THIS MIGHT NOT BE YOUR IDEA OF A RELAXING HOLIDAY. . .

THIS MIGHT NOT BE YOUR IDEA OF A RELAXING HOLIDAY. . .

. . . but it might just save your soul. Welcome to the EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURE CLUB.

“I’m going to leave you there.”

Loch Morlich, Cairngorm National Park, Scotland

Hamish Mackay-Lewis is standing on the edge of a pine grove somewhere deep in the Scottish Highlands, teetering over a roiling river, and pointing toward a small island being pummelled by rain. There is no path or bridge, no boat or dinghy—only icy water slapping against the shore and a slippery slope on the other side. This wasn’t what I had expected when I agreed to go on a hike.

“I’ll come back for you in a couple of hours,” says my guide—a term I am beginning to question given the circumstances. But before he leaves me to wade into the water, he gives me a directive. I’m to spend my time on this unpleasantly cold and wet isle pondering a single question: What is my definition of success?

And with that, he is gone.

Like a soldier with marching orders, I ford the river, scale the slope, and slog through the island’s heather and moss until I reach a cluster of trees on the far shore. Physically and mentally exhausted, I pull a poncho and blanket from my backpack, wrap myself in both, and lie down beside the thickest trunk I can find. Forget success—rest is the only thing on my mind. So, I pull my blanket tighter, close my eyes, and drift off to sleep.

It’s about finding the EDGES OF YOUR CAPABILITIES and stretching them.

Calum Morrison

Of course, I should have seen it coming. Forty-eight hours ago, on the train ride from Edinburgh to the old Gaelic town of Kingussie, I had clutched in my hands a mysterious letter that had practically foretold my abandonment.

We look forward to hosting you in Scotland for your Extraordinary Adventure Club retreat, the message began. Digital communication is nonexistent given the remote nature of the place, and therefore periods of time without contact are to be expected. Your phone and laptop will be removed upon arrival at the location and returned to you upon completion. Then, most forebodingly: Please do make your next of kin aware of these details.

Reindeer, Cairngorm National Park, Scotland

The letter had arrived at my Los Angeles doorstep one week earlier, along with a battered FedEx package that contained five black envelopes. Inside each, I found a clue to the journey that lay ahead: a selection of books, including Viktor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning; a Moleskine notebook; a mechanical pencil; and a list of questions that included “What is my purpose in life?” and “What is my longheld personal belief about myself?” But as my train rolled into Kingussie station, I was mostly wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into.

The platform was deserted except for a tall and slender man in his late forties. I knew instantly who it was: Calum Morrison, the founder of the Extraordinary Adventure Club (EAC), a clandestine society that promises journeys in what its website nebulously calls “self-discovery and self-mastery.” From the moment we shook hands and set off on the one-lane country road leading to—well, I wasn’t quite sure where—it was evident that Morrison was a measured man. His background as a former Royal Marine couldn’t have been more obvious if he were wearing fatigues and a green beret. Confident yet unassuming and utterly controlled, he clearly drew from his years as a soldier in everything he did, especially in developing the EAC.

“It’s about finding the edges of your capabilities and stretching them,” he said, steering his pickup truck over a narrow bridge crossing the River Spey. “When you think, ‘I can’t go any further,’ and then you do—and then you do it again—you gain supreme confidence in your ability to adapt and overcome in any environment.”

I had heard the stories of the “environments” EAC’s past clients had been required to adapt to—the Amazon basin, the Arctic Circle, the Sudan desert—but Morrison was quick to point out that his club isn’t a travel company. It’s a program (and one that comes with a significant price tag at that, starting at about $325,000 per person) designed to push participants beyond their comfort levels—and demonstrate the rewards of doing so—through a combination of physical training, survival education, and professional and personal coaching. EAC’s clients are often seeking direction at pivotal points in their lives: a second-generation family member preparing to inherit a business; a recovering addict looking to bolster his clinical rehabilitation; an executive who has relied on assistants and aides for far too long. Each program starts with a private three-day retreat, usually at a 36,000-acre private estate in the Scottish Highlands, followed a month or two later by a 10- to 14-day guided journey that Morrison and his team design specifically to address the issues they’ve identified with the client.

The more you try to hold tightly onto the illusion of control, THE LESS FREEDOM you give yourself to act.

Calum Morrison

My journey, however, started just 15 minutes from Kingussie station, when Morrison pulled over on the side of the road and told me to change into hiking boots and pants. We set off by foot along a tributary of the Spey, following its bends and curves through a valley wedged between the bulbously beautiful Cairngorms Mountains. We crossed the river at the trail’s end, walking calf-deep through the water until we reached a cluster of three white cottages on the other side. Waiting for us there was EAC’s renegade team of advisors: Malcolm Williams, a life coach whose specialties include treating patients with post-traumatic stress disorder; Rob, a self-described “survivalist geek” whose last name remained a mystery in order to protect his identity as a former UK Special Forces soldier; Adam Fry, an adventurer and environmentalist; and Mackay-Lewis, a dashing former British army officer who would in a couple days’ time leave me stranded on an island.

Roads, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Rob put me right to work, interrogating me about my health habits before running me through a vigorous workout of lunges, push-ups, wind sprints, and more to assess my ability to handle the challenges I would face over the next 72 hours. After a vegetarian lunch, I sat down with Williams for a three-hour coaching session that covered everything from the power of the subconscious to my relationships with my teenage children.

This combination of intense strenuous activity and contemplative self-examination would prove to be a pattern. The next morning, Morrison, Mackay-Lewis, and I jogged to a deep stretch of the Spey, where we swam in sub-45-degree water—an activity they claimed has meditative-like effects on the brain. I then sat down for another three-hour session with Williams. Later, I alternated between building a forest shelter and visualizing myself 20 years in the future through semi-hypnosis.

The constant push and pull of alternating phases of physical and mental discomfort were all by design, though it was a design to which I was never quite privy. I didn’t know what I’d be doing next, when—or if—I’d be eating, or where I’d be sleeping for the night. “The more you try to hold tightly onto the illusion of control,” Morrison told me, “the less freedom you give yourself to act.” So when Mackay-Lewis instructed me to pack a 24-hour stock of supplies for our afternoon hike through the woods, I thought I had learned well enough to expect nothing and prepare for everything.

The constant push and pull of alternating phases of PHYSICAL AND MENTAL DISCOMFORT were all by design, though it was a design to which I was never quite privy.

Calum Morrison

By the time I wake up on the island, the downpour has settled into a steady shower. Drenched, delirious, and disconcerted at the sight of a giant black slug (or is that a leech?), I struggle to my feet and wearily pull my poncho tighter over my head. But as I explore bit by bit, my shivering subsides and my curiosity consumes me. Suddenly, desertion begins to feel more like discovery. I hide in a ditch and then climb a tree before wading into the river to skip rocks and search for trout. Hey, I think to myself, if the weather were a bit drier, I could be happy here for days. 

It is then that the answer to Mackay-Lewis’s question strikes me: Success is the ability to do what I want to do. Given the elaborate process it took to arrive at it, my epiphany seems a bit quaint. And yet, my mission accomplished, I feel a twinge of hard-earned triumph.

A half-hour later, just as the long-absent sun emerges from behind a cloak of grey sky, I am both relieved and disappointed to see Mackay-Lewis appear among the trees across the river. I wade back to the opposite shore and follow him to a serene stretch of valley where Morrison, Fry, and Williams have erected a teepee campsite for the night. As we heat our vegetarian stew over a blazing campfire, we pass a flask of Speyside single malt around, and Morrison regales us with tales of negotiating with rebels in Libya, sailing fjords in Norway, and climbing the majestic Cairngorms that loom just overhead. As a young boy, he often explored the range’s imposing peaks with his father and brother. Wider than they are tall, and with nearly indiscernible summits, the mountains, he says, bring challenges—both physical and mental—that prepared him for life.

“You always think you’re approaching the top, but you never quite seem to reach it,” he says. “Even when you do, it always looks like there’s something higher and better up ahead.”

Bruce Wallin, Contributing Editor for Robb Report, is one of the leading voices in the luxury travel industry and an expert storyteller. Check out our video web series with Robb Report here!

Video: What Is Wellness and How to Embrace It

Video: What Is Wellness and How to Embrace It

4.2 trillion is one of those unfathomable numbers. Yet that’s the huge value of the wellness industry. What’s more, wellness tourism equates to $639 billion. In other words, no other industry is better placed to capture this lifestyle explosion.

Giving us the low-down on wellness tourism and what to expect next, we sat down with some of our friends at ILTM Cannes. Here’s what they had to say.

Want to make an impact in the wellness world? Exhibit alongside some of the world’s top wellness brands at ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 27 – 30 May 2019.

6 Tips for Brands Targeting Asia Pacific Millionaires

6 Tips for Brands Targeting Asia Pacific Millionaires

Asia Pacific is home to the highest number of super rich people in the world.

With China leading the way and noticeable gains in India and Hong Kong, the region has outranked North America for the past few years. Over 784 billionaires alone now reside in Asia Pacific, it’s no wonder the region’s affluent are a group no luxury brand can afford to ignore. But it’s not all about fancy foreign cars and marble swimming pools, the Asia Pacific millionaire is a discerning traveller, and here’s how you can attract them.

1. Invest in the Guest

Invest in the entire guest experience ecosystem…starting with the guest. Millennial and Generation X luxury travellers are digital natives and always connected. Their favourite devices, apps and services influence them every day and affect how they value brands, products and services.

Success comes from tracking how emerging technology trends influences traveller behaviour.

2. Engage with Social Media

Turn luxury travellers into fans. In the same way that traditional marketing has been replaced with content marketing, social media is best used when it is not selling but connecting. Engage travellers with insights and tips as well as by being helpful with your knowledge.

Success comes from connecting with travellers, not selling to them.

3. Leverage Automation

Devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo are flooding households worldwide. It’s no surprise therefore that the luxury traveller will soon expect these automation systems in their hotel room. Automation in geolocation, room service, and transport systems to improve the traveller experience are key.

Success comes from making logistics and service delivery easier.

4. Do Not Sell Deals

It is extremely difficult to beat deals on the internet these days, and will be even tougher in the future. Attitudes have moved from starting from the basis of price to treating price as the cost of falling in love with an experience. This is where your platforms and promotional messaging should focus.

Success comes from focusing on personalised services and experiences.

5. Be Responsive and Reachable

In a global world, the traditional 9 to 5 has become obsolete. Remember, alternatives are only a click away. Ensure that you are extremely responsive through voice, email, and social media at all times of the day. Advice needs to be immediate, transactions need to be seamless, and services need to be 24/7.

Success comes from being a 24/7/365 business.

6. Curate Unique Experiences and Access

We’ve all seen the experiential, transformational and now wellbeing travel trends. By now, we know luxury travel is about experiences and how they impact the person. So how can you take this further? The more you can give travellers access to special events or people, the more differentiated you are.

Success comes from offering exclusivity.

Exhibitors can meet the luxury travel advisors and designers representing these travellers face to face at ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 27 – 30 May 2019.

For more information on engaging the new generation of Asia Pacific luxury traveller, download our free report: Luxury Travel, But Not As We Know It.

Video: Wellness with Cynthia Rosenfeld

Video: Wellness with Cynthia Rosenfeld

Cynthia Rosenfeld is one of those people who can wear trainers to a trade show and still look absolutely impeccably dressed. We can’t get enough of her straight-talking, Yale graduating, sharp as a pin personality. If she were to start a life-coaching business, we’d be first in line.

Until then, we’ll be watching Cynthia explain what wellness means to her in this interview, recorded at ILTM Cannes. Hear Cynthia’s rundown of the top performing brands in the wellness travel world… did she mention you?

From Aman to Soneva, do you make the cut? Exhibit alongside some of the world’s top wellness brands at ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 27 – 30 May 2019.

What Can Be Done About the Threat Facing South Korean Travel Agencies?

What Can Be Done About the Threat Facing South Korean Travel Agencies?

As anybody who’s anybody will tell you, South Korea is the coolest place on Earth.

Its tech savvy and youthful super rich are being targeted by a growing number of luxury car makers and fashion brands, and its eccentric and addictive new youth culture is confirming what we suspected all along; South Korea is the world’s next big luxury hub. Which is why we’ve been so dismayed to learn about the closures of some major South Korean travel agencies in recent months.

So what’s happening?

“Many businesses in Korea are experiencing a tragic period,” says Blair Hong, CEO of T-Percent. “A few major companies have closed recently, which has been a real shock to the industry.” Ask Korean buyers and the finger always seems to point to online travel agencies (OTAs), like the ever-popular Agoda, as the greatest opponent for traditional travel agents: “We have seen an exponential increase over the past five years on OTA usage by the Korean traveller,” states Michael Ahn, Managing Director at Tailored Travel. “In addition, the travel research / planning / booking experience has become much more transparent and simpler due to the rise of travel start-ups that make it unnecessary for travellers to take the time to go through a traditional travel agent.”

Stuck in a vicious circle

The knock-on effect of this drop in demand is evident in the lack of R&D investment into the travel agency model. As Blair explains, “the biggest problem for travel agencies in Korea is that they’re cutting their profit for price competitiveness, so the chances for investing are really low.” It’s a vicious cycle. The resulting low profits mean low wages for employees and few chances for business ventures.

On top of this, as Es Shin, General Manager at Oui Tours, points out “most of the agencies closing recently are those specialising in honeymoons.” This is actually a reflection of the changing Korean demographic. As Es continues, “honeymoon couples were 300,000 some ten years ago in Korea but now they are under 230,000, according to statistics.”

But with change comes new opportunity

This comes at a time when the birth rate is also decreasing just as the nation has become an official “aged society,” which is defined by the United Nations as a society where those aged 65 or over exceed 14% of the total population. Not all is lost, however, “an increasing elderly generation means that the upper market is getting bigger too,” reassures Es.

There is, however, a general lack of awareness of agency affiliates in the country. In Korea, there are only “two members of Traveller Made and one member of Virtuoso (and that’s only been the case for the past two years).” As Blair highlights, there needs to be more consideration by the wider industry networks and alliances to open up membership to Korean agents, giving greater awareness to the region’s travel agent model.

With the traditional model under threat, most agents are now leaning towards new terminology – advisors, consultants, and even designers – and new ways of working. “We desperately need more attractive rates than the OTAs to be able to survive. This coupled with unique experiences and exclusive access can possibly be an avenue to attract more luxury Korean travellers by offering something that cannot be found on an OTA,” explains Michael.

Although the OTA phenomenon is indeed a threat, it is also very much an opportunity for agencies in Korea now, confirms Es. Regardless of the challenges in price competitiveness, investment and population, “the Korean high-end market is getting bigger and wider.” Travel designers “armoured with know-how and experience will be chosen” to handle the demands of the Korean luxury traveller.

Our Portfolio Director, Alison Gilmore, concludes, “This is a perfect opportunity and time for new Travel Designers to think of how they can add value through knowledge and the all-important personal touch. As we all know, nothing beats face to face. We are committed to doing everything we can to support the industry’s growth.”

Exhibitors can meet Blair, Es and Michael face to face at ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 27 – 30 May 2019.

Blair Hong, CEO, T Percent

Es Shin, GM, Oui Tours

Michael Ahn, MD, Tailored Travel

Video: Wellness with Six Senses’ Neil Jacobs

Video: Wellness with Six Senses’ Neil Jacobs

“Everybody needs to be in wellness if they are going to stay relevant. The markets are demanding it so you’re either going to deliver the goods, or you will become redundant.”

There’s a reason Neil Jacobs is the CEO of one of the most important wellness brands on the planet. Find out his views on the growing demand of wellness tourism in this video, recorded at ILTM in Cannes.

Want to stay relevant? Exhibit alongside some of the world’s top wellness brands at ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 27 – 30 May 2019.

Free Report: The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2018

Free Report: The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2018

To understand the desires of the world’s most powerful outbound market, there’s really only one company we trust. ILTM research partner, The Hurun Report, have been profiling the Chinese luxury consumer for as long as we’ve been hosting travel events. The latest instalment of ‘The Chinese Luxury Traveller’ covers everything you need to know for 2019 and beyond, including:

  • The new destination hot list
  • China’s favourite luxury travel brands
  • Travel trend analysis, both provincial and seasonal
  • Travel agency and advisor preferences
Download our free report with the icon above

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope to see you in Shanghai next year; ILTM China is taking place October 30-November 1, 2019.


How to Health Hack Any Event (without sacrificing happy hour)

How to Health Hack Any Event (without sacrificing happy hour)

Managing an eight-hour block of show appointments in a new time zone while attempting to stay on track with ongoing projects back in the office is hard enough. Doing this juggle while seeking healthy meals, workouts and attempts to go to bed early can be comically impossible. So we go with it – embracing eye drops and coffee for breakfast and vodka sodas and shrimp cocktail for dinner. I did a version of this during my first few years in the travel industry, working as a PR manager for a luxury California destination. Stayed out late, didn’t drink enough water, and told myself that walking a convention center floor was enough activity for the day. Meals were forkfuls of whatever would fill me up. It worked for a day, but tiring after two. And after three I was a zombie with sore feet and dry skin. Each time I would return home feeling like I needed a week-long detox.

So I gradually changed my habits, learning how to health hack in a way that wouldn’t impede my workflow or those few hours of post-appointment fun. There are seven or so health hacks I regularly count on for energy and mental clarity, and thus productivity at these types of events.

Here is a list of my seven most handy event health hacks, ones that make me feel most energized. As long as I’m successfully hitting four or five, I know I won’t come home wondering which new contact can get me into the nearest detox spa.

1. Pack protein powder, and upon check-in, ask my hotel to make me a fruit and veggie-ful smoothie with it each morning, so each day starts with energizing nutrition.

2. Bring a large, high quality water bottle to fill each morning with filtered water and drink throughout the day. I like bkr water bottles because I find them beautiful enough to not forget at each appointment. By the time you get to happy hour, you’re fully hydrated and not missing a beat.

3. Have a workout app or YouTube channel handy for in-room workouts. I used to give myself a hard time for not making it to a local yoga class, until I discovered apps like Alo Moves (formerly Cody App), Tone It Up and Aaptiv. Each has great 15 or 20 minute workouts that require nothing more than your own bodyweight.

4. Pay attention to your plane seat. Even if your company decides it can only afford to send you in Economy, spring for at least an upgrade to the Comfort Plus category using cash or miles to have a greater chance for some in-flight shuteye. And then talk to HR about the productivity benefits of flying employees Business. There are studies.

5. Ask a local to the area what exactly the weather is like and what kind of layers locals are wearing. If you don’t bring enough, or pack the wrong weight of layers it can frustrate at every point there is an event or outfit change. Nothing puts me in a worse mood than being too warm or too cold, especially when there’s not enough time to pop out and purchase something new. It’s a super basic item that does a lot for mental wellbeing.

6. Stick to a two-drink maximum, no matter how late you stay out. The benefits of calling your alcohol intake after two drinks are endless. Be more in control when running into important potential partners or clients, wake up with a clearer head, sleep more soundly, have mental clarity the next day, and fewer calories wasted on non-nutrition.

7. Always order a salad with a light dressing, no matter how much food the rest of the table is ordering and no matter the remainder of your dinner order. Eat the salad first and fill up on leafy greens. No matter what amount of sauces and fried things and questionable carbohydrates you eat after, you’ve filled up your body with a healthy amount of fiber. Good digestion is key to good health.

Now you’re ready to health hack any of the seven shows in the ILTM Collection! Here’s how we hacked ILTM 2018: Cannes VitalGuide™.

JACK EZON’S TOP 5 LUXURY TRENDS FOR 2019

JACK EZON’S TOP 5 LUXURY TRENDS FOR 2019

Dubbed the “Olivia Pope of travel” by Bloomberg due to his deep and broad relationships and global black book of clients, Jack Ezon is one of the most well-connected and influential travel advisors in the world. “From the Front Line: Luxury Trends Report” is Embark founder & managing partner Ezon’s end of year reflection, focusing on the top trends in evidence at ILTM in Cannes, including: 

  1. Self-Realization
  2. Holistic Luxury
  3. Wellness
  4. Approachable Luxury
  5. Going Micro

See whether you agree or disagree with Ezon. Get your hands on the full report here.

What’s in Store for Wellness? 5 Trends to Follow in 2019

What’s in Store for Wellness? 5 Trends to Follow in 2019

We spent 2018 filling our therapeutic colouring books, counting calories with the ketogenic diet and wearing our Fitbits around the world, but what are the key wellness trends for the year ahead and which hospitality brands are on top form?

When the Romans marched through the town of Spa in Belgium they named it Aquae Spadanae and the art of “balneotherapy” – the method of benefiting the body through bathing – was soon exported across the ancient empire. They certainly weren’t the first to enjoy hot springs but did a fine job in monetising a spa concept that still exists centuries later. Yet so much has changed. The global wellness industry is reportedly worth around US$4.2 trillion, according to The Global Wellness Institute, with tourism contributing to approximately $639 billion of that total.

1. Making sense of it

One of the leading innovators in the industry is the aptly named Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which launched its sextuplet of Spa Sensory Suites in Downtown Dubai this summer, providing a lavish range of all-encompassing therapies within a five-star hotel. “In Six Senses, we are not just limited to personalised spa journeys for our guests,” explains Rosalin Lau, Director of Spa and Wellness at Six Senses Spa Dubai. “We provide complete spa sensory experiences after spa treatments and offer high-touch, high-tech spa and wellness therapies with each sense of the six senses, which we reflect in our six treatment suites.”

