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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).

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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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