Annual Luxury Travel Report Brazil & Latin America 2022_2023

Annual Luxury Travel Report Brazil & Latin America 2022_2023

ILTM are proud to partner with PANROTAS, one of the leading communication and media groups in the travel industry in Brazil, to bring you the second edition of the Annual Luxury Travel Report 2022/2023 – Brazil & Latin America.

Packed with data, analysis, insights and trends – it’s a comprehensive presentation of what luxury travel looks like in Brazil and Latin America today.

The Brazilian traveller is back on the road. Whilst the past three years has seen the world challenged by a succession of unprecedented circumstances, and the luxury travel industry in Brazil and Latin America has been impacted in many ways over this uncertain period. While many of these issues will continue to influence travel trends for some time, there is now cause for real optimism as we move into 2023.

Download your copy of the ILTM & PANROTAS Annual Luxury Travel Report 2022/2023 – Brazil/Latin America

Decoding the Luxury Travel Consumer’s Mindset – a Global View

Decoding the Luxury Travel Consumer’s Mindset – a Global View

Over the past three years, global travel has been challenged by a succession of exceptional circumstances, and the luxury travel industry has had to show tenacity and resourcefulness to ride out this uncertain period. And while many of these issues are likely to be with us for some time, there is now cause for real optimism as we move into a new era of luxury travel.

To help understand what trend’s are growing, what’s staying and what’s slowing, ILTM and American Express Travel commissioned their own proprietary research from the affluent research specialist, Altiant, to get to the reality of the luxury travel consumer’s mindset today.

This global edition of ‘Buzz vs Reality’ is a unique and comprehensive representation of what luxury global travel looks like today; packed full of insights and trends that reflect luxury travel behaviours across the globe – helping you understand your customers’ needs now, and in the year ahead.

Download your copy of A Global View: Decoding the luxury travel consumer’s mindset.

THE definitive report from the voice of the luxury APAC traveller in 2022

THE definitive report from the voice of the luxury APAC traveller in 2022

Tired of sifting through predictions, buzz and counter claims, ILTM commissioned its own proprietary research from the affluent research specialist, Altiant to get to the reality of the luxury travel consumer’s mindset in September 2022.

It’s been a long two and a half years, and whilst we expect the consequences of the pandemic to be felt for some time yet, there is room for genuine optimism for luxury travel brands around the world with APAC wealthy travellers.

Our findings show that many affluent individuals are looking to make up for lost time and resume travelling in style with a staggering half planning to spend more on holidays than pre-Covid trips.

And these welcome findings extend to agents with 92% saying they will be using them to book luxury trips in 2023, the extra layer of bureaucracy and relieving the stress make agents more important than ever.

Launching the dedicated research about the region at ILTM Asia Pacific on September 5th, entitled “Decoding the luxury travel consumer mindset”, Alison Gilmore portfolio director ILTM said, “The pandemic has had a fundamental impact on traveller behaviour with some trends accelerating, some slowing down and others stabilising.  The research surveyed almost 500 validated wealthy APAC travellers from 6 countries, a reliable barometer of luxury sentiment and habits in 2022”.

Here’s a flavour of the key findings from the report which you can download here:

What behaviour is staying

Flying less often, but staying for longer

Travelling with family and multi-generational trips

Slow, recuperative travel

Experiences over goods

Health & safety concerns

Wellness as a key driver in travel planning


What behaviour is growing

Revenge travel, making up for lost time

Rising confidence and ready to mix again, pointing to a return to a more social way of travelling.

Interest in sustainable, eco friendly trips with building back better after COVID is now resonating with many wealthy travellers

Planning well in advance rather than last minute

Travel agents becoming more important in holiday planning


What behaviour is slowing

Privacy & seclusion as the only travel choices

Superficial jumping from one place to another

Local or regional trips only

More active and high intensity breaks

Familiar locations, where travelled before

We see how the pandemic has accelerated trends well under way into mainstream expectations:  health & wellness and sustainability being the key ones.

For hotels, minimising water usage and eliminating single-use plastics are now the very least many travellers expect. Instead, strategies such as using renewable energy, growing food on-site and partnering with local conservation organisations will be enthusiastically received.


Most encouraging findings come from China, the future engine of the world’s luxury travel market.

Chinese travellers’ demand for mental wellness trips (+16 percentage points), Singaporeans’ desire for cultural trips (+18 points) and the Japanese desire for more activity and beach holidays (+15 points).

Chinese travellers expect to spend more in the year ahead, and they are also notably more likely than average to be planning celebratory trips such as milestone birthdays (70% vs 45% overall), more extravagant trips (59% vs 37%) and more travel in general to make up for lost time (56% vs 44%).

