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Call for the HSMAI Region Europe Innovation Advisory Board Members

Are you interested in joining HSMAI Region Europe Innovation Advisory Board?

Complementing the work of HSMAI Region Europe, HSMAI’s advisory boards connect members with common interests across geographic boundaries in the European region. 

HSMAI Europe in general has sustainability high on our agenda. Here are some of the things we are already doing: 

  • We have handed out our very first European Sustainability Award and this will take place on a yearly basis
  • Arranged a roundtable discussion in Germany – Sustainability Stammtisch: Walk the Talk
  • Sustainability was high on the agenda for our annual ROC conference this year

We are now on the way to producing a Sustainability Toolbox! Moving forward, sustainability will be a key focus for the Innovation Advisory Board too.

Benefits for you and the company you represent:

  • Leader development
  • High profile exposure within the industry
  • Recognition for you and your employer for contributions to the industry


  • To advance this Advisory Board’s insight and presence, exchange and communicate with HSMAI Europe members on trends, thought leadership and best practices
  • To engage in networking between senior professionals in the hospitality industry and their partners
  • To engage with next generation talent to enhance the career image of the industry

Get to know Josje van Dongen 

We met with Josje van Dongen, who is the Chair of the HSMAI Europe Innovation Advisory Board. We got to know her better and hear more about her journey in this role, as well as advice for future members to join.

Here are some of the things she had to say.

“I love to contribute and make the world a better place fundamentally as we face real challenges by preparing students to find their place and shape the global hospitality industry and society.”

Josje van Dongen,

Q. Tell us about yourself 

I am a member of the Board of the Hotel Management School Maastricht (HMSM), The Netherlands, leading the domains of Innovation and Programme Specialisations. HMSM’s motto is ‘the next step in hospitality’: innovation!

I am responsible for Minors & Tracks in Hotel Management, Foodservice, Horizons in Hospitality, management consultancy projects (thesis), innovative entrepreneurship curriculum, education innovation, digitalisation, blended learning, exchange partners, university relations (students – lecturers), development of joint master Leading Hospitality Innovation. Working closely with partners of the International Hotel, Gastronomy, Travel and Hospitality industry and academic partners to make innovation and sustainable business growth happen. Her role as Chair of the HSMAI Innovation Board gives Hotel Management School Maastricht high-profile exposure with the industry and peer academic partners.

After studying at Hotelschool The Hague (BSc) and Business Administration in Groningen (MSc), I started working for retail multinational Ahold Delhaize through a management traineeship. For over ten years, I held various management positions in business development, marketing, branding and innovation. 

I am passionate about initiating, designing, branding and transforming companies while being in charge of the whole process.

Q. What does innovation mean to you?

I love to contribute and make the world a better place fundamentally as we face real challenges by preparing students to find their place and shape the global hospitality industry and society. I like to make things happen — move & mould. I am attracted by strong values, driven people, outrageous goals, disruptive innovation, and creative energy.

Q. Why do you think HSMAI Region Europe should have its own Advisory Board for Innovation? 

Hospitality is a traditional industry, while in today’s hospitality business, change is the only constant. Because of new technologies, new business models, the need for a more sustainable way of living and changing customer needs and expectations. If we do not anticipate and act on these changes, we run the risk of committing the cardinal sin of our industry: not living up to customer expectations. 

Members of the Innovation Advisory Board should embrace these fundamental changes. We see it as an opportunity to help improve and even redefine the hospitality business. But to change the game, we need to know the game, inside and out. 

That is why it is crucial to challenge the existing hospitality industry and make HSMAI Europe members aware of these transformations & give insights on the one hand, and provide skills & tools, on the other hand, to make innovations happen.

Q. Are there any changes you would like to add to the Advisory Board for 2023?

After COVID and its significant impact on hospitality, travel, education and young adults, to name a few, it is crucial to redefine innovation and perhaps refocus while making sure to deliver inspirational, optimistic and tangible outcomes.

Q. What are some of the things you have achieved during your time as the chair of the Innovation Advisory Board?

  • We designed and ran a survey about innovation among the HSMAI Europe members and shared results at the Curate
  • We hosted a Design Thinking workshops at the Curate and at the HSMAI Holland event held in Amsterdam
  • In collaboration with hotel school students of various hotel schools, we started scanning Innovation labs and identifying existing/upcoming innovation topics/projects in the industry. Plus, we wanted to determine the critical success factors in setting up & running an innovation lab successfully

Q. In your opinion, what are some of the best things about being part of this advisory board?

  • Challenging the status quo
  • Via the advisory board members tapping into the diverse expertise, networks, geographical/cultural backgrounds, corporate and/or academic background and finding common ground with like-minded people to make the world a better place and a bit more hospitable

Q. What would you say to someone who may be interested in joining this advisory board?  We understand you are looking for leaders working directly in the hotel and travel industry.

Please join if change drives you, feel the urge to make the hospitality industry future-proof, love creating and experimenting with new ideas and want to become part of a vibrant learning community. The HSMAI Innovation Board connects us all in a shared mindset: the drive to create customer delight now and in the future by turning change into business excellence.

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