From the therapeutic healing vibroacoustic lounger in the Sound Suite to the medley of herbs, spices and essential oils in the Smell Suite, each treatment area is designed and decorated differently instead the ‘brick and mortar’ uniform set-up of a spa treatment room throughout the premises. But what is the sixth sense? The Beyond Suite is the place to set your mind at rest with guided yoga, stretching and breathing techniques. Singing bowl therapy is also offered to treat a range of ailments. “Today, affluent travellers are looking for authentic experiences, stories to tell and share their envy inducing picture images to their social circles,” she added.

2. Less is more

We’ve had the minimalism movement, the KonMari method, decluttering, and various other fads, but it all comes down to clear spaces aiding clear minds. There’s a reason that Feng Shui remains in the zeitgeist, despite dating back thousands of years. Though not many of us are likely to understand the interior design philosophy in any great detail, modern environmental psychology explains why we believe that “cleanliness is next to Godliness” and in our cluttered, consumerist culture, minimalism is heralded as a tonic for anxiety. The concept is not only ideal for spatial organization, but can minimise stress, according to Psychology Today.

3. Slumber smartly

Most of us feel inclined to perform a thorough mattress test when we stay in a five-star suite – surely the most crucial item of furniture in any hotel – but some properties go the extra mile when it comes to promoting rest. The consensus is clearer than ever that slumber is just as important to our health as what we eat and Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas is at the forefront when it comes to getting a quality 40 winks, thanks to the brand’s In-Villa Slumber Guru Experience, provided at properties across the portfolio.

Taking the importance of a good night’s rest to a whole new level, the evening ritual begins with a soak in an essential oil bath surrounded by candles, easing tension with a “Deep Sleep Massage” using ylang ylang or lavender oils. Guests are then invited to unwind with a choice of tranquil music throughout the evening before plunging into fresh 1,000 thread count sheets. Other sleep therapy packages include 60-minute mindful meditation sessions, complimentary access to fitness classes & wellness facilities and more.

4. Wellness you can wear

Between the aforementioned Fitbit and smartwatch functionality, we’re already well accustomed to technology augmenting our health – and shaming us into taking the stairs. However, wearable tech is still tipped to be the top fitness trend for 2019, according to Science Daily. The return of wearables as the number one fitness trend “may be the result of manufacturers correcting some monitoring inaccuracies of the past,” according to the report’s author, Dr. Walter R. Thompson of Georgia State University, Atlanta.

The prediction is based on an annual survey of health and fitness professionals, and also notes that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will continue to be one of the most favoured workout methods, with people handing over yet more cash to hire certified fitness professionals as personal trainers. When it comes to wearables for ladies, emerging brands like Oura and bellabeat are now producing super-high-tech items of jewellery that allow you to track sleep, body temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and more.

5. Organic interiors

We should also expect to see more emphasis on biophilic design in the coming years, patching up the disconnect between our urban lifestyles and our innate desire to connect with nature. Organic elements like large plants, wood and stone are likely to be at the fore, with room sizes decreasing to make way for larger balconies and verandas. According to a recent study, data showed that hotel guests had a 36% higher dwell rate in hotel lobbies that had biophilic elements. Taking the concept to the next level – quite literally – is the soaring Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore, which bucks the trend of a sealed skyscraper. The architecture allows guests to acclimate and experience the city’s tropical surroundings with internal breezeways and atria, multiple sheltered terraces, sky gardens and vertical greening – achieving an overall greenery replacement of more than 10 times the site area.

How is health and wellness going to impact your life and business this year? Find out about ILTM’s new journey for 2019.

The Year of Health and Wellness

The Year of Health and Wellness

What is your purpose in life? If you don’t quite know how to answer that question, you are not alone. But you are statistically less likely to live a happy life. Alarmed? Don’t be. The global luxury travel industry is here for you. Come closer…

As the headline speaker at the ILTM Global Forum, Dan Buettner, pointed out in Cannes, “finding your purpose” is the single most effective short cut to health and wellbeing. It therefore comes as no surprise that the quest for self-actualisation – or in other words, wellness – might just be THE mega-trend to end all mega-trends in the global luxury travel economy.

Time for a history lesson – remember a few years ago when you first heard the words “experiential travel”? Yes! We cried. That’s the word we’ve been searching for, experiential is the way! So you updated all your marketing materials and some hipsters came by the office and delivered a super cool workshop. Then, a couple of years later, you were getting a coffee at ILTM and someone started talking to you about “transformational travel”. Of course! It’s bigger than experiential, it’s transformational. Cool.

Well, guess what? As with every new idea – the iPod for example – it gradually gets streamlined until what you’re left with seems so unbelievably obvious, you simply can’t imagine how you didn’t come up with it in the first place. Welcome to wellness – the luxury travel version of the iPod.

Let me explain. For decades, we, the luxury travel industry, have been talking about the unique healing nature of travel and its other-worldly influence on the psyche, giving perspective where it had gradually worn away, and giving the ultimate luxuries of ‘time’ and ‘space’ in which to relax, reflect and refocus. Travel, we said, is the antidote to the frenetic, fast moving roller coaster of the digitised 20th century. Travel makes us sit down and engage. It forces us to take something to a deeper level.

Fast forward and today’s travel brands exist at the very epicentre of an exciting new eco system. No other industry is better placed to capture this explosion of need. The wellness industry today is worth an estimated $4.2tn dollars, of which “wellness tourism” currently equates to $639bn. What’s more, wellness tourism is growing twice as quickly as tourism expenditure in general, that’s an annual growth of 14%!

ILTM 2018 marked the launch of ILTM’s Year of Health and Wellness, the year when yesterday’s shifts towards experiential experiences and transformative travel settle softly into a wider, more permanent focus on enhanced quality of life and optimum wellbeing. Kicking off in Cannes, ILTM launched research and gathered a community of wellness experts that all draw the same conclusion; in the future, all travel is wellness travel, every trip is expected to enhance the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the traveller, transformation is the very promise of travel, and today’s travel brands are the solution to one of the biggest problems of our age. The future travel economy is based on a lifelong, personal and emotional quest for longevity, where travel is the short cut to the end goal of wellness.

This year, through learning and experiences, we aim to provide practical advice for travel brands about how to bridge the gap between promise and delivery. To provide opportunities for travel brands to fully immerse themselves in the world our luxury consumers now inhabit, to reimagine traditional ‘spa and wellness’ offerings breaking out of venues and disjointed piecemeal treatments, and learning how to fully integrate a message of wellness into our brands. It’s time to take the first step into the future, where hotel brands not only provide a break from the pressures of modern life, but design experiences where the journey undertaken is a journey into oneself, and where travel and travel brands partner with the traveller to prevent disease, improve health, enhance quality of life and bring a person to increasingly optimum levels of wellbeing.

Join us on our journey and find your purpose in business, and more importantly, life.

Global Forum 2018: The ILTM Year of Health and Wellness

Global Forum 2018: The ILTM Year of Health and Wellness

Today’s travel brands exist at the epicenter of an exciting new ecosystem. Wellness tourism is already worth an estimated $639bn and it’s growing twice as quickly as tourism in general!

The ILTM Global Forum 2018 explored this explosion of need and why travel brands are uniquely placed to capture it. As the pinnacle of the luxury travel calendar, the ILTM Global Forum is the biggest and boldest educational event of the season. This is where an understanding of the new breed of luxury traveller takes shape.

To explore this already thriving industry, we asked three leading thinkers to give 2000 luxury travel shapers an enlightening look at how to fully integrate a message of wellness into both their brands and their everyday lives.

ILTM Global Forum 2018

Anna Bjurstam, Founding Board Member of the Global Wellness Summit and VP of Spas and Wellness for Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Anna Bjurstam is considered one of the world’s leading wellness pioneers. Anna is a founding board member of the Global Wellness Summit, Corporate Council Member of the Harvard University Department of Environmental Health, and is co-chairing the Global Wellness Institute’s “Wellness Communities” initiative.  Anna gave us a succinct overview of wellness and its application in the luxury travel industry, fostering an understanding of how to embrace wellness and integrate it into our travel brands.

 

Dan Buettner, Founder of Blue Zones

Dan is an explorer, National Geographic Fellow, award-winning journalist and producer, and New York Times bestselling author. Dan discovered the five places in the world – dubbed Blue Zones™ – where people live the longest, healthiest lives. In his talk, Dan shares how you can bring Blue Zones to your own business, including hotel rooms, restaurant menus and travel itineraries.

 

Julien Paccaud, Osteopath and Founder of Ecologie du corps

Julien helps athletes with their performance, including European tour pro golfers, polo players, and water skiers.  As health advisor to Chanel, Paccaud helps people understand how they can efficiently stay in great shape – both in body and mind. In his talk, Empower Your Posture and Mind, Julien explores how you can minimise the impacts of your posture and bring more energy to your life.

 

 

 

The Gostelow Report Live

The Gostelow Report Live

Mary Gostelow publishes the definitive market intelligence report for the luxury travel sector. Packed to the brim with the latest news, views, gossip and more, Gostelow Reports are a legendary source of business information for GMs, CEOs and senior executives all over the world. 

Reporting live from ILTM 2018 in Cannes, keep up to date with Cannes’s hot new openings, appointments and influencers right here:

Day 1, Cannes, Tuesday 4th December

Day 2, Cannes, Wednesday 5th December

Day 3, Cannes, Thursday 6th December

 

 

 

 

 

 

FREE REPORT: T+L Rising Stars – Alumni Network

FREE REPORT: T+L Rising Stars – Alumni Network

To mark the sixth anniversary of the ILTM & Travel + Leisure Rising Stars programme, the editors at Travel + Leisure went back to the Rising Stars alumni to find out about their accomplishments, their views on the industry and future ambitions.

Jacqueline Gifford, Editor in Chief of T+L, said “These advisors are at the top of their game, booking everything from a two-month extended vacation in Europe to a 32-person milestone trip to China. They are building thriving business by listening to clients and going above and beyond to deliver highly-customized, bespoke experiences”

Each year a select group of emerging travel advisors is chosen to attend the Rising Stars Lunch with Travel + Leisure at ILTM in Cannes, handpicked for their impressive clientele of affluent young travellers, find out how they meet the challenges of managing expectations and new levels of personalisation by downloading the report here:

 

 

 

 

China Insight Report: Next-Gen Luxury Travellers – Affluent Chinese Families

China Insight Report: Next-Gen Luxury Travellers – Affluent Chinese Families

The travel hopes and dreams of affluent Chinese travellers – a vital consumer demographic for luxury hospitality and travel businesses globally – have been revealed in this exclusive China Insight Report.

The report is co-published by ILTM China and Reuter Communications and unveils key findings, including:

• The new player beating WeChat at luxury travel content
• Family life is the new luxury in China: Affluent Chinese holidays all about the kids
• Which hotel brand is voted most family-friendly by affluent Chinese travellers?
• Green is the new gold for luxury Chinese travellers
• The digital must-have that luxury Chinese travellers demand
• Chinese Luxury Travellers ‘Go Mobile’ even in their rooms
• Chinese parents pioneer extreme adventure holidays

Download our free report here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the full report, visit luxuryconversation.com/travelreport. 

We hope to see you in Shanghai next year, ILTM China is taking place October 30-November 1, 2019.

The Gostelow Report Live

The Gostelow Report Live

Mary Gostelow publishes the definitive market intelligence report for the luxury travel sector. Packed to the brim with the latest news, views, gossip and more, Gostelow Reports are a legendary source of business information for GMs, CEOs and senior executives all over the world. 

Reporting live from ILTM China 2018 in Shanghai, keep up to date with China’s hot new openings, appointments and influencers right here:

Day 1, Shanghai, Thursday 1st November

Day 2, Shanghai, Friday 2nd November

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See you all again next year, Shanghai, October 30-November 1, 2019! 

Leaders of Luxury Series: David Rockwell

Leaders of Luxury Series: David Rockwell

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

In this episode, we sit down with award-winning architect David Rockwell.The founder of the multi-disciplinary studio The Rockwell Group in New York City has been reimagining the design experience for more than 30 years. 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Video: An Interview with Haisley Smith

Video: An Interview with Haisley Smith

At ILTM North America, we sat down with two of our fantastic agents, both of whom epitomise everything our show is about, to discuss their careers in travel thus far.

Meet Haisley Smith, Vice President of Marketing & Development at Brownell Travel, as she speaks about the culture of enriching people’s lives through travel. “Travel is the passport to peace” reflects Haisley, as she talks trends in North American luxury travel and the lasting impact of an ILTM show.

Check out our ILTM North America 2018 playlist for all the show’s incredible highlights.

Video: An Interview with Josh Bush

Video: An Interview with Josh Bush

At ILTM North America, we sat down with two of our fantastic agents, both of whom epitomise everything our show is about, to discuss their careers in travel thus far.

Meet Josh Bush, CEO of Avenue Two Travel, whose fresh and smart approach to business puts him at the top of his game. “Just when I thought I was out, it pulled me back in,” jokes Josh as he recalls his life in travel. Here he talks about the importance of relationships in the industry and how ILTM is synonymous with luxury itself.

Check out our ILTM North America 2018 playlist for all the show’s incredible highlights.

Spotlight on China

Spotlight on China

We all want to know the secrets to capturing our target consumer and this is especially true if you’re targeting the largest outbound travel market in the world. Chinese travellers are a force to be reckoned with, particularly in the luxury space. Did you know, for example, 90% of Chinese millionaires are now recognising the importance of health and wellbeing?

Find out many more valuable insights in the below infographic, raising the question: is your China strategy focusing on the correct consumer behaviours in order to engage such travellers?

Download Here

Discover what the above means for your brand by downloading our free report, Engaging the Asia Pacific Millionaire Traveller.

Luxury Hotels Go Plastic-Free: EDITION Hotels

Luxury Hotels Go Plastic-Free: EDITION Hotels

It is estimated that in the UK alone, at least 4.4 billion straws are thrown away annuallyand it has been predicted that the weight of plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish by 2050, if nothing is done to tackle this issue. This is just one of the reasons why many luxury hotels have committed to eliminating single-use plastics from their properties in the near future. 

EDITION Hotels have been pioneering the plastic-free movement in the hospitality industry as they’ve made it their mission to eliminate single-use plastics from all of their properties by the end of 2018. Leading the campaign is Vice President of Brand Experiences, Ben Pundole, who has made it his mission to find high-quality alternatives to common plastic hotel amenities. Pundole says that the plastic-free movement is no longer considered inconvenient, as it is increasingly aligned with the new definition of luxury that EDITION guests expect.

In the second instalment of our plastic-free mini-series, we spoke to Kellee Griffith, Operations Project Specialist from EDITION Hotels, about their commitment towards the initiative.

For those unaware, what is EDITION doing to reduce the use of single-use plastics?

EDITION has banned plastic straws in all food and beverage outlets across the brand, switched from plastic water bottles to cans and glass bottles, implanted staff water fountains in the back of house and provided each employee with their own stainless steel bottle. We are looking to move to keyless entry by the end of 2018 and we are looking for a solution to bathroom amenity bottles.

“The hotel and travel industry are big plastic polluters. We at EDITION are trying to do our part by removing all single-use plastics from our hotels with the aim to become an industry leader and hopefully inspire and influence other brands to do the same.”

Have your customers supported your commitment to reducing single-use plastics?

We are starting to see that consumers are making choices based on impact, whether it be fashion or hotels, consumers want to know that they are not creating a negative impact. The response from our guests has been incredible.

How have you ensured that quality is not compromised when sourcing single-use plastic alternatives?

The quality of our product isn’t compromised because we choose to be plastic-free. We just find creative alternatives that are just as good, if not better, and we work with the best vendors who share our passion and are committed to the campaign.

Why is reducing the amount of single-use plastics important to your brand?

The hotel and travel industry are big plastic polluters. We at EDITION are trying to do our part by removing all single-use plastics from our hotels with the aim to become an industry leader and hopefully inspire and influence other brands to do the same.

Don’t forget to look out for the rest of our plastic-free mini-series. We’ll be catching up with EDITION Hotels at ILTM Cannes this year. To meet them, join us in Cannes, 3-6 December, 2018.

Sources

  1. The Death of the Plastic Straw
  2. By 2050, the oceans could have more plastic than fish
  3. Edition Hotels Gets Serious About Going Plastic-Free
  4. A Luxury Hotel Chain is Making it Hip to Ditch Single Use Plastic

Mexico Facing its Future

Mexico Facing its Future

Welcome back to ILTM North America. One more year has gone by and a lot of things have changed in Mexico during these past few months—don’t worry, our food is as good as usual! After last year’s edition, a big part of the country was still struggling to recover after the earthquake. Mexico City definitely changed after September 19th. Many of its neighbourhoods have radically changed given the amount of people moving out of the most affected areas. Those first months were hard but a year later, it seems the capital has found its old rhythm and hopes are coming back while most of the buildings have been restored or torn down.

Something similar happened after the July election. The uncertainty that prevailed the months prior was quickly changed for a newfound hope. The triumph of López Obrador was feared by many sectors of society, but after the pacific ambience that followed his win even the most sceptical seem a bit open to change. For the first time, in quite some time, it feels like the whole country is on the verge of a deep and much needed transformation and this inevitably brings hope and positivity. That’s exactly why this is Mexico’s best time for the travel industry.

Before the elections many Mexicans were very cautious with their travel plans, but now the market feels more relaxed and Mexicans are ready to make plans again. Canada still remains very strong as an alternative to the United States and China, Japan and Korea are seen as the new places to explore in Asia. Vancouver and Whistler have become a new favourite likely because of the mix between nature and urban vibes that can be enjoyed in both, combined with the advantage of a no visa policy for Mexicans. Japan is still a big favourite, with many already on their second or third trip, while the rest of Asia remains as the dream destination of many, with Thailand, Bali, Singapore and Hong Kong high on the list.

In terms of incoming tourism, our popularity keeps going strong, with visitors from all over the world coming to Mexico primarily to enjoy our rich culture. Riviera Maya is still a favourite destination but some openings in the Cabos area —Solaz, Grand Velas, Montage and soon Ritz-Carlton Reserve—are turning the reflectors on the Pacific. Mexico City is getting ready for two big ones, Park Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton, while some new and interesting openings like Ryo Kan Mx—the first ever Japanese style hotel in the country—are great alternatives for those who like to think outside the box.

New and independent hotels and projects, like Chablé in the Yucatan Peninsula, are also showcasing some new trends, like wellness and nature travel. We have seen a lot of new companies that focus on nature exploration, helping travellers get in contact with the beautiful Mexican surroundings through walks and treks all over the country. While most of them are targeting local travellers, some, like Aire Libre Run, have programs designed for international travellers too. Also, big resorts like Punta Mita, are now regularly putting together events that focus on wellness, offering travellers the opportunity to mix holidays with wellbeing.

So, if we had to choose one word to describe Mexico in 2018, I would choose “optimistic”. Because now more than ever, the best is yet to come.

María Pellicer travels the world looking for stories as Editor-in-Chief of Travesías Magazine. Travesías are regular media attendees at ILTM events; catch them next at ILTM Cannes this December!

Leaders of Luxury Series: Barry Sternlicht

Leaders of Luxury Series: Barry Sternlicht

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

In this episode, we sit down with legendary hotelier Barry Sternlicht. The founder and CEO of Starwood Capital Group as well as the visionary behind such brands as 1 Hotels and Baccarat Hotels, Sternlicht is investing in a better future for the world of hospitality—one where the environment is priority and experience is everything.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Luxury Hotels Go Plastic-Free: Six Senses Laamu

Luxury Hotels Go Plastic-Free: Six Senses Laamu

It is estimated that in the UK alone, at least 4.4 billion straws are thrown away annuallyand it has been predicted that the weight of plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish by 2050, if nothing is done to tackle this issue. This is just one of the reasons why luxury hotels have committed to eliminating single-use plastics from their properties in the near future. 

In the first instalment of our plastic-free mini-series, we spoke to Megan O’Beirne, Sustainability Manager for Six Senses Laamu, about their commitment towards the initiative.

For those unaware, what are you doing to reduce your use of single-use plastics?

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas as a global company is leading the tourism industry by taking a stance against plastic: Plastic Free 2022. All properties are taking inventory of the plastics being used, sourcing alternatives, and eliminating the plastic items so that we are tackling the issue at the source, and not resting on the inadequate recycling systems currently in place worldwide. We have eliminated single-use plastic water bottles by filtering and bottling our own drinking water in reusable glass bottles.

We have banned single-use plastic bags, and switch guests’ duty free bags at the airport with paper ones. Straws are only given on request and are made from biodegradable paper. All shower amenities are provided in refillable ceramic pumps, and toothbrushes are made from bamboo instead of plastic. Cling film in the kitchens has been reduced by using stainless steel containers with lids instead. Purchase orders are made in bulk wherever possible to reduce packaging, and suppliers are requested to reduce packaging or use biodegradable paper instead of plastic.

“The foundations of the Six Senses brand are in sustainability and wellness. Plastic pollution is a global environmental issue, but especially in the Maldives where there are very limited recycling facilities, the amount of waste that is created by single-use plastic is unsustainable.”

Have your customers supported your commitment to reducing single-use plastics?

Yes, I would say 50% of guests I speak to are already aware of the Six Senses brand concept, and they booked Six Senses Laamu because they agree with our sustainability philosophy. The other 50% may have booked their stay without knowing about our ethos, but when they come to learn about why we bottle our own water, or why we ask them to take their shampoo bottles home with them, they are eager to participate and learn more about what they can do to reduce their environmental impact. A big part of the Six Senses experience is learning about how you can better your lifestyle after your stay, whether that is eating a healthier diet, getting a better night’s sleep, or adopting more environmentally-friendly habits. If a guest can see that at the resort we are trying to reduce our use of single-use plastics and understand why it is important, hopefully they will go home and analyse their own consumption and they too will eliminate single-use plastics from their own daily life.