And the demand for mental wellness trips is also up a strong 16 percentage points for Chinese travellers.

They are also strongly guided by sustainability and environmental protection. 81% are planning to take more sustainable/ eco-friendly holidays in the future.

Good news for agents

There is a growing preference for planning holidays well in advance something which ideally suits the expertise of the travel agents. And the fact that two-thirds (65%) say that an agent will be influential when booking holidays over the next 12 months, 86% plan to use them the same or more since the start of the pandemic underlines their enduring importance.

What’s next?

As we move towards the biggest ILTM Cannes ever in December 2022, we will be unveiling the 2nd edition of the global report on the luxury traveller’s mindset. Comparing and contrasting behaviour across APAC to key markets in Europe to Americas, this is hotly anticipated as the industry grapples for certainty and consistency going forward.

11 Trends Defining the Next Decade of Luxury Travel

11 Trends Defining the Next Decade of Luxury Travel

Fittingly, 2021 marks the 11th anniversary of ILTM Latin America and the beginning of a new decade in travel.

Instead of looking backwards, I want to take this opportunity to look ahead and contemplate what’s next for luxury travel. How can travel address some of the world’s biggest challenges, and – hey, why not? – how can travel shape the new pathways we all want to take. A fresh and much-needed restart to get the world moving again, here are 11 trends to set the tone and swing us towards the passionate, sustainable, inspiring, and exciting experiences that await us all.

Ready? Let’s go!

1. Conscious travel

Connect with yourself + others + destination

The mantra “Live Full. Travel Conscious.” has been hovering around the industry’s best minds for an important reason. It addresses the present need for the traveller to become a pivotal agent and actor in the positive transformation of the world we explore. Choosing with purpose is key. Enough of over-tourism and lack of awareness. We cannot expect to dive deeply into a country just by being bystanders. We need to connect with its people and start conversations that could lead to cultural discoveries and experiences. We want to be immersed while doing good, therefore transforming ourselves and others along the journey. Our trips should combine sustainability and wellness, cultural immersion and exploration, adventure and involvement with the destination, as well as the supporting of conservation and environmental projects, empowerment of artisans, producers and local businesses. We have the ability to positively impact the spots we visit by injecting revenue into local economies and establishing links with local communities. The paradigm shift affects the entire market and is the result of the choices we make. A trip is meant to entertain, amaze, educate and have an emotional impact, taking us into the present moment while remaining sustainable. Purpose, partnership, positive contributions. It’s all about evolution and consciousness. Don’t you want to be part of this shift?

2. TA Hype

The rise of travel agencies & advisors

We all know how it goes. The traveller plans a trip thinking everything is under control just to discover that it’s not. During the first wave of Covid, there were so many cancellations and postponements, no flights, mass evacuations, delayed plans. And who was there to save the day? The travel advisor. The one with the knowledge, the connections, the professional service, and the best intentions to excel at their job.

Covid has given us all new perspectives, and this is especially true for the travel industry. End clients and luxury travellers have gained a new appreciation and respect for agencies and advisors. The quintessential travel agent is the one who will not only know their clientele but their providers, their products and all the logistics/documentation required in the ever-changing post-pandemic scenario. It’s not simply about planning a dream vacation; it’s about navigating what seems to be a million options and selecting the best ones, customising for each client, curating their experiences, and monitoring the new travel protocols, requirements – and last minutes changes make it all the more difficult.

I believe travel agents are the hype in the luxury travel market right now. Accordingly so and well-deserved, indeed.

3. Off the Grid

Escaping mass tourism and overcrowding

Due to the social distancing required, escaping the crowds is a must these days. But its benefits are way greater than just our little bubbles. Overcrowding is not only unsatisfying and undesirable now, but it can also reverberate into economic, social, and environmental issues. Beloved cities have suffered the downsides of chronic mass tourism – think Rome or Venice. Remember the cruise ship that crashed into a dock in 2019? Thankfully that lead to the city’s decision of banning large ships from entering the Venice lagoon this August… after years of warnings of irreparable damage to Venice’s ecosystem. Nepal also reported a traffic jam of people waiting to summit Mount Everest in 2019, which lead to the perishing of climbers. We often take the risk of jeopardising the very places we are fond of when we should be doing the exact opposite.

So, instead of being surrounded by loads of people in crowded destinations – escalating the problems – how about getting off the beaten track and opting for alternative destinations? You can join the next wave of awareness travel and choose under-visited or remote locations.

