5 Cities that Should be Shaping your LATAM Strategy

5 Cities that Should be Shaping your LATAM Strategy

Wondering where to focus your time, energy and budget in Latin America? No doubt, these 5 star cities – Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, São Paulo – are the key to your LATAM strategy. Over the next few years, the residents of these 5 cities will lead Latin American outbound travel and spend more on luxury travel than the rest of LATAM combined!

Here is where smart hotels and travel brands are spending…

Bogota is following the rising moment of the country Colombia. After years and years of a weak economy due to the severe drug problem, the country is developing impressively. The overall population is shining, happy and motivated. Colombians became the number one consumer for prestigious and luxury brands in Panamá in recent years and the majority of people come from Bogota. They are ready to go beyond in their consumption of travel.

Buenos Aires used to be the most sophisticated city in Latin America. Anything related to luxury, Argentinians would be the first in line. They have a very European style, with a very high level of education. Argentinians from Buenos Aires have always been the ones associated to cultural aspects of living; arts, luxury brands, hotels and so on. For years they have been the most important travellers in Brazil. The last few years have been very difficult but the situation is changing fast and the enthusiasm is back.

Lima is the new rising star in Latin America! Impressive and exquisite gastronomy is changing the country and Peruvians are more and more confident of their opportunities. Lima is the epicenter of this change. It is the fashion destination in the region right now and the Peruvians are responding to it with a lot of self-esteem. Economy is growing, Peruvians are becoming richer, and as a result, Panamá was also surprised by the buying power of Peruvians coming from Lima. Now is the time to discover more and invest.

Mexico City is one of the strongest and richest cities in Latin America. For years, Mexicans were the only ones to have the American Express Centurion Card, and Mexicans from Mexico City were the world leaders for this AMEX category. Traditionally, Mexicans have always had the USA as the number one destination for their travels. The current situation with the US is driving Mexicans to experience the world through other travel destinations so now is the perfect time to enchant Mexicans and work very closely to promote opportunities in Mexico City – the capital and the city with the highest concentration of wealth in the region. Mexicans will discover the world!

São Paulo is the financial capital of Latin America; the number one in population and the leading city within the Latin American region for financial wealth and the number of millionaires and billionaires. On top of this, Brazilians have proved to the world that they can definitely surprise. In recent years, Brazilians were among the most important luxury buyers in the world and the main travellers. Brazilians are all about free spirit, fun, pleasure, happiness and travelling. The people of São Paulo are all aligned with these characteristics with one very important additional thing: wealth! São Paulo is rich! In the last two years, the economy has forced Brazilians to hold on to their money and Brazilians cannot wait for a long time. The world should be ready; Brazilians are back and São Paulo will lead the movement.

It’s time to get ready!

Carlos Ferreirinha is a Latin American luxury expert and regular guest at ILTM Latin America (formerly Travelweek Sao Paulo), which takes place each year in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, please email us at: travel@reedexpo.com.br.

Forget millennials, resonating across generations is key

Forget millennials, resonating across generations is key

Avoiding the word millennial is a seemingly impossible task for today’s luxury travel marketers.

Often putting millennials and baby boomers on opposite ends of a spectrum, the reality is not so simple. During a recent Virtuoso conference, expert on ageing Ken Dychtwald and his millennial son Zak presented; The New Language of Leisure: A Boomer Millennial Smackdown, arguing that there is an unfounded and “overwhelming amount of attention on millennials.”

Ken Dychtwald urges luxury marketers to re-set their focus back to the 50-plus set, citing statistics to back up his argument:

“People who are 50-plus have 70 percent of the country’s disposable income and own 76 percent of the total net worth.” The combination of this concentration of wealth, plus a surfeit of time affluence makes boomers “the ideal candidates for luxury travel.”

Read the article here  

We asked ILTM movers and shakers how marketing to millennials is impacting the way we sell luxury.

News Views

Travel Brand View

"Do I think luxury marketers have favoured the millennials in their strategies recently? Painting in broad strokes, in general, no, I do not. The luxury sector recognizes the value of targeting multiple audiences, rather than favouring one over the other. 

Generally speaking, marketing to any one specific audience will ultimately alienate all other audiences. At Crystal, we find that millennials and baby boomers, as well as the multi-generational families that bring the two together, value travel and exploration and global discoveries equally. And we respect them enough to speak to them equally."

