HTH Alumni-owned Zoku wins Dutch Hotel Award 2021

The results of the Dutch Hotel Award 2021 are in! Hotelschool The Hague alumni-owned Zoku is the winner, while fellow HTH alumna-owned Parkzicht Eindhoven is also one of the three finalists.

Reinier Bunnik, Veerle Donders and Hans Meyer are HTH alumni, members of the winning team in the finale of the Dutch Hotel Award 2021. This year’s theme “Resilience & Connection” could not be more spot-on. Following a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team of Zoku Amsterdam demonstrated how creativity and innovation can help build stronger connections with guests, but also within the team, and resilience for the future.

The Zoku team impressed the jury with their inventiveness. An escape room with a riddle (which the jury was challenged to solve), an audio tour through Amsterdam (voiced by travel program makers Chris Zegers and Floortje Dessing), and the organization of an online discussion on hospitality resilience were all points in favor of Zoku. According to the jury, “they are Zoku first and afterwards what their job description says.”

Apart from Zoku, HTH alumna-owned Parkzicht Eindhoven also made quite an impression – especially with their challenge for the jury, and their final assignment. The jury had to create a meal out of the meal box from Parkzicht’s restaurant Thym, while the team members of Parkzicht assessed their dishes. “Nice to see how they are committed to people who were having a hard time during corona by having guests order their meal boxes for a few euros extra,” said the jury. For the final assignment, they searched for the ‘employee of the future’ at a… school. Primary and secondary school students were invited to the hotel to try out working in the hospitality industry.

The Dutch Hotel Award was first initiated by Trust Hospitality in 2004 to showcase the professionalism and creativity in the hotel industry. It is an annual competition, and this is the 17th year the award is presented. During three elimination rounds, the jury decides on three finalists. These, along with their teams, work on the year’s theme and a final project. This year’s jury consisted of Regine von Stieglitz of Hotelschool The Hague, chairman of the jury Bas Tolmeijer, initiator Francesco Monaco, sector banker leisure Sjuk Akkerman of ING, editor-in-chief of Misset Horeca Marjon Prummel, Bart Meinen of Heineken, and Sander Allegro.