GENERAL MANAGER IT HAMILTON ISLAND ENTERPRISES
Mark van Santvoort is general manager of information technology at Hamilton Island Enterprises, an island resort located on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef that includes a variety of accommodations, 23 restaurants and bars, two spas and a golf club. He joined the company in 2008 and is responsible for IT strategy, operations, architecture, telecommunications, applications and IT projects. Prior to joining Hamilton Island, he served in executive positions at Stamford Hotels & Resorts and at online travel site lastminute.com.au. He is a member of Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG).
When he began at Hamilton Island, the property had limited bandwidth, with Wi-Fi availability in guest rooms only. “Through a lot of lobbying with our telecom providers, we were able to increase bandwidth to the island, which translated into Wi-Fi deployment to restaurants, pools, public areas and staff housing,” he said, noting that the company houses approximately 1,500 employees. “It has made a huge difference in our ability to hire and retain staff and provide enhanced guest service.”
One of Hamilton Island’s recent initiatives was the deployment of a new mobile ordering platform. Interestingly, the resort had implemented a mobile solution in one of its food and beverage outlets five years ago, but guest response was so poor that no additional outlets were added. “The pandemic changed all that, and guests are now eager to take advantage of mobile solutions,” van Santvoort said. He spearheaded the implementation of a new platform that not only has improved guest service but also has helped the resort weather the labor shortage. “The solution enabled us to move food and beverage staff to other areas, which really boosted our efficiency.” So far, the property has installed the solution in seven outlets, with more planned over the next six months.
Additionally, the resort is moving its technology solutions above premise. “We’ve been late adopters because of our past bandwidth constraints,” van Santvoort explained. But with advanced telecommunications, the property finally is able to get on the cloud track. He already has migrated sales and catering, customer relationship management, time and attendance, and one of the resort’s point-of-sale solutions to the cloud. Next will be the ERP solution and a new cloud-based property management system. He expects the project to be completed within two years.
He also has tackled business intelligence and uses the Datavision Hospitality BI platform to connect multiple solutions into a single system. “It has revolutionized our reporting capabilities,” he said, enabling the property to analyze key areas, create forecasts, and gain a 360-degree view of the business. “BI has gone from ‘nice to have’ to competitive necessity," van Santvoort concluded. “It provides up-to-the-minute results on what’s happening at the property and provides actionable insights that help us improve overall business performance.”
- Family: Married with two young boys and a dog.
- Hobbies: Tennis and gardening. “Both activities are therapeutic.”
- Go-To Periodical or Website: Australian Financial Review. “It covers the latest business and financial news.”
- Book: The Richest Man in Babylon by George Classen. “It teaches the principles of saving, investing and generating wealth.”
- Music: Pop and country.
- Travel Destination: "Anywhere warm with a pool and a bar.”
- Advice to Young People: “Don’t be afraid to change your career direction as many times as necessary in order to find something you enjoy.”
- Dinner With: "My wife. She and I have demanding jobs and are raising two young children. We rarely have time for a quiet dinner together.”