Media View

"To be honest, I feel like luxury brands have been speaking a lot about millennials lately, doing everything to reach them (and forgetting about other segments) but very few have been successful. Believing you can “understand” a generation in the making is their mistake, I think. Millennials are far too young right now. Also, a fundamental trait of the millennial is this feeling of living in a world far worse off than previous decades. The industry has therefore been focusing on a 20-something kid, with little money and poor mental wellbeing. So yes, I think it has been a mistake to think so much about millennials, I think we should start to think about specific interests instead of generations, and especially when it comes to luxury industries, where money is not a problem.

Thinking in segments and generations is useful when you’re trying to explain major trends, but when it comes to luxury things are far too exclusive, far too unique. Labelling people doesn’t work when it comes to luxury because you are not working with the masses; you are working with the niche. So, instead of thinking of millennials, and baby boomers, or generation x, I would think about how individual people want to travel and the different interests they have."


"Most of us in travel sales and marketing have experienced what I call 'millennial fatigue'. I actually banned the term from our events before reluctantly letting it back in when it couldn't be avoided! It’s not that millennials aren't a valid segment – on the contrary – 72% of Chinese millennials will use a travel advisor to plan their trips next year compared to 58%, generally - what tends to annoy me is when I see a brand’s overt focus on the segment because of what they think an association with young people or ‘experiential’ travel will do for their brand positioning.

Luxury travel experiences, be they experiential, transformational, adventurous, or educational, are enjoyed equally by people of all generations. What’s more, I don’t believe millennials want to stay with brands that have a very narrow cross section or demographic of guest. All my best travel experiences involve meeting people of different ages, faiths, and nationalities; that's the essence of luxury travel."

A Q&A with ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore

A Q&A with ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore

As any travel professional will tell you, life is richer when you meet new people and see the world through their eyes. ILTM have been bringing the world’s top travel brands to China, each year, for over 10 years. Giving travel pros a platform to build relationships in the region and strengthening the connection between Asia Pacific’s huge and diverse markets of HNW travellers and the industry that serves them.

But travel pros have never been the type to just sit and watch. So, as the world changes around us, so do ILTM’s collection of events.

This summer, ILTM announced the launch of a new show, ILTM China, dedicated to the Chinese market, plus the relocation of ILTM Asia Pacific to Singapore. We caught up with the force behind ILTM’s growth, our trusty captain, counsellor and shepherd-in-chief, Alison Gilmore, to find out more…

Alison, what was behind the decision to split ILTM Asia?

Our client research highlighted that the Asian luxury outbound market is growing so fast that many companies are now separating their current and future business plans and marketing strategies to focus on China and Asia as two independent opportunities. As a result we will now deliver two dynamic events dedicated to their own audiences: ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 21 – 24 May and ILTM China in Shanghai, 31 October – 2 November 2018.

You mention that the new event, ILTM Asia Pacific (taking place 21 – 24 May, 2018 at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel), will be more like the Cannes event – how so?

ILTM Asia Pacific will be re-positioned to represent the whole of Asia, bringing more international buyers, similar in context to ILTM in Cannes. We will create the show to be as international as Cannes with over 35% of luxury travel suppliers representing Asia Pacific and 65% the rest of the world. 85% of buyers will be from Asia Pacific and 15% from outside the region. No luxury buyer will be attending any other ILTM event in 2018. Last year, Asia Pacific surpassed North America for the first time as the region with the largest amount of high net worth wealth, according to the World Wealth Report. ILTM Asia Pacific will focus on this growth, collectively bringing together international and regional luxury travel suppliers to boost and build their businesses from this dynamic region.

At the same time, Singapore is a beautiful green city, modern and efficient with a multicultural diversity that lends itself to some great venues for networking events, so we expect to deliver a similar ambiance as ILTM Cannes in Singapore reflecting the very best of mixing business with pleasure!

What were the other cities in the running to host the event?

We have had RFP’s from several Asian countries, all of which were keen to collaborate with ILTM, however Singapore delivered not only the best proposal but its significance as the gateway city with one of the world’s award winning airports, that serves more than 100 airlines flying to some 380 cities in about 90 countries worldwide, was a really important part of our decision.

ILTM China will still take place in Shanghai (31 October – 2 November) but will be a more bespoke event with one-to-one pre-scheduled appointments, similar to other ILTM events in Japan, Africa and Arabia.

