan offers the opportunity joining Leaders Club, a remarkably uncommon loyalty program. 

A view from one of the rooms in luxury boutique hotel The Dylan Amsterdam, member of the leading hotels of the world. View on the building and the secluded garden.
The leading hotels of the world. The Dylan Amsterdam is a member of this.

As a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World, The Dylan offers the opportunity joining Leaders Club, a remarkably uncommon loyalty program.

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Een dag bómvol inspiratie voor aanstaande.

16 april 2023

Wedding fair I DO. Bridal couple holding each other's hand.

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