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Nina Nieminen elected as Chair of HSMAI Region Europe Distribution Advisory Board


Being part of HSMAI Region Europe, a pan-European association, Nina values the interaction with different people from different organizations, while learning something new from them.

"S Group has 58 hotels and more than 500 restaurants. Sokos Hotels in Finland, Tallinn and St.Petersburg, Radisson Blu Hotels in Finland and S Group's individual and chain restaurants offer a diverse range of hotel and restaurant services and experiences for the varying needs of customers," says Nina Nieminen, Director of Revenue management and distribution, Sokos Hotels – SOK Travel and Hospitality Industry Chain Management.

"I'm happy to be elected as Chair of Distribution Advisory Board and grateful for this opportunity to dwell even deeper to this discipline," Nina says. "I'm looking forward to discussing, learning and sharing different views together with the advisory board and the whole industry on how the future of distribution will be looking like, not only in the next 5 years but also on how it constantly changes in the waves of digitalization. In addition to increase their revenue hotel companies need to have their attention on their distribution solutions and strategies to avoid any unnecessary profit loss, and that is why it is important to have distribution topics on the agenda as well," she continues.

"Together with my team we are delighted to work together with Nina. Ever since attending our ROC and Think Tank earlier this year she has been an active member of HSMAI Region Europe as well as a speaker at many of our events. I strongly believe in the ambitious input that Nina will bring to this advisory board, in addition to the great discussions and initiatives from this high-level group of professionals", says Ingunn Hofseth, the President and CEO of HSMAI Region Europe.

The HSMAI Region Europe Distribution Advisory Board continues to grow by adding even more thought leaders as members, with the aim of sharing powerful insights and knowledge across the disciplines and other advisory boards. The ROC and DOC Conferences and the many by-invitation-only Think Tanks that will take place on March 29th and 30th 2017 co-located with the HITEC Amsterdam are some of the annual key events of HSMAI Region Europe, serving as a place to share this valuable knowledge and information.

HSMAI Region Europe Distribution Advisory Board currently consists of:

Nina Nieminen, Director of Revenue management and distribution, Sokos Hotels – SOK Travel and Hospitality Industry Chain Management (Chair)
Richard Biggs, Senior Vice President – Revenue Optimization & Distribution, The Rezidor Hotel Group
Michael Hucho, Vice President Distribution Central Europe, AccorHotels
Adriaan Coppens, Co-Founder and CEO, OTA Insight
Ralf Denke, Vice President e-Business, Steigenberger Hotels
Shawn K. Jereb, Vice President of Revenue Management and Distribution, Belmond
Nils Korsvoll, Vice President Distribution, eBerry by Nordic Choice Hospitality Group
Thomas Grundström, Director Distribution, Scandic Hotels

More advisory board members will be added in the near future.

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Varma commissions expansion of Sokotel's Flamingo hotel


Varma has commissioned the construction of a hotel expansion in connection with the Flamingo entertainment centre in Vantaa's Aviapolis area and will rent the new wing to Sokotel Oy under a long-term lease agreement. The expansion will house approximately 230 hotel rooms.

"The Flamingo entertainment centre and the adjoining Break Sokos Hotel Flamingo have proven to be good investments for us. The volume of travellers at the airport is growing, especially from Asian countries. The hotel expansion is a response to the area's development needs and further reinforces Flamingo's position as an entertainment centre. We believe in Flamingo," says Varma's Property Development Director, Aarne Markkula.

Construction will begin in spring 2017, and the project, called Flamingo Wing, will be completed by the end of 2018. The wing-shaped building will be chilli-pepper red and have a floor area of roughly 9,700 square metres.

Much-needed additional accommodation for the developing Aviapolis area

The hotel expansion will bring more than 230 new hotel rooms to the Flamingo complex.

Designed by the architectural firm Haroma & Partners, the new wing will be connected to Flamingo by a corridor. Once the project is completed, Break Sokos Hotel Flamingo will be the largest hotel in Finland, with some 540 hotel rooms.

"In order to succeed in the current competitive climate, hotels must be able to offer more than just a good room. The philosophy behind our Break hotels is to help people unwind from the stresses of daily life by offering a wide range of activities and fun services, whether they are travelling for a business trip, conference or leisure. The expansion will enable Flamingo to better respond to continuously growing demand," says Harri Ojanperä, director of the S-Group's travel and nutrition business operations.

For the hotel operator Sokotel, the Flamingo expansion is a natural part of the company's growth strategy.

"The popular Break Sokos Hotel Flamingo, together with Original Sokos Hotel Vantaa, is an important pillar of Sokotel's hotel business in the capital city region. We are pleased to be involved in developing the Aviapolis area, as we strongly believe in its future," says Sokotel's CEO, Tapio Satta.