Why is reducing the amount of single-use plastics important to your brand?

The foundations of the Six Senses brand are in sustainability and wellness. Plastic pollution is a global environmental issue, but especially in the Maldives where there are limited recycling facilities, the amount of waste that is created by single-use plastic is unsustainable and difficult to responsibly dispose of. If plastic ends up in the ocean, it never biodegrades, so just breaks down into tiny microplastics that enter the food chain and kill marine life. This relates to wellness because we don’t want to expose our guests to the toxic chemicals that build up in our seafood, or the plastic packaging with which our food comes into contact. It is important for Six Senses Laamu to reduce the use of single-use plastics as not creating the waste is a lot easier than trying to transport and recycle it from such a remote location.

How have you ensured that quality is not compromised when sourcing single-use plastic alternatives?

There are plenty of high quality and reasonable alternatives to single-use plastics, and in many ways, it is about getting back to the traditional ways of doing things. Before plastic was invented, one drank milk from glass bottles and returned them to be refilled. The concept of single-use plastic entered society with the notion of convenience and on-the-go lifestyles. The solutions to our problems of waste are often simply found in how things were done in the good ol’ days! At Six Senses Laamu, we try to source items that are either reusable and long-lasting, or if they must be short-term use, they are biodegradable. Glass water bottles with a metal clamp are both longer lasting and more elegant than plastic water bottles, so actually better achieve the luxury standard Six Senses is aiming for. Toothbrushes, however, must be disposable, so the ones provided in the villa are made of bamboo and are wrapped in corn starch packaging, which is 100% biodegradable.

Don’t forget to look out for the rest of our plastic-free mini-series. We’ll be catching up with Six Senses at ILTM Cannes this year. To meet them, join us in Cannes, 3-6 December, 2018.

Sources

  1. The Death of the Plastic Straw
  2. By 2050, the oceans could have more plastic than fish

Leaders of Luxury Series: Mauricio Umansky

Leaders of Luxury Series: Mauricio Umansky

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

In this episode, we sit down with Mauricio Umansky, Founder & CEO of The Agency. Redefining the world of real estate, Mauricio has represented some of the world’s most noteworthy properties including residences own by Michael Jackson and Prince. Here, he talks about how the world’s top architects are starting to create homes that are works of art.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

The Rise of Ultra-Luxury Cruises

The Rise of Ultra-Luxury Cruises

Cruise travel is booming with luxury travellers increasingly choosing to spend their holiday on-board ultra-luxury cruise liners. The cruise industry has been growing y-o-y since 2007, and according to Royal Caribbean Cruises CEO Richard Fain, the ultra-luxury and expedition segments are growing at twice the rate of any other segment in the industry.1

Growth in the cruise industry is expected to continue, with CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association, Inc.) predicting 27.2 million cruise passengers in 2018, a 5% increase from 2017.2 The major drivers in the market are both seasoned cruise passengers and affluent travellers who are yet to experience an ultra-luxury cruise, however, still expect to receive the very best service. This recent increase in bookings has led to a surge in the number of ultra-luxury cruise ships being created.

Virtuoso’s 2018 Luxe Report found that seeking authentic experiences is the third highest travel motivation for luxury travellers.3 Supporting this trend, Chris Austin, SVP of Global Marketing & Sales for ultra-luxury cruise line, Seabourn, told ILTM that “today’s affluent consumer is placing an even greater emphasis on seeking truly authentic, memorable experiences whereas in years past they would spend more on luxury goods. They are seeking new, bolder places to discover that are perceived for only a few to access. They are travellers – not tourists.” Seabourn have responded to this growing demand by announcing that they will be introducing two new ultra-luxury expedition ships to their offering in 2021 and 2022; giving passengers the chance to experience a “unique combination of thrilling, immersive adventures with generous, ultra-luxury amenities.”

Seabourn’s latest additions will sail amongst some of the most remote locations, including Antarctica and Patagonia, giving travellers the chance to experience ultra-luxury in some of the farthest places on earth. Passengers will be able to experience these unique destinations by submarine, kayak and Zodiac; “just imagine cruising in a Zodiac past flocks of porpoising penguins, watching a breaching humpback whale, or paddling alongside immense blue-white icebergs,” says Chris Austin. Passengers will also have the chance to immerse themselves in unparalleled on and off-shore experiences, without compromising on any of the luxury amenities that they would expect to receive at a five star plus hotel. Including everything from Michelin-starred cuisine by Chef Thomas Keller to a hot-stone massage in Seabourn’s world-class spa; there really is something for everyone.

But what differentiates an expedition ship from a regular cruise ship? Chris tells us the first difference is its size, “since expedition ships will usually be smaller to gain greater access so guests can get up close to highly desirable scenery and wildlife in locations that just can’t be accessed by larger ships.” However, this is not to say that these ships aren’t spacious, in fact the opposite is true. As Chris notes the second most important difference is “luxury”, with Seabourn fostering “a private, club-like atmosphere that discerning luxury travellers seek, along with highly intuitive personalized service.” Personalized service is an increasingly important factor for affluent travellers, particularly within the ultra-luxury cruise market, whether this be personalized itineraries and tailor-made experiences or bespoke dining packages and personalized excursions. Seabourn offers the complete package for discerning travellers who seek ultra-luxury, unique and customised experiences.

We’ll be catching up with Seabourn and other luxury cruise lines at ILTM Cannes this year. To meet them too, join us in Cannes, 3-6 December, 2018.

Sources

  1. Skift – Seabourn is building expedition ships as demand for luxury adventure grows
  2. Cruise Lines International Association, Inc. – 2018 Cruise Industry Outlook
  3. Virtuoso’s 2018 Luxe Report

 

The Secrets to Communicating Your Brand Uncovered

The Secrets to Communicating Your Brand Uncovered

Following the success of the Leaders of Luxury web series, we’re working with Robb Report once again. Continuing our look into the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it, Jackie Caradonio, Travel Editor at Robb Report, uncovers the tools that great communicators need to sell their brand. 

You’ve got a message. But can you deliver it?

We all know that communication is the key to success. So then why are so many of us so bad at it? Turns out, being able to effectively talk about your product or service isn’t quite so easy. But there are secrets out there that successful CEOs, entrepreneurs, actors, and performers use to keep their audience hanging on their every word. And the man behind those secrets is Michael Hopkins. For more than 20 years, the founder of Hopkins Media Training has been directing celebrities, editors, and high-level executives in the techniques of communication and delivery. Here, Hopkins shares with us the crucial tools that great speakers use to draw their audience in—and how everyone can apply them to their own professional success.

What’s the most important thing we need to do in order to ensure that what we’re communicating—whether a sales pitch, a speech, or a presentation—will effectively reach our audience?

The first thing you need to do when communicating something—anything—is to create a structure. Frame every conversation for the person you are speaking to. This not only helps you to be prepared with what you are going to say, but it also prepares your audience for what they are about to hear. You see this on all the news and entertainment shows: They give you a headline first, then a few highlights of what they are about to tell you. Once your audience knows what to expect, you know that they’re listening.

The second thing is connection: Find your connection to the story. Why are you excited about it? If you are pitching me a hotel or a service, you have to be excited about it and connected to it. If you’re not excited about it, the game is already over. Don’t waste an opportunity—tell me something meaningful. Sell it like you mean it. If you don’t mean it, people will sniff that out.

What’s your biggest advice when it comes to speaking to an audience or important client?

My biggest advice would be don’t try to wing it. If you try to wing it because you think it’s going to be more authentic, you are going to fall flat. I can give you all the speaking tips in the world, but then the work is on you to spend the time practicing, either in front of a mirror or with a friend. You can read something over and over in your head but until you stand on your two feet and say it out loud and get excited about it, you’re not prepared.

Tell us about the power of the pause.

The pause is a vital part of speaking that people don’t use often enough. Effective communication is all about intonation and pace. People tend to speak in what are essentially run-on sentences. When we’re communicating verbally, we need to use the same types of punctuation and grammar as we would when we write. The pause is the most important tool because it allows your audience to keep up with you and follow along with what you’re saying. It also keeps you in control: Put your foot on the gas, then brake. Are they still with you? If so, put your foot back on that gas.

It sounds like checking in with your audience is an important part of delivering a successful speech or pitch.

It’s so important to gauge the audience or person listening to you whenever you’re speaking. There’s this mentality that if you say it quickly, people won’t have time to lose interest. But if you rush through it, you miss the point. We’re so worried about presenting all of the information that we practiced, and the information that we think is important. But we always need to remember, what is the audience getting out of it? What are they listening for? Do they want that great trip or amazing experience? That’s why you’re there.

What’s one of the biggest communication mistakes that everybody makes?

Body language: How do I stand? What do I do with my hands? People feel self-conscious when all of the attention is on them, but I always bring them back to the importance of the connection. If you are telling a story, and you are excited about it—you are connected to it—you are authentically telling a story. You don’t wonder what do with your body. That’s why it so important to have that connection to every pitch, presentation, and performance because if you have that, you can lose yourself in it a bit. And everything else—your hand gestures, the way you stand—will fall into place.

What about social media? How can we use it as a successful communication and marketing tool?  

Social media like Instagram is really just a shorter version of what you should already be doing, which is to tell a story. An Instagram or Facebook post still needs a story—there has to be an angle behind it. Why are you telling the story? Are you doing it to sell something—or are you doing it to get me excited about something? People can tell the difference. Think of yourself as a storyteller in everything you do, and people won’t be able to ignore you.

As a regular contributor for View from ILTM, Jackie will be sharing her insights on luxury and travel throughout the year. Check back next month for Jackie’s latest view

FOCUS ON ASIA PACIFIC: CHARLOTTE HARRIS

FOCUS ON ASIA PACIFIC: CHARLOTTE HARRIS

Eurasian, born in Hong Kong and raised in Southeast Asia, Charlotte Harris was thrown into the travel industry by her mother, Jackie Harris, at a young age. At four months old, Charlotte had done her first hotel inspection, and by three she had two African safaris under her belt.

Fast forward 25 years, and Charlotte now heads up Charlotte Travel; curating tailor-made luxury itineraries for her VIP clients. In addition to sitting on the Rosewood Travel Agent Advisory Board, she spends much of her time building relationships with hotels and other industry partners to ensure all of her clients get the maximum experience from their holidays.

Ever the intrepid traveller, we caught up with Charlotte on her return from the first edition of ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore to discuss all things luxury travel in Asia Pacific:

“Catering for the modern Asia Pacific traveller consists of multiple aspects, however, the ability to be flexible and cater to the diversity that ‘Asia Pacific’ entails is key. From catering to favourite brand of toiletries, chocolates and even toilet roll at times. Asia Pacific travellers seek authenticity, privacy, great food and chic decor to connect them to the local environment or culture – brands such as Rosewood and Six Senses combine these four elements incredibly well.

“Asia’s rising prosperity makes it possible for us to move further into luxury niche markets. We see growth opportunities where there is increasing demand for unusual travel experiences and lesser known destinations that have not yet been overrun by mass tourism. Accordingly, we are constantly on the lookout for products and partners that are able to satisfy this demand. As our clients place high levels of trust on our advice, we also need to be confident that these partners can achieve the demanding levels of service that they expect and this is best obtained from direct contact with them. It’s this imperative for trust that increasingly drives our business model.

“Unique ways of travel are becoming increasingly popular. We see luxury camping or ‘glamping’ in the African bush or cruising on a luxury expedition vessel into the Arctic or Antarctic Circle growing in 2018. Travelling to these destinations have become easier for the luxury traveller by luxury expedition cruises or luxury camps. What’s more, millennials are becoming more conscious of the social and environmental impact they make when travelling, they are twice as likely to support brands (and governments) who place a priority in tackling these issues on the ground.

“From a Tour Operator perspective, our biggest challenge over the next 5 years is differentiation. Anyone who travels has the potential to advise. So being a professional requires the ability to rise above run-of-the-mill. The next challenge is empathy. Understanding the client is the key to giving good advice, and this isn’t easy. It requires considerable skill to convince a client that their favoured destination might be a disappointment and that somewhere else is more likely to please. When your business depends on being good at this, you have to be.

“Whilst we have maintained our level of service and expertise to our clients, our demographics have grown significantly. By leveraging the use of technology, our number of millennial clients have increased – these are young travellers in Asia Pacific whose notions of luxury are significantly different to their friends and family. We anticipate this to continuously grow in the years to come as we see more demand for personal advice in travel and an increasing number of time-poor young professionals.”

To meet Charlotte Travel and more of the Asia Pacific’s most lucrative travel designers, speak to a member of the ILTM Team to discuss ILTM Asia Pacific 2019, taking place at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, 27th – 30th May 2019.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Ralph Pucci

Leaders of Luxury Series: Ralph Pucci

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

In this episode, we sit down with Ralph Pucci, Founder of Ralph Pucci Gallery. Building his showrooms to give an intimate experience, Ralph thinks quality and creativity are his cornerstone concepts. Luxury brands, however, are failing their customers by delivering too much sameness and too little innovation, in his opinion.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Will Guidara

Leaders of Luxury Series: Will Guidara

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

In this episode, we sit down with Will Guidara, the co-owner of the restaurant currently ranked No. 1 in the world, Eleven Madison Park in New York. Along with chef Daniel Humm, he co-owns the urban playground of a restaurant and bar NoMad, which started in New York and has expanded to LA, with a new location opening in Las Vegas this autumn. The two are also behind Made Nice, with these restaurants forming part of their prestigious hospitality group named Make It Nice. In this episode he discusses the power of experiences, and crafting them to be more luxurious and memorable than possessions.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Free Report: Luxury Travel, but Not as We Know It

Free Report: Luxury Travel, but Not as We Know It

The typical definition of luxury is that it is an indulgence rather than a necessity. However, in Asia as is the trend globally, luxury travel is no longer about conspicuously high prices and conventional badge value; it is evolving and we must therefore redefine luxury in new terms for a new generation of traveller.

This generation eschews the elaborate and ornate and looks for more specialised, intimate experiences. They are discerning travellers who not only like things to look good, but to feel good. Understated, gilt-free and guilt-free luxury, together with personalised experiences, have become the cornerstone of the luxury travel market.

Nowadays this market is defined through the combination of the richness and uniqueness of the travel experience itself, not just the hotel brand or the flight class. Accordingly, this experience must also deliver a level of social bragging rights that allows travellers to express their individuality. It needs to be aspirational, enviable – and, above all, Instagrammable.

In this report, OgilvyRED and ILTM look at the trends and shifts that support this view and you will see that:

  • Growth is not all about China; there is an exponential rise from Southeast Asia that comes with very different expectations.
  • The ‘Luxury Market’ blurs lines between mass and affordable luxury and between travel types, with categories like business and leisure overlapping more than ever before.
  • A generation of affluent travellers who will fuel future category growth are coming of age. These travellers bring very different demands, needs and expectations.

Download the report below to build action plans from both a luxury travel brand and a luxury travel agency perspective.

Download the report here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for similar reports? Check out Engaging the Asia Pacific Millionaire Traveller brought to you by Agility Research & Strategy and ILTM.

The Gostelow Report Live

The Gostelow Report Live

Mary Gostelow publishes the definitive market intelligence report for the luxury travel sector. Packed to the brim with the latest news, views, gossip and more, Gostelow Reports are a legendary source of business information for GMs, CEOs and senior executives all over the world. 

Reporting live from ILTM Asia Pacific 2018 in Singapore, keep up to date with Asia Pacific’s hot new openings, acquisitions, appointments and influencers right here:

Day 1, Singapore, Tuesday 22nd May

Day 2, Singapore, Wednesday 23rd May

Day 3, Singapore, Thursday 24th May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See you all again next year, Singapore, May 27-30, 2019!

Discover Your Passion in Singapore

Discover Your Passion in Singapore

Singapore is a city fuelled by passion and pride. Around every corner, you will find incredible experiences being crafted, cooked, painted, designed, grown or built by locals who share a common trait: passion. Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is sharing this passion with the world in their latest brand campaign, Passion Made Possible. It also translates into curated experiences based on your passion, something you can try when in Singapore.

According to 4,500 respondents across 10 countries and in Singapore, ‘passion’ and ‘possibilities’ best reflect the Singapore spirit. This insight fuelled the rationale behind the Passion Made Possible campaign which boldly showcases Singapore’s unique attitude and mindset. It beautifully appeals to today’s increasingly discerning traveller, looking for true cultural immersion and a deep sense of connection with their destination.

Mr Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive of STB said, “It will appeal to the more sophisticated tourists who are seeking more aspirational value propositions in their travel.” The campaign’s powerful videos are cinematic and the storytelling across all channels is memorable. The creative is on trend and well worth you taking a look. While doing so, you may just discover your passion. Both the campaign, and the destination stand out on the international stage. So while in this city of limitless possibilities, indulge in what you love. Explore your passion; whether you’re a foodie, explorer, collector, socialiser, action seeker or culture shaper, here’s a brief idea of what’s possible in Singapore.

FOODIE

Kick off your foodie adventure at the Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, the largest hawker centre in Singapore. With over 200 stalls under one roof, you’ll get a crash course on Singapore’s various cultures through a diverse palate. For world-class Singaporean food, head to Hjh Maimunah and be like a local, enjoying village-style cuisine. The nasi padang (rice with a medley of Malay dishes) served here is one of the best on the island. For something more upmarket, the world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, Candlenut takes a contemporary yet authentic approach to the traditional Straits-Chinese cuisine. Arguably the best Peranakan restaurant in town, Chef Malcolm Lee has elevated his grandmother’s old recipes to Michelin-starred fame.

EXPLORER

Gardens by the Bay is a multi-award winning Singapore icon. Explore 101 hectares of green wonders, a 35m tall mountain covered in plants, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall and suspended walkways between the 9 to 16 storey tall Supertrees. The Fullerton Hotel’s rich history dates back to its original construction as a fort in 1829. Now as a heritage hotel, its grandeur speaks to its rich history, with its imposing Neo-classical façade and elegant central atrium. Standing at 165 metres above ground is Asia’s largest observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer. The wheel is a favourite tourist attraction due to its vantage point offering stunning panoramic views of Marina Bay and the city.

COLLECTOR

Stroll down Orchard Road, lauded as one of the best places to shop in Singapore. Spanning almost 2.2km, this bustling belt is a must-visit for shopaholics with its huge range of retail, dining and entertainment choices. Since opening in 2010, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands has amassed the largest collection of luxury labels under one roof in the region, with more than 170 luxury and premium brands. Explore VivoCity, the largest mall in Singapore. It features a plethora of shopping options as well as stores unique to VivoCity. Expect vast, open-air spaces for waterfront strolls, and find an array of amenities that are more than just shops.

SOCIALISER

Set on Singapore’s vibrant Robertson Quay, The Warehouse Hotel Lobby Bar is a swish boutique serving craft cocktails reflecting the three eras of the property’s past; a spice trade warehouse, an illegal distillery and a warehouse disco. Nearby, Marcello at the InterContinental Robertson Quay is Singapore’s first modern Italian cocktail bar, inspired by the early to mid-20th century. An institution in the making, Marcello houses the largest selection of Amari in Southeast Asia. Located on Andaz’s 39th floor is the rooftop bar, Mr Stork. Catch stunning, panoramic views of the Singapore skyline while relaxing in the tepee huts amidst lush greenery.

ACTION SEEKER

Southeast Asia’s first Hollywood movie theme park, Universal Studios Singapore™, features an enticing selection of attractions, rides and entertainment for families and thrill seekers. 18 out of the 24 movie-themed rides here were designed just for the Singapore Park. Not for those with a fear of heights, the Mega Adventure Park at Sentosa is all zip-lines and high-element activities. The main attraction at the park is the Mega Zip itself, a 450m zip-line. At Ultimate Drive, you can jump in a Ferrari F430 Spider or Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder and experience the thrill of driving on the official FORMULA ONE Marina Bay Street Circuit.

CULTURE SHAPER

Doubling as a 19th-century nation monument, the Singapore Art Museum has built up one of the most important collections of contemporary art from the region. Little India is one of Singapore’s most vibrant districts. As you walk down Serangoon Road and neighbouring streets, explore their mix of temples, delicious food and unique shops. With its massive golden domes and huge prayer hall, Sultan Mosque is well worth the visit. Masjid Sultan, as it is also known, is a prominent mosque located in historic Kampong Glam and is one of the country’s most impressive religious buildings.

 

Now that you’re equipped to rediscover your passion in this city of possibilities, watch STB’s Passion Made Possible clip below. It’ll fuel your passion and ignite the possibility of experiencing just some of what Singapore can offer.

Even more is possible. Visit Singapore Tourism Board’s Passion Made Possible trishaw exhibit at ILTM Asia Pacific, stand A120, for a virtual reality tour of Singapore and to find out more.

Free Report: Engaging the Asia Pacific Millionaire Traveller

Free Report: Engaging the Asia Pacific Millionaire Traveller

Asia Pacific has retained its position as the region with the largest HNWI population globally. Naturally, luxury brands, and particularly luxury travel brands, are eager to tap into the growing purchasing power of Asia Pacific’s millionaires. Understanding the consumer and their changing behaviour is key to this, which is why we’ve partnered with Agility Research & Strategy to uncover critical insights.

Through interviews with close to 3,000 affluent respondents across China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, our latest report will explore:

  • Perceiving luxury and necessity
  • Destinations on the horizon
  • Travel behaviours and demand
  • Brand expectations
  • Future trends

Discover what the above means for your brand by downloading the report below.

Download the report here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for similar reports? Check out Luxury Travel, but Not as We Know It brought to you by OgilvyRED and ILTM.

