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Research

If you want to be the most progressive and innovative hotel management school, you have to dare to look ahead.

Our Academy of International Hospitality Research (AIHR) provides insights about developments that impact the industry, and contributes to improving education in hospitality. Multiple times per year, AIHR publishes the journal ‘Research in Hospitality Management’.

Academy of International Hospitality Research

The Academy of International Hospitality Research (AIHR) is the research unit of Hotel Management School Leeuwarden at NHL Stenden. With campuses in the Netherlands, South-Africa, Bali and Thailand, the Hotel Management School Leeuwarden is the largest and most cosmopolitan hotel school in the world. This profile and position offers AIHR a truly international platform for doing research. AIHR unifies the endeavours of the three Professorships (lectorates) of Hotel Management School to enhance their collective strength beyond what they could achieve independently.

The three Professorships of Applied Sciences of Hotel Management School at Leeuwarden are:

1. Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism
2. Disruption, Innovation and New Phenomena in Hospitality
3. Associate Professorship Hospitality Education

The research findings of the AIHR are intended to have an impact on the hospitality industry and to contribute to improving education in hospitality. Therefore, the AIHR is closely connected to the industry to ensure that its research addresses industry needs. Staff and students are involved and encouraged to do research that is relevant to the designated fields. This ensures the research lines are embedded in the curriculum. We refer to this approach as Professional Research. Besides, the Professorships at AIHR also contribute to the development of the knowledge base in their domain.

Latest research news

Research
01/07/2024

New Book: Scenario Planning and Tourism Futures

How do we make the sense of the future? A new book from Professor Ian Yeoman and colleagues Professor Albert Postma and Dr Stefan Hartman from the European Tourism Futures…
Research
01/07/2024

Dr Rodney Westerlaken co-authors book chapter on combating human trafficking in the hospitality industry

Rodney Westerlaken, a dedicated researcher and colleague, has announced the publication of a new book chapter co-authored with Lily Rodriguez. The chapter, titled "Employer Engagement with Human Trafficking," is featured…
Research
07/06/2024

Employability and Career Sustainability of HMSL Graduates – Survey

Valued partners, We are conducting an important research project at Hotel Management School Leeuwarden (HMSL) and invite you to participate. This research focuses on our students and graduates’ employability and…

The team

Members of the research group are lecturers at NHL Stenden and professionals working in the field, whose responsibility it is to ensure that the research has practical relevance. They provide input by suggesting research topics and sharing relevant findings of their research with businesses and other organisations, while the lecturers incorporate the findings in their classes.

Professor of Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism

Dr Elena Cavagnaro

Born in Rome, Italy in 1963, Elena Cavagnaro studied Ancient Philosophy in Rome, and Naples (Italy) and later at VU University Amsterdam, where she was awarded a PhD in 1996. Her Philosophy degree turned out to serve her well in her career at NHL Stenden, where she was appointed Lecturer in Business Ethics in 1997 and UAS Professor in 2004.

Elena Cavagnaro began her research into sustainable business practices in the services industry in the late 1990s, when this phenomenon was just emerging. Sustainability for her is a moral appeal to societies, businesses, and individuals to pursue other values alongside profit.

At NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences she helped develop the master programmes, including Master of Arts in Hospitality and Service Management. In 2004 she was appointed Professor of Service Studies and then ten years later she became Professor of Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism. In 2021 she was appointed Associate Professor of Responsible Leadership Development and Susainability in Tourism, at the University of Groningen/Campus Fryslân. Since 2023 Cavagnaro is Chair of the Graduate Committee for the Professional Doctorate in Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality. In addition, she is visiting professor at the University of Sunderland (UK) and the University of Bergamo (Italy) and she is co-founder and co-coordinator of the ATLAS SIG ‘Circular Economy and Circularity in the Space of Tourism and Hospitality’.

Cavagnaro and George Curiel co-authored the book ‘The Three Levels of Sustainability’, which was published in 2012 and became a bestseller. A second, revised edition was published in 2023. Cavagnaro also edited the book ‘Sustainable Value Creation in Hospitality, Guests on Earth’. The views on sustainability that Cavagnaro shares in both books have served as the basis for the research carried out by the Research Group.

