HSMAI European Best in Class Marketing laureates 2015 and “Top 20 Extraordinary Minds In Sales, Marketing & Technology across Europe 2015” named

“The TOP 20 EXTRAORDINARY MINDS IN SALES, MARKETING & TECHNOLOGY across Europe” were appointed during a festive event in London Wednesday 10 February 2016, in which also Best in Class winners were named in several categories.

“The 2015 Top 20 laureates are judged for their recent work, based on the following criteria: creativity and innovation, cutting edge sales, marketing, revenue and technology campaigns, achievement in challenging situations, and sales efforts resulting in significant gains, by a panel of senior executives. We are deeply impressed by, and proud to presents this year’s winners,” says Ingunn Hofseth, President & CEO of HSMAI Region Europe.

Winners were named in five categories (please scroll down for the complete list of winners as well as the shortlisted entries).

The Radisson Blu Portman Hotel served as scene for HSMAI Region Europe’s 6th Annual Revenue Optimisation Conference, as well as the awards ceremony, taking place in the evening, charecterised by entertainment and high spirits, with world-class keynote speakers earlier on.

The attendants were treated to an exquisite mix of food, drinks and entertainment.


Peter O’Connor
Dean of Academic Programs, ESSEC Business School

Hedwig Wassing
Owner, annacom

Nikhil Gupta
Director of Hotels and Car Hire, Skyscanner

Stephen Williams
Director Group Sales & Marketing, Windward M

Rufino Perez Fernández
Chief Commercial Officer, NH Hotels

Daniel Skjeldam
Group CEO, Hurtigruten

Marco Nussbaum
Co-Founder & CEO, prizeotel – THE Budget Design Hotels

Michael Simon
General Manager – Distribution, EMEA & ASPAC, Marriott

Margitte Verkruijsse
Vice President Business Development, Snapshot GmbH

Michael Toedt
Managing Partner, CEO, Toedt, Dr. Selk & Coll. GmbH

Hans Meyer
Co Founder & Managing Director, Zoku

Christina Purnell
Director, Global eCommerce & Digital Services – Europe, Marriott

Anabelle Beets
Director of Revenue Management, Kempinski Hotels

Edward St.Onge
President Global Sales and Marketing, Flip.to

Carmen Duecker
Deputy Managing Director, Best Western Central Europe GmbH

Christoph Hoffmann
CEO, 25 hours Hotel

Etienne Faisandier
VP Revenue Management & Business Intelligence, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts

Margaret Ady
Vice President, Marketing, TrustYou

Mark Lewsey
Director of Marketing, ME London Hotel

Wietse Bijzeit
Commercial Director, Corendon Hotels & Resorts

For more details, with pictures, please see our video presentation.

The Best in Class winners

The Digital Winner

Gold: Red Carnation Hotel Collection
Honourable mention: Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
Honourable mention: Ve Interactive / The Gresham
Honourable mention: Marriott
Honourable mention: Star Tour

The jury says:

In 2014 The Red Carnation Hotel Marketing Team took over the digital marketing strategy for Ashford Castle and faced the challenge of an underperforming website and an overall
immature digital strategy. To put it mildly. The objective was to implement a comprehensive, multi channel digital strategy to increase reach, engagement and conversion for Ashford Castle, while repositioning Ashford as one of the leading, resort hotels in
the world. Goals:
• Design,build, launch and optimise a fully responsive website
• Build a multi channel and multi media content strategy
• Redefine the search engine marketing strategy
• Drive a consistent PR message
The outcome has been astonishing. The addition of a fully responsive booking engine to the website ensured a seamless customer journey throughout.
Social media played a huge role in telling ‘the story’ of Ashford. Referrals to the website via Facebook for example grew by 82%. Overall traffic 2015 vs. 2014 grew by +39% and Mobile traffic increased 163%. Need we say more about the winner in this category?

Shortlisted in this category:
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group
Shopping Minds
Ve Interactive / The Gresham
Red Carnation Hotel Collection
Windward Management
Voyat Inc
Star Tour

Social Media

Gold: SAIL Event Partners C.V.
Honourable mention: Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

The jury says:

Sail Amsterdam is one of the largest maritime manifestations in the world. In 2015 over 8000 ships participated in the event attracting 2.3 million visitors in 5 days. Goal for 2015: to become the biggest Social Media Event in the Netherlands. Challenge: to overcome 5 years of technology/social media development with limited funds.