In connection with the hotel expansion, the existing property will also be developed: the hotel's breakfast restaurant and kitchen will be expanded, and new elevators will be added. Larger restaurant and conference spaces will also enable increased capacity for customer events.

Flamingo, which has an indoor passage to the Jumbo shopping centre, is the largest entertainment and leisure centre in Finland. It is located in the Aviapolis area, near the Helsinki–Vantaa airport.

For more information, please contact:

Aarne Markkula, Property Development Manager, Varma, tel. +358 40 522 6927,

Leena Rantasalo, Communications Manager, Varma, tel. +358 50 300 7980,

Harri Ojanperä, Senior Vice President, SOK, tel. +358 10 76 82801,

Tapio Satta, CEO, Sokotel, tel. +358 500 438 544,


Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company is the most solvent earnings-related pension company and largest private investor in Finland. The company is responsible for the statutory earnings-related pension cover of some 860,000 people in the private sector. Premiums written totalled EUR 4.6 billion in 2015 and pension payments stood at EUR 5.2 billion. Varma's investment portfolio amounted to EUR 41.2 billion at the end of June 2016.

Sokotel Oy is an SOK subsidiary in charge of travel and nutrition business operations. Sokotel runs 14 Sokos Hotels and seven Radisson Blu Hotels in Finland. Sokotel's operations focus on the capital city area, but the company also runs hotel units in Tampere, Vaasa and Oulu.

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Book a hotel directly without any third parties


MaRa, the Finnish Hospitality Association, is involved in the European BOOK DIRECT campaign launched by HOTREC, the European trade association of hotels, restaurants and cafés. The campaign reminds consumers of their possibility to book services directly from service providers and offers information about the benefits consumers receive by booking an accommodation, restaurant or other service directly via the booking channels of companies.  The wide range of booking channels has increased the number of choices available to consumers and information about the range of services, while these booking channels include unreasonable terms and conditions for companies.

Consumers are able to book accommodation or restaurant services in many ways. Different booking channels offer different benefits and advantages for consumers and service providers, such as accommodation companies and restaurants.

The BOOK DIRECT campaign reminds consumers that by booking services directly without the use of any third parties, they receive a number of benefits.  By booking services directly from the company's website, by calling or sending email to the company, or by directly visiting it, consumers have direct contact with the service provider. By maintaining direct contact, consumers obtain direct information about availability, other services, any special offers and terms and conditions. In addition, it benefits companies to always offer the lowest price on their website.

By booking a room directly via the booking channels of accommodation companies, consumers are protected by the general booking and cancellation terms and conditions of accommodation companies audited by the Consumer Ombudsman. In this way, service providers also assume responsibility for any booking-related problems. If consumers book their services via an external booking service company, these terms and conditions will not apply.

The largest booking service companies hold a strong position around the world. The wide range of booking channels has increased the number of choices available to consumers and information about the range of services, while they have presented unreasonable terms, such as the best price condition, to accommodation companies. Accordingly, accommodation companies must always offer the lowest price to booking service companies and so they cannot offer rooms at lower prices in their own channels. The fees charged by booking service companies from service providers are often unreasonably high. In addition, booking service companies may indicate that no rooms are available, even though there actually are.

Book a room at Sokos Hotels – and get the best benefits – directly at You can also book a room by calling our sales service (+358 20 1234 600).

Welcome to Sokos Hotels!

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Original Sokos Hotel Presidentti to be modernised – Design by Paola Suhonen


Located in the centre of Helsinki, this iconic hotel will move on to a new era, as it will be transformed into a hotel representing Finnish phenomena through stories. The new concept has been designed by Paola Suhonen and Ivana Helsinki, while the design agency KOKO3 has been responsible for the interior design. The hotel will be modernised in stages, and it will be completed in 2018.

In the visions of Paola Suhonen, the new Presidentti is a clever interpretation of a modern Finland of contrasts, a country of bright summer nights, as well as frost and ice. Suhonen's interior decoration concept plays with northern atmospheres. The Scandinavian and arctic dimensions are boldly mixed with Finnish characteristics.

"What we are lacking is a hotel with a special story and atmosphere, where Finnish qualities are combined with the exotic. There are more than enough design hotels and boutique hotels all over the world. Many hotels have integrated Finnish design into their interior decoration. We wanted to create a complete concept, where the Finnish atmosphere and stories are present everywhere," Paola Suhonen says.

The hotel floors will have five different themes: midsummer, winter storms, peace and quiet, enchanted forest and Finnish sisu (guts) will be displayed in different surprising ways.