The Luxury Paradox

The Luxury Paradox

Following the success of the Leaders of Luxury web series, we’re working with Robb Report once again. Continuing our look into the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it, Jackie Caradonio, Travel Editor at Robb Report, gives us her take on the L word.

In a world in which the word “luxury” is applied to anything and everything, high-end hospitality brands must develop meaningful and authentic new ways to connect with consumers.  

It has been more than 10 years since Andrew Sacks, a New York–based expert on high-end marketing, told a room full of hoteliers at the Leading Hotels of the World’s annual conference in Monaco that “luxury” was “dead.” He wasn’t talking about the concept—to be sure, a decade later, we know that luxury is very much alive and well. He was, however, talking about the word. The term was so overused, it had virtually lost all meaning, Sacks argued. It had become “a descriptor that is highly suspicious to the very people to whom it is designed to appeal: the affluent.”

Ten years later, the L word is no less pervasive. And it has indeed lost much of its power. Between luxury pet spas, luxury diaper bags, luxury dentists, and luxury keychains (yes, these all claim to exist), it seems everyone and everything is geared toward the good life—or at least the perception of it. As such, truly high-end brands are left with a conundrum: How do you convey luxury in a world where everything claims to be luxurious?

For Jumeirah Hotels, the answer is making its brand synonymous with luxury, without actually using the word. “The term ‘luxury’ has become diluted and perhaps depreciated through its overuse in the hotel industry,” concedes Charlie Taylor, Jumeirah’s group director of brand communications. To combat that, Taylor says his brand created what it calls “the Jumeirah experience,” a combination of bespoke and locally-inspired experiences and traditional five-star hotel service and style—something that captures the modern-day ethos of luxury travel without explicitly saying it.

Other brands have moved away from the L word to create a similar alignment with luxury that sidesteps the actual term. JW Marriott created what it calls the “JW Marriott Treatment” while Conrad Hotels has replaced its old slogan of “The Luxury of You” with the more demonstrative one “Never Just Stay. Stay Inspired.” Oberoi Hotels and Park Hyatt have also dropped slogans using the word. And Ritz-Carlton—a brand whose very name has become synonymous with luxury—coined the phrase “Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentleman.”

Of course, these strategies are more than reactions to luxury fatigue. They are proof that the very definition of luxury, especially as it pertains to the hospitality industry, has changed. It’s no longer necessarily defined simply by opulence or extravagance—two words that, in their own rights, have become less appealing to luxury travelers in recent years. Rather, luxury as a word has taken on a unique meaning for every brand—and person.

“The challenge of today is that where luxury was once prescribed, today it means different things to different people,” says Lisa Holladay, Ritz-Carlton’s global brand leader. “We focus less on telling guests they will receive a luxury experience and instead work to show guests the luxury of the experience the Ritz-Carlton provides.”

There is, of course, a common thread here: experience. Each of these new slogans and marketing approaches leans in to the individual brand’s unique ability to promise not only a beautiful place to stay, but far more importantly, memorable experiences. To achieve that, the goal for every brand is to show—not tell—their consumers how they can offer personally fulfilling and meaningful experiences beyond the traditional five-star stay.

With that goal, a new language of luxury has emerged, relying no longer on the touting of objects and visual cues but instead tapping into emotions. Jumeirah uses the word “rituals” to define the experiences that make a stay with its hotels unique. Ritz-Carlton uses the term “wow moments” in its newest “Let Us Stay with You” campaign. And Park Hyatt defines its hotels as “places where rare and unexpected pleasures are artfully woven into every stay.”

For Wilderness Safaris, this new emotional approach led to a slogan that boldly attempts to redefine luxury altogether. “Purpose is the New Luxury” expresses the safari outfitter’s goal to immerse its guests in the local conservation and community efforts in each of the countries in which it operates lodges. “We don’t do high-end ecotourism for the sake of it, but rather for the positive impacts it can and does achieve,” says Chris Roche, Wilderness’s chief marketing officer. “For us, the challenge has been to connect our purpose to the guest experience and to share this with them.”

Thus, Wilderness set out to classify its own brand of luxury—one that emphasizes space, discovery, genuine personal engagement, disconnection from the modern world, and simplicity. “When we first came up with the statement ‘Purpose is the New Luxury,’ we treated it with caution,” Roche explains. “But the more we considered it, the more we felt that in the modern world, purpose really is the antithesis of utility, and thus in some way embodies real luxury.”

To be sure, buzzwords will forever plague the high-end hospitality industry. Not far behind “luxury” is the overuse of words like “experiential,” “bespoke,” and “transformational.” The antidote to such deterioration of meaning, then, is for each brand to define its own purpose—and the unique language that communicates it. “Even though we all proudly and boldly claim to operate in the luxury space,” Roche says. “It is far too seldom that we ask ourselves what luxury means, and what it really is.” Now’s the time to ask—and answer.

As a regular contributor for View from ILTM, Jackie will be sharing her insights on luxury travel throughout the year. Check back next month for Jackie’s latest view.  

Meet the college student redefining the luxury travel agency

Meet the college student redefining the luxury travel agency

At the early age of 14, this luxury travel pioneer turned his passion for the travel industry and drive for customer experience into a leading travel agency. Taking $600 earned through soccer refereeing, Rob Karp purchased the software needed to start Karp Enterprises, LLC back in November 2012. Since then, the company has undergone a rebranding as MilesAhead and in partnership with Valerie Wilson Travel and the luxury travel network, Virtuoso, has sold millions of dollars’ worth of travel.

Today, Rob is a 20-year-old Junior at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, where he has met most of MilesAhead’s dedicated and passionate employees. The youngest travel advisor in the Virtuoso network, he is also a Travel + Leisure Rising Star 2017, awarded for his impressive list of clientele and inspiring talent. One reason why MilesAhead clients return so often is Rob’s dedication to them, many of whom become his friends.

We caught up again with Rob to delve deeper into his fresh perspectives on the future of technology and consumer loyalty within travel as well as the future of his own company.

Photo credit: The Harvard College Leadership Review

“At MilesAhead, we are a technologically powered service business. We give our clients what the Internet cannot—our experience and advice. Client trips are planned a variety of ways, from texting to email to Facebook message. We also use our Facebook and Instagram pages to share what’s new and engage with our clients. The technologies we use to guide our business vary from simple tools like Google and Trip Advisor to advanced applications such as the AXUS Travel App. That said, most importantly, we use our first-hand travel experience.

“Over the next five years, new tech will develop that will allow the travel advisor to be more efficient and creative. There are currently so many processes that are menial and take up valuable time from advisors. For example, there is a recent start-up that created a tool for automated rebooking when a flight is delayed; this would be an incredible service to offer travellers.

“From our beginning, MilesAhead’s expertise and passion for point redemption has driven us to be a part of today’s travel advisor reinvention. Loyalty has become a tricky concept—especially since social media has become a platform for customers. One day people love an airline, and the next day they never want to fly with them again. However, this decrease in brand loyalty has provided the opportunity for clients to trust travel advisors in navigating the best experiences for them. They trust us and follow our suggestions; and that’s what this business is all about.

“MilesAhead— the travel business as a whole—is currently in an exciting stage. Our team is powered by college students, who are returning 100% YOY growth. We are in the process of recruiting, training, and building with some extremely talented and passionate students. We want to continue being at the forefront of the changing travel industry and to better our field. We want to continue showing luxury travellers the MilesAhead difference; and with talent and technology, we’re on the path to do just that.”

To hear more from Rob and other experts like him, download Travel’s Bright Future: A Report from the Travel + Leisure & ILTM Rising Stars Roundtable.

8 Experts Talk Social Consciousness and Awareness in Luxury Travel

8 Experts Talk Social Consciousness and Awareness in Luxury Travel

These days, clear sustainability credentials are a must for any brand. With the definition of luxury ever-evolving and always fine-tuning, a five-star property and service is no longer enough to satisfy discerning luxury travellers. More than ever, consumers are buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. The emergence of this consciousness has had an unprecedented impact on the luxury industry, influencing the way brands market themselves to gain consumer approval.

To understand how important this social trend is for travel brands, we reached out to a handpicked selection of emerging travel advisors. We asked them: Is there a generational difference when it comes to a traveller’s social awareness and consciousness?


1) JESSYCA GEORGISON

Travel and Cruise Consultant, Renshaw Travel

“If a property or destination has great environmental practices, this is something that clients will use to validate a decision to stay somewhere, after they’ve already decided, rather than it be a driving factor in their decision making.”

2) DAVID SCAFF

Centurion Relationship Manager, American Express Travel

“What started as a movement of individuals has evolved into an awareness by the travel industry. The industry itself is now leading the education of many in terms of sustainability.”

 

3) COURTNEY SHEELEY

Luxury Travel Consultant, Jet Set World Travel

“The impact tourism has had on our environment can’t be ignored. As the global population increases it’s getting worse; however, travel innovators are addressing the issue. In areas where conservation and sustainability is priority, both financial and societal resources are gaining speed, as seen in Africa with wildlife and landscape conservation. Conversely, in Bangladesh and India—areas of dense population and pollution—it’s challenging to even grasp where to start.”

4) VICTORIA STRUBBE

Luxury Travel Advisor, Camelback Odyssey Travel

“I believe we all want to be and are in support of helping our local communities and world resources. However, I have not personally felt that this is a primary area that comes up in questioning or is spoken about when making a decision. I feel that there are many that are more socially aware, and perhaps it is our part as advisors to help be advocates as this is the future of our planet. I think most clients are pleased to see this once they are there but do not seek this out.”

 

5) JACQUELINE MORGAN

Luxury Travel Advisor, Travelink, American Express Travel

“Truthfully, for personal vacation travel, people are going to go where they most desire, in the best manner possible, and spend their money where they want. While most may be socially aware and ecologically minded, it does not always play into how some spend their dollars on vacation, especially for experienced travellers. They want the companies they stay with to all be as eco-friendly as possible as an expectation of being a good corporate, global citizen. However, their experience shouldn’t feel less luxe just to be green.”

6) MEGAN PERI

Director of Leisure, Plaza Travel

“The older generations tend not to think about it so much, regardless of their political affiliations. And because of that, you don’t feel high-end luxury leading the charge on sustainability. At lifestyle hotels that cater to Millennials, you feel it everywhere – from the type of take-away plates and items they provide, to the plastic water bottles replaced by reusable bottles and filling stations… I think more travellers would actually like to give their time philanthropically when they travel – beach clean-up or building houses etc., they just don’t know where to find those offerings.”

 

7) KRISTIANA CAPATI CHOQUET

Luxury Travel Consultant, Ovation Vacations

“Millennials are more typically aware of the environment and sustainability. The new 1 Hotels brand completely evokes the marriage of luxury and environmentally friendly practices. But as conscious as they are, it is more of a novelty and goodwill play. I have yet to see someone not go somewhere because they clean their sheets every day. People want environmentally friendly without sacrificing their creature comforts.”

8) JAYME HOOD

Luxury Travel Advisor, Huffman Travel Ltd.

“Luxury resorts are paying more attention. For example, The Brando (a T+L World’s Best Award Winner) has applied extraordinary efforts to become completely self-sustaining. Although this is a prominent trend of today’s world, it’s important to realize while clients appreciate and admire these efforts, I don’t feel they are basing their travel decisions completely around these factors.”


For more expert views on the state of the luxury travel market, from geo-politics to generational divides, download Travel’s Bright Future: A Report from the Travel + Leisure & ILTM Rising Stars Roundtable.

What is Your Strategy for Targeting the LGBTQ+ Traveller?

What is Your Strategy for Targeting the LGBTQ+ Traveller?

The global LGBTQ+ travel market is thriving. It’s worth an estimated US$211 billion and growing each year according to PROUD Experiences. The UNWTO reported that there were over 35 million international LGBTQ+ tourist arrivals in 2016. This market offers numerous opportunities for travel brands and reaching these consumers benefits more than just the bottom line. But the industry wants more knowledge. In a PennState College study for IGLTA, the most frequently mentioned challenge for IGLTA buyers in catering to LGBTQ+ travellers is a lack of expertise and understanding.

The Value of the LGBTQ+ Traveller

LGBTQ+ travellers are valuable travellers, with research showing they out-spend and out-travel non-LGBTQ+ tourists. The UNWTO state that this segment travels with greater frequency and demonstrates higher-than-average spending patterns. Equivalently, PROUD Experiences found that:

  • While only 6% of the world’s population identifies as LGBTQ+, they account for 10% of travel spending
  • They take 4 – 6 trips per year, in comparison to 1 – 2 for the non-LGBTQ+ traveller
  • The LGBTQ+ community spends 33% more on travel each year

The high value of this segment is attractive which explains why the travel industry is starting to focus its attention on the “pink dollar”. But the benefits aren’t just revenue focused. As YouGov report, “brands that consistently show support for the gay community have a strong public image across all consumers.” Therefore, improved brand perception, and even just practicing good ethics through more inclusive corporate behaviour, are other positive externalities.

Advice for Unlocking the Potential

The key to reaching the LGBTQ+ traveller is to not treat them differently. ACTLGBT explain that their common needs are tolerance, safety and the chance to interact with the local community, but this is the same for any traveller. Similarly, a 2015 survey by Community Marketing found that the main decision making criteria for LGBTQ+ tourists were quality, price and location, which can also be said for heterosexual travellers. In terms of higher spending habits, “the gay traveller is looking for culturally rich, exclusive and top-of-the-line experiences, just like any other luxury traveller would,” TravelPulse reported. While the needs and decision criteria of the LGBTQ+ traveller seem no different to their heterosexual counterparts, more sources of information are emerging to help with marketing to this segment.

The UNWTO offers guidelines for travel brands and destinations making their first approach to the LGBTQ+ travel market:

Encourage LGBT inclusion and diversity among all stakeholders. Internally, this includes adopting diversity and inclusion policies, and defending them when such issues are politicised. At a community level, consider working with the many groups and initiatives that support LGBT people as well as visitors. This should become part of the agenda in corporate social responsibility policies. LGBT inclusion and diversity is good for business, good for local economies and good for tourism destinations.

Carry out research and share it with your destination partners. Understand LGBT outbound markets and your destination’s attractiveness for the LGBT market. Because of the diversity in this segment, it’s important to deeply understand differences in travel motivations and behaviours between age groups, backgrounds, nationalities and more.

Recognise that authenticity is essential. Authenticity also means genuine integration and consistency. Do not just engage with the LGBT community for marketing purposes; it should be a two-way relationship, in which both can benefit. Authenticity in marketing means going beyond stereotypes and instead showing support for the diversity of real LGBT people.

LGBT consumers should not be considered in isolation. As visibility increases and people discover that colleagues, friends and family members are LGBT, the way that they are treated becomes more important to those who care, i.e. allies. These allies are also sensitive to the messages, both positive and negative, influencing their travel decisions.

Work in partnership with local businesses, associations and the LGBT community. NGOs that support LGBT people, LGBT Chambers of Commerce and other industry groups that promote knowledge exchange and partnerships in LGBT tourism have been proven to result in tangible benefits for all. The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association provide free travel resources and information, and advocate for the industry.

Further opportunities include: Direct marketing through trade show attendance, improving knowledge through conventions and seminars, dedicating proper human and financial resources, gaining exposure at major LGBT events, lending logistical/travel support, and training and certification.

As stated in the UNWTO report, participating in trade shows allows businesses to get their message across to a diverse audience in a short amount of time. The perfect platform for this is PROUD Experiences; a new LGBTQ+ travel show and the first of its kind. The international three-day event brings together travel suppliers and buyers targeting the LGBTQ+ community. The programme includes face-to-face pre-scheduled appointments, strategic educational seminars and networking, all centred around LGBTQ+ travel and experiences. PROUD Experiences will be held in London on 6 June this year. Register your enquiry to exhibit at this LGBTQ+ targeted event.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Neil Jacobs

Leaders of Luxury Series: Neil Jacobs

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

How do you reconnect with yourself, with others and with the world around you? Neil Jacobs, CEO of Six Senses, explains how simple and honest experiences are deeply impacting today’s luxury travellers. “We want guests to leave our properties in a better place than when they arrived,” Jacobs says.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Cape Town’s Drought Sparks Innovation

Cape Town’s Drought Sparks Innovation

Article originally published by The Telegraph and edited for View from ILTM.

As we mark World Water Day 2018 by focusing our attention on the importance of water, Pippa de Bruyn examines the dire situation in Cape Town, finding innovation and commitments from the hospitality and travel industry.

Dishes at The Drought Kitchen will be served on disposable card | Credit: Drought Kitchen

“‘Isn’t that a bit extreme?’ That’s what one diner said when he was asked if he wouldn’t mind keeping his cutlery for the next course. But everyone else has been amazing.”

Luke Dale Roberts, South Africa’s most celebrated chef, is talking about the recently introduced water-saving initiatives in his restaurants: harvesting grey water from air-conditioning units, boiling ice-bucket water to mop floors, disconnecting scullery hoses, installing new tap diffusers, using disposable napkins, discarding table cloths, and asking guests to hold onto their cutlery.

But perhaps the real innovation is serving several of his Test Kitchen courses on disposable cards that fit into an empty picture frame. In The Drought Kitchen – the two-month pop-up restaurant within The Test Kitchen – the entire six-course menu will be served this way, eliminating the need to wash 5,000 plates a week. It’s not only a water-economical concept but an accurate visual play; rather like Grant Achatz, who famously uses the entire table as his canvas, Luke is a master in creating edible art.

What is causing this innovation? 

When Day Zero – denoting the date the city’s taps could be switched off – changed from being a vague possibility to a scheduled April 15, the result was shock and panic. Within days tanks to harvest rainwater had sold out, every supermarket trolley was loaded with bottled water and queues outside natural springs snaked around the block. Residents and business owners were urged to “get creative”.

Since then the city’s inhabitants, authorities and surrounding farming community have pulled together, and daily water consumption has dropped to 511 million litres (from a high of 1.2 billion). While the target is 450, this is a commendable feat, pushing Day Zero back to May 11, then June 4, then July 9, when winter rains should be well underway.

On March 7, the DA (who control the province for now) made the somewhat fatuous announcement that “Day Zero has been defeated for 2018”, much to the outrage of water-wise Capetonians, many of whom feel that Day Zero fulminated ill-advised hysteria.

Does this mean the water crisis is over?

No. After three years of below-average rainfall, there is no guarantee that the 2018 winter rains will fill the Western Cape’s dams, the levels of which (at March 13, when the drought was declared a national disaster) are at 23 per cent. Even if they do, the city will retain water restrictions. Currently each resident is restricted to a maximum of 50 litres of water a day, regardless of where it is drawn. Likewise, the City of Cape Town exhorts visitors to “save like a local”. The government is currently accessing additional funding and several water augmentation projects are already underway, but these will take time. For now, reducing reliance on tap water is the new normal.

What about the rest of South Africa?

Only the city of Cape Town and its peninsula are badly affected. At popular destinations like Hermanus, a mere 90 minutes from the airport, residents are still allowed to water their gardens (though only at certain hours, twice weekly). Further east, towns like Prince Albert and Wilderness seem unaware of the minor water restrictions in place. That said, visitors and operators are asked to be mindful that water is a precious resource throughout Southern Africa.

What are hotels doing about it?

Most Cape Town hotels have taken exemplary measures to reduce their water consumption: removing bath plugs; encouraging guests to take quick showers; replacing napkins with serviettes; switching off fountains and irrigation systems; investigating kitchen systems. It appears that the V&A Waterfront’s new desalination plant, near which there are several hotels, will be the first up and running, and the city centre has been designated a “continuous water supply” area. Cape Town Tourism encourages operators and visitors to keep asking what measures are in place to save water and to share information and tips.

What can you do to help?

Don’t bath. Restrict your shower to 90 seconds. Use towels more than once. Pack in extra clothes so that you can take your laundry home with you. Flush the toilet only when necessary (a single flush uses an exorbitant 6 to 14 litres). Drink bottled water from the bottle. Don’t let taps run when brushing teeth or washing your face. And yes, offer to keep your cutlery between courses.

Pippa de Bruyn is an award-winning journalist and Telegraph Travel‘s South Africa destination expert. This April, Pippa will be in Cape Town for ILTM Africa as one of our exemplary media attendees. To learn how you can work with the media at ILTM events, check out these 5 top tips

Video: People of ILTM – Miguel Carrillo

Video: People of ILTM – Miguel Carrillo

At ILTM North America, we sat down with Latin America travel experts to discuss this booming luxury travel market. Pedro Andrade, Brazilian journalist and TV anchor, hosts the People of ILTM North America interviews where we bring you the latest LATAM insights from industry heavyweights.

Meet Miguel Carrillo, Account Director Worldwide Sales – Latin America, Florida, Caribbean & Bermuda at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. He says, “Latin America is such a diverse and interesting territory. When we say ‘Latin America’ we say it really fast, I think we need to pause and say it slowly. Countries like Mexico and Brazil will continue to be explored for centuries.”

Learn from more luxury travel leaders in our People of ILTM series or find inspiration from other luxury industries in our Leaders of Luxury series.

How to engage 108 million Millennials in the Middle East

How to engage 108 million Millennials in the Middle East

By now, you’ve probably heard of Millennials. Also known as Generation Y, born between 1980 – 2000, overly familiar with media and digital technologies – yes, that’s them. However, most research so far has been geared towards American and Asian Millennials, completely ignoring the buoyant market in the Middle East.

As one of the world’s most youthful regions, with a median age of 22 years compared to a global average of 28, Millennials account for a quarter of the region’s population.1 According to Visa, when concerning travel-related spend, Millennials in the Middle East are the highest spenders globally, typically spending twice as much as their European counterparts.2 As the Middle East’s largest consumer base, brands need to be asking themselves: ‘How do we attract and engage this market?’