Inauguration speech

Dr Cavagnaro delivered an inauguration speech when she was inaugurated as a Professor of Applied Sciences in 2004.

Recent publications

• Cavagnaro, E. (2024), “Looking at Tourists Through the Lens of Aristotelian Friendship – On Altruism in Tourism 1 “, Pechlaner, H., Olbrich, N. and Isetti, G. (Ed.) Destination Conscience (New Perspectives in Tourism and Hospitality Management), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 37-50. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80455-960-420241006
• Cavagnaro, E., Altan, M., Jonker, E. & Reinders, M. (2024) What is not known is not aimed for — Understanding staff knowledge and readiness to embrace sustainable and healthy food, Research in Hospitality Management, 13:3, 135-142, DOI: 10.1080/22243534.2024.2322224
• Cavagnaro, E. and G.H. Curiel (2023) The Three Levels of Sustainability, second edition, Routledge.
• Tomassini, L., Cavagnaro, E. (2023). Circular Oikonomia, Posthumanism, and local space to socialise tourism. In (eds.) Higgins-Desbiolles, F., Bigby, B.C. (2023). The local turn in tourism: empowering communities. Chapter 2, Channel View.
• Jonker, E. and Cavagnaro E. (2023) Food and beverage Sustainability Criteria, in Legrand, W., Kuokkanen, H. and Day, J.(eds.) Critical Questions in Sustainability and Hospitality, Routledge, Part II, Chapter 7, pp.77-86.

Best Paper Award

At the end of May 2015 the annual CHME research conference found place in Manchester (UK). Theme of the conference was ‘The future in our hands’. During this conference Dr Elena Cavagnaro was honoured with the Award for Best Paper of their track.

In 2018 the case on Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort that she co-authored with Femke Vrenegoor and Sarah Seidel won the CHRIE case study competition.

Professor of Disruption, Innovation and New Phenomena

Dr Ian Yeoman

Dr Ian Yeoman LPSNZ is a Professor of Disruption, Innovation and New Phenomena at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands.

Ian is the champion of tourism futures based upon his initial work as the Scenario Planner at VisitScotland where he introduced scenario construction, economic modelling, and trends analysis within the organisation to understand and make sense of the external environment. He then moved to New Zealand where he was involved in several tourism futures projects for government agencies and national strategies whilst an Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington.

Ian is the co-editor of the Journal of Tourism Futures, editor of the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management and book series editor of the Future of Tourism. Ian has a PhD in Operations Research from Edinburgh Napier University, author of over 70 research papers and 22 books.

He is presently writing/editing several books including ‘2075: The Future of Food Tourism’, ‘Scenario Planning and Tourism Futures’, and ‘Scenarios for Global Tourism’ for publication in 2024/25.

He is also a passionate Sunderland AFC fan (so don’t mention Newcastle United).

Associate professor Hospitality Education

Dr Hanneke Assen

Hanneke Assen holds a master’s in Learning and Innovation (cum laude) and a PhD from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Her doctoral research focused on the transition from a teacher- to a learner-oriented approach to teaching and learning, with a particular emphasis on the educators’ collective learning processes. Subsequently, she conducted a postdoctoral research on “Activators for change: Moving to Design-Based Education in which she focused on evidence-informed educators ‘collective learning in a design-based learning environment. Since 2022, Hanneke is associate professor Hospitality Education at Hotel Management School Leeuwarden.

Hanneke has over three decades of expertise in education grounded in social constructivist concepts and trialogical learning processes between education, research and industry. One of the outcomes of her postdoctoral research is the professional learning initiative “Design-Based Learning Study” for educators. This initiative advocates for an evidence-informed and iterative approach, where educators design didactic strategies based on the principles of Design-Based Education (DBE). Moreover, she has designed the DBE team model.

In collaboration with the research groups, she focuses on the fundamental principles guiding hospitality education to promote future-oriented and lifelong learning. She emphasises the lasting impact of educational experiences from a trialogical perspective, considering the perspectives from learners, educators, and industry (partners in learning). Key components of the research group include boundary crossing and community of learners, which encourages dialogue and shared narratives among stakeholders in hospitality education, research, and industry.

Her statement: “Research in Hospitality Education should serve as a catalyst to foster meaningful learning in hospitality education and industry from the perspective of theory and practice”.

