Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Milan, Monocle & le Meridien

Milan. Normally I have no problem sleeping in a 3 star hotel. Unless, they shut down the internet at 11PM, while you arrive at 10.30PM. The concierge suggested me to go to an internet cafe around the corner, at the square in front of the central train station. The internet shop has been closed for months as proven by the graffiti covering too many walls, doors and windows (It reminds me of the Broken Windows theory of the criminologists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling). I know now (after having joined a 5 star hotel congress in Rome earlier this week) that the only place were one can find an internet connection at night must be a 5 star hotel. I end up hiding in the deserted lobby of Le Meridien Gallia, strategically seated in a dark corner, half way behind a green leaf lobby plant. At 3 am a night guard asks me to leave the hotel. I had just been able to send my report to my boss and colleagues in Brussels. Mission accomplished. I walk back to my 3 Star hotel to catch a few hours of sleep.

Newsstand on Square before Milan Train Station. The team of Monocle really did a good job in branding their relatively new magazine (see posters around the newsstand, portraying a women reading a newspaper on the cover -not the WSJE unfortunately!!-). I guess Monocle works with country managers to help them grow the business in clearly defined markets (Milan being a fashion centre seems the right place to have a local country manager). As a matter of comparison, The Wall Street Journal Europe abandoned their network of country managers a few years ago in a cost cutting round by then CEO Rien Van Lent.