Here are three key behaviours you can capitalise on:

1) Highest number of Millennial entrepreneurs

63% of business owners in the Middle East were aged 35 or under, according to a recent report by HSBC Private Bank, suggesting the region is home to the highest proportion of millennial entrepreneurs in the world. 46% of these entrepreneurs started their business whilst they were still at school or university, again the highest proportion in the world.

However, this success does not come easy as emphasised by the average workday. Working 12.5 hours a day, those in the region are working more than 2.5 hours above the global average for millennials.3 Plus, globalisation means working hours can be unpredictable and not the 9-5 working life. Their hunger for success means working significantly longer and in turn means less time for personal activities.

Hence, brands looking to attract and engage these consumers need to ensure they match the lifestyle. Advice needs to be immediate, transactions need to be seamless and services need to be 24/7.

2) Highest video consumption

According to Google, watch time on YouTube is growing 60% year-on-year in the MENA region, ranking second after the United States. Millennials are on their smartphones hungrily digesting video content, making mobile watch time rise by 90% year-on-year in the region, one of the fastest growing figures in the world.4

So how is this relevant? Research from Cisco revealed that 69% of consumer Internet traffic in 2017 was dedicated to video, while video-on-demand traffic will double by 2021.5 With Millennials all over the Middle East turning to YouTube to consume content on a daily basis, this is one of the best opportunities to capture your target audience. In fact, Tubular Insights found that 64% of consumers will make their purchase decision after watching branded social videos.6

Thus, brands targeting millennials in the region need to ensure that online video is their marketing weapon of choice. The rise of video consumption and content creation on the likes of YouTube highlight the need for visual marketing when promoting any brand.

3) Highest brand loyalty

We’ve all heard the growing concerns with brand loyalty and how Millennials are a fickle consumer. However, according to the Google Consumer Barometer, Millennials in the Middle East are going against the norm. Millennials in Saudi Arabia and the UAE demonstrate significantly more brand loyalty than their peers in Australia, the UK, Japan or the USA. 43% of Millennials in the UAE only consider one brand when purchasing flights in comparison to a mere 9% in Australia.

So how can you capture this brand loyalty? Psychologically speaking, customisation and personalisation are key. Finding out your customers’ interests and preferences will allow you to customise their user journey. Likewise, understanding your customers’ needs will allow you to meet them with personalised content. Both aspects will in turn increase your customers’ engagement and overall brand adoption.

Key takeaways to attract Millennials in the Middle East:

  • Match your customer touchpoints with their fast-paced, busy lifestyles
  • Focus on visual marketing when promoting your brand
  • Use customisation and personalisation to increase brand engagement

Coming face-to-face with HNW Millennials in the Middle East can be tricky. Luckily travel brands looking to reach this consumer market have an alternative target; their travel agents and advisors. You can meet the agencies representing these HNW travellers at ILTM Arabia in Dubai.


Sources

  1. Youth Policy – Middle East and North Africa: Youth Facts
  2. The National (UAE) – UAE and Saudi Arabian millennials to drive e-commerce growth in region
  3. HSBC – Introducing Essence of Enterprise Report
  4. Google – YouTube Series: The Rise of YouTube in MENA
  5. Cisco – Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2016–2021
  6. Tubular Insights – 64 percent of consumers purchase after watching branded social video content

Travel’s Bright Future: A Report from the Travel + Leisure & ILTM Rising Stars Roundtable

Travel’s Bright Future: A Report from the Travel + Leisure & ILTM Rising Stars Roundtable

In the Digital Age, where the technologies in circulation seem limitless, the role of the travel agent can seem obsolete. Yet, in the luxury travel market, travel agencies are booming with 40% of all luxury trips being booked via an agent.

These agents are the travel industry insiders. They know how to stay relevant and gain a fresh perspective on the new breed of travellers. So how do we find out what’s on their minds? We hold a lunch!

A select group of emerging travel advisors is chosen to attend the Rising Stars Lunch with Travel + Leisure at ILTM in Cannes, handpicked for their impressive clientele of affluent young travellers.

In this report, we explore their insights into the evolving luxury market. Consider this your roadmap on:

  • Buzzwords: authentic and transformational
  • Geo-politics and its influence
  • Bridging the generational divide
  • Social awareness and consciousness
  • Preparing for future challenges in travel

Sign up to our quarterly newsletter below for your copy of the report and to delve into the minds of some of the world’s most impressive travel agents. Understand your target consumer like never before.



Leaders of Luxury Series: Jack Ezon

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jack Ezon

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

An industry insider for more than 15 years, Jack Ezon has seen it all. As President of luxury travel agency Ovation Vacations, Jack has witnessed trends come and go. However, one value has always endured: the importance of the human touch and the personalised service that comes with it.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Nancy Schumacher

Leaders of Luxury Series: Nancy Schumacher

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

Meaningful and sustainable tourism is central to Nancy Schumacher’s travel philosophy, so it’s no wonder she’s Head of Travel and Tour Operations for National Geographic. As Nancy shares, “National Geographic is really about protecting our planet so it’s really important to us that our trips embody that.” Here’s how you can travel with a conscience.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

The Four Key Values of Today’s Luxury Traveller

The Four Key Values of Today’s Luxury Traveller

Working in conjunction with YouGov, View from ILTM have been looking into the heart of the modern day luxury traveller. What is clear from the research is that luxury travellers are searching for brands that reflect the very best in humanity. More importantly, travellers are looking for brands that share the values they would most like to see in themselves. The State of the Affluent Mindset report identifies the four key values recognised among the affluent around the world as the most attractive personality traits to admire. They are:

1) Integrity
2) Honesty
3) Kindness
4) Intelligence

These four points become the traits brands and staff will most want to convey to their guests. The report also identifies some of the top factors influencing brand preferences, the two highest scoring influencers were brands that ‘Have a high level of integrity’ (88%), and brands that ‘Make me feel good when I am using them’ (87%).

Source: YouGov Report in partnership with ILTM, The State of the Affluent Mindset

Modern luxury travellers are significantly more inclined to buy on deeper-level factors. They are looking beyond “worth” (quality, craftsmanship and service) and are seeking details on design, passion and caring for people in a human way. They also expect a higher level offering from their travel providers in three main areas:

  • Product
  • Environment
  • Personnel

If travel brands want to succeed in 2018, all three factors should reinforce the story of their brand promise and value proposition.

To understand the affluent traveller in more detail, download The State of the Affluent Mindset, brought to you by YouGov and ILTM.

Leaders with Substance: Matthias Kaesweber

Leaders with Substance: Matthias Kaesweber

The best decision Matthias Kaesweber says he made was joining the hospitality and travel industry. With more than 20 years’ experience, and rising to Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Set Hotels, we invited him to share his knowledge in our Leaders with Substance series.

“The most beautiful part of the industry is the people. It’s a human business,” he says to interviewer Pedro Andrade, Brazilian journalist and TV anchor. He explains how he’s passionate about making customers happy through hospitality. People are also why he’s been coming to ILTM North America since day one as he looks forward to meeting people from all around the world.

Watch the interview for Matthias’ thoughts on how the industry and the traveller has changed, the impact of technology, why brands should ask questions and his insights into the Latin American market.

Learn from more luxury travel industry influencers in our Leaders with Substance series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chris Cahill

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chris Cahill

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

For anyone in the luxury industry, news of AccorHotel’s aggressive acquisition strategy in recent years is unavoidable. So how do you protect brand integrity in the face of acquisition or investment? Chris Cahill, CEO of Luxury Brands for the AccorHotels Group, explains how in the quest for timeless luxury each brand must maintain its own strong identity.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Video: People of ILTM – Christian Sierralta

Video: People of ILTM – Christian Sierralta

At ILTM North America, we sat down with Latin America travel experts to discuss this booming luxury travel market. Pedro Andrade, Brazilian journalist and TV anchor, hosts the People of ILTM North America interviews where we bring you the latest LATAM insights from industry heavyweights.

Meet Christian Sierralta, Vice President National Accounts & Latin America at Silversea Cruises. He says, “the Brazilian market is relentless and has an amazing ability to bounce back, now is a fabulous time to do business with Brazil.”

Learn from more luxury travel leaders in our People of ILTM series or find inspiration from other luxury industries in our Leaders of Luxury series.

Political unrest is a reality. How are we dealing with it?

Political unrest is a reality. How are we dealing with it?

Not so long ago, we believed that the European Union was inseparable and the election of Donald Trump was impossible.

“Now, nearly 80% of US luxury travellers believe there is a significant probability of serious social unrest at home, and nearly two-thirds are concerned with the impact Trump is having on the US reputation abroad.” *

Fears of political environments are not restricted to the US, however, as demonstrated by the very recent state of emergency imposed by authorities in the Maldives. Impacting the luxury market on the Indian Ocean archipelago, the political upheaval has led to hundreds of holiday cancellations:

"We have a higher market for Chinese and Indian travellers, and we are seeing most of the cancellations from these markets," a tour operator in Malé has told Reuters, on condition of anonymity.

Read the article here 

We therefore asked ILTM movers and shakers how political unrest is affecting the way we buy and sell luxury.

*The State of the Affluent Mindset (2017), YouGov and ILTM

Industry Views

Travel Brand View

"Unrest driven by political and cultural differences is certainly a reality around the world, including many destinations sought out by modern luxury travellers. It’s our responsibility in the travel industry to ensure that we are honest and clear in our communication about how this affects our operations and thereby allow informed travellers to make up their own minds about travelling. We have certainly found that our guests educate themselves by doing more research and asking more questions, but ultimately share our view that choosing to travel keeps the conversation going, keeps people in touch and exposed to the outside world, and keeps valuable income flowing to those communities that rely on it most."

Travel Agency View

"With everything that is happening and going on in the world today, whether that is political situations or unfortunately terrorism, people are more knowledgeable than they have ever been. Today we acknowledge that those issues are a part of the world we live in but that does not mean that they should stop you going out and exploring.

I remember years ago when something of this nature would happen that people would immediately holdback, putting a hold on their travel plans and cancelling trips, but now in luxury we do not see that. Take for instance the events in Europe or any other political situation; we did not see any response. In fact, I think it has a reverse effect. If people see politics getting complicated and tensions risings then they think, “Let’s travel before it gets worse.

In the end, it all comes down to travel. It is all about telling the world that it is not all about politics; politics cannot dictate the way in which we explore the world. The travel community is an international community and therefore we are more open to multicultural experiences. Ultimately, travel is increasing in the face of political uncertainty."

ILTM View

"As uncertainty continues to affect the world, the luxury travel industry continues to defy the reality. We are a robust community and refuse to let fear and anxiety affect the way we move around the world.

Connecting with humanity is now more important than ever. Travel broadens minds and breaks borders, creating global citizens as opposed to shut off or shut in individuals. As Benjamin Disraeli put in, ‘travel teaches tolerance’ – travel can provide an anecdote to this fear of uncertainty."

Leaders with Substance: Tania Swasbrook

Leaders with Substance: Tania Swasbrook

Luxury travel is in Tania Swasbrook’s DNA. Her mother founded Travelworld of Coronado which Tania is now Vice President of and proud to continue. With over 25 years’ experience under her belt as a travel professional, we sat down with Tania as part of our Leaders with Substance series to share her wisdom.

In the interview with Pedro Andrade, Brazilian journalist and TV anchor, Tania talks about how she fell in love with travel as a lifestyle, rather than a job. She’s passionate about being a Luxury Travel Designer, saying “it’s more than curating experiences, events or travel; it’s putting together a dream.” She finds it crucial to really get to know her clients, what they like to do, having an interactive and dynamic relationship with them, concluding, “that is why it’s such a beautiful industry.”

She also discusses travel misconceptions, why the internet has helped travel agents, changing luxury travel consumption and political impacts in the interview filmed at ILTM North America.

Learn from more luxury travel industry influencers in our Leaders with Substance series.

Video: The ILTM Asia Pacific Quiz

Video: The ILTM Asia Pacific Quiz

Asia Pacific offers luxury travellers the opportunity to explore some of the most diverse countries on the planet. But there are some topics regarding the region that continue to crop-up:

What is the fastest growing economy in the Asia Pacific?
Which Asia Pacific city has the greatest number of billionaires in the world?
What are the main countries that form the Asia Pacific?

View from ILTM have been speaking to key buyers and exhibitors from the Asia Pacific to find out how much they really know about this thriving region. Click on the video below for their intake.

ILTM Asia Pacific will be held at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore between 21-24 May 2018. For further information on the event please click here.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Tina Edmundson

Leaders of Luxury Series: Tina Edmundson

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

As Tina Edmundson, Global Brand Officer for Marriott International explains: “travel has become the launch pad for self-actualization.” Connecting with travellers in an experiential way is no longer enough for luxury travel brands. Tapping into the booming trend for transformational travel is key to helping travellers achieve their full potential.

For more information on transformational travel, check out ‘Transformative: the new “authentic”? by Editor in Chief of Travel + Leisure, Nathan Lump.

Focus on India: Amit Kalsi

Focus on India: Amit Kalsi

Indian-born and New Delhi based, Amit Kalsi runs Experiential Travel Journeys as its lead private travel designer, founder & CEO. Amit has been in the travel & tourism business for over 22 years now and is a committed and passionate traveller. He has accumulated an extensive portfolio of knowledge in organising unique travel experiences for discerning clients from his continuing work in the industry. We caught up with Amit at ILTM Cannes to get his insight on the rise of HNWIs driving luxury travel from India.

“Luxury travel from India is growing consistently and will continue to grow. It is difficult to put an exact growth percentage on it, however, since there are no organised bodies researching this claim. I feel that luxury travel exists in all generation categories but in various forms, shapes, sizes and bundles. However, if I were to shortlist a generation, predominantly Baby Boomers and Generation X are the true seekers of experiential luxury. They are more evolved and matured in their choices and definition of luxury. Their age, travel history and experiences have guided their changing and evolving mindsets over the years.

Some of the most popular regions requested by our clients include:

– Polar Regions (Antarctica, Arctic)
– South America (Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile etc.)
– Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China)
– East Europe (Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic)
– Africa (Botswana, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia)

The typical trip length for our clients is from 10 days to two weeks. The trip duration for discerning clients is increasing; they have started realising that they need to spend more time at each destination to be able to absorb it at a deeper level. We expect our clients to visit a maximum of two countries in a single trip. This is again a trend amongst our discerning luxury clients.

The average age of our clients is 55 years+ who are mature and experienced travellers. But, I can sense a discerning trend in terms of travel patterns, interests, and preferences from the 45 years level as well, which will be something to watch closely in the future.

For families, the favoured time of year to travel is from mid-May to the end of June with a short break in October, and a Christmas to New Year break in December. For others, they travel as per seasonal demand of the destination they are visiting and are not restricted by the school holidays. If a destination demands you travel in August, they shall plan and adjust their work and life schedules accordingly.

We prefer DMCs that are boutique, owner driven (supervised) and destination experts with established connections. If they are part of an established network, this gives you a confidence in their ability to deliver and exceed service standards. They should be able to offer the right balance of value and personalised service. Discerning clients are travelling to remote locations, taking once in a lifetime trips, visiting locations that are exotic, unique, and exclusive. Therefore, you need the right partners in such locales to be able to execute their travels.

Hotel choice is very client centric, we can have our own portfolio of preferred hotels, but in the end, it’s the clients’ taste and preferences that decide on the final selection. For some clients, creature comforts are most important even while visiting remote locations. For example, we have a client who has always wanted to visit Rwanda to see the gorillas. Two years since he first expressed his desire to visit Rwanda, he is now booked on a wilderness safari staying at Bisate Lodge, which matches his expectation of high luxury standards.

For others, destination and experience is more important, they are willing to give up creature comforts and the luxury they are accustomed to in more established locations or bigger global cities. That said, the discerning clients from India, baring a very few, would not rough it out as backpackers would do. A decent level of comfort is important for them before they decide to take the plunge into a truly experiential holiday. Let’s call it “high-end experiential travel”.

For discerning clients, the top activities requested are all surrounding experiential travel. They have heard about it, they have tasted it or they are tasting it now and their preferences and mindsets are changing accordingly. They are ready to experiment, travel out of their comfort zone and try out new activities. With them, nothing is standardised or traditional, they want to do the same things differently or try out new things, including; cooking classes, meeting and eating with locals, soft to moderate level adventure pursuits, and specialised guides for art, culture and heritage. Shopping, beach and city sightseeing will always be on agenda, as part of their experiential trip, but this will never overshadow their main purpose.”

To meet Experiential Travel Journeys and more of Asia’s most sought after travel designers, join us at ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore between 21-24 May 2018.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Matthew Upchurch

Leaders of Luxury Series: Matthew Upchurch

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

A travel industry visionary, Matthew Upchurch has led Virtuoso to become the top luxury travel network in the world; it’s no wonder he won our Mary Gostelow Award 2017. As CEO and founder, Matthew has an unprecedented knowledge of the evolving modern-day traveller. Today, luxury clients are making “more conscious decisions about how their money makes an impact,” focusing on the Return on Life™ as opposed to the return on investment.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Are Micro-Influencers Living Up To Their Hype?

Are Micro-Influencers Living Up To Their Hype?

Influencers are winning the hearts and minds of consumers all over the world, so it’s no surprise that large international brands are using influencer marketing to promote themselves. The main question from brands is no longer whether it works. The business focus has shifted to working out what the most effective ways of leveraging the channel are.

HelloSociety has found that micro-influencers (accounts with 30,000 or fewer followers) are more beneficial for marketers to work with. According to the agency, micro-influencers drive 22.2 times more weekly engagements than the average consumer does and those campaigns are 6.7 times more efficient per engagement than influencers with larger followings are.*

This got us thinking about how destinations are using influencers, so we spoke to our trusted partners at the Catalan Tourist Board (Asia Pacific office) to find out whether they have adopted influencer marketing as a strategy.

What is your strategy for working with influencers and does it work?

The Catalonia Tourism Board has been working with influencers since 2014. Each campaign differs according to the target markets. One of our earliest campaigns, commissioned by the headquarters in Barcelona, worked with 5 different bloggers filming various regions of Catalonia in a varied number of ways. You have to check it out here.

Our strategy in Asia Pacific is slightly different. Aside from regular press trips for targeted magazines and media members, our Asia Pacific office is focused on bringing a certain number of bloggers on trips so they can leverage on each other’s talents and creativity to create even more compelling content. Last year we also experimented with celebrity influencers, and brought the famous Korean TV celebrity, Mina Sohn, with KBS World to do a TV series in Catalonia. This worked really well to promote Catalonia in South Korea.

How do you measure the success of an influencer campaign?

Admittedly, it is difficult to determine the actual earning per investment for these projects because the increase in following from the use of these influencers does not materialise in immediate travel to Catalonia. We take into account an increase in tourists from our Asia Pacific regions to Barcelona/Catalonia as a mark of success for these campaigns. We like to cultivate a following through influencers from various Asian cities to act as ambassadors for our region.

How do you choose the right influencers for your brand?

We work closely with our representative offices across the world to identify popular influencers. Being in contact with various travel and blogger associations helps us to keep updated with recent activities and information about this sphere of media. Lastly, we do our own research to ensure influencers’ profiles match the requirements, personality and aesthetic of our brand.

Are there any top tips you have learnt that you can share with us?

Take a multi-pronged approach to working with any influencer. Yes, influencers play a role in cultivating brand awareness among their followers and this is especially useful for destinations which might be relatively unknown. However, there needs to be a tangible “point of sale” that is incorporated into these campaign to persuade the target audience to make a trip to Catalonia, for example.

Thinking about joining the micro-influencer revolution? Read our 5 top tips guide to choosing the right influencer for your brand.

*Source: HelloSociety Report

Video: People of ILTM – Louise Bang

Video: People of ILTM – Louise Bang

At ILTM North America, we sat down with Latin America travel experts to discuss this booming luxury travel market. Pedro Andrade, Brazilian journalist and TV anchor, hosts the People of ILTM North America interviews where we bring you the latest LATAM insights from industry heavyweights.

Meet Louise Bang, Vice President of Global Sales for Latin America & Caribbean at Marriott International. She says, “the Caribbean and Latin America is a world full of opportunities.”

Learn from more luxury travel leaders in our People of ILTM series or find inspiration from other luxury industries in our Leaders of Luxury series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chinmai Sharma

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chinmai Sharma

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

The ecosystems of the luxury travel market are evolving; big brands are getting bigger and online travel agencies are expanding. So how does a niche brand like Taj beat the competition? Here’s how Chinmai Sharma, Chief Revenue Officer of Taj Hotels, responds to both a changing climate and a changing clientele.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Lindsey Ueberroth

Leaders of Luxury Series: Lindsey Ueberroth

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

Sustainability has been a buzzword in travel for many years now, but what are luxury brands actually doing to go green? Lindsey Ueberroth, President and CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, shares the inherent value—for both hotels and their guests—of embarking on this truly impactful journey. And, yes, it goes well beyond reusing towels!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Overcoming privacy concerns to engage affluent enclaves

Overcoming privacy concerns to engage affluent enclaves

100 years ago (some) British women got the vote, yet problems of inequality still haunt today’s conversations. In particular, income inequality sparks fierce debate around the world, with wealth concentration deemed a growing and dangerous issue. Much has been written about this concern, but the magnitude of this phenomenon and its corresponding impact are less understood.

Not since just prior to the Great Depression, do so few own so much…

Source: YouGov Report in partnership with ILTM, The State of the Affluent Mindset

To put this in perspective, the top 1% globally gained US$45 trillion of wealth over the last seven years while the bottom 90% has struggled to stay even. Moreover, the top 10% now owns nearly 90% of worldwide assets and the top 1% alone hold over half.