Think about a wellness retreat at the foothills of the Himalayas, fuelled by Ananda, with a wonderful set of tools that will rejuvenate and empower your body, mind, and soul. Choose a pristine, beautiful place – such as the Icelandic, Patagonian, or Scandinavian outdoors – to enjoy a week of nature-fuelled adventure, with paddling or kayaking along the way. Companies like Nordic Luxury and Eleven Experience challenge your limits, with physical adventures and mental resilience. Brands like Six Senses and Aman have also nailed the concept with its trademark basis of wellness, sustainability, and organic luxury, in hotels, resorts and spas amidst spectacular sceneries around the world. There are even “Mystery Trips” where you spend a week alone in the wilderness after being dropped by helicopter in an undisclosed setting (a guide will be tracking you from a distance), concocted to get you to tap into your inner resources and confront your fears and anxieties to move forward. Black Tomato creates adventurous tailor-made expeditions to wilderness destinations like Mongolia or the Arctic that are kept entirely a secret from you. Going off-grid is the utmost travel experience, a way of reconnecting with yourself and sorting out what matters in life. It is a fascinating and powerful way to gain a fresh perspective.

Sometimes getting lost and disconnecting is the only way to change toxic habits and reconnect with yourself.

4. The Staycation

Exploring your own city and country

I often catch myself serendipitously discovering alternative sides of São Paulo, the city I call home. To unleash the potential of a staycation you must view your city with a fresh perspective and curiosity. Mini breaks and stays at the city’s fabulous hotels paired with wellness treatments, exploring art galleries and hip boutiques, visiting museums or new restaurants and bars while strolling around, all add an extra edge to this combination of vacationing and staying home in days of pure indulgence. It’s hassle-free, with no airport queues and travel time, just a decadent experience within the city. By the end of this escape, you’ll come away refreshed and – if you desire – luxuriously pampered. It can be surprising to look at your city as a visitor and not as a resident. As I always say: Travel in your city? Shouldn’t you try it!

5. Positive Luxury

Offsetting your carbon footprint

We all take aeroplanes to zip around the world to perform our globetrotting tasks. But taking to the skies is taking its toll; roughly 2 to 2.4% (some sources even say up to 5%) of global CO2 emissions come from aviation. While extremely pertinent, it doesn’t compare to the impact of road transportation which is responsible for 44%. Our routine actions such as driving, flying, and heating burns energy that is highly pollutant. Controlling and offsetting is an effort that has become a prominent question given climate change impacts. So, the question is what can we do to offset our travel emissions? We need to find a way to compensate, either by calculating emissions and then purchasing the equivalent balance or by travelling more efficiently. How? Planning better, staying longer, and exploring a destination by other means (taking the train, for example). Airlines that fly internationally should think of offsetting any extra emissions under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation. You can also discover ways to counterbalance by eating locally grown foods (the so-called localvore), using energy wisely and choosing companies that take a responsible approach to the environment by providing employment, reforestation, and social benefits to communities. You can also choose an offsetting program to donate to. This all can lead to the so desired zero carbon footprint. It’s our world, our house… and we’re all together in this.

6. Long & Slow

Slowly discovering, for longer

It’s quite common to hear of those coming back from a dream vacation on the verge of burnout after having taken the extra mile in search of additional highs, only to tick things off an ambitious list that includes interminable selfies and photos. It’s almost as if you haven’t travelled if not picturing, posting, and frenetically trying to capture everything. It’s all so exhausting and almost depleted of meaning. We need a mindset change to fully understand why we travel. After all, who cares about how many countries or famed places you have been to? Only you can take away the pleasure and value of your trip. Doesn’t it make more sense to account for how much you’ve enjoyed, learned, and experienced in your travels? The new era of slow travel is here to bring us back to its original purpose: tapping into the unknown, discovering, enjoying, reuniting, and living joyful moments. So how can we have all that? Through real immersions, long trips, days of flânerie, slowly discovering local pleasures, hidden treasures, and destinations as well as people. The celebrated Tao Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu perfectly sums up slow travel: “A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” I couldn’t agree more. We all, in our timeframes and possibilities, should engage in it. After all, time is the ultimate luxury; enjoying your time the best way possible is living life to its fullest.

7. Sustainable Luxury

Sustainable development through travel

One of the most transformative experiences I’ve had is making a difference through community work in countries like Bangladesh, India, or Kenya, feeling the profound impact of these contributions on the people around you as well as within yourself.

