HSMAI Names Europe’s Top Hospitality and Travel Companies and Professionals

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Linda Bernander Silseth, CEO of the Oslo Airport Express, Petter Stordalen, owner of Nordic Choice Hotels and wife Gunnhild, and Torgeir Silseth, CEO, Nordic Choice Hotels – named CEO of the Year 2011 by HSMAI Europe. Photographer: Catharina Wandrup

The prestigious HSMAI European Awards 2011 were rewarded six European travel and hospitality companies and professionals during an event taking place at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel in Oslo Thursday night, following the day-time HSMAI Marketing Strategy Conference held at same venue.

The HSMAI European Awards recognise both leading experts and industry professionals for excellence within the travel sector, providing an innovative and fresh approach to the fast-growing industry.

The winners in six categories are:

Social responsibility

Amserdam RAI

Statement of the judges:

From engagement on the floor level to business decisions being made, the winner of the category Social Responsibility shows true commitment to a more sustainable operation, creating a safe, healthy and eco-friendly environment for all visitors and stakeholders. Their efforts have resulted in no less than three environmental certificates. We congratulate Amsterdam RAI.

Social Media:

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Statement of the judges:

Described as an organization that “gets” Social Media, the winner has shown a genuine creativity in the way the use Social Media to not only interact with their customers, but also engaging their customers in interaction with each other. They ”made history by being the first airline to reschedule a flight following a request from a user on Twitter as well as entering the Guinness Book of Records for having the highest altitude dance party”. We congratulate KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Concept Hotel of the Year:

Scandic Hotels

Statement of the judges:

The winner has shown a capability to think out of the box about future trends, breaking old habits and instituting new culture with their concept hotels. Through a fresh design and creative market communication they create curiousness and an emotional attachment to their products. Giving us a glimpse of the future of hotels, this chain is setting a standard to be reckoned with. We congratulate Scandic Hotels.

Educator of the Year:

d2o, Kjell Raymond Gangdal

Statement of the judges:

With a genuine love of learning and a strong passion to share his knowledge and insights, this person has taught and trained students and executives in all corners of the world. He has an extraordinary ability to create a learning environment where managers and students feel safe, respected, and at the same time challenged. We congratulate Kjell Raymond Gangdal, Director of Education and Training at d2o, as Educator of the Year.

High Achieving Performance Enhancer of the Year:

Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Monique Jaspers-Wijn

Statement of the judges:

A visionary in European hospitality, this person has earned a reputation in the industry as a strategically minded leader who is able to produce solid results and exceed expectations, not only in her own organization, but for their clients also. We congratulate Monique Jaspers-Wijn, VP Business Development EMEA at Sabre Hospitality Solutions as winner of the award High Achieving Performance Enhancer of the Year.

CEO of the Year:

Nordic Choice Hotels, Torgeir Silseth

Statement of the judges:

The winner of this award is a passionate senior executive who has been an integral part of the development and success of the chain he represents. Through a close cooperation over the last 20 years with the owner and chairman of the company, he has been an essential asset as the hotel empire has grown to become the fastest expanding chain in the Nordic region. His ability to engage others in achieving a common goal has been one of his hallmarks. The chain has seen some of its largest growth since he was appointed CEO in 2006. We congratulate Torgeir Silseth, CEO Nordic Choice Hotels.

In addition Luca Guerrieri, originally named Destination Developer of the Year 2010, received his prize during this year’s event.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to focus on the winners from our exciting industry, the hotel and travel sector. We congratulate them all on the innovative and great work they are doing,” says HSMAI Europe’s president and CEO Ingunn Hofseth.

Useful conference

The foregoing day-time conference saw lectures from a large number of key note speakers, such as:

  • Geoff Parker, Client Services Director, Click Consult
  • Paolo Torchio, VP e-Marketing & Revenue Consulting, Sabre Hospitality Solutions
  • André Wiringa, Managing Partner/CXO Performance Solutions
  • Dan Hill, President Sensory Logic
  • RJ Friedlander, CEO & Founder, ReviewPro
  • Christian Kamhaug, Head of Social Media, SAS
  • Jørgen Brunborg-Næss, Academic Director, Synlighet AS
  • Karen Plumb, Commercial Director EMEA, TripAdvisor for Business
  • Asif Khan, Founder & President, The Location Based Marketing Association
  • Nicholas Schlappkohl, Director E-Commerce, Rezidor Hotel Group
  • Kevin May, Editor & Co-Founder, Tnooz

Also on the agenda were panel discussions and a number of workshops. Please visit this page for details in full.

Click here for high resolution photograph.

More pictures from the events in this Facebook gallery

Photograph: Linda Bernander Silseth, CEO of the Oslo Airport Express and wife of Torgeir Silseth, Petter Stordalen, owner and chairman of Nordic Choice Hotels and his wife Gunhild, and Torgeir Silseth, CEO, Nordic Choice Hotels – named CEO of the Year 2011 by HSMAI Europe. Photographer: Catharina Wandrup