Senior Lecturer and Researcher Behavioural Interventions for Sustainability & CELTH

Ernst Jonker, MBA

Ernst Jonker (Edam, NL, 1959). He studied French and Sociology at the Teacher Training College in Leeuwarden and the University of Groningen, specialising in global issues (including supranational environmental-, development- and safety challenges). Started working as a teacher of French and Sociology at the Friesland College (now Firda).

After that, he worked as educational consultant at the Polemological Institute of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and for COBO (Association for Vocational Education), developing curricula about international issues for vocational education in different sectors. Later on he facilitated the implementation of environmental management systems in education and health care for CPB (Central Project management Vocational Education).

He earned an MBA from the Universities of Twente (NL) and Cardiff (UK), specialising in sustainability. Following this, he worked with various consultancy firms, helping companies across sectors implement environmental, quality, and safety management systems. Drawing on this expertise, he began teaching Operations Management at Hotel Management School Leeuwarden in 1997. From 1999 to 2004, he (co)developed, implemented, and coordinated the part-time bachelor’s course in Hotel Management in the Netherlands and Aruba. Between 2006 and 2011, he was a member of the Sustainability research group at NHL Stenden, focusing on integrating sustainability into hotel management curricula. Collaborating with Elena Cavagnaro, he authored papers on effective sustainability implementation in universities of applied sciences, presenting these findings at conferences.

From 2011 onwards he (co)developed, implemented and executed the Work & Study (flexible) AD- and BA-programmes Hotel Management. He followed an in-depth course in coaching at the School voor Coaching, leading to the status of certified coach.

Since November 2020 he is back in the research group, with a focus on sustainable food in hospitality. Moreover, he currently is theme manager within the Agenda Conscious Destinations at the Centre of Expertise in Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism (CELTH).

Senior Researcher Sustainability

Femke Vrenegoor, PhD

Dr Femke Vrenegoor, M.A., has a keen interest in understanding and nudging sustainable behaviour amongst different groups of stakeholders. She has a background in hospitality and tourism, and has developed her research skills via multiple collaborations with both partners from the work field as well as students.

She is currently working as a lecturer at NHL Stenden Hotel Management School Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. She teaches sustainability in hospitality and supervises graduation research. Furthermore, she is part of the Research Group Sustainability in Hospitality in Tourism.

She completed her PhD in 2023 with Groningen University. Her research focused on understanding the antecedents to sustainable behaviour amongst SME tourism entrepreneurs. This work underscored that the relative strength of an entrepreneur determined how much and what kind of sustainable behaviour they demonstrate in their organisations. This knowledge offers interesting avenues for further exploration on behavioural interventions.

Researcher Circular Plastics and Behavioural Interventions for Sustainability

Judith Ogink, PD candidate

Judith Ogink studied Industrial Design Engineering at Technical University of Delft and has over ten years of experience as a product development engineer in the commercial sector. As a member of multidisciplinary product development teams she developed products from the initial concept through to the engineering phase. Since the end of 2018, she has been a researcher at NHL Stenden, highly motivated to contribute to practice-oriented developments for a sustainable society now and in the future through applied research.

At the intersection of design, technology, and behaviour, she works on themes such as circular design of products, and the application of circular plastics in circular products. She employs various design strategies that reduce the impact of products, optimise the use of materials, and also calculates this impact using Life Cycle Assessments. She involves students in her projects and gives lectures. Examples of projects include circular plastics in the hospitality industry on Terschelling, the application of litter in a climate-adaptive product, the processing and application of waste streams in the north of the Netherlands, and network formation with a view to the circular economy in the Northern Netherlands.

Since 2023, Judith has been a candidate in the pilot for the professor doctorate trajectory for the university of applied sciences of The Netherlands. In this role, she brings together her accumulated knowledge and experience to reflect on solutions for the problem of global plastic pollution. Her research focuses on nudging the behaviour regarding plastic use in the hospitality sector with the help of a circular product made from ocean plastic.

PhD candidate Change through Tourism

Konstantin Gridnevskiy, MA and PhD candidate

Senior Research Lecturer Principles and Practices of the Circular Economy

Lucia Tomassini, PhD

Dr Lucia Tomassini is a Senior Research Lecturer at Hotel Management School Leeuwarden of NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. 

