We got our schedule for NYC some time before coming here, and immediately when I saw that we would have a meeting with UNICEF I got very excited about it.. And today was the day when we had the meeting with the Chief of Travel and General Services of UNICEF.

I was looking forward to hearing about the differences between the travel management of an organization like UNICEF vs. a traditional corporation. Obviously, UNICEF sends employees to places where people would normally not travel — neither for leisure nor business. Therefore, the human element is of utmost importance. UNICEF recognizes that their employees spend time away from home while travelling to (possibly very) risky places. Therefore, their travel policy is rather flexible, while employees still have to follow the processes and regulations set by the organization. We also discussed the security process, and were told that they follow the ICAOs (International Civil Aviation Organization) recommendations. We also looked at reasons why UNICEF employees travel, and it seemed to me that the reasons are rather different from “normal” corporate travel. For example, quite a lot of travel is simply caused because UN employees change their duty station rather often.

We also had great meeting with the Director of Global Accounts (Corporate) from AccorHotels. In all the meetings that we’ve had so far, we have discussed soooo many things and my notebook is just full of text already. This meeting was no exception. Susan explained to us how the hotel business has changed from the early years. From simply being a status symbol, it is today a serious real estate business. Accor is one of the big hotel chains that own or franchise their hotels. I asked about profit sharing between the franchisee and the hotel chain, and I was told that the higher the luxury, the less profit go to the owner. We also brought up the topic of hotel sourcing. I must say, I still don’t fully understand the whole process and it just seems so complex. I continue learning…

Yesterday we had a delicious dinner (Italian, of course) followed by a Broadway show hosted by gentlemen from American Airlines and OneWorld. What a great night! You know, one of those experiences that you will not forget in a while… 
Tonight we went to Lower Manhattan for burgers and beer and we also got to see this amazing sunset (see below). Jersey looked pretty!

What to say. Life is good. Very, very good.

Ps. Please scroll down and take a minute to watch the beautiful video by UNICEF.

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