Today, companies (such as ME to WE) design trips based on sustainable development and work towards strengthening communities and individuals by making them active partners in positive change. When altering the self-centred mindset to an us-centred one, we open ourselves to real situations and enlarge the purpose and reach of our travel by opting to protect our planet’s most vulnerable destinations. By transforming tourism’s impact on nature and people, we can truly influence the planet’s future. It goes beyond the environment; you can be a part of the social and economic transformations that responsible tourism can bring to the lives of local people. Examples? You can support countries that suffered devastating problems and need tourists to come back to boost their economy — by visiting non-affected spots within the destination — such as Australia after the fires, or St. Barth, St. Martin, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas after the Hurricanes Irma and Maria, or Sri Lanka after the 2019 Easter bombings.

But now, it’s the whole world who needs and wants us back with all the care and safety measures in place.

The impact of travel can be so lasting and powerful that it now attracts more and more travellers who wish to go that extra mile to support actions that address sustainability, the protection, development and preservation of communities, the environment and wildlife – while making them key players instead of mere spectators. How rewarding is that? And isn’t this one of the most important lessons we’ve all learnt during all these months locked in and wishing to go out?

8. Lifestyle Brands

A new chapter in hotel life & aviation travel

What started as the boutique hotel trend at the beginning of the 1980s (think Kimpton, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell (co-owners of the mythic Studio 54), and the legendary hôtelier and Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha) has evolved into the lifestyle hotels of today with their intimate, design-oriented, and customer-centric features. The players have evolved and partnerships between established brands and creators of cool – like Ian Schrager and Marriot International – are changing the scenery with a fresh set of lifestyle hotels collections, such as the W, Edition and Public hotels. Together they are upping the game by employing hyping additions such as award-winning architects (for instance, Herzog & de Meuron in Public Time Square), thus creating fun and inspiring public spaces, incredible views, innovative design, youthful mood, and unique panache that combine the perfect mix of luxury and lifestyle. Other brands thrive in the confluence of high fashion meet boho laid-back culture, such as The Slow, in Canggu Bali or First Cabin in Japan, a mix between airline-inspired hotels and ryokans. These are a few examples of the transformation of lodging into lifestyle experiences.

The fleet revitalization has re-emerged with the introduction of Airbus A350s, A380s and Boeings 787-10s, while first class and executive suites are the standouts of the new innovative flights – with additions that deliver top-notch safety and sanitary measures while delivering lifestyle experiences to frequent flyers. Examples? Singapore Airlines’ new First Class Suite is ahead of the game, whereas Qatar Airways with its QSuite sets a new standard of private seating. Air France and Swiss Airlines go above and beyond to keep their luxurious services and very chic first and executive classes cabins in which their savoir-faire and elegant styles are presented in form of comfort and exclusivity. There is also the return of Virgin Atlantic’s innovation The Loft – a social area featuring comfortable seats and a large screen for watching movies in the Upper-Class section of its Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. Emirates already had its individual Private Suites cabins in their A380s, and the famous Onboard Bars are back as we move towards the inflight swanky social spaces that were conceived for super-long-haul flights and were to include areas for yoga and communal dining. In other words, prolonging the in-flight experience through exclusive lounges of state-of-the-art architecture coupled with lifestyle services. The heights of the airline lifestyle know no boundaries.

9. Hybrid Experiences

Blending adventure, immersion, and wellness

It’s a brand-new world out there, travellers! One that sets a frontier between wellness, adventure and reset. I could feel it coming, and so could you, right? Expeditions entrenched in rugged landscapes that are deep-rooted in luxuries such as tented camps with in-suite bathtubs and torch-lit four-course dinners can also offer nomadic expeditions aboard 4×4 jeeps, well-crafted vessels, horse or camelback and, why not, on foot. Each is led by super experts and field guides that pour knowledge into exotic itineraries that transform travellers into explorers while tuning their perspectives on cultures, people, wildlife, and the mind-blowing settings encountered along the journey. It can be on the outskirts of the Saara or the Atlas, the gorges of Oman or the Gobi Desert, maybe the red canyons of Utah, the waters of the Mighty Zambezi or the unparalleled safari camps such as Matetsi, Stretch Ferreira, Bumi Hill or Deteema of Zimbabwe. You can also go for a tiger-filled national park in Ranthambore, Rajasthan, the tropical rainforests of the Amazon or the breath-taking peaks of Bhutan, crisscrossing lanes of Ladakh – wherever your preference is, you will find fleeting hotels in ultra-exclusive locations that combine hedonism and humanism in spectacular settings.