Equipped with a background on Architecture and Urban Planning, and a MSc in Urban Development and Reconstruction in Developing Countries, complemented by a PhD in Events, Tourism, and Hospitality from Leeds Beckett University (UK) under the supervision of Prof. Rhodri Thomas and Prof. Xavier Font, her research focuses on cutting-edge areas within a more-than-human society.

Her research embraces circular economy and circularity in the physical and sociological space of tourism, leisure, and hospitality; posthuman approaches to animals, animal mobility, and the animal gaze within human societies; the role of alternative accommodations, food and culinary traditions for meaningful experiences and social inclusiveness; the interplay between mobility trends, spatial theories, and cultural geographies with regards to hospitality, tourism, and leisure.

Lucia has secured projects and funding through national and European grant programmes and published in highly regarded journals such as Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Geographies, Tourism Recreation Research, Current Issues in Tourism, and Journal of Tourism Futures among others. She has established and is co-organising the two ATLAS Special Interest Groups “Circular Economy and circularity in the space of tourism and hospitality” and “Animals in Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure”.

Founder and Co-coordinator of
Jr. Researcher Behavioural Interventions for Sustainability

Marie Hartmann, MSc

Marie Hartmann is German and came to Leeuwarden in 2017 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in International Hospitality Management. During her studies, she went on a Minor to South Africa, where she focused on the social aspect of sustainability, taking minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Food Security, albeit the latter online.

Upon returning to Leeuwarden, Marie began her internship in the back-of-house department of what was then Stenden Hotel. For her thesis, she continued her focus on sustainability, specifically addressing food waste at Stenden Hotel.

After graduating in July 2021, Marie decided to delve deeper into sustainability. She applied for the pre-master’s programme at the University of Groningen for MSc Sustainable Entrepreneurship and completed the half-year pre-master while still working for the back-of-house department of Stenden/Notiz Hotel (NHL Stenden Hospitality Group, NHG).

In September 2022, she commenced her master’s degree at Campus Fryslân. While studying, Marie continued to work for the back-of-house department of NHG, transitioning from a Junior Practical Facilitator (PF) in purchasing to being responsible for the stewarding department.

Shortly before her graduation in July 2023, Marie returned to working full-time as a Practical Facilitator in purchasing while still being responsible for the stewarding department of Notiz Hotel. During this time, she also began working with Elena Cavagnaro and joined the research group as a Junior Researcher for Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism. In this role, she focuses on projects connected to NHG. Marie develops projects based on findings by existing academic research, tests them in NHG outlets to see their practicality, and writes summaries of the outcomes along with practical guidelines for practitioners. These are labelled “Tested by NHG” and are intended to be replicable in other hotels. She also involves students in these projects to raise awareness of sustainability practices among future hoteliers.

Marie’s specialty lies in circular economy and circular business model innovation, which was the topic of her master’s thesis. She collaborated with Circular Fryslân and CIRCO (circularity training) for her research.

Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Change through Hospitality

Sake Jan Velthuis, PhD candidate

Sake Jan Velthuis, MSc. has been intrigued with human decision-making ever since he discovered that people make irrational decisions in a predictable way. He graduated cum laude from the University of Amsterdam in 2015 with a specialty in consumer behaviour. After a slight detour, he resumed his academic career and started a PhD research project, trying to discover how friendships between bartenders and their guests develop. For the rest of the week, he teaches a minor in neuromarketing.

Before embarking on his academic pursuits, Sake Jan gained valuable practical experience as a bartender during his studies at Hotel Management School Leeuwarden. This hands-on experience enriched his understanding of the hospitality industry and provided him with unique insights into bartender-guest relationships. The place where he worked had many regulars with whom he still has a lot of contact, even after 20 years. This became the seed of his PhD project, where he investigated how bartender-guest relationships could grow. In collaboration with researchers from the Experience Lab at BUAS, he is working towards his doctoral title at Tilburg University. With his first research, he received the award for best paper in the Game Changer category at the CHME 2023 conference.