So, what does all this mean for the top 10%? What is the impact of this wealth concentration on the affluent traveller?

Put simply, being wealthy is a reward that carries a variety of risks. Assumptions of being blind to austerity and lacking empathy for your fellow human are rife. These well-educated and political shrewd wealthy consumers, however, are alive to the struggle between entitlement and responsibility, and factor this increasingly into their behaviour. In fact, 80% feel it is their responsibility to help the less fortunate. Their desire to give back is genuine, and not often tied to feelings of guilt or overindulgence that can sometimes be a feature of “living in the bubble” of wealth.

Fear is anchored in the risk of disproportionate affluence and luxury travellers are therefore turning to a few key tactics to overcome this. One of the most important factors being the need for privacy. Now when we say privacy we do not mean an isolated, private island in the Maldives, rather privacy in the old-fashioned sense before the likes of Twitter and Facebook, when our private lives were genuinely private. In other words, affluent people are making attempts to hide their wealth for others and this includes their own family members as many wealthy individuals have exceeded the wealth of their brothers and sisters.

So, what effect does this need for privacy have on the affluent community?

Enclaving. The act of surrounding yourself with others with whom you share common values, ethnicities, and most importantly, socioeconomic status has emerged as a significant behaviour of luxury travellers.

Source: YouGov Report in partnership with ILTM, The State of the Affluent Mindset

Nearly all (91%) luxury travellers prefer socialising with people who share their values and 73% indicate that the vast majority of their friends have achieved a similar level of success. There is greater comfort in the familiar and while new experiences are high on the traveller’s list of priorities, they are increasingly comforted by brands that offer a hyper-segmented, close circle of like-minded people to share them with.

So, what does this mean for those targeting the affluent consumer?

As a luxury travel brand, you need to ask yourself:

  • How well can we present a feeling of intimacy that requires knowledge about our guest to a client population that is increasingly protective of their privacy?
  • If our target consumer base is comforted by a close circle of like-minded people, how do we capitalise on referrals? How do we ensure that our travellers are sharing their experiences with their enclave?

To understand the affluent traveller in more detail, download The State of the Affluent Mindset, brought to you by YouGov and ILTM.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Alex Wilcox

Leaders of Luxury Series: Alex Wilcox

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

The transportation landscape is evolving. Battery planes and autonomous flying cars are on the horizon, but what does this mean for private jet companies? Equally excited and scared for what the future holds, Alex Wilcox, CEO and Co-Founder of JetSuite, cannot wait to be a part of the new advancements and opportunities.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Wolfgang Puck

Leaders of Luxury Series: Wolfgang Puck

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

Early signature dishes, such as haute cuisine pizzas topped with smoked salmon and caviar, and Sonoma baby lamb with braised greens and rosemary, put famed chef Wolfgang Puck and his flagship restaurant, Spago, on the gourmet map. Now, some thirty years later, food alone is not enough; today, the experience of the guest is shaping fine-dining worldwide.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

ILTM Global Forum 2017

ILTM Global Forum 2017

The ILTM Global Forum is the pinnacle of the luxury travel calendar and the biggest and boldest educational event of the season. This is where an understanding of the new breed of luxury traveller takes shape, insights about the industry are shared and inspiration meets entertainment.

At ILTM Cannes last year, the Global Forum explored a world increasingly caught between extremes. Featuring leading figures from politics, business, and technology, “The World In…” looked ahead to a second year for the American presidency, the political and economic challenges of Brexit, and the changing landscape of the affluent mindset internationally, to explore the forecasts of 5 globally-minded experts. “The World In…” was an event dedicated to predictions of global trends and future affairs.

The 2,000 luxury travel industry shapers in the audience were inspired by leading thinkers as they took a provocative and enlightening look at the years ahead in a series of talks curated by ILTM. We now invite you to experience the five keynote talks once again.

 

The Future of Technology

David Rowan, keynote speaker and former editor-at-large for WIRED

We are entering a fast-moving world of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, hyperloops and brain-controlled computing. We have had Elon Musk promising to fly us from Europe to Australia in an hour; two German companies launching their flying cars; and AIs beating the world’s best games players. How will these tech developments impact luxury travel? Find out how everything from autonomous travel to immersive experiences will change the expectations of tomorrow’s discerning traveller.

 

The Future of Luxury

Marc-André Kamel, Partner and Director at Bain & Company

Traditional luxury market segmentation is losing relevance. From the dawn of post-aspirational luxury, to the rocketing importance of ‘values’ over ‘status’, everything we once knew is changing, and fast. Bain & Co. has been ahead of every emerging trend in luxury for decades. As one of the world’s leading authorities on luxury trends, find out what they know about today’s affluent mindset, what they predict for the future, and their recommendations for the luxury travel CEO’s ideal Monday morning agenda.

 

The Future of Work

Jess Kimball Leslie, Chief Futurist at OgilvyRED

Never before have companies tried so hard to employ so few people. An onslaught of the world’s brightest economists and academics have sounded the alarm, declaring that the economy is rapidly changing. The world’s most visionary CEOs have quietly been preparing their business models for a world in which our economy is structured very differently. At some point, when the problem is not just Uber but driverless Uber, and when the radiologists start losing their jobs to AI, the travel industry is going to have to figure out what this means for us.

 

The Future of Sustainability

Onno Poortier, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of NOW

Hoteliers started to discuss the “green issue” in the late 1980’s after a UN report raised awareness of the disturbing relations between human society and the natural environment. Here we are thirty years later and climate change has become the defining predicament of our time. But while many hotels are doing excellent work, we are still hesitant to talk about the issues. Travel is the world’s largest and fastest growing industry and it is our job to inspire and empower the traveller to make a sustainable difference.

 

The Future of Politics

Chris Kutarna, Author of Age of Discovery

Not so long ago, the European Union was inseparable, Trump was unelectable, globalisation was irreversible, science was incontrovertible and even the democratisation of China was inevitable. A second Age of Discovery is upon us. To navigate it, we’re going to need to make new maps. Chris tears up the out-dated thinking and the unconscious biases that obscure our understanding of present political, economic, technological and social trends. And he draws a fresh vision to help you captain humanity’s voyage to the New World.

 

Continue exploring the future of luxury by hearing from visionaries across all industries in our Leaders of Luxury series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: René Gross Kaerskov

Leaders of Luxury Series: René Gross Kaerskov

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

From the Four Seasons in Kyoto to the re-imagination of the Grosvenor Hotel in London, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) create stunning design experiences and breathtaking interiors in the premium accommodation sector. Creating the signature looks of today’s luxury brands, co-CEO René Gross Kaerskov says, “a hotel needs to work from the moment you enter the lobby until you are in your bed.”

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Pierre Lagrange

Leaders of Luxury Series: Pierre Lagrange

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

It’s impossible to think about men’s tailoring without thinking of London’s Savile Row. Sitting at No. 11 is the iconic Huntsman, a 168-year-old tailoring house known for its expert combination of heritage craftsmanship and thoroughly modern menswear. “Finding somewhere where people can take the time for you is very rare,” explains owner Pierre Lagrange.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

How your choices impact others

How your choices impact others

Last year was not an easy time for Mexico City. On September 19th, the city suffered a severe 7.1 earthquake that took the life of 305 people and damaged close to 3,000 buildings. Strangely enough 32 years ago, on the exact same day, another deadly earthquake destroyed Mexico City, killing around 10,000 people. Other than the strange coincidence of the date, the outcomes have been very different. We learnt so much from the 1985 experience and the lives that we lost recently are significantly fewer. Even if this is good news, coming back from the earthquake has proven to be the most difficult part (and I can only speak on behalf of Mexico City, knowing that there are many communities and towns affected in Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, etc. that are going through a very challenging time). 

The first few days after the earthquake happened, the international community focused all their attention on Mexico City, whilst most of the Mexicans were out on streets, trying to help however way possible. However, as the days went on, the international media forgot about the situation as we tried to move on with our lives. Nevertheless, there is still so much to do in terms of reconstruction and rebuilding; still so many people are homeless and unable to be find a new place to live. The real problem is that everything is taking too long and this is not something happening exclusively in Mexico, this is something that is happening in Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean, in Houston, in Napa, and in so many other places.

In these situations, tourism plays a key role in helping the communities rebuild their lives and helps to speed up the recovery time. In the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake, travellers cancelled their trips leaving hotels with very low occupancy rates. By the beginning of the November, and thanks to the F1, most of our hotels are busy again but we need to work to keep this going. Hotels, restaurants and shops run on the money international travellers bring in so we need them to keep the city alive.

I recently was lucky enough to meet Sylvia Earle, one of the most respected marine biologists in the world, an explorer and a strong advocate for the ocean. Sylvia came to Mexico to promote her project ‘Mission Blue’, to raise awareness about the importance of looking after the ocean. Sylvia has created a network of ‘Hope Spots’ all over the world. These ‘Hope Spots’ are protected areas in the ocean that work as under water national parks where wildlife is protected from human threats (mainly indiscriminate fishing). Sylvia has been fighting to protect the ocean for a very long time, trying to get the world to understand the inevitable co-relationship between what is happening under the sea and what is happening on the surface. For Sylvia the connection is very clear, the recent hurricanes, floods and uncontrollable fires all connect with the state of the ocean.

Since we cannot see what is happening below the surface it is difficult to understand and get our head around the real damage we are doing to the ocean. Sylvia has made it her mission in life to ensure society understands the severity of the issue and respond accordingly. Sylvia made me realise, as I really did not understand the extent of the damage we are causing until I met her.

As travellers, and as citizens, we have choices. We choose where we go, we choose what we eat, we choose how we spend our money. As an international travel community our decisions can make a huge difference. As travel agents, we should encourage tourism in an area that is recovering from a natural disaster. As journalists, we should use our pages to tell the stories of those people in the world who are making a difference. In the aftermath of a very complicated 2017, and with so many communities and cities affected by natural disasters (and sadly, many human threats), we need to be more conscious than ever on the choices we make. There is no excuse, because we are able to make the right choice. Hopefully, now, more than ever, we will be aware of the importance and the power behind each decision we make.

María Pellicer has been Editor-in-Chief of Travesías Magazine for the past seven years, travelling the world looking for stories. Travesías are regular media attendees at ILTM events; catch them first at ILTM Latin America this May!

Reaching the technology-immersed generation

Reaching the technology-immersed generation

Online booking and self-booking are steadily gaining popularity, particularly with the new generation of travellers, but luxury travel advisors can convince Gen Z travellers to book a tour or travel experience, with visual marketing, personalised recommendations, and a seamless online booking system.

This generation watches two times as many videos on mobile than other generations, and 70 per cent spend two-plus hours on YouTube per day, according to some statistics. Cisco has reported reports that streaming video will account for more than two-thirds of all consumer internet traffic this year.

More specifically, did you know that 90 per cent of travellers watch online videos? Also, 75 per cent of affluent travellers, 72 per cent of business travellers, and 45 per cent of leisure travellers book travel after viewing an online travel video. These numbers by video marketing observers, tubularinsights.com, may vary from market to market but they remain true to the potential of video marketing in wooing new audiences in luxury travel.

The only challenge with creating interesting video content for these audiences is that they take as less as eight seconds to process information, before moving on to the next piece of information.

Once you have their attention, the opportunities for real-time servicing on emerging and established platforms cannot be ignored.

Take Four Seasons Private Jet Experience, for example, that promises a journey of a lifetime on its website with: glamorous images tick, fabulous videos tick, and just to ensure they have a word with you before your attention drifts, a live Facebook Messenger chatbot with an answer for every question. The last trick will continue to serve luxury travel vendors because when it comes to customisation needs, the most questions and concerns that can be processed in real time, the better and a chatbot comes supremely handy to serve that purpose.

Not all luxury packaging is entirely digital though.

Here in Dubai, the widely touted den of luxury, Atlantis, the Palm, enlisted a spirited on-ground activation to create delicious footage that was lapped up online by their core, and better-still, wider target. All they did was turn a typical cab ride in London into a fairytale by having the driver offer a luxurious vacation to jaded passengers at the end of the ride. The conversation gets captured on candid camera and used as a promotional video to position Atlantis Dubai as a getaway for Londoners. Feel the warmth of this idea that drew new audiences to a luxury outpost.

According to digital marketing agency PMX in Luxury Study, Louis Vuitton’s top two engaging Instagram posts in 2017 revolved around the hashtag #SpiritofTravel, and featured “new luggage for the 21st Century traveller”.  This has been a watershed moment for the popular photo/video sharing platform, the number of luxury social media followers on Instagram grew 54 per cent in the past year way ahead of Facebook and Twitter.

Instagram accounted for 50 per cent of the luxury social audience – if luxury travel vendors are not wooing new audience here then they are surely missing a trick?

Core take-outs: become proactive like the Four Seasons chatbot, think unlike others as Atlantis, and be where the new audience is like Louis Vuitton.

Rashi Sen is the Editor of Travel & Tourism News Middle East and a regular attendee of ILTM in Cannes. Meet a TTN publisher and editor this year at ILTM!   

The Gostelow Report Live

The Gostelow Report Live

Mary Gostelow publishes the definitive market intelligence report for the luxury travel sector. Packed to the brim with the latest news, views, gossip and more, Gostelow Reports are a legendary source of business information for GMs, CEOs and senior executives all over the world. 

Reporting live from ILTM 2017 in Cannes, keep up to date with the world’s hot new openings, acquisitions, appointments and influencers right here:

Day 1 – Tuesday 5th December, 2017

Day 2 – Wednesday 6th December, 2017

Day 3 – Thursday 7th December, 2017

FREE REPORT: The State of the Affluent Mindset

FREE REPORT: The State of the Affluent Mindset

There’s no doubt 2017 has been an historic year. 

Affluent travellers worldwide are dealing with a non-stop, volatile and rapidly changing reality. So what affect is all this change having on their attitude to travel? And what does the smart luxury brand need to know about the changing ways modern affluent travellers are making their decisions?

This report explores the evolving luxury consumer and the new pressure they are putting on luxury brands to prove they’re worth it.

We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed working with YouGov to make it!

How to Make Sustainability Sexy

How to Make Sustainability Sexy

I had my lightbulb moment a couple of years ago. I was in Miami, visiting the brand-new 1 Hotel South Beach.  It was effortlessly cool: a fabulous rooftop pool, a sceney restaurant, interior design just made for Instagram. But what really struck me were the taps. Not those in the bathrooms. No, these were in the bedrooms – every room had one, piping in cold, triple-filtered drinking water. Just a simple tap, with a stylish recycled glass bottle and some tumblers. Guests had fresh water whenever they wanted it, and no need for any nasty little plastic bottles of mineral water. Such a simple idea, but such a brilliant one.

Elsewhere were little clues that the hotel was “eco” – recycled cardboard hangers in the rooms; reclaimed wood-paneled walls; recycled wooden discs for keys. But they didn’t shout about it. It was just a sexy, stylish hotel that also happened to be sustainable.

That was my lightbulb moment. That “green” and “eco” and “sustainable” needn’t be boring. It needn’t be dry. It needn’t be a bunch of hippies knitting their own clothes and living off homegrown kale. Green can be cool, and hip. In fact, green SHOULD be cool and hip.

Why should it be? Because travellers care. Millenials do, obviously – a recent study showed that nearly 30% would be more likely to book a hotel if it took measures to protect the environment. They are more widely travelled than any other generation, and want to know they’re not damaging the places they’re visiting. And they want to Instragram the heck out of it all.

But it’s not just the young and social-media-savvy. When I recently interviewed a group of luxury lodge owners and hotel group bosses, they all agreed that they’d noticed a real shift in the attitude of their wealthy (older) guests. Luke Bailes, CEO of Singta, summed it up nicely: “There’s a new breed of philanthropists genuinely worried about the state of the world – they want to help”.

So how should the industry work with that desire to help? How do properties and tour operators tell their guests about the great things they’re doing – to get them engaged in local issues, donating to local causes? How do they communicate sustainability without being preachy or…boring?

When I advise hotels on exactly this, top of the list is to make sure they don’t make their guests feel guilty. Holidays are meant to be fun, and guilt is the ultimate killjoy. Take towel reuse. We all know that hotel laundry is a huge drain on natural resources, but guests don’t want to feel bad for using an extra towel, especially if they’re paying a premium on their room rates. Nor do they want to think a hotel is asking them to reuse their towels just to save money.

So properties need to be cleverer. There’s nothing wrong with suggesting towels are reused – but do it in a smarter way. Research shows if a hotel is transparent about how much money is saved when towels and sheets are used more than once – and if that saving is then donated to a local, worthwhile cause – the rate of reuse increases. So put up one of those little annoying signs if you must, but then say where you’re putting those savings. If I’m on safari and I see it’s funnelled back into local elephant conservation, that’s something I can get excited about.

Be creative. Fogo Island Inn, an über-chic (and thoroughly sustainable) lodge in Newfoundland, has launched a version of a nutritional label, which clearly explains where the money from the rooms goes. Just like a label on a sandwich tells us what we’re eating, this says what percentage goes on wages, on charitable contributions, etc. They’ve looked at another industry and borrowed a simple way to tell their own story.

We can borrow from the NGO sector, too. I advise charity: water, a US charity which brings clean water to developing countries and has turned the sector on its head. Gone are negative, upsetting images of suffering. Instead, the messages are unfailingly positive, with optimistic stories that make you feel great about donating, and cool images that are easy to share.

Sharing is everything now, of course, and simple hashtags are powerful – like Steppes Travel’s #refusetouse campaign encouraging travellers to decline plastics. As are photo opps. Give your guests a way of showcasing and sharing their good deeds, like at Wilderness’s new Bisate Lodge in Rwanda, where every guest has the chance to plant a new tree. It’s the perfect feel-good Instagram opportunity.

Some companies go the full hog and “eco-embed” their values in their brand, making tricky decisions on behalf of their guests. Soneva, for example, carbon offsets all its guests’ flights. Bali’s Alila hotels have gone plastic-free, and the UK’s Pig Hotels only source local food. These are brands that have woven sustainability into their identity, without losing an iota of their luxurious, stylish trademark – just like 1 Hotels.

Make the decisions, or help your guests to make them. But no guilt-trips, please. It’s time to for brands to be smarter. It’s time for your lightbulb moment.

Francisca Kellett is Travel Editor at Tatler magazine, and is a freelance journalist and hotel consultant. Meet Francisca Kellett all this week at ILTM in Cannes!

 

 

Transformative: the new “Authentic”?

Transformative: the new “Authentic”?

I am on a small personal crusade to ensure that “transformative” does not become the new “authentic.” I gather that, at this point, “authentic” has been a buzzword for so long that we are yearning for something new to talk about. But I would argue that “transformative” isn’t quite it.

The desire for authenticity was, to my mind, a major shift in the zeitgeist that began decades ago, driven by a major boom in global travel that made our consumers, particularly at the high end of the market, better travelled than ever before. As they became more worldly, in the literal sense, they not only became savvier consumers generally, but they became more comfortable with difference, and more comfortable with stepping out of their comfort zone. Too much of luxury travel, for too long, and especially in the developing world, was about the packaging of experience and the creation of a bubble for these travellers that was meant to make them feel secure. Over time, people didn’t so much need or want the bubble. What they wanted was the opportunity to get closer to what was real: they wanted to meet the locals, and eat their food, see the good and the bad. They wanted to feel the place. They wanted to understand.

And so it was important for us all to embrace authenticity as an idea, to jettison some of the longstanding conventions of high-end travel and think about ways that we could disintermediate place and culture for travellers. As much as I hear groans every time someone says “authenticity” these days, I still think it’s the most important trend in consumer travel preferences of our time.

So is “transformative” a thing? Yes, most definitely. We live in a time when all sorts of issues—from the fragility of our planet to the crudeness of public discourse to the pressures created by intensive workplace cultures and always-on technology—have us thinking a great deal about the importance of wellbeing and deeper meaning in our lives. And people are, I think, increasingly aware of the power that travel has to feed those things. Travellers are indeed getting on planes to go places where they can practice mindfulness or learn to sleep better or quit smoking. They are walking the Camino de Santiago to find themselves. They are quitting their jobs to travel around the world for a year and reinvent their lives.

But I would suggest it is still a relatively small number of people who are consciously traveling specifically to seek some form of personal transformation. Most of what is transformative in travel, as I see it, happens by accident, in small, serendipitous moments. When you watch a sunrise with your spouse and realize you haven’t simply sat silent with each other observing a moment of beauty in a long time. Or when you and your child see a baby impala being born on safari and you can tell her eyes are opening to wonders of nature and science. Or when wading in a stream and catching a trout fills you with a sense of accomplishment much greater than you felt back in the office building that spreadsheet.

My concern with “transformative” is that it injects a kind of seriousness, of worthiness, into travel that could lead us to forget a fundamental truth: that most people travel to have fun. Whether we’re doing it alone or with friends or family or with the loves of our lives (or of right now), traveling first and foremost gives us the time and mental space to leave some of the cares of our daily lives behind. We get to live for a few days on schedules not dictated by our Outlook calendars and according to the guiding principle of satisfying our own desires. We get to go out exploring or just curl up and read a book. However we choose to define our enjoyment, the point is that’s what we are doing: enjoying ourselves.

Somewhere in there, something transformative might happen. Or it might not. I would not suggest anyone ignore this desire for deeper meaning that travellers today have. It is real, and there is a genuine opportunity to create special experiences or facilitate meaningful moments. But as we do that, my plea is that we not forget the pleasure principle. Travel in and of itself is transformational—the act of going new places opens you up and helps you to see the world with new eyes, and over time it changes you—but most of the time that’s not really the point. Fundamentally we succeed when we simply help people have the time of the lives, when they laugh out loud or gasp with astonishment or jump for joy.

