Global Director of Industry Relations
TripAdvisor has become a close partner to HSMAI Region Europe and Helena is also a member of the HSMAI Region Europe Digital Marketing Advisory Board.
Q: What does a day at work consist of for you?
A: No two days are really ever the same, which is the great thing about what I do. Key to this role is to be aware of what is happening in the industry, listen carefully and connect a lot of dots!
Q: What’s the best part of your job?
A: Learning and understanding about the challenges that impact the hospitality sector and being able to connect with so many of the great minds and personalities – the constant change is refreshing and you truly cannot stop, otherwise you will miss something.
Q: Do you have anyone you’ve looked up to?
A: My father was my hero and also a true travel industry legend – and he knew how to build a wonderful sauna for me too …
Q: Do you have any nice traditions at your office?
A: There’s a great atmosphere in the TripAdvisor London office – staff can take yoga classes or grow their own vegetables in our little rooftop allotment. We are a very sociable company which enables us to get to know all of the passionate and inspiring people we work with.
Q: How long have you been a member of HSMAI?
A: We joined as a member of HSMAI Region Europe September 2015 and we have also been working very closely with Bob and HSMAI in Americas for many years – since 2007.
Q: What do you think is the best thing about HSMAI?
A: I would say that it would have to be the people that it brings together. Our industry is very much about the people and connections, and HSMAI does that very well through the events, advisory boards etc. (amongst other great things).
Q: Are there any activities or projects you think HSMAI should start up?
A: Proactively ask «what keeps the industry awake at night» and encourage the key members/companies/advisory boards to address these concerns and share these in a simple and easily digestible Q&A format (as we are all very busy in our daily lives) …
Q: Describe your perfect weekend.
A: When I am not on the road a perfect weekend would involve a long walk through the beautiful Greenwich park with my husband, a boat ride on the Thames followed by a cosy evening at home: sauna in our garden, home cooked dinner and a great movie with a glass of bubbly or wine.
Q: If you were trapped on a desert island, what would you take with you, if you could choose one thing
A: Not sure if I can call my husband a thing …
Q: What is the title of the book about your life?
A: Travels & Bubbles.
Q: What is your next travel destination?
A: We just spent Christmas with family in Bavaria and had few days of lovely pre-New Year holidaying in Amsterdam – workwise next trip will be to Brussels followed by Madrid.
Q: Do you have any special hobbies?
A: I love hiking and in 2015 we did the Eiger Trail with a 1,400 metre ascent in one day – simply stunning. I also enjoy kayaking and the occasional Stand Up Paddling when possible (ideally, not on the Thames again though …).
Q: Thank you for your time. Do you have any personal comments?
A: I always remember my father saying to me that «Matkailu avartaa» which roughly translates to «Travelling broadens your mind» – despite having grown up in a very small village in Southern Finland we always travelled a lot and were always reminded to learn from the other people and cultures.
Photo: Helena Egan, Global Director of Industry Relations, TripAdvisor, and Ingunn Hofseth, President & CEO, HSMAI Europe, meeting in Frankfurt.