In his minor, neuromarketing, he teaches students to use psychophysiological measurements to better measure, explain, and predict consumer behaviour. Students utilise hardware and software to track eye movement, facial expression, brain waves, skin conductance, and more. This is done in combination with surveys. Research is not the goal but a means to better design marketing solutions for real-life clients. He is a member of the academic committee of the Neuro Marketing Science and Business Association and a member of the programme committee of the Neuromarketing World Forum.

Senior Researcher & Lecturer Behavioural Interventions for Sustainability

Sarah Seidel, MA

Senior Researcher at ISTAT (Rome, Italy) in Change through Tourism

Simona Staffieri, PhD

Simona Staffieri was born in 1975 in Rome (Italy). In 2001 she obtained a MA in Statistics and Economics from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. After completing the degree, in 2004 she attained the Master in Sources, Tools and Methods for Social Research and in 2005 the Master in Statistics for Management of Information Systems. 

In 2013, she earned a PhD in “Research Methods for the Analysis of Socio-Economic Change” from “La Sapienza,” with her doctoral thesis focusing on youth tourism in Italy. She has been a researcher at the Italian National Statistical Institute since 2002, specialising in health and disability statistics. From 2015 to 2017, she served as an adjunct professor of Statistics for Tourism. Then, from 2017 to 2019, she was an adjunct professor of Economics of Tourism. In the academic year 2019-2020, she held a position as an adjunct professor of Statistics at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Sapienza University in Rome. Since 2018, she has been teaching Statistics and Data Analysis at the Master in Languages of Tourism and Intercultural Communication at the University of Studies “Roma Tre”.

Since 2012, she is an external member of the Research Group Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism, at the Academy of International Hospitality Research at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. In recent years she has participated in various research projects on the subject culture and well-being.

Recent publications
  • CICERCHIA, S. STAFFIERI (2023) Cultural Welfare Theatre in the Limelight. In Theater(s) and Public Sphere in a Global and Digital Society. Theoretical Explorations, Volume 1, Leiden, Boston a cura di Ilaria Riccioni – Brill, ISBN: 978-90-04-52654-9
  • TOMASSINI, S. STAFFIERI, E. CAVAGNARO (2021) Local food consumption and practice theory: a case study on guests’ motivations and understanding. Research in Hospitality Management volume 11 – Issue 2 – ISSN (PRINT): 2224-3534 – SSN (ONLINE): 2415-5152
  • BOLOGNA, S. STAFFIERI (2021) Women and leisure in the Italian context. Women & Leisure Book. CABI (International Academic publisher in the life sciences) https://doi.org/10.1079/9781789247985.0014
  • CAVAGNARO, S. STAFFIERI, A. CARRIERI, K. BURNS, N. CHEN, A. FERMANI (2021) Profiling for sustainable tourism: young travellers’ self- transcendence values and motivations. European Journal of Tourism Research, 28, 2810
  • CAVAGNARO, S. STAFFIERI, A. POSTMA (2018) Understanding millennials’ tourism experience: values and meaning to travel as a key for identifying target clusters for youth (sustainable) tourism. In Journal of Tourism Futures 4(1), 31-42, DOI:10.1108/JTF-12-2017-0058
Best Paper Award

At the end of May 2015, the annual CHME research conference found place in Manchester (UK). Theme of the conference was ‘The future in our hands’. During this conference Simona Staffieri and Dr Elena Cavagnaro were honoured with the Award for Best Paper of their track.

Editor in Chief - Research in Hospitality Management

Dr Rodney Westerlaken

Dr Rodney Westerlaken, M.A., M.Si., M.Ed., is a versatile professional with a passion for driving positive change across various domains. With a rich background encompassing philanthropy, activism, research, lecturing, and disaster management expertise, he brings a holistic approach to his research.

Currently serving as a lecturer at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, his commitment to education and academia extends to his role as the Editor in Chief of the Research in Hospitality Management journal, where he leads the charge in advancing scholarly discourse within the field.

Having earned his PhD in Cultural Studies from Universitas Udayana in 2020, Dr Westerlaken has conducted impactful research focused on cultural modification concerning children placed in child welfare institutions in Denpasar. This work underscores his dedication to addressing complex societal issues and advocating for vulnerable populations.