ILTM China will indeed remain in Shanghai and be re-positioned specifically to bring Chinese luxury travel planners and buyers to meet with international exhibitors of luxury products and services. Every year we see a big increase in the number of Chinese luxury travel planners wanting to attend ILTM and with this new style of event we can focus on this market solely. There will be no overlap of Chinese buyers with any other ILTM event so every exhibitor can rely on 100% assurance that their participation will deliver on their business objectives and return on investment.

The appointment system of mutual matching between exhibitor and buyer will remain the same ensuring that every appointment in their diary has been selected as relevant between both parties – a great way to deliver real tangible business opportunities.

Given the incredible growth in the country, is there a chance we may see more than one China event?

For now Shanghai is the venue, but the buyer community will come from every part of China; we have a team dedicated to sourcing those who are relevant and who have clients of the highest net worth. Never say never, China is indeed a huge outbound market, and ILTM China will grow to reflect this.

It’s not the only change to the Asia portfolio – ILTM Japan (Tokyo, 26 – 28 February 2018) will now become an inbound event – can you explain why?

The key reason is that Japan’s inbound market has hit a record high, with a 21% growth in the first quarter of this year alone from neighbouring Asian nations. A combination of the relaxation in visa restrictions, the impending Rugby World Cup, the Olympics in 2020 and the Winter Olympics has led the Japanese government to planning upgrades to airports and seaports, as well as improving access to national parks and cultural attractions – the inbound experience is only going to get better. The perceived simplicity of Japanese culture continues to be extremely appealing to those in the West, particularly as the Japanese experience combines both the modern and the traditional concepts of luxury.

For further information see www.iltm.com/asiapacific or email Alison at alison.gilmore@reedexpo.co.uk

Video: People of ILTM – João Annibale

Video: People of ILTM – João Annibale

50% of The Leading Hotels of the World’s Latin American business comes from one country – Brazil. 

At Travelweek Sao Paulo by ILTM 2017, we asked our community why Brazil is such an important player for their business.

João Annibale, CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World in Brazil, shares his love for the Latin American market as well as his excitement for the new ILTM Latin America format.

If you’re looking for some great advice on how to understand and get the most out of this market, start with Annibale!

For more advice on how to make it in the Latin American travel world, please email us at: travel@reedexpo.com.br

Edie Rodriguez – the hardest working person in travel?

Edie Rodriguez – the hardest working person in travel?

You can accomplish a lot in 4 years, right? Since 2013, I’ve moved jobs once, moved house twice and had two kids. Not bad? Edie Rodriguez, CEO of Crystal Cruises, has taken the brand from a 2 ship operation, owned by the world’s largest operator of container ships, and turned it into a fleet of gold standard service (bought by Genting Hong Kong for US$550m), encompassing – astonishingly – river cruises, its own aircraft, yacht cruises, and 144 multi-million dollar on-board residences… thankfully, I was the one asking her the questions…   

“I don’t know if I’m the hardest working but I am a workaholic and i love it. With modern technology connecting us all over the world, you really have to be ready, willing and able to work 24/7, 365 or you will fall behind. But I love what I do.  I was told as a young child: find your passion, get a great education and follow it. This industry has always been my passion, and I followed that advice. I’ve been blessed with a 35-year career and not one day does it ever feel like work.

I really didn’t always want to be a CEO, that wasn’t my goal or the end game. What I did always want was to travel the world, and I wanted to do it in the most luxurious way possible. So that’s really how I said, OK I’m going start out as travel consultant. As of today, I’ve only been to 100 countries and, at the last count, there are 195 countries in the world, so I still have a long way to go.

I am perpetually setting new goals for myself; I have several “mini mantras” that keep me motivated. One of them is, “I wanna grow until I go”. I am fortunate to have accomplished many of my goals, but I will always have 10 more waiting in the wings.

If you don’t love what you are doing get out and do something else, life is too short. I learned that at a young age and it has stuck with me. It’s better to dare to fail than fail to dare. Have I made mistakes and wished I’d done some things differently? Yes. But everything was a blessing in disguise because it led to something else.

