Belmond – It’s A Beautiful World

with Helen Hewetson

Jennifer Moeggenberg & Michael Schoonewagen
from Belmond La Samanna join Heda Chehda
from Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa in Mayan

Mike Poppe, Charlie Scott & Greg Sacks from

Erin Gouweleeuw & Jackie Poppe from Travel Impresarios

Belmond's Calvin Young, Annette Kishon-Pines
& Tom Alderink

Part of the crowd at the swanky event

Some agent events are difficult to fill. And then there are the ones held at the Momofuku restaurant in the Shangri La hotel. As the team from Belmond (formerly known as Orient Express) recently discovered, it's a slam-dunk to host a celebration with exquisite appetizers and exceptional drinks at a terrific venue. The event was full of top luxury agents, eager to hear more about the company's 1st year of rebranding.

As we sipped our wine, Annette Kishon-Pines, Regional Director of Sales, The Americas filled us in. She laughed as she explained how agents had reacted at last year's event, launching the rebranding from Orient Express Hotels to Belmond; “Everyone thought they were in the wrong spot when they saw the new Belmond banners!" she said, going on to explain that the rebranding has now taken hold in the market and is becoming widely recognized.

Like other large hotel groups, Belmond has discovered the benefits of keeping the parent brand visible to their clientele. Annette went on to describe how one guest, who loved his leisure trip to a recently rebranded Belmond hotel, had made the connection to another newly rebranded Belmond property in a different city when he was scheduled to be at a business conference. His lucky agent was understandably pleased, too, when he booked the 2nd trip.

As agents schmoozed with the various worldwide representatives of the group, I took a moment to chat with Calvin Young, Director of Sales for Belmond Reservations – i.e., someone you need to know! – about the rebranding initiative. He explained how the Orient Express name is, in fact, owned by the French rail system, so it was inevitable that it would be given up eventually. And the timing was right for a change last year, so Belmond was born.

Although Calvin admits that there is still some lingering nostalgia for the old brand, the new name has provided a refreshing change. Belmond is a name created to evoke the notion of a beautiful world – or belle monde. And that's what this group really is all about; a caring attitude, a genuine touch – and special care for clients who will notice the details.

That came through loud and clear at their event; care had clearly been taken to ensure their top agents were rewarded with prizes and treats. The terrific wine and drinks didn't stop flowing, and the very special snacks ranged from crunchy-on-the-outside melted chevre puffs to shrimp crackers with succulent duck breast, to something delicious including pork belly. So delicious, I glazed over as the server attempted to describe the delicacy.

On top of this, the event's hosts were amongst the most genuine representatives I've ever encountered; a special shout-out must go to Tom Alderink, who was constantly in demand – as the Director of Leisure Sales for the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Eastern Canada, he knew many of the agents by name and was clearly well-loved. He explained that agents can now use a brand-new agent website or the new groups website to help make their world just a little more beautiful in future.

(will not be published)