Beyond academia, Dr Westerlaken is the founder of the Westerlaken Foundation and serves as a Patron at Yayasan Westerlaken Alliance Indonesia, demonstrating his commitment to philanthropy and community development.

His academic journey includes acquiring master’s degrees in humanities, environmental studies, and education, reflecting his interdisciplinary approach to learning and problem-solving.

Dr Westerlaken’s research contributions span a diverse range of topics, from hospitality volunteer engagement and consumer behaviour to the impact of tourism on local communities and environmental sustainability. Notable publications include studies on volunteer engagement in residential care facilities, the ethical implications of wildlife tourism, and the relationship between sustainability initiatives and employee motivation in the hospitality industry.

With a keen focus on social responsibility and ethical practices, Dr Westerlaken continues to make significant strides in his academic pursuits, leveraging his expertise to effect positive change and inspire future generations. Currently, Dr Westerlaken is involved in a research project in volunteerism in hospitality, together with Breda University of Applied Science (BUas).

Research Lecturer in Change through Tourism

Roxana Mitroi-Korthof, PhD candidate

Roxana Mitroi-Korthof, MSc., is a dedicated tourism professional with significant industry experience and a strong background in research and education. Her areas of expertise include value-based sustainable behaviour, host-tourist interactions, policy, governance, and research methodologies.

Originally from Bucharest, Roxana holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Tourism Management from NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and a Master’s degree in Tourism, Society and Environment from Wageningen University and Research. Her professional journey began in the MICE industry, followed by a research-based advisory role at the Dutch provincial government level. Her growing passion for education and research led her to become a lecturer at HZ University of Applied Sciences. In 2021, she joined the Academy of Leisure & Tourism at NHL Stenden as a Lecturer in Research within Tourism Management.

Since February 2024, Roxana has been part of the Sustainability in Hospitality & Tourism Research group, developing a research line on altruism within tourism. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Groningen, focusing on the role of altruism in host-tourist interactions and its influence on sustainable practices. In so doing, her work challenges the notion that tourists are primarily self-interested and proposes instead that altruism can underpin ethical tourism practices and sustainable behaviours.

Senior Lecturer in Destination Marketing

Dr David Proctor

David Proctor is a Senior Lecturer within Hotel Management School Leeuwarden at NHL Stenden.

Originally from Ireland, David accumulated a wealth of international experience in the hospitality industry before joining our university in 2011. His research interests include sports tourism, destination marketing and the overlap with hospitality. David has a PhD from TU Dublin with a thesis that mirrors these themes, and he has published on how the world’s most popular sport, football, can be leveraged for its tourism potential.

David is a keen football fan, a season ticket holder at Old Trafford, and an avid cyclist (aka MAMIL) who loves to travel.

Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship

John Hornby, PhD candidate

John Hornby has worked in the hospitality industry for over 10 years in various roles in Africa and Europa. John worked as a chef, Food & Beverage Manager, General Manager and on a number of new hotel opening projects.

John joined NHL Stenden in 2010/2011 as a lecturer at the Hotel Management School. He has completed a Master in Business Science in Internationalisation at Southeast Technological University (IRL) and also holds post – graduate diplomas in Research from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (NL) and diploma in Multilevel Modelling and Multivariate Analysis from the University of Utrecht (NL). John is currently a PhD researcher at Oxford Brookes University (UK) in the field(s) of entrepreneur with a passion for entrepreneurship, an entrepreneurial mindset, experiential education, skills development, and futurism.

With a deep understanding of the entrepreneurial landscape and an entrepreneur himself, John has dedicated his career to exploring innovative ways to foster entrepreneurship and develop the next generation of business leaders. John has a keen interest in sports namely football and rugby and has keen interest in real estate and real-estate development particular in the hospitality context.

Senior Lecturer in Revenue Management

Marit de Vries, MA

Marit de Vries is a Senior Lecturer in Revenue Management at Hotel Management School Leeuwarden at NHL Stenden.

Since 2016 she is involved in the research part and more specifically in co-writing chapters in books and writing articles as either co-author or by herself. Her journey started by writing about how Online Travel Agencies influence a customer’s choice for a hotel, also called, the information bubble. This made her write more about this topic either in chapters or articles. With time preceding, her interest in Revenue Management got expanded with Technology and Innovation and how both areas influence Revenue Management as well. Before diving deeper into that world, she first took a sidestep to delve into the Technology world by finding out what is written in literature about how Virtual Reality can be embedded in hospitality education. The outcome of this research is the basis for the next article as well as for a new chapter to write in the book Future of Hotels.