Nathan Lump is Editor in Chief of Travel + Leisure and Editorial Director, Luxury & Lifestyle Group at Time Inc. Meet Nathan Lump and the T+L team all this week at ILTM in Cannes.

 

 

 

 

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jessica McCormack

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jessica McCormack

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

Founder of Jessica McCormack jewellery, Jessica is the daughter of an auctioneer and grew up literally surrounded by piles of precious objects in her native New Zealand. From antique Maori carvings to Victorian items of curiosity, she inherited her father’s passion for unusual antiques and thus began her career in jewellery. Here Jessica tells us how she’s creating timeless pieces for the modern woman.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Vincenzo Poerio

Leaders of Luxury Series: Vincenzo Poerio

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

With over 140 years’ experience, Benetti is one of the world’s oldest builders of luxury motoryachts. Proudly retaining its traditional values of experience, skill and a passion for fine craftsmanship, Benetti has transformed into a forward-looking and innovative brand. Their CEO, Vincenzo Poerio, told us why innovation is so important today.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Daniel Boulud

Leaders of Luxury Series: Daniel Boulud

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

While he hails from Lyon, France, it is in New York that Daniel Boulud has truly mastered the dining scene and is today considered one of America’s leading culinary authorities. Holding two Michelin stars, his flagship restaurant Daniel combines humble food with luxurious ingredients and world class technique. Here’s what the chef had to say about his gastronomic “adventure.”

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jan-Bart Verkuyl

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jan-Bart Verkuyl

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

Embarking on a relentless pursuit of perfection, Feadship is the Michelangelo of the high seas. Setting a new standard in terms of craftsmanship, design, engineering and construction, there are yachts and there are Feadships. Jan-Bart Verkuyl, CEO of Feadship’s Royal Van Lent, explains how collaborating with clients is key to these custom ships.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Richard Landry

Leaders of Luxury Series: Richard Landry

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

Your home is a personal statement. It should reflect a combination of memories, aspirations and a lifetime of unique experiences. This is what distinguishes the exclusive designs of leading architectural figure, Richard Landry. For three decades as President of Landry Design Group, Richard has perfected the hybrid of modern luxury within architectural design.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Torsten Müller-Ötvös

Leaders of Luxury Series: Torsten Müller-Ötvös

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

From A-list celebrities to royal families to world leaders, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars are the ultimate luxury vehicle. With such noteworthy clientele, it’s no surprise their CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, has some very insightful thoughts on what defines luxury. Is it great to have luxury on Earth? Is luxury part of being human? Torsten certainly thinks so.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series: Robert Chavez

Leaders of Luxury Series: Robert Chavez

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands.

180 years after its birth, Hermès of Paris still manages to excite the imagination of its luxury clientele, producing some of the most iconic products in fashion history. For nearly two decades, Robert Chavez has served as the U.S. President and CEO for the Parisian fashion house and now declares that brick and mortar retail is unequivocally not dead; it’s changing.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the videos in the Leaders of Luxury Series.

Leaders of Luxury Series

Leaders of Luxury Series

Brought to you by ILTM and Robb Report, the Leaders of Luxury web series explores the future of luxury through the eyes of those who are determining it—the visionaries behind the world’s premiere brands. 


David Rockwell

In this episode, we sit down with award-winning architect David Rockwell. The founder of the multi-disciplinary studio The Rockwell Group in New York City has been reimagining the design experience for more than 30 years. Here, Rockwell explores the importance of design, believing in “creating memories,” not just buildings.

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Barry Sternlicht

In this episode, we sit down with legendary hotelier Barry Sternlicht. The founder and CEO of Starwood Capital Group as well as the visionary behind such brands as 1 Hotels and Baccarat Hotels, Sternlicht is investing in a better future for the world of hospitality—one where the environment is priority and experience is everything.

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Mauricio Umansky

In this episode, we sit down with Mauricio Umansky, Founder & CEO of The Agency. Redefining the world of real estate, Mauricio has represented some of the world’s most noteworthy properties including residences own by Michael Jackson and Prince. Here, he talks about how the world’s top architects are starting to create homes that are works of art.

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Ralph Pucci

We sit down with Ralph Pucci, Founder of Ralph Pucci Gallery. Building his showrooms to give an intimate experience, Ralph thinks quality and creativity are his cornerstone concepts. Luxury brands, however, are failing their customers by delivering too much sameness and too little innovation, in his opinion.

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Will Guidara

We sit down with Will Guidara, the co-owner of the restaurant currently ranked No. 1 in the world, Eleven Madison Park, and the prestigious hospitality group Make It Nice. Will discusses the power of experiences, and crafting them to be more luxurious and memorable than possessions.

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Neil Jacobs

How do you reconnect with yourself, with others and with the world around you? Neil Jacobs, CEO of Six Senses, explains how simple and honest experiences are deeply impacting today’s luxury travellers. “We want guests to leave our properties in a better place than when they arrived,” Jacobs says.

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Jack Ezon

An industry insider for more than 15 years, Jack Ezon has seen it all. As President of luxury travel agency Ovation Vacations, Jack has witnessed trends come and go. However, one value has always endured: the importance of the human touch and the personalised service that comes with it.

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Nancy Schumacher

Meaningful and sustainable tourism is central to Nancy Schumacher’s travel philosophy, so it’s no wonder she’s Head of Travel and Tour Operations for National Geographic. As Nancy shares, “National Geographic is really about protecting our planet so it’s really important to us that our trips embody that.” Here’s how you can travel with a conscience.

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Chris Cahill

For anyone in the luxury industry, news of AccorHotel’s aggressive acquisition strategy in recent years is unavoidable. So how do you protect brand integrity in the face of acquisition or investment? Chris Cahill, CEO of Luxury Brands for the AccorHotels Group, explains how in the quest for timeless luxury each brand must maintain its own strong identity.

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Matthew Upchurch

A travel industry visionary, Matthew Upchurch has led Virtuoso to become the top luxury travel network in the world. As CEO and founder, Matthew has an unprecedented knowledge of the evolving modern-day traveller. Today, luxury clients are making “more conscious decisions about how their money makes an impact,” as they focus on the Return on Life™.

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Tina Edmundson

As Tina Edmundson, Global Brand Officer for Marriott International explains: “travel has become the launch pad for self-actualization.” Connecting with travellers in an experiential way is no longer enough for luxury travel brands. Tapping into the booming trend for transformational travel is key to helping travellers achieve their full potential.

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Chinmai Sharma

The ecosystems of the luxury travel market are evolving; big brands are getting bigger and online travel agencies are expanding. So how does a niche brand like Taj beat the competition? Here’s how Chinmai Sharma, Chief Revenue Officer of Taj Hotels, responds to both a changing climate and a changing clientele.

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Lindsey Ueberroth

Sustainability has been a buzzword in travel for many years now, but what are luxury brands actually doing to go green? Lindsey Ueberroth, President and CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, shares the inherent value—for both hotels and their guests—of embarking on this truly impactful journey. And, yes, it goes well beyond reusing towels!

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Alex Wilcox

The transportation landscape is evolving. Battery planes and autonomous flying cars are on the horizon, but what does this mean for private jet companies? Equally excited and scared for what the future holds, Alex Wilcox, CEO and Co-Founder of JetSuite, cannot wait to be a part of the new advancements and opportunities.

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Wolfgang Puck

Early signature dishes, such as haute cuisine pizzas topped with smoked salmon and caviar, and Sonoma baby lamb with braised greens and rosemary, put famed chef Wolfgang Puck and his flagship restaurant, Spago, on the gourmet map. Now, some thirty years later, food alone is not enough; today, the experience of the guest is shaping fine-dining worldwide.

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René Gross Kaerskov

From the Four Seasons in Kyoto to the re-imagination of the Grosvenor Hotel in London, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) create stunning design experiences and breathtaking interiors in the premium accommodation sector. Creating the signature looks of today’s luxury brands, co-CEO René Gross Kaerskov says, “a hotel needs to work from the moment you enter the lobby until you are in your bed.”

Watch Video


Pierre Lagrange

It’s impossible to think about men’s tailoring without thinking of London’s Savile Row. Sitting at No. 11 is the iconic Huntsman, a 168-year-old tailoring house known for its expert combination of heritage craftsmanship and thoroughly modern menswear. “Finding somewhere where people can take the time for you is very rare,” explains owner Pierre Lagrange.

Watch Video


Jessica McCormack

The daughter of an auctioneer, Jessica grew up literally surrounded by piles of precious objects in her native New Zealand. From antique Maori carvings to Victorian items of curiosity, she inherited her father’s passion for unusual antiques and thus began her career in jewellery. Here Jessica tells us how she’s creating timeless pieces for the modern woman.

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Vincenzo Poerio

With over 140 years’ experience, Benetti is one of the world’s oldest builders of luxury motoryachts. Proudly retaining its traditional values of experience, skill and a passion for fine craftsmanship, Benetti has transformed into a forward-looking and innovative brand. Their CEO, Vincenzo Poerio, told us why innovation is so important today.

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Daniel Boulud

While he hails from Lyon, France, it is in New York that Daniel Boulud has truly mastered the dining scene and is today considered one of America’s leading culinary authorities. Holding two Michelin stars, his flagship restaurant Daniel combines humble food with luxurious ingredients and world class technique. Here’s what the chef had to say about his gastronomic “adventure”.

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Jan-Bart Verkuyl

Embarking on a relentless pursuit of perfection, Feadship is the Michelangelo of the high seas. Setting a new standard in terms of craftsmanship, design, engineering and construction, there are yachts and there are Feadships. Jan-Bart Verkuyl, CEO of Feadship’s Royal Van Lent, explains how collaborating with clients is key to these custom ships.

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Richard Landry

Your home is a personal statement. It should reflect a combination of memories, aspirations and a lifetime of unique experiences. This is what distinguishes the exclusive designs of leading architectural figure, Richard Landry. For three decades as President of Landry Design Group, Richard has perfected the hybrid of modern luxury within architectural design.

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Torsten Müller-Ötvös

From A-list celebrities to royal families to world leaders, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars are the ultimate luxury vehicle. With such noteworthy clientele, it’s no surprise their CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, has some very insightful thoughts on what defines luxury. Is it great to have luxury on Earth? Is luxury part of being human? Torsten certainly thinks so.

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Robert Chavez

180 years after its birth, Hermès of Paris still manages to excite the imagination of its luxury clientele, producing some of the most iconic products in fashion history. For nearly two decades, Robert Chavez has served as the U.S. President and CEO for the Parisian fashion house and now declares that brick and mortar retail is unequivocally not dead; it’s changing.

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Thank you to all the movers and shakers in the luxury travel industry that joined us in the Leaders of Luxury Studio at ILTM last year. Want to have your say? Leave us a comment below!

FREE REPORT: Understanding the Latin American Mindset in Europe

FREE REPORT: Understanding the Latin American Mindset in Europe

Latin America’s fascination with Europe is a well known and longstanding natural travel trend.

But while LATAM’s passion for Europe stretches back generations, what was once a fascination has recently turned into an obsession. Every major report released this year found big increases in the number of Latin American spenders making pilgrimages to Southern Europe, and indicators suggest the makings of an even bigger surge in 2018.

The following report examines the numbers behind the explosion of Latin American tourists in Europe, and draws together the advice of ILTM’s Latin American travel advisors, including…

  • How to attract Argentinians
  • Essential Colombian characteristics
  • Mexico’s millennials
  • Top activities for Venezuelans
  • Brazil’s top destinations

Click on the link below to find out why creating a brand strategy for LATAM could be the best thing you do for your brand this winter!

Understanding the Latin American Mindset in Europe

Leaders with Substance: Philippe Garnier

Leaders with Substance: Philippe Garnier

Being fluent in 10 languages isn’t essential when working for Hilton Hotels, but it certainly helps! Meet Philippe Garnier, a French national, Philippe joined Hilton Worldwide in 2003 and has been instrumental in developing its brands, including Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, throughout Asia Pacific and the rest of world.

Prior to joining Hilton Worldwide, Philippe held a number of senior consulting roles with companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG Consulting. Currently VP Global Luxury Sales based in the US, Philippe is married with three children. Here’s what Philippe had to say about the current luxury travel landscape when we caught up with him…

“As recently as 2007 there was only one Waldorf Astoria in the world, in New York, and now we have more than 28, and more than 29 Conrad Hotels, so we really cover the globe from Europe to the Middle East to Americas to Asia Pacific.

10% of world GDP is travel. Among the wealthiest citizens of the world, there has been a huge shift over the last few years from buying ‘stuff’ towards experiencing and creating memories with families and loved ones – and this is where travel has an amazing part to play.

Ignorance breeds conflict and, by contrast, travelling to a certain part of the world gives you a better understanding of what’s going on. Having a more personal connection at our hotels with the people who work there will give you a bit of an insight as to what is going on in a particular country. You will soon make your own judgement about that country’s politics, but you will have a connection at a human level and that is going to make you a world citizen.

The next big thing in travel is about personalisation. It’s not about gimmicks or Apps, it’s really about getting to the core of the reason the guest is staying at the luxury hotel and what they want to get out of it. The more the hotel knows about the guest and the reason for their stay, the more they are able to tailor the guests experience in a way that is really unobtrusive.

The travel sector is one of the largest employers and we do a lot to generate these vocations. We have a very successful programme in the US to hire veterans from the army. Maybe hospitality is not what they wanted as a profession, but, once someone starts, it is very compelling. The typical tenure that you have at one of our properties shows that there is something about this industry that is very attractive.

Travellers are extremely resilient. In my home country of France, despite recent terror attacks, 2017 has been a record year for tourism. There is a tremendous appetite for creating memories and experiences and for enriching ones culture by having encounters with people from different cultures and different backgrounds. In actual fact, back in the 1960’s one of our Founder’s underlying ideas was to open Hilton Hotels in all of the world capitals for precisely that reason.”

What a way to keep the world moving by truly loving and respecting the luxury travel industry.

Leaders with Substance: JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers

Leaders with Substance: JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers

Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates offer some of the most amazing experiences on earth. Working behind the scenes, their job is to connect select, often very boutique hotels and resorts – many in extremely remote corners of the world – with the very top private travel agents representing billionaires, A List celebrities, politicians and beyond.

JoAnn established the company in 2002, after two decades of experience at Ritz-Carlton. Here’s what JoAnn had to say about life as a leader in luxury travel when we caught up with her this week…

“I worked my way up through the ranks at Ritz-Carlton to become the first woman to ever reach the title of vice president of sales for the company. I oversaw business development worldwide, including new and existing properties in Dubai, Spain, Egypt, Qatar and Turkey. Once you have had a taste of working in such mystifying and enigmatic places it is hard to do anything else.

The best business decision I ever made was to open my own business. I really had no evidence that it would work out so I had to have that leap of faith. I loved my years working for companies but deciding to leave all the comfort and security of having a job and start my own business has been the best decision.

Travel is really the thing that opens everybody up. You can hear about an incident somewhere in the world and that whole place becomes that problem in your mind, yet when you go there; all of a sudden the beauty of the place, the people of the place, the culture, the history, the food – everything becomes one big tapestry and that one little incident dissolves.

The travel industry has a huge role to play in supporting local communities. We have an 8 bedroom villa in Boccas del Toros in Panama that supports 55 families. It’s the housekeepers, it’s the growing and getting of the food from the local community, it’s teaching the staff English, it’s teaching them about sustainability and what to do with plastic and garbage and it has had such an impact on that area. The impact on the whole community is bigger than almost anything.

Politics follows the money. When you look at certain destinations in the United States, let’s say Las Vegas; they have a $250m budget so they’ve taken it upon themselves, nobody waits for the government to come in and step in to fund and support, the destinations are aggressive and they see the value and they are promoting travel in their own way. I can see this happening more and more because everybody is travelling no matter what level of travel it is, people are travelling more than ever, so it can’t be ignored.

We will see space travel in our lifetime and I think that people are going to go more and more remote and continue to want to claim very unique experiences. I just got back from Mongolia and, though it’s not a new destination, a lot of people haven’t been there and it’s a beautiful country that’s wide open for tourism. You see people living as they have been living for thousands and thousands of years and the purity of the culture shakes you out of your own world reality. It gives you the space to get clarity and I think that is what people are seeking.

I travel about 75% of the time so I’m always moving. People say sometimes I’m going somewhere and my last night I’m just going to stay in the airport because I only have x amount of time, and I’m like why – you can sleep on the plane – don’t miss anything, just keep seeing whatever you can see and go whenever you can go. By being an example, I think people have taken trips they wouldn’t have taken because they were waiting for the perfect circumstance.”

How do you keep the world moving?

Leaders with Substance: Philip Ho

Leaders with Substance: Philip Ho

Philip Ho, Leading Hotels of the World’s Senior Vice President of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, has been a monumental force in shaping the standards of what is arguably the world’s leading collection of independent hotels.   

A Singapore native, Philip is particularly expert at understanding the rapidly changing demands of consumers across the Asia pacific region. Here’s what Philip had to say when we caught up with him this week…

“Travel helps people broaden their horizons by discovering new aspects of the world and different cultures. I value the opportunity to be a part of a traveller’s journey to deliver remarkable uncommon experiences, both at our properties and the destinations which they are found. Our collection of independent luxury hotels is rooted in their locales, offering guests the opportunity to be true travellers rather than just tourists. Being a part of a traveller’s journey is a privilege that The Leading Hotels of the World has enjoyed for nearly 90 years.

The demand for collecting experiences rather than material goods is an ongoing desire. Curious travellers want to take part in activities deeply rooted in a destination and experiences that they wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. It can be as simple as experiencing a very local neighbourhood in a city where a traveller has historically stuck to the touristy path. At Leading Hotels, we recently developed a series of Destination Experience guides that uncover uncommon ways for guests to immerse themselves in well-known locations through our hoteliers’ deep, personal connections to their destinations.

From a jogging tour through the streets of Barcelona arranged by the Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona, to a private tour to meet with local artists at Dublin’s Design Tower curated by The Marker hotel, these guides offer a variety of experiential travel activities crafted by our knowledgeable hoteliers and recommendations from local artisans.

Sustainability is also fast becoming a critical component of all travel and there is certainly an opportunity to bring experiential and sustainable travel elements together. Many travellers appreciate knowing that they won’t be the last to see an untouched piece of nature, a relatively secluded town or remote island. At Leading Hotels, many of our properties combine both elements seamlessly, such as Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort in Costa Rica, Thanda Island in Tanzania, CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa in Anguilla, Hotel La Perla in Italy and Sonnenalp Hotel in Colorado.

What’s more, back in 2015, Leading Hotels welcomed Nihiwatu Resort to its collection. Located on the island of Sumba in Eastern Indonesia, Nihiwatu was developed with the intent to protect and preserve the unique culture of the island and to enable local residents to support themselves and their families. Through The Sumba Foundation, all profits from the resort are fed into various community-based projects, including access to clean water, four malaria clinics and malnutrition and school lunch programmes. The resort also employs ninety percent of its staff from the nearby villages.

I personally keep the world moving by doing what I love: discovering remarkably uncommon experiences at each of 375 Leading Hotels so that we can share them with our curious travellers and travel partners.

My top tip for a successful ILTM is listening. Listen to the needs of the travel advisors’ customers and then craft a remarkably uncommon travel experience that meets those needs.”

Find out why Leading Hotels of the World are joining us at ILTM Asia Pacific next year.

Leaders with Substance: Lucy Jackson

Leaders with Substance: Lucy Jackson

Lucy’s family roots in Asia go way back to 1876 when her great, great grandfather helped finance the expansion of colonial Hong Kong during his tenure as the Chairman of HSBC. Fast forward over 140 years and Lucy is a co-founder and director of Lightfoot Travel, one of Asia and the Middle East’s best loved tour operators. 

With offices in Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong, Lightfoot Travel are an inspiration to all of us. Acknowledged with numerous accolades, including most recently; Best Bespoke Travel Concierge Company as voted by Singapore Tatler, the business is known for its ultra personal approach and highly original itineraries.

When we first met Lucy at ILTM Asia, there was no doubt that she should be added to our Leaders with Substance interview series. Her viewpoint is representative of the kind of ultra modern luxury that is so central to the growth of the market in Hong Kong and we we were fascinated by what she had to say about the role of luxury travel today…

Moving to Asia 8 years ago to set up a tailor-made travel company was the best business decision I’ve ever made. There was no one designing tailor-made holidays with the global scope of product that Lightfoot Travel do today. To keep the world moving, we focus on looking forward, to new products to inspire our guests and increase travel possibilities from our regions.

Absolutely, luxury travel has a part to play in issues of sustainability and environmental impacts. The current climate has deepened the definition of luxury travel, making it much more multi-layered. It has pushed consumers and our discerning guests in particular away from conspicuous consumption, and this means expanding our partnerships with companies who promote sustainable travel, and making increasing inclusions of experiences that involve environmental awareness and social responsibility within our travel itineraries. For example, when arranging a trip we’ll include excursions where guests help within the local community (Nihiwatu in Sumba, Indonesia) or contribute towards animal protection (monitoring rhinos in South Africa).

Travel is important because it enlightens, educates, and transforms us. It has the power to expose us to new cultures, traditions, histories, and ways of life that we may never have contemplated before. Fuelling our curiosity in a way that nothing else can, it shows us love, humility, perspective, patience and acceptance. Ultimately, travel provides an existence that is ‘bigger than ourselves’.

