Jennifer Moeggenberg & Michael Schoonewagen from
Belmond La Samanna join Heda Chehda from Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa in
Mike Poppe, Charlie Scott & Greg Sacks from
Erin Gouweleeuw & Jackie Poppe from Travel
Belmond's Calvin Young, Annette Kishon-Pines & Tom
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
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.