Besides being so eager on learning and reading, she loves to play volleyball, enjoy a good meal with friends, visit musea, and all that gives her the required relaxation and workout to keep being in balance.

Senior Lecturer in Tourism Economics

Dr Radu Mihailescu

Radu Mihailescu has a BCom Hons in Economic Sciences from University of Port Elizabeth and an MCom in Travel and Tourism Economics from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Radu is currently in the final stages of completing his doctorate DCom in Resource and Tourism Economics at NMMU. Radu started his academic career as an Economics lecturer and course co-ordinator at the University of Port Elizabeth in South Africa. In 2008 he moved to Italy where he taught microeconomics at Free University of Bolzano. He was also appointed as Senior Lecturer in Economics and Tourism at the University of Malta where he taught for a couple of years. More recently, Radu worked as a senior lecturer and module co-ordinator at NHL Stenden South Africa before moving back to Europe and continuing his career at NHL Stenden in Leeuwarden.

He is a member of International Association for Tourism Economics (IATE) and American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE). Radu has a number of publications in economic and tourism academic journals and has published a book on Cost Benefit Analysis of Charter Airlines.

Coordinator of the Master’s Research Programme and Research Lecturer in Qualitative Research

Dr Marte Rinck de Boer

Marte Rinck de Boer obtained a master’s degree (cum laude) in German Studies from the University of Groningen and a PhD from the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht. 

Her expertise lies in educational innovation and constructivist critical pedagogy. In her doctoral research, Marte Rinck used interdisciplinary approaches integrating the sociology of knowledge by Karl Mannheim and anthropological methodology by Tim Ingold to identify and critically examine the role of ideological and utopian thinking in educational innovations.

Building upon her research, she contributes to the conceptualisation and development of constructivist hospitality education in a design-based curriculum. Furthermore, her research revolves around understanding the perceptions and experiences of students in constructivist education and the fruitfulness of anthropology for learning. In her pedagogical and research activities she combines her love for literature, art, pedagogy and qualitative research to learn with and from the world.

Currently, she is a faculty member of the Master of International Hospitality and Service Management at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and co-coordinates the research programme. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Journal Research in Hospitality Management. Moreover, Marte Rinck held the position of NHL Stenden confidential counsellor for research integrity until January 2024.

Researcher, Lecturer and Student Coach

Georges El Hajal, PhD candidate

Georges El Hajal is an expert in the people profession and researcher at the Hotel Management School Leeuwarden, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. Born and raised in Lebanon, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from the Lebanese University, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, and a master’s in International Service Management from London Metropolitan University and NHL Stenden. He is working towards a Ph.D. at the University of Groningen, Faculty of Spatial Sciences. 

As a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (Chartered MCIPD), Georges leverages this designation to underscore his extensive experience and expertise in HR and L&D practice, showcasing a steadfast commitment to excellence. With a rich background in HRM spanning various countries, including Lebanon, Qatar, the UAE, the Netherlands, and Iraq, coupled with diverse experiences in the humanitarian field with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) across Switzerland, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Mauritania, and the Philippines, Georges offers a unique and broad perspective on the people profession. He is also a member of The Institute of Hospitality (MIH) and an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential holder from the International Coach Federation (ICF), demonstrating a high professional coaching practice standard.

At NHL Stenden, Georges is a student coach and HRM lecturer at the undergraduate and graduate levels, blending real-world experience with academic insights. He is also a part of the Academy of International Hospitality Research and the Hospitality Education research group and is deeply involved in academic research. Georges is also on the bachelor programme’s curriculum committee, bringing valuable research insights to support the curriculum redesign, ensuring an alignment with the evolving needs of the hospitality industry.