Travel can challenge us in ways that we have never expected, and it can show us sides of ourselves that we didn’t know existed. It can provide opportunities for us to slow down and take a break from mental and physical habits, and it can push us further, showing us the importance of persistence and faith. It can change a person forever, and it can provide stories and memories – both good and bad – that remain with you for the rest of your life. How does it feel to be part of that? Incredible!

Despite global uncertainties people are travelling more. Certainly, due to the likes of Brexit and Trump, there is an element of people travelling while they can as they don’t know what is going to happen. It’s a very YOLO mind-set, which is of course driven by the millennial generation who have used this as a mantra to live life fearlessly. Indeed, we are seeing a growing number of affluent millennials who are now coming to an age where luxury travel is a viable option for them – and of course – they are taking it.

To meet Asia’s best tour operators, join us at ILTM Asia Pacific, in Singapore in May 2018.

5 Top Tips for Choosing the Right Influencer for Your Brand

5 Top Tips for Choosing the Right Influencer for Your Brand

The world of influencer marketing, in recent times, is becoming an increasingly recognised marketing strategy, and brands are setting more budget aside solely for content creation and publishing by so-called ‘influencers’.

Still, to some, influencer marketing may feel like murky territory with unknown results. To help, Whalar have compiled this list of tips on choosing influencers so you can get the best results for your brand. Follow these 5 steps and Whalar say you are sure to see high quality content and engaged audience awareness, which can lead to brand loyalty, high web traffic and those all important sales.

1. Understand why influencer marketing is relevant – don’t just choose influencers because it’s a buzzword:

Maybe one of the biggest mistakes brands make is jumping on the influencer bandwagon because they hear it’s trendy. This often results in lazy content and frustration at lack of results. You need to understand that influencer marketing is important for long term results and brand loyalty. Influencer marketing is all about organic growth – not having an advert shoved down your throat – when understood properly, influencer marketing is subtle, welcoming, creative and thought-provoking.

2. Look at the different categories of influencers, and choose a mix for fresh and varied content:

Nowadays, there are macro and micro influencers, and even ‘real world’ celebrities who can create content for you. And then, within these subsects, there are bloggers, vloggers, Instagrammers, Snapchatters, and each and every one has their own specific niche; be it travel photography, or even something as specific as drone imagery; the world of influencer marketing is endless. The most effective content is created by choosing a relevant section of influencers to match your brief (for example, if you are a hotelier, you must choose the influencers who would be likely to stay in hotels), and then spread them across a relevant location (if your hotel is in ten countries, pick influencers from each). Plus, through sourcing a spectrum of talent, the material stays fresh and varied.

A key thing you have to remember when choosing talent is that influencers are consumers too, so you should pick someone who would be a consumer for your brand, and take into consideration that consumers only engage with strategically relevant content.

3. Choose an influencer with an aesthetic that suits your brand:

If you’re creating a full influencer campaign, you’re going to use multiple content creators. And whilst it’s important that they all put their own unique spin on the brief (you might, for example, have one pro at cinemagraphs, one at stopmotion, and one influencer known for their work with neon; the content will therefore differ), it’s equally important there is a similar aesthetic running through every piece of content to create a cohesive campaign. You might choose influencers with similar styles, colour schemes or tastes demonstrated on their social media feeds.

4. Go for quality of audience over ultra high follower numbers:

Yes, we know that numbers count, but the problem brands face when dipping their toe into influencer marketing is an obsession with numbers. Up until recently, it’s been all about how many followers someone has and how many likes they get. The relevancy, the context and the quality of the work has often taken a complete backseat. Worse still, often no consideration has been given to the relationship between the influencer, their audience and the brand. The quality of the content is so important, and something Whalar focuses on.

5. Set your objectives clearly:

The success or failure of any collaboration will often come down to the communication between the two parties. Each party must understand clearly what the objectives are, their role in the collaboration, and have confidence that they can achieve their goals in doing so.  Before choosing an influencer, you must identify the Why, What and Who of your campaign motives.

Why – Why are you doing this? What’s the core motivation? What is the desired outcome?

What – What content do you want? What type of creative? What aesthetics? What’s your message?

Who – Who are you trying to reach? Who is your consumer? Who’s perception are you trying to change?

If your influencer agrees with, and is on board, with all of the above, there should be no miscommunication, the process will run smoothly, and will result in a successful collaboration for both parties.

Whalar’s motto is ‘Liberating the Creative Voice’, arguably the most important part of any influencer marketing strategy. But for a collaboration to be successful, the main things you need to remember are to always choose influencers whose audience would be consumers of your product, focus on the quality of content, and to maintain communication throughout. Additionally, your brief can be prescriptive, but always let your influencers’ talent shine through, remember it’s why you chose them in the first place!

If discovering where the next generation of luxury travellers will find their travel inspiration is your thing, you might like to check out ILTM Bright Young Things Report 

Leaders with Substance: Valeriano Antonioli

Leaders with Substance: Valeriano Antonioli

For the past 35 years, while we all looked on in awe, our beautiful friend Valeriano Antonioli has been building a truly remarkable career in luxury.

Following in the footsteps of Ferragamo’s famous founder, Salvatore Ferragamo, the Lungarno Collection CEO returned to live and work in Florence following a stint in the US, where he was previously Managing Director of InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa‎, and General Manager of W Los Angeles-Westwood. He has put his multi-lingual skills to good use in managerial positions in Italy, Germany, Russia, and England with leading hotel groups including the Sheraton Diana Majestic and the Dorchester Collection’s Principe di Savoia in Milan, and Belmond’s Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg.

Created in 1995 by Leonardo Ferragamo, the son of Salvatore, Valeriano now presides over Italy’s prestigious Lungarno Collection, including; Hotel Lungarno, Gallery Hotel Art, and Continentale in Florence; Villa Le Rose in Tuscany; Portrait Roma in Rome; Resort Baia Scarlino Yacht Club & Residences and Nautor’s Swan Yacht in Tuscany; three restaurants in Florence – Borgo San Jacopo, Fusion Bar & Restaurant and Caffè dell’Oro; and the newest member of the Lungarno family, Portrait Firenze, which sits on the most romantic stretch of the River Arno in Florence and was launched at ILTM in Cannes in 2014.

Here’s what Valeriano had to say about the current preoccupations of a leader in luxury travel when we caught up with him this week…

“The best decision I ever made was to follow my dreams and became an hotelier. Travel unifies. Travel enables people to understand cultures a bit better, and I feel extremely fortunate to welcome wayfaring strangers to our city with open arms, creating an undeniably fantastic experience that they will hold with them forever.

As one of the world’s largest economic sectors, the Travel & Tourism industry drives exports, generates prosperity across the world, and creates 1 out of every 11 jobs, generating a much higher turnover than – for example – the automotive industry and other industries that are better represented and lobbied on a political level. Our industry is still very segmented and often players in the same city see each other as competitors instead of an allies. If they only think about their individual properties, it becomes difficult to collaborate and promote their common destination. In Florence, we think that dialogue between hotels is extremely important. That’s why we are part of “Firenze, yes Please”, an exclusive partnership between eleven 5-star hotels working together to promote the city to international travellers in a unique way.

It is important that the travel industry works to play a part in issues of sustainability and the environment, when their geographical location permits them to. Currently, all our properties are located in the historical centres of Rome and Florence where, unfortunately, the legislation understandably prefers to protect the historical and artistic values of the buildings rather than – for example – implement solar panels as the new way to produce energy at a low impact. Through our restaurants we can embrace local sustainability.  Local food support and responsible land development will only enhance our environment. By purchasing local, we enrich our social community – we create a more intimate relationship with our neighbourhood suppliers – and permit to always offer fresh and high quality ingredients to our guests.

Globally, the challenge is to keep up with the high level of technology which is reshaping the travel industry. The opportunity for us is the development of the Portrait Brand which represents a very high level of personalisation. We believe that future means “human”; human personalization, human connection, human authenticity.

I keep the world moving by sharing personal experiences on my social networks. I have a lot of fun doing it and, somehow, I feel closer to my friends on the other side of the ocean. We live in uncertain times but the only thing we know for sure is that we will all die one day, meanwhile we should enjoy our life to the fullest and take advantages of all possibilities to travel, experience and share the good moments with others. My tips for a successful ILTM are to maintain a positive attitude and genuinely be happy to meet old friends and make new ones along the way. Always travel with good and funny stories to share. This, I believe, will somehow extend our life.”

 

From delivering service to creating experiences – Q&A with Benoît-Etienne Domenget

From delivering service to creating experiences – Q&A with Benoît-Etienne Domenget

For nearly two centuries, five-star hotels have been providing exceptional service to distinguish themselves from competition. But in today’s age of experiences, hotels are under pressure to deliver next-level interactions that go beyond service to create unforgettable memories.

Benoît-Etienne Domenget is the new CEO of Sommet Education, the newly-formed group operating the prestigious Swiss hospitality management schools of Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, which has campuses in Switzerland, Spain, UK, US, and China. A former Managing Director of Accor Switzerland, Benoit-Etienne was then called to the helm of Michel Reybier Hospitality Group, including luxury hotels such as La Réserve and Victoria-Jungfrau Collection. These days, he’s using that experience to develop the industry’s next wave of talent…

“The term “Experience Industry” was coined by authors Joseph Pine and James Gilmore in an article published in Harvard Business Review in 1998 defining experiences as next-level services, engaging the customer emotionally to create a memorable event while adding value to the interaction. Other industries are now looking towards the hospitality industry to create more customer-centric experiences.

The global luxury industry, accounting for yearly spendings in excess of USD 1 trillion has seen a shift of focus away from the luxury product towards experiencing luxury, as a whole as identified by Boston Consulting Group. This has led to some of the world’s most popular luxury brands foraging into hospitality, opening hotel properties and launching concept stores with F&B operations and event spaces to create experiences for a younger generation.  Due to this increasing demand, Glion Institute of Higher Education has established an undergraduate track combining hospitality and luxury brand management, preparing students to join this aspiring sector and create the personalised experiences of the future.

To be memorable, experiences must be relevant, meaningful and unexpected – only then will they remain in the customer’s mind and stand out from other impressions. When finally the experience is executed in a way that it delivers on a brand’s promise, it becomes invaluable – and its price secondary.

There is indeed a big skills gap in the global hospitality industry that currently supports over 290 million jobs and is expected to create 90 million more over the next ten years (World Travel & Tourism Council). It’s more important than ever for the marketplace to have a constant exchange with educators. Of course, not all of these jobs are in the luxury segment, where the mind-set and soft skills are essential. Today’s luxury travellers expect outstanding service throughout their journey, but it takes empathy and a certain open-mindedness to anticipate their needs and respond in a personalised way. While the right techniques can be acquired, a passion for hospitality, people and service is a prerequisite.

The best piece of advice I can give to someone who serves the hospitality industry is be sincere, genuine and authentic: a guest or a colleague will always recognize and appreciate sincerity and authenticity and it is the first step to create emotion. Stay humble: if you treat everybody around you respectfully, you will in turn gain their respect. Be adventurous: hospitality is an extremely dynamic industry that offers limitless opportunities for people seeking to explore and discover.”

These and other emerging trends on the luxury scene will be discussed at ILTM in Cannes, 4-7 December 2017. To find out how your business can get accreditation to attend ILTM, click here.

 

6 idiosyncrasies of the Chinese super-rich

6 idiosyncrasies of the Chinese super-rich

The wealthy elite in China have long since been a source of awe and fascination for many. Often viewed as a closed society, it remains broadly inaccessible to those operating outside its invisible boundaries.

The ‘super-rich,’ or ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) have net assets valued at least $30 million. According to World Ultra Wealth Report 2017, China has 16,040 UHNWIs (net worth of $1,950 billion). This overwhelming financial power, that also extends to their families and extended family networks, has given rise to a belief that the ultra-affluent belong to a singular global elite that transcends geographical, cultural and social boundaries.

In our book, Luxury Brands in China and India (Palgrave Macmillan), we argue that the ultra-affluent in Beijing or Shanghai share similar and even common traits with their counterparts in London or New York, but they also embody both a distinctive, evolving socio-cultural and psychographic imprint, which can be understood using 6 broad idiosyncrasies…

Old vs. New Money. The ultra-affluent in China belong predominantly to the first generation of wealth creation. The Forbes list of China’s Richest 100 people showcase entrepreneurs or so-called ‘technopreneurs’ who have for example benefited from the boom in new technologies. These self-made entrepreneurs are generally younger than their western counterparts and intertwined with a higher tolerance for risk. A broader perspective indeed profiles the new affluent in China as belonging to a younger demographic compared to other geographies. The average age of a Maserati or Ferrari buyer in China is typically in his or her 30s.

1st vs. 2nd Generation. We are also observing the emergence of the second generation of the rich, known in China as ‘fu-er-dai’, who is expected to succeed first-generation entrepreneurs. The so-called ‘2Rich’ in China is renowned for a more visible and care-free attitude that is often associated with a lavish or bling spending lifestyle culture. Beyond the critical scrutiny of the media, the emergence of the second generation rich will not only represent a shift on lifestyle attitudes but also on wealth creation. Many have been educated in North America and have adopted a more aggressive approach to investing.

Family Cohesion and Division. The collective strength and protection of the family bond has been viewed as an important if not critical feature of Asian culture. This is of particular relevance given that family companies in Asia are more prevalent than in the US and Europe. Chinese families tend to follow the values and rituals of respecting family loyalties and the extended family hierarchy that is rarely exposed to the outside world. However, the often inseparable business and family interests can also be a potential source of conflict, particularly amongst family members belonging to different generations. The complexities of managing family ownership issues and competing interests of wealth preservation or creation are typical of family disputes.

Social Networks. Networks remains a distinctive facet of Asian society, particularly in East Asian cultures. The phenomenon of social networking is even more pronounced for the ultra-wealthy who seek sanction, support, solidarity, and protection amongst their closest peer group. Although there are signs that the social influence of guanxi, i.e. the formation and consolidating of relationships, is weakening due to the Chinese government efforts to curtail corruption, the ultra-affluent remain well-connected. As a result, the personal recommendations among these close-knit communities carry weighted importance. It also implies that group norms within these networks are firmly anchored as the notion of “saving face” is still very much apparent.

Cultural Identity: National vs. International. Despite Western influences, national pride is strongly ingrained amongst the super-rich in China. For example, philanthropy in China has strong local relevance and many wealthy Chinese collectors are inclined to acquire traditional art. Popular acquisitions are classical works with an emphasis on the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. Although the second generation rich are more exposed to the global milieu compared to their parents, they remain inclined to embrace local customs and rituals. The younger generation is undeniably seeking new and exotic experiences such as foreign travel, fine wines and fine dining, but they are also very much aware of their own national and cultural identity. An interesting observation within this context is the demand for watches that are related to zodiac signs. The Year of the Rooster has given rise to designs that are able to connect emotionally and culturally with affluent Chinese clients. For example, Juvenia, Jaquet Droz, Bovet 1822 and Vacheron Constantin launched limited editions.

The Super Rich – Markets of ‘One’Luxury companies need to identify and target the super-rich beyond simply the criterion of wealth. Luxury companies need to therefore see each extremely wealthy individual as a ‘market of one.’ Let us consider the example of Johnnie Walker House in Beijing. Here, patrons can work with the Johnnie Walker Master Blender to create a personalised blend and share in the act of creation. Moreover, a total of only 200 patrons have access to so-called relationship managers who know the preferences of each member in order to ensure the whisky experience is as personal as possible.

Understanding the personal needs of the ultra-wealthy in China will also address cultural issues that are central to consumer behaviour. For example, superyachts are seen less for recreational use as in Western markets, but as a second home for the Chinese ultra-wealthy. Marketing to the super-rich is a complex, multi-faceted process. However, the opportunities should not be underestimated given that a new billionaire is created almost every week in China.

If you want to reach China’s UHNWIs you’re going to need to build relationships with the travel advisors that represent them. To find out how you can get accreditation to attend ILTM China, click here.

The definition of happiness

The definition of happiness

Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.

One of the leading researchers in the field is Amy Blankson, an expert on positive psychology, Co-founder of GoodThink Inc., and the special guest who will be delivering the Opening Speech at ILTM Americas 2017. After travelling to more than 50 countries researching positive psychology, spending time with farmers who lost their lands in Zimbabwe, Swiss bankers in the middle of a banking crisis, owners of NBA teams and schoolchildren in South Africa, not to mention working with US Presidents, Google, NASA, Oprah and the US Army, Amy observes that, while the triggers of short-term happiness are different across the world, what sustains long-term happiness, is universal across all cultures.

We asked Amy to explain how to use positive psychology to fuel success, and what it means for the future of happiness travel itineraries…

I am the co-founder of GoodThink, a positive psychology consulting firm that works with companies in over 50 countries to bring the science of positive psychology to life.  My co-founder, Shawn Achor, is also my brother, which always makes for a fun and lively work dynamic. Shawn and I came to positive psychology partially because our father was a Neuroscientist. We grew up with our dad running experiments on us and trying out the latest subliminal messages to get us to do our chores. That was just par for the course as children of a psychologist. Every day that school was out, we wound up hanging out in our dad’s office surrounded by psychology experiments and labs and professors–that seemed normal to us.

Another motivation for working in positive psychology was that both of our parents came out of very difficult childhoods, but were able to make the mental switch to rise above their circumstances and choose happiness. It became a way of life for them.  As Shawn and I have gotten older, we spent a lot of time trying to understand: how does someone come out of a history of intense negativity to become something different, to reach a higher plane of potential? We are continually inspired by individuals who are able to do that. Fast forward a few years and I remember Shawn telling me about the latest research that he’d been doing at Harvard on the science of happiness and this idea of positive psychology. He was really excited about it, and it really made me think a little bit about creating community change in a different way, about being able to offer the chance for people to understand optimism and happiness at a time when they actually really needed it.

Over the next few years, we began sharing the research of positive psychology with companies and organizations in over 50 countries, teaching them the principles of positive psychology and strategies for implementing change in a sustainable way. I believe that this movement took off because organizations realized that telling employees to put their heads down and work harder in periods of uncertainty and change was ineffective; the more that leaders could tap into employee’s innate creativity, kindness, and motivation, the more engaged and effective they became. That is the heart of positive psychology and I look forward to sharing more of the strategies that leads to organization change with you in person very soon!

Understanding this field can really have a significant effect on your business. The latest research from the field of positive psychology reveals that training our brains to be more positive is not only possible, it’s actually essential to striving after your full potential.  Why? Because when your brain is positive, it receives a boost of dopamine, which turns on the learning centres in the brain and makes you able to see more possibilities in your environment.  In fact, a positive brain has been linked to: 37% higher sales, 3x more creativity, 31% higher productivity, 40% increase in likelihood of receiving a promotion, 23% decrease in symptoms of fatigue, 10x increase in the level of engagement at work, a 39% increase in the likelihood of living to age 94, and a 50% decrease in the risk of heart disease.

A good network of social connections is the key to personal success in your chosen industry. Research shows that social support is crucial to personal success, in fact, it is the single greatest predictor of your long-term happiness, success, and longevity.  Recent research reveals that social support is as predictive of how long you will live as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking!

An understanding of positive psychology is absolutely key for travel brands that want to offer truly transformations experiences. Travel is about so much more than escape; it’s about opportunity for growth.  Research shows that most successful individuals tend to have a growth mindset (rather than a fixed mindset) about new experiences, meaning that they see their capacity for learning as infinite and boundless.  If we can facilitate opportunities for growth through travel, we can help our clients strive after their potential, which is the very definition of happiness.

Amy’s Opening Speech; Strategic Happiness: Creating Meaningful Connections & Sustaining Positive Change, takes place in the Riviera Ballroom, at the Fairmont Mayakoba at 17:00 on 25th September 2017.

 

Meet the world in Cannes

The global luxury travel community is preparing to gather in Cannes this December. Once again, ILTM will play host to some of the most exciting travel brands in the world, including the very best boutique hotels, exclusive resorts, luxury cruise liners and gastronomic experiences. ILTM have personally sourced an eclectic mix of luxury exhibitors, from the well-established global brands, to those up-and-coming gems. Here are some of the top exhibitors attending this year’s event.


Nobu Hotels

Nobu Hotels creates powerful stages for shared experiences of excitement and escapism. Featuring the best of everything with imaginative new restaurants, high-energy bars, relaxing rejuvenation, distinctive service, remarkable retail and an air of celebrity, Nobu Hotels will afford guests the most exclusive entry into unparalleled experiences.

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


Seabourn

First-time ILTM exhibitors but longtime luxury travel purveyors, Seabourn will share the latest on its new ship, Seabourn Ovation, set to launch in May 2018. Meet with President Rick Meadows and SVP of Global Sales and Marketing, Chris Austin, to discuss the experience on the World’s Finest Ultra-Luxury Cruise Line.

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


The Trafalgar St. James

Trafalgar Square is the axis on which London tilts, and the Trafalgar St. James is located at its epicentre – a hotel which houses three unique food and drink destinations. The Trafalgar St. James brings together the greatest elements of modern London and celebrates them through their approach to design, food, drink and service.

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


Sydell Group

The creator and manager of unique hotels rooted in their location and architecture. Sydell’s core expertise is an ability to collaborate with original talent within the world of design, food & beverage, and retail. The diverse portfolio of award-winning properties includes The NoMad New York, the soon to open NoMad Los Angeles and The Ned London, a partnership with Soho House.

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


Joali

Joali is a breathing art museum in the elegance of nature. Every second offers a unique harmony. Beautiful sights, feels, experiences and memories.
It’s like getting lost in a beautiful fairy tale. A great story awaits you. Take all the inspiration from Joali, and start writing your own journal.

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


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: iltmlatam@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."

ILTM View

"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 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.

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

3) CITS

4) Ctrip

5) CTS

6) CYTS

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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