Posts by: ILTM

ILTM is a portfolio of global, regional and specialist luxury travel events. Alongside the global flagship event in Cannes, ILTM has three core international events in the Asia Pacific and Americas regions and two specialist events; ILTM Japan and ILTM Africa.

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 or email Alison at

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:

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:

How to beat the competition at ILTM

How to beat the competition at ILTM

Having a clear strategy is paramount if you want to get ahead of your competitors at ILTM. We realise it can be hard to meet all the people you want to see, make sure your brand is getting seen and achieve all your ROI objectives… all at the same time! That’s why we thought we’d share some of our top tips for a prosperous ILTM journey and some valuable insights from a few of our favourite industry thought leaders.

Step 1: Your exhibitor profile
From a retail perspective, this is your ‘shop window’. Found on the Exhibitor Directory of the website, this is your dedicated page to sell your brand. As soon as you sign up to exhibit, your profile will go live on the Exhibitor Directory. Key buyers will be looking at your profile from the moment it is live, so it’s important to log in to the Exhibitor Portal and fill out your profile as soon as possible to enhance your brand exposure.

Tip: “Do you have a newly launched product on the market – or something that makes you stand out? Make sure to mention this in your profile and you are sure to receive interest from buyers”

Step 2: Pre-Scheduled Appointments (PSAs)
It is important to fill out your exhibitor profile in as much detail as possible; for example, choosing the correct products that represent your company, specifying the location of your product(s) and indicating your target market. This helps the system preform its algorithms more precisely during the appointment matching process and will result in better matches with buyers for you.

Note: our team will need to approve your profile submission before entering it into our PSA system.

Tip: “Be sure to carefully read the questions so that you select responses that truly reflect your company activities – trying to be too broad will result in less targeted matches”

Step 3: The SSA process (Self Scheduled Appointments)
After the first set of appointments have been matched, you may have a few free spaces left in your diary. At this point, you may search for the clients that you wish to see using your own search criteria in the exhibitor portal and send the contact a request to meet.  Again, if you have filled out your preferences in detail, this will also help your profile become more visible in prospective clients’ searches, and mean you are more likely to meet the buyers who will help you deliver ROI for your business.

Tip: “Be proactive: not every request will result in a meeting but sending more targeted requests means more likelihood of setting appointments with future business partners”

Step 4: Networking, not ‘not-working’
We organise many social events at ILTM so that when you have finished your appointments for the day, you can enjoy some well-deserved ‘down-time’ and really get to know your new connections, in beautiful surroundings. Be sure to plan your week well so that you are able to attend these events, which will help develop those key relationships.

Tip: “First impressions really count in the luxury hospitality business. Carol Kinsey Goman, an international keynote speaker and author of the Silent Language of Leaders, gives advice on how, in your business meeting, you can Make Maximum Impact in the First 7 Seconds

Step 5: Meeting the media
We have over 170 global luxury media publications attending each year, such as: Travel+Leisure, National Geographic, Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, to name but a few.

If you are looking to meet one of the top editors attending ILTM, to feature in one of the high profile travel publications that reaches out to thousands of luxury travellers – you are going to need a story that stands out.

Tip: “For advice on how to get ‘seen’ by the media attending ILTM, read Annie Fitzsimmon’s piece on 5 Tips For Working with Media at ILTM – and Getting Your Story Told

Outmanoeuvre your competition this year by committing early to ILTM in Cannes, the meeting place for the global luxury travel community. For more information, visit

The Travel CEO’s guide to Asia-Pacific

The Travel CEO’s guide to Asia-Pacific

Parag Khanna is a genius. Know anyone else who has spent the past 20 years travelling through Asia meticulously researching its connective infrastructures, transportation, energy, communications, and trade? … Anyone? 

Not only is he the type of hardy traveller that puts most of us to shame (this year he embarks on a journey from Scotland to Singapore by train… with his 8 year old daughter!) he is also Senior Research Fellow at the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the National University of Singapore, which means he’s the closest thing we’ve got to a crystal ball into the future of luxury tourism in Asia.

As part of ILTM’s #keeptheworldmoving series, here are some highlights from the interview we did when we met up with Parag at ILTM Asia 2017.

Parag on the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative and the impact of Chinese capital investment on global trade and tourism…

I have been writing about the precursors of One Belt One Road by travelling in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan for the last 20 years. People only began to care about Chinese infrastructure in Asia exactly 8 weeks ago with the One Belt One Road Summit but this is my life, my career has been devoted to looking at this issue and now it’s becoming real. I want to make sure that everyone has that common baseline of what Asia linkages to the rest of the world are now, how beneficial they are, and what the next phase of those relationships is going to be like.

