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Advisory Panel

The STAY WYSE Advisory Panel is responsible for overseeing the following:

  • Supervising the work of the Association and its subsidiaries
  • Has responsibility for the execution of policies and strategic directions
  • Calling meetings of the membership and suggesting the agenda for each meeting.

Panel Chair

Philip Houghton, Chief Executive Officer, Safestay plc.

Seat term: 2014 – 2016


Philip’s entire working career has been in the hospitality sector, with a background in FTSE 100 companies including Whitbread, DSGI, Bass and Allied. In January 2015 Philip joined Safestay plc as their new CEO. Safestay, the world’s first listed hostel company, is a premium hostel brand with properties in London and York. The company has ambitious plans to significantly expand its portfolio across Europe.Immediately prior to the move, Philip had been a founding Director of Starboard Hotels, a private property and hospitality management company specialising in hotel and hostel development, ownership and operations. Philip successfully led the business from start-up stage to an established and respected organisation within the hospitality sector. Philip has a BA Honours Degree in Hotel and Catering Management, and an MBA. He is also the Chairperson of the Executive Board of the WYSE Travel Confederation. Motivation for standing for the STAY WYSE Board: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Board to date, and I wish to continue to serve the STAY WYSE community for another term. STAY WYSE is evolving to better serve its members, and is expected to undergo some major changes in the next 12 months. There are challenges ahead, but I am excited about the potential for STAY WYSE over the next few years and would like the opportunity to continue to work with STAY WYSE to help guide the organisation forward.”

Panel member

Stephen Lane, Head of Sales and Marketing, Hostelling International

Seat term: permanent


Stephen Lane joined Hostelling International in 2013 as Head of Sales & Marketing. Stephen brings almost 20 years of tourism sector experience to the STAY WYSE board, having held a variety of roles, most notably at the mainstream division of TUI Travel where he led a pan European Innovation programme and helped design the current brand portfolio. He speaks Spanish and French, as well as a little Swedish, and likes to spend his spare time with his family, running or playing.

Panel member

Eric van Dijk, Chief Operating Officer, Meininger Hotels


Eric is a Dutch national and joined MEININGER in 2013 as head of Sales and Operations – COO. He brought a wealth of experience from Generator Hostels. Starting in 2000 as operations manager, he took several career steps and became Managing Director in August 2007, significantly growing Generator Hostel’s capacities. In August 2012 he was promoted Director of Business Development and additionally became a member of the board of Generator Hostels.

Panel member

Sandra Cohen, Director, 92Y Residence







Sandra Cohen started her career in NYC as the travel coordinator and leader of bicycle tours for American Youth Hostels, focusing on trips throughout the USA and Europe. After a brief period in the for profit sector with Martinair Airlines, she joined the 92nd Street YM-YWHA, and has been the Director of 92Y Residence for 10 years. As Director of this 350 bed student accommodation, she has forged new initiatives to both enhance 92Y residents’ living and social experience and drive revenue. Sandra enjoys the challenge of finding new ways to collaborate with the full range of world renowned cultural programs at the 92Y, aligning opportunities across departments with the interests and goals of her residents, and striving to support them in their academic, professional and artistic pursuits throughout their stay in New York.

Motivation for standing for the STAY WYSE Board:

“I am motivated to serve on the board of STAY WYSE because I have been a member of the confederation for 10 years now and want to contribute to its future. I am happy to offer knowledge acquired from my extensive experience in the student accommodations sector. As a board member, I would like to enhance membership of the student accommodation sector of STAY WYSE in the USA and in particular, the Northeast. I would also like to inspire dialogue and forge opportunities to network among WYSE and WYSETC members and support new innovations in student housing.”

Panel Member

Anne Dolan, Clink Hostels

Anne’s passion for the travel industry stems from her own experience as backpacker.In the early 2000s, together with her sister, Anne opened a 170-bed hostel in Kings Cross, London. The opportunity allowed Anne to combine the things she enjoyed; meeting people, travelling and creating a sense of community. In 2007 the business expanded significantly with the opening of a large 800-bed hostel in a former London courthouse. Becoming known as ‘Clink Hostels’, the business has been awarded the ‘BETA Best Budget Accommodation’ award two years running, as well as receiving industry accolades from HostelWorld and Hostel Bookers. In August 2015, Clink expanded into Europe, with the opening of a hostel in Amsterdam. Anne feels privileged to have the opportunity to run a business based on her passions, and is committed to developing and advancing the hostel industry through leadership, comprehensive management reporting (financial and marketing analytics) and providing a great guest experience.

Motivation for standing for the STAY WYSE Board:

“The philosophy behind STAY WYSE is “to promote cross-cultural understanding for young people as they travel globally” and this is something that resonates with me personally and with Clink, and is something we promote. Because I believe in what STAY WYSE and WYSE Travel Confederation are doing, and with 16 years of experience in this sector, I would like to both help and be part of the STAY WYSE/ WYSE Travel Confederation journey. With STAY WYSE, I would like to continue to promote student travel and accommodation as a recognised and profitable industry, and an integral part of any country/city’s strategic tourism plan.”

Panel Member

Pieter van der Zeeuw, Hans Brinker Budget Hotel


Pieter has been hospitality professional for 25 years. Starting as a dishwasher at the Novotel, Pieter had a very diverse career in the entertainment and hospitality industry before ultimately becoming the Managing Director of the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel in Amsterdam in 2012. Over the last three years Pieter has been working on the future of the Hans Brinker brand in cooperation with the owners of the hotel. At the centre of this strategy and process has been the importance of never losing sight of the philosophy of the Hans Brinker; a good place to sleep and party, for a fair price, in the city centre. Pieter made the next step with Hans Brinker in 2013 when the hostel became an international brand, opening a new hostel with a local partner in Lisbon. The company has a plan to continue expansion across Europe and is looking for opportunities to collaborate with local partners to open additional Hans Brinker hostels.

Motivation for standing for the STAY WYSE Board:

“The hostel industry has evolved significantly in the past 10 years, and there is no sign of this slowing. It is an exciting time to be in the industry. Having been in the broader sector for many years, I believe my personal experience and perspective could help STAY WYSE as it moves forward for the future. In particular, as a STAY WYSE board member I would like to work with STAY WYSE members, both big and small, to think about and brainstorm ideas, on how to capitalise on new opportunities in our rapidly changing industry.”