Staggering Results: #1 and biggest social media event ever(!) in the Netherlands. Trending topic in Netherlands during the whole event. Worldwide(!) the most tweeted subject on twitter (80.000 tweets) resulting in 210 million impressions and 16.000 followers on Twitter
(in 5 days) More than 34.000 photo’s were posted on Instagram by the public and on Facebook the event received 38.852 likes reaching about 5.8 million people.

Public Relations

Gold: Magdas Hotel

The jury says:

When refugees are granted asylum they are legally allowed to work, however, due to different reasons they often still have difficulties to find a job. At the same time there is a lack of qualified personnel in the tourism industry. In order to tackle both issues, magdas developed a concept for a social business hotel run by refugees and experienced staff.

How? By turning disadvantages into advantages! For example:

– They had an old house and little budget. So they upcycled many things and made new design furniture out of it.

– They had no marketing budget, so they made people talk about them and started a crowdfunding campaign.

– They had no money for furniture so the asked people to help build it and donate it.

Did it work? You bet! Worldwide media coverage (including CNN, BBC, Die Zeit, Radio Tokyo) with over hundred articles, TV and radio features, online blogs etc. etc. Over 21.000 guests that at Magdas since the opening in Feb.2015 and over 1.000 people visited their hotel to informed themselves about the project.

Best in Class Technology – Revenue Management

Gold: Accor Hotels Germany

The jury says:

In order to strengthen the bookings via their own AccorHotels.com and brand websites, Accor created the “Only On” A web direct offer defined on a customer perspective: concise, succinct and to-the-point.

According to the motto “the best trip starts with the best price”, due to “Only On” Accors clients can save up to 10% extra discount exclusively on its websites. The campaign is turning out very succesful as, despite some additional discount on the whole existing pricing, the “Only On” strategy has resulted in a net positive revenue outcome with among others:

• A volume growth on Accorhotels.com of +18 pts in September 2015, whereas OTAS were slowing down

• An Optimized Rate Mix: 55% standard offers (e.g. Rack Rate)

• A Volume effect of : +12pts

• A Price effect of: +6pts

while during the first two waves (lasting about 6 weeks) Accor Germany generated more than 130 Million ad impressions via the display campaign in Germany and Austria.

Best in Class Technology – Innovation Award

Gold: CheckMate
Honourable Mention: Shopping Minds

The Jury says:

Many hotels have tried their own apps to enable messaging, but the difficulty of finding, downloading, and remembering to use an app means that few guests use these tools. Meanwhile aggregator apps like Kayak and TripAdvisor are commonplace, while hotels’ apps suffer from limited usage.

Checkmate’s goal: To create a tool for hotels and their guests that enables them to communicate more effectively among eachother! By addressessing every stage of the guest’s journey (from pre-arrival to post check-out) Checkmate provides the opportunity for

– Mobile Check In, even before they leave home if they want

– Two-way messaging making it it easy for guests and hotels to communicate to eachother. For example: Guests no longer need to wait on hold to request room service or ask for towels. Instead, they can fire off an SMS to make these requests.

– Real-time Feedback Loops – Rather than waiting for a post-stay survey or TripAdvisor review to discover an issue

Does it work?

• 71.2% of guests opt in to SMS communication during mobile check in.

• Over 40,000 guests texted with their hotel at some point during the customer journey.

• More than 1.2M messages have been exchanged.

• 16.7% of guests use real time feedback tools to alert staff to their experience.

• 84,457 guests have completed Checkmate’s in-stay feedback survey, providing unprecedented real-time transparency into guest satisfaction.

So yes it works! as it helps the hotel to create a more personalized & very effective service that guests will remember.

Shortlisted in this category:
Shopping Minds
NH Hotel Group
Voyat Inc

Photo: An handful of ‘The Top 20 Extraordinary Minds In Sales, Marketing & Technology across Europe’ laureates on stage at London’s Radisson Blu Portman Hotel Wednesday 10 February 2016. Photographer: Thor Håkon Ulstad