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Expert interview: here’s to a new start in Iceland

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“Is this the fairy godmother?” This was the first question that our colleague, Bastian Neumann-Semerow, heard from the Isler family’s children at Reykjavik airport. And yes, they were right. Bastian is just one the many fulfillers of dreams at Miles & More, who helped develop the “Here’s to a new start!” campaign in the Marketing Communication department. He is now making up for the unfulfilled wishes of our members, and bringing back exciting stories from their trips. Now, doesn’t that sound like an interesting job? We think so too! That’s why we have spoken to him about the “Here’s to a new start!” campaign so we can give you a glimpse “behind the scenes”.

Portrait of Bastian Neumann-Semerow

Miles & More editor: Bastian, can you briefly explain what the “Here’s to a new start” campaign is all about?


Bastian Neumann-Semerow: We have all had to go without many things over the last two years. We have had to postpone trips, we weren’t able to visit friends and family, and cultural events were mostly a no go. We simply had to throw so many plans overboard. Even though there were lots of things we all wanted to do. Me too. And it was precisely that feeling which gave us the idea for “Here’s to a new start!”. Why don’t we fulfil the dreams of Miles & More members and help them catch up on experiences that were important to them? And that’s just what we’re doing with this campaign. The stories that over 2,000 applicants have told us have been incredible - from the proposal of marriage that was to have taken place under the cherry blossom in Tokyo, or the trip to Canada to follow the family tradition and learn how to fish with great grandad. But besides all of the unusual requests, we also noticed that one thing was foremost in the minds of many Miles & More members. Most of them took part because they wanted to meet up with friends or relatives again. They wanted to finally be reunited with their loved ones. And that in itself is very moving.


Miles & More editor: We couldn’t agree more. What have you got in store for us in the latest episode of “Here’s to a new start!”?


Bastian Neumann-Semerow: We travelled with the Isler family from Switzerland to Iceland. Their daughter, Andrina, had bone cancer and spent a long time in hospital. That’s where she discovered her love for horses. And that inspired the family to bring Vinur, the therapy horse, home. They couldn’t have had a better idea. Vinur’s arrival brought back strength and joy to the family. And because he was a good friend – Vinur is Icelandic for “friend” – the family wanted to know where he came from. And so the plan to trace the background of Andrina’s horse and get to know the land of Vinur’s ancestors was born. And that is what we have made possible, together with our Miles & More partners.

Portrait of Bastian Neumann-Semerow
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Miles & More editor: That sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. What’s it like for you to give people such priceless moments?


Bastian Neumann-Semerow: It’s not just me, everyone that works at Miles & More is in one way or another a fulfiller of dreams. Everybody does their bit. I’ve also noticed an equally strong commitment in our partners. For example, Hertz said right from the start how much they were looking forward to the campaign and they got deeply involved.
But Radisson BlueGetYourGuide and Edelweiss were equally wholehearted. And naturally that also made my motivation so much the stronger. I got to meet the partners and to see how they all collaborated to put the right package together for the very likeable Isler family. For me, that’s not work, it’s a pleasure.


Miles & More editor: That sounds like a fulfilling job. And now, to finish off, can you give us a little taste of what’s to come? What’s next?


Bastian Neumann-Semerow: In the third episode of the campaign, we’ll be travelling with our winner, Petra Schwab, and her son Mika to Ghana to support a social project there by help alliance. The project offers shelter and prospects to children and young people in Accra’s poorest district. Ms Schwab’s wish was to get more socially involved abroad. However, in the last two years, she has been unable to put her plans into action. Now she is all the more delighted to make her dream come true and support young people.


Miles & More editor: We’re with her all the way. Thank you for this very exciting interview. You can find the video of the trip to Iceland on our YouTube channel or discover it right here.