"I designed a large range of emotions for Presidentti. After all, the hotel must be interesting to seasoned business travellers, tourists visiting Finland and Finnish holiday travellers," says Suhonen, explaining the starting points of the design process. "Through different atmospheres, each visit can also be experienced in different ways."

The current trends in the interior decoration of craftsmanship and authenticity will also have a strong presence in the new look of Presidentti. The hotel rooms will only be furnished with decorative items designed specifically for Original Sokos Hotel Presidentti, such as hand-tufted rugs and various thematic wallpapers. Public areas, such as the lobby, will also feature unique design.

"Hotels of today must be able to offer strong experiences to their guests through service and the physical setting. Our objective is to have a hotel which leaves strong imprints on our customers' minds, a hotel which may even be a tourist attraction in itself," says Hannele Laurila, hotel manager of Original Sokos Hotel Presidentti. "We believe that, through the creative input of Paola Suhonen and the solid expertise of KOKO3 in interior design, we can reach this objective."

The new entrance floor to be opened in late autumn 2016 will invite guests to a world of stories. The lobby plays with the combination of raw timber and copper, with a catwalk leading to the conference floor opening up in the middle. The modernisation project will be carried out, while paying homage to the history of the hotel. As a result, the conference floor will feature Finnish presidents, led by Urho Kekkonen, who originally opened the building.

During the modernisation process of nearly two and a half years, corridors, lobby and meeting facilities, the auditorium and restaurant will be modernised, in addition to all of the 494 hotel rooms. The process will proceed in stages, and the hotel will operate normally during the modernisation.


For more information, please contact:

Hannele Laurila, hotel manager, Original Sokos Hotel Presidentti, tel. +358 50 359 4449

Heli Engblom, business operations director, Sokotel Oy, tel. +358 50 388 3111

Pirjo Suhonen, Ivana Helsinki, tel. +358 50 347 6131

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Sokos Hotels to certify their sauna experience


The sauna, for a Finn, is not merely a place for cleansing the body, but a temple and a source of wellbeing. For many Finns the true meaning of the sauna lies in lifelong traditions that go back hundreds of years. In an ever changing world it seems that the sauna not only has the power to evaporate worries but it also seems to improve sleep and bring other health benefits. Hotels in Finland are major Finnish sauna experience providers.

Hotels which are part of the "Original by Sokos Hotels" chain provide 106 000 hours of steam each year. The chain has now decided to certify their sauna experience to ensure premium quality. This is carried out, in each of the chain hotels, in collaboration with the "Sauna from Finland" -organization.

Original by Sokos Hotels strive, through the development process and quality certification, to become the forerunners of Finnish sauna culture, by integrating world-class sauna experiences into every single hotel and conference guests customer experience.

The "Authentic Finnish Sauna Experience"-branding, granted with the quality certificate, guarantees the customers of certified Sokos Hotels world-class Finnish sauna experiences. Each Original Sokos Hotel sauna will be audited for cleanliness, multisensory impact, safety and relaxation.


"Collaborating with the Sauna from Finland -organization gives us the tools to achieve improved quality. Our hotels now have a deeper understanding of the importance of a sauna experience as a significant part of the hotel visit ", says Markus Siitonen, Concept Manager of the Sokos Hotels -chain. The first Sokos Hotels -hotel saunas will receive their quality certificates in the spring of 2016.


"The business traveler may very well find the sauna visit the best moment of the day. The sauna offers peace, quiet and is entirely free of digital noise", Markus Siitonen says. "For tourists from abroad, the sauna experience may very well be their most thrilling Finnish memory."


High-quality sauna service is also a sales development possibility. Sokos Hotels actively promotes sauna venues for corporate team days, conferences and other events. Original by Sokos Hotels boast 95 saunas and 239 hotel rooms and suites with a sauna. Great sauna catering is considered an equally important part of the experience.


Sokos Hotels participate in the Nordic Travel Fair on January 21st, at the Business Travel Forum. Stop by for news on saunas, to fetch your own "My First Sauna" -guide, selected sauna aromas and vouchers for reduced hotel accommodation.


For more information please contact: Markus Siitonen, Concept  Manager, SOK Travel Industry Chain Management,, Phone: +358 (0)50 3663 942






Sokos Hotels is Finland's most extensive hotel chain with over 50 hotels in Finland, Tallinn and St. Petersburg. The hotels are located in city centers or in connection with major leisure destinations. In addition to quality accommodation Sokos Hotels offer a wide range of sauna, event and restaurant services.


Sokos Hotels are part of the S-Group.




"Sauna from Finland" is a corporate network focusing on the Finnish sauna, aiming to create a world-class Finnish sauna experience and increase the competitiveness of its members.

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