His Ph.D. focuses on the future of hospitality jobs, developing strategies for attracting, engaging, and retaining talent in the hospitality industry. His research aims to create a conceptual model and a regionally adapted framework for talent management strategies and theorise a support approach for the hospitality industry to prepare for future jobs and equip the current workforce with the skills required for tomorrow. Georges is also actively engaged in the RIF Project GastvrijFriesland, a collaborative effort to strengthen the hospitality sector in the Dutch province of Friesland. His involvement aligns closely with his Ph.D. research focused on developing a talent attraction and retention strategy tailored to the hospitality industry in the province of Friesland.

Georges has a passion for the people profession rooted in the belief that by investing in people and creating supportive, inclusive workplaces, organisations can achieve success while also contributing to broader societal well-being. In his work, George aims to advance knowledge in hospitality HRM, inform policy and practice, empower future professionals, promote innovation, and drive positive change within the industry.

Lecturer Human Resources Management, Organizational Behaviour and Hostmanship

Macmillion Braz Fernandes, MSc

Macmillion Braz Fernandes is a lecturer-researcher at the Hotel Management School Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. Born in Goa, India, he holds a master’s degree in psychology and is certified as a performance and competence developer.

With hands-on experience in the international hospitality industry in India, Middle East and Indonesia, he brings a wealth of expertise to his role. Adept in Design Based Education, he presently lectures, supports student’s final thesis and is the coordinator for a ten-week minor study focused on Hostmanship. His current research areas include collaboration among learning professionals, dynamics of the learning environment, the pivotal role and influence of Human Resources-people practices in diverse and multinational organisations, Hostmanship and Ethics.

Senior Lecturer (Digital) Marketing

Inga Mons, MSc

Inga Mons, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at Hotel Management School Leeuwarden, brings a wealth of international and multidisciplinary experience to her role. Originally from Germany, she has lived and worked in various countries including Argentina, Ecuador, South Africa, the UK, and Indonesia before settling in the Netherlands. With an undergraduate degree in Tourism Management (BBA) and postgraduate degrees in International Relations (MSc) and Digital Marketing (Master), Inga combines academic knowledge with practical insights gained from her extensive travels, enriching her understanding of the hospitality industry across cultures.

As a facilitator, coach, and marketing expert within the bachelor programme International Hospitality Management, Inga leverages her global insights to inspire and educate her students. Her experiences across different continents and sectors have equipped her with a deep appreciation for diversity and innovation, which she incorporates into her teaching approach.

Inga’s role in the Curriculum Development Project Team tasked with designing a Design Based Education (DBE) curriculum for the bachelor programme underscores her commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional education. Her passion for curriculum design is fuelled by a desire to prepare students for the ever-evolving demands of the industry, ensuring they are equipped with the skills and adaptability needed to thrive in a globalised world.

Driven by a passion for enhancing education and making an impact, Inga dedicates herself to her roles as educator and researcher. As a member of the Hospitality Education research group, she contributes to projects examining the DBE concept and its implementation, stakeholder perceptions, and evolving educator roles. Completing Radboud International Training for High Ability (RITHA), she aims to optimise educational approaches for diverse student groups, maximising talent development and individual potential.

Senior Lecturer

Mandy Wen, MA

Mandy (Xiaomin) Wen serves as a facilitator, expert, coach, and supervisor within the realms of internship guidance and consultancy projects at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. Originating from China, she has dedicated the last fifteen years to her academic and professional pursuits in the Netherlands, particularly at NHL Stenden. She holds an MA in International Service Management from London Metropolitan University and NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and has further refined her expertise in intercultural communication.

Wen has consistently emphasised the significance of cultural awareness and understanding, integrating these principles into her teaching and professional practices. Her recent inclusion in the DBE research group marks a continuation of her efforts to explore the interplay between Research everyday educational practice.

Wen’s role at NHL Stenden encompasses a variety of responsibilities. She mentors students through their internships, offering them guidance to navigate diverse and challenging environments effectively. Additionally, she supervises consultancy projects, applying academic theories to practical scenarios, thereby enriching the students’ learning experience with real-world insights. As chairperson of the curriculum committee for Hotel Management School Leeuwarden (HMSL), Wen has significantly contributed to aligning educational programmes with academic standards.

Wen’s research interests include intercultural communication and its influence on lifelong learning, curriculum development, and the practical application of teaching methods. Lately, her interest has extended to the integration and potential of AI to support and innovate traditional teaching methodologies and curriculum design for more effective outcomes.