I was in Madrid for work a few weeks back. It was a classic case of business travel that sounds amazing - "a week of work in Madrid" (especially to my Australian based friends) - but where reality was far from the hype. I was staying at the Eurostars Madrid Tower, a five star hotel in the newish "Cuatro Torres" area of Madrid (pictured here). A new commercial part of the city disconnected from the heart. Imagine an area of Madrid like a Chatswood or junior La Defense or Repulse Bay (depending on your city of reference). You understand what a I mean - a soulless place close to, but not close enough to, a vibrant global capital.
Result was that we spent the entire time in the 30 story hotel or on a bus or in a dining room. There was one moment were I dashed across the multi-lane or mini highway in front of the hotel and found a local bar to have a coffee in. Other than that I could have been anywhere on the planet.
The work was very productive but the non-work highlight was a lunch with Amadeus' Head of Airline Robotics - Martin Colling. As well as working for Amadeus, Martin has an airline industry blog called "the Shearwater Blog" (what is it about Amadeus people and blogging??).
Martin and I had a great lunch together. The sun was shining and after a week of corporate meals we were outside in a local "joint" for a menu del dia. I finally felt like I was in Spain rather than Hotelland. I enjoyed the conversation too. With Martin's day job focused on Airline sales and ancillary revenue our conversation quickly turned to online sales for airlines and following the recent themes on the BOOT to travel discover and inspiration. We talked at length about all of the activities that a customer engages in on and offline before making an booking and after making a booking. The inspiration, research and collaboration before and the additional planning, sharing, reminiscing and repeating that goes on afterwards. Martin has just published a post on his thoughts on this area (with a heavy airline slant) called "Using a Bow Tie to Make Optimal Marketing and Technology Investments". It is the BOOT's recommended read of the week.
thanks to Pulsarin over at flickr for the photo