I won’t walk through my door until about midnight tonight, and pretty much every day is like that, whether I’m travelling around the world or not. But I always tell my team, just because I send an email at 4 a.m. doesn’t mean I expect a response at 4 a.m. I realise I am not the norm – and I absolutely understand and support the work-life balance of my team. But, for me, at this stage in my career, now that my son is grown and on his own, and mostly because I love my work so much, I am often happiest when I’m working. If I still had a young child at home, my priorities would be different. In fact, I made choices early on… I declined some opportunities because my first priority was my child. I always said, when he goes away to University, if the right opportunity comes along, it will be different then. I don’t regret that I didn’t become President or CEO 10 or 15 years earlier because I raised my son and that was what I wanted to do.

One of my biggest professional challenges is the current global geo-political situation, sadly, with ongoing terrorist activities. We (Crystal) are fortunate to have movable assets, whether it’s our vessels or our aircraft, we can re-assess and recreate itineraries fairly quickly to ensure our guests’ safety for myriad reasons – a natural disaster, a political situation, a terrorist situation. We are not going there, we will not put our guests in any situation of even questionable security.”

Edie Rodriguez is a regular attendee of ILTM, Cannes.

video: a travel strategists’ guide to china

video: a travel strategists’ guide to china

A country of such complexity demands a strategy all of its own. China’s HNW population is so huge and so diverse it takes a good deal of experience working in the market to even begin to feel you have a handle on it.

Lucky for you, ILTM have been running events in China for over 10 years and, in that time, we’ve made a few friends to help you out…

To find out more about ILTM’s new deep-dive show dedicated to China, click here!

VIDEO: Understanding Asia Pacific’s vital zones of influence

VIDEO: Understanding Asia Pacific’s vital zones of influence

These brands couldn’t be more serious about understanding Asia Pacific, or more successful! Chosen for their proven ability to grow these markets, watch this video to hear advice from some of the most important buyers and brands across the region.

Created at ILTM Asia 2017, what can you glean from spending two minutes in the company of the best Asia has to offer?

Our new home…

The future has arrived early in Singapore with more ultra-modern infrastructure per capita than almost any other country in the world. Home to Asia’s ultra-rich and super successful, the Lion City, as it is known, is Asia’s wealthiest country and the hyphen that connects Asia to the rest of the world. To find out more about ILTM’s new home in Asia, click here.

The Top 12 Luxury Travel Agencies in China

The Top 12 Luxury Travel Agencies in China

Luxury travel agencies in China are developing rapidly. Gone are the days of hitting 15 European countries in one trip, Chinese luxury travellers are demanding complex itineraries and high degrees of personalisation, leading to a huge surge in the use of luxury travel advisors. 

Astonishingly, 58% of Chinese HNW travellers used a travel advisor in 2016 and Chinese millennials are even more inclined to do so; a huge 72% of younger travellers used them last year. What’s more, among the ‘ultra HNW’ segment, 40% intend to use a travel agent in the next three years!

Source: Hurun Report in partnership with ILTM, The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2017

What explains the development?

Such progress is the result of customisation. 55% of respondents said that personalised travel services is their main reason for sticking with their favoured travel agency, whilst 59% described itinerary planning as theirs. Both responses reflect the growing demand for custom-made services among luxury travellers. These kinds of trips cannot be planned with a quick visit to the likes of Ctrip; rather a deep insight is needed to find the lesser known, unique opportunities.

Source: Hurun Report in partnership with ILTM, The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2017

Who’s already doing well?

There are numerous luxury travel planners and designers operating across China, nevertheless several agencies are far more popular than the rest. Getting the inside scoop on what HNW Chinese travellers are demanding of travel brands, from luxury hotels to experiential excursions, these travel agencies and advisors have a flawless understanding of the consumer base. Latest figures reveal the current top 12 ranking.

1) 8 Continents
2) CITS Amex
4) Ctrip
5) CTS
7) Diadema
8) D-Lux Travel
9) HHtravel
10) Magic Travel
11) My Tour
12) Zanadu









Source: Hurun Report in partnership with ILTM, The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2017

If you want to come face-to-face with Chinese luxury travel designers and gain a clear understanding of your customers’ desires, join us at ILTM China 2018.

Video: People of ILTM – Erik Sadao

Video: People of ILTM – Erik Sadao

The ranks of the globe’s super rich continue to swell, with Brazil witnessing an astounding 119% increase in millionaires since 2012. As of 2017, Brazil is now home to 497,000 of the world’s million-plus club.

