I had the pleasure of attending the HSMAI European Travel Marketer Awards, held for the very first time in London last Thursday. Held at the Hilton Park lane, the ceremony recognised both leading experts and industry professionals for their exemplary work within the hospitality sector as well as the new talents of young professionals in our industry.
It was the first awards of its kind, arranged by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) who operate as the hospitality industry’s source for knowledge, community, and recognition for leaders committed to professional development, sales growth, revenue optimisation, marketing, and branding.
The ceremony kicked-off by awarding the Top Ten Extraordinary Minds in the Hospitality and Travel Industry. Here’s were the winners:
- Bjørn Kjos, CEO, Norwegian Air Shuttle
- Gerard Green, CEO, Yotel
- Grace Leo, President, GLA Hotels
- José A. Tazón, Chairman, Amadeus
- Kurt Ritter, President, The Rezidor Group
- Tamara Heber-Percy, CTO, Mr. & Mrs. Smith
- Michael Levie, Founding Partner and CEO, citizenM hotels
- Petter Stordalen, Chairman and Owner, Nordic Choice Hotels
- Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Group
- Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Founder, EasyJet
Awards were also given in other categories, including Young European Travel Industry Leader, Young European Hotelier of the Year, High Achieving Hotelier of the Year and HSMAI European Travel Marketer of the Year. The full list of winners can be found below.
What I like about HSMAI is that it’s very different from other industry awards. Of course, it’s focussed on the hospitality industry, but there is a real focus on learning, educating and bringing through the best young people into our industry, which is the perfect ethos to have. I also greatly admire the passion of everyone – from winners on stage, to everyone I met – we all shared one thing in common: passion for hospitality, which is great to be part of.
I can’t write this post without special mention of Petter Stordalen, Chairman and Owner of Nordic Choice Hotels. I’ve followed the story here in the distance for a number of years, but this was the first time I had heard directly from Petter. And what a passionate, confident guy. Receiver of three awards, including one for himself being names alongside the Top Ten Extraordinary Minds in the Hospitality and Travel Industry, Petter took to the stage on three separate occasions with inspirational and somewhat funny stories of how it all started, and unrivaled confidence for the future. Aside from the extremely funny side to his acceptances, shone through the drive, determination and vision needed to suceeed and to actually change the way we work in hospitality. He questioned why we did things the way we did, did not accept these process, and invested to change it for his business and others, and for me, this is why he is rightly one of the “Extraordinary Minds” from the evening.
Another name I should mention is Michael Levie, Founding Partner and CEO, citizenM hotels. For those of you who do not know this brand, check it out. Michael is one of the most inspirational people in our industry and his out of the box thinking has created an amazing and succesful brand. I’ll also post separately on this in the future, but it was a real pleasure to be on Michael’s table at the awards and have the chance to speak with him, as well as listen to his story when presented with his Extraordinary Minds in the Hospitality and Travel Industry.
Full awards details:
|Young European Travel Industry Leader
Wilhelm Konrad Weber, Swiss Hospitality Solutions
|Young European Hotelier of the Year
Aimone dal Pozzo, Castello dal Pozzo
|TV Advert of the Year
|PR Campaign of the Year
|Printed Advert of the Year
|Event of the Year
Nordic Choice Hotels
|Educator of the Year
Prof. Peter O’Connor, ESSEC Business School
|High Achieving Performance Enhancer of the Year
Young N. Nguyen, d2o
|High Achieving Hotelier of the Year
Christophe Mendjel, Hotel Secret de Paris
|HSMAI European Travel Marketer of the Year
Nordic Choice Hotels
Photo’s taken from HSMAI website.