Let’s be absolutely clear, this is about the hard infrastructure, the supply chains, the connectivity, the smoothing of commerce, dealing with customs and border issues, harmonising investment regulation and getting construction projects done. There’s no reason for us to dance around the issue, you don’t get millions of tourists a year if you have no infrastructure. You probably know Hong Kong gets more tourists a year than all of India, right? And that’s not going to change until India has good roads and railways and highways. I’m an infrastructure determinist but I’m also am a huge believer in travel and tourism – the two go hand in hand but there’s a sequencing issue. Uzbekistan is a breath-taking country but it’s not going to get a lot of visitors until it has a convertible currency (they’ve just graduated from coupon vouchers). They have to go visa free, they have to go electronic with visas, and this is actually what One Belt, One Road is going to do – it’s going to put money into modernising these boring bureaucracies that are actually the facilitators, the conduits for facilitating tourism.

Chinese cities, even second tier Chinese cities have done such a good job of internationalising their flight connectivity, which means that you’ll get people from all over the country exploring new markets, and I know for a fact that those markets are working hard to prepare. Entire countries like Russia and Kazakhstan are saying, “What can we do better? How can we change our brand through tourism? How can we brand ourselves as the fresh water and clean air capital of the world?”. Everywhere along this broader Eurasian space is trying to attract not just Chinese but all Asian tourists. I’ve even seen it in Pakistan, it’s going to be a while before you have large-scale tourism, but every country does want it, just the mere presence – the dangling of the Belt and Road funds – is getting countries to snap into line. Countries that were really lazy about political reform, about investment regulation, about public safely, they’re saying, “Wow, there’s all this money on the table and we’re only going to get it if we clean up our act”. And that’s really what I see happening in every single country, one at a time, even places like Iran where I went last year. Everyone wants to be fundamentally recognised and honoured by the fact that wealthy Asians have decided to come to their country as opposed to just go to Paris – and that day is coming.

On the importance of Asia Pacific outbound tourism…

One thing that’s broadly underestimated is the importance of a certain critical set of industries to the world economy; infrastructure, construction and housing is one of them, tourism is another. As we know, the tourism and hospitality sector is one of the largest employment generators on the planet and one of the largest verticals of real GDP in the world – some say up to 10% or more global GDP comes from this industry! So it’s not largely appreciated.

There are 4 billion Asians and only 1.5 billion Chinese so let’s remember that the entire middle-class growth story of the world is not only China. Asia Pacific tourism is a huge driver of the changing nature of cultural relations and economic planning. You can see the countries that seasonally benefit from the high penetration and demand from Asian tourists, whether it’s the Maldives or whether it’s resorts in Europe and so forth. If you’ve been to the Maldives, they know exactly which islands the Chinese prefer and what style of resorts. India is the largest source of travellers to any number of countries in the Middle East, the UAE and so on, so yes, every country around the world is trying to factor Asians into their travel calculus.

On the geo-political tensions between China and its neighbours and the impact on inter-APAC travel…

(There have been a number of disputes in recent years including a partial ban on travel to Taiwan, a ban on travel to South Korea, the Thai island dispute that harmed relations with Japan, and an anti-Chinese riot it Vietnam)

Anyone who looks at the bilateral relationships between China and South Korea or China and Japan would not hesitate to predict they will normalise. There’s a sense that what’s happening now is definitely higher stakes than a couple of fishing boats ramming each other in 1994, but the counter-balancing forces are a lot stronger, the economies are a lot more integrated, there’s a lot more mutual benefit, there are major economic powers in terms of the companies involved in the integration, so the restraining forces are also a lot stronger than they were back in the days when you would go to war over chess pieces, we don’t really do that anymore. All of the fastest growing economic regions and sub regions of the world are in this hemisphere. The pillars of global growth, the pillars of world economic growth and world trade growth are all in Asia. If you’re a traveller fundamentally like me, you feel these things, you know them to be true and you amass the data that proves it.

On the future’s hottest destinations… 

Uzbekistan is one of the most exotic countries on earth. The Silk Road monuments and treasures in Samarkand and Bukhara are unrivalled, maybe Iran comes close but Uzbekistan is truly just breath-taking and you can very easily imagine luxury trains there like the Orient Express, because there are luxury lines that can easily go on wards through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan into China, so that extension could be done and it will attract visitors for sure. Asia is going to wake up to these places, without a doubt. Japanese and Indians actually know more about America than they know about each other, but fast-forward 20 to 30 years; don’t you think that’s going to change? Don’t you think Asia is going to matter more to Asians than just each of them thinking about their relationship to London and New York?

Parag Khanna is a leading global strategist, world traveller, and best-selling author. He is also the Managing Partner of Hybrid Reality, a boutique geo-strategic advisory firm, and an attendee of ILTM Asia Pacific, which takes place in Singapore, 21-24 May 2018