At Travelweek Sao Paulo by ILTM 2017, we asked our community why Brazil is such an important player in the world’s luxury travel market.

Erik Sadao, Marketing & Products Director of Teresa Perez Tours, shares his knowledge on Latin America, revealing the key to its success and worldwide influence.

If you’re looking for some great advice on how to understand and get the most out of this market, Sadao is a great place to start!

For more advice on how to make it in the Latin American travel world, please email us at: travel@reedexpo.com.br

6 essentials of hotel social media crisis management

6 essentials of hotel social media crisis management

Early in my tenure as Vice President of Global Communications for InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, I was tasked with taking each General Manager, Director of Sales and Marketing and PR Manager through one-on-one crisis communications training.  Together with a crack team of professional trainers which included print and TV reporters who put each person through live interviews, we embarked on a global training roadshow.  Interestingly, this was conducted before social media was even a glimmer in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye.  And while the means by which we communicate, share and gather information have changed dramatically, the foundations of managing communications in the event of a crisis remains the same. 

Here are 6 essential preparation considerations for hotel social media crisis management.

Be Prepared. A full-blown crisis doesn’t happen often, but when it does you’ll want to have your crisis plan ready to go, and the plan must include a detailed action plan for social media. With social media you have even less time to react than with print, online or broadcast news media, and if you do not assess and take action immediately (which typically means join the conversation and engage), the conversation goes on without you, often spiraling out of control quickly.

You must be prepared with specific, detailed protocol in advance for social media management in a crisis. This protocol must include statements/comments prepared, approved and available, as well as a crisis team in place with clearly defined roles. I suggest a contact list with all department heads’ mobile numbers as well as hotel, corporate and regional PR personnel and social media managers, along with password information for all digital/social media accounts to keep saved in a smartphone or printed and laminated in their wallet. Because crisis situations happen at all hours of the day and night in a hotel environment, every manager on duty must have access to this information. If your social media firm or social media manager is not available for any reason, the designated MOD must be able to access your social media accounts, address the issues and handle the situation until someone becomes available. This is why a clear protocol needs to be developed and approved ahead of time.

Monitor and Listen. The most important skill that can be developed for social media crisis management is listening. Setting up your listening tools are your first and foremost step in finding and understanding where and what the crisis is about. The earlier you can find the root problem the quicker you’ll be able to stop the crisis from escalating. Even if you do not have a dedicated social media agency, social media manager or robust social media programme, make certain someone is regularly checking in,  ‘listening’ and monitoring for any issues. This can also mean making sure you have a minimum presence established on appropriate social media channels. It is very difficult to respond to a situation if you are not actively listening, and your response will lack credibility if you don’t already have a professional, regularly-updated presence.

Be polite and respectful. Acknowledge the person on their original choice of communication, asking for a way to contact them offline to find out information. Taking the conversation offline as quickly as possible is key. Try and look at the “crisis” from the eyes of the person in distress.

Communication is key. Once you find out where the crisis has begun, you’ll now need to do a bit of investigation between departments and employees to see what the full story is. Admit your own wrongdoings quickly and honestly when apologies are due. The worst thing you could do here is ignore the problem or attempt to justify an action, it will only amplify the situation.

Try to turn a crisis into a positive with service recovery. Everyone likes free stuff. Everyone wants to be special. Offer what you can and understand where they are coming from and they’ll most likely turn out to be your biggest advocate out there. Remember that social media is a public conversation, and if you can recover the situation, it is likely your swift and gracious response will be broadcast as an example of what to do in a crisis. If the situation is handled negatively, it can spread rapidly and be hard to contain. The hotel industry can learn from some of the very difficult lessons some major airlines have experienced this past year and address issues swiftly, politely and with genuine care for the customer. It is very possible to turn a crisis into a positive or at least stop a bad situation before it escalates further.

Reflect and Advise. Once the crisis has been handled, go back to your teams at the hotel and provide feedback to the appropriate departments, never ignore the problem. Use the crisis as a way to strengthen operations, and use the lessons learned managing the crisis to improve the crisis communications plan for the next situation.

There is never a time when a crisis is welcome, but being prepared and having a team and plans in place can go a long way in managing a situation if it arises. With social media it is literally a matter of minutes before things can begin to escalate, so take the time now to prepare. It will be well worth the effort.

By Melanie Brandman, CEO The Brandman Agency, Founder – Travel Curator

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