And then, there is the rise of wellness – one of the most powerful trends of our times. In such a troubled world, the sense of well-being is imperative, and travelling in search of this reset is essential. A whole new wave of accommodations, with special-designed rooms, carefully calibrated programs, experiences, and activities aiming to shape the next level of good living is being conveyed by high-end hospitality brands like Aman and Six Senses and retreats such as Canyon Ranch, Ananda in the Himalayas and SHA. Luxury hotel groups as Rosewood, Como, Shangri-La, Hyatt, Marriot, Mandarin Oriental, to mention a few, are equally aboard the wellness lifestyle trend. Even fitness brands are migrating to hospitality: the first Equinox Hotel will be opening this year in the Hudson Yard, NYC, with interiors designed by David Rockwell. The idea is to embark on an invigorating journey that will take you on a new path. In times where health is considered the new wealth, who wouldn’t want that?

This blend of remote immersion, luxury lodging, fully charged natural wellness treatments and spiritually elevating experiences – conducted by exceptionally well-prepared locals – steer the travellers towards adrenaline-fuelled adventures, peaceful retreats, transformative journeys culminating into life-changing experiences that redefine our worldview.

10. To Infinity…

Beyond Earth, space travel and tourism

Space travel has long been on the wish list of humanity. From Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster to Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, it’s the space battle of billionaires. In late April, Virgin Orbit announced they will launch flights from the Alcântara Launch Center (CLA) on Brazil’s northern coast. It seems everyone wants a slice of space. Curious? Here’s some highlights!

It looks like Orion and Axiom Space are currently ahead of the pack. Axiom Space CEO Michael Suffredini announced the launch of his first space tourism program, which will feature a floating hotel designed by none other than the ubiquitous Philippe Starck. At a cost of US$ 55 million (included are 15 weeks of prior preparation on Earth), space tourists will be able to enjoy 10 days of orbital travel in accommodations beyond hi-tech. Made up of several capsules, the Axiom Space hotel aims to accommodate eight people, including a professional astronaut. The idea is to send the hotel into space or anchor it in the current International Space Station (ISS), which floats 408 km from the Earth’s surface. But those in a hurry might even get there sooner.

In the busy match of the race, Orion Span, led by Frank Bunger, is developing Aurora Station, a fully modular space station and a luxury hotel that will accommodate six guests at a time (including two crew) for a 12-day journey – at a modest US$ 9.5 million – where they will live as true astronauts (following three months of training). And Bezos’ Blue Origin is following the suit; his company has been developing an infrastructure for spaceflight capabilities since 2011 for the lucky few aficionados. The price of those short sightseeing trips to suborbital space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket is likely to cost around US$ 250-300K, while Virgin Galactic’s 90-min flight would cost US$ 250K. There is already a steady waiting list for future travellers.

In 2019, NASA announced its plan to allow private astronauts to go on the ISS, with SpaceX’s spacecraft Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. The price? Around US$ 35K per day, per person. Those astronauts would be permitted to travel to the ISS for up to 30 days, travelling on the US spacecraft. Everything indicates that the reward for so much effort will be amazing: views of your home city from space, the ability to participate in research experiments (like growing food in orbit) and sharing the experience live with friends and family on Earth via the Internet. Such great exploits require Ditto investments and travelling orbits in the millions of dollars, nothing that discourages wealthy adventurers and space cowboys going onto the final frontier of civilization.

Science fiction travel is a reality in 2021, with NASA finally launching astronauts aboard capsules built by SpaceX and Boeing. Maybe travellers dreaming of intergalactic luxury capsules will be following soon. I can hardly wait to report from the edge of space.

11. JOMO

The joy of missing out

It may be time to take a step back and think about the reasons behind your desire to travel and how much of it is genuine. Fact: social media has drastically transformed the way we interact in the world, while increasingly dictating consumer choices. Studies have shown that most people were more likely to travel somewhere if they thought it would increase their social media following and engagement. But that comes at a price: anxiety, frustration, jealousy, and even missing out on ‘the essence of the now’ in that coveted place you decided as a destination. Within a trip filled with posts, messages, DMs, and stress, how much time is left for actual enjoyment? Very little. So-called FOMO (fear of missing out) leaves us plugged into the digital world to the point of exhaustion, trapped in a cycle of taking that popular stunning selfie to tick of your virtual bucket list, only to move on to the next hyped destination. The real question is: what is the most productive way to spend your time abroad? JOMO could be the answer.

The opposite of FOMO, it stands for “joy of missing out” and is what the coolest folks are already doing with the pleasure of freedom. The new trend of hotels where wi-fi connection is limited to some areas, or even non-existent, is a blessing for busy travellers and those in need to reset and disconnect to recharge and enjoy. Living in the here and now instead of broadcasting on social media is pure JOMO. This new approach to travel emphasises connection: to yourself, to locals, to foreign cultures, to the environment that surrounds you. Brilliantly simple, highly recommended, and very much needed. So, next time you plan a trip, think about the reasons why that destination is important to you, and stay longer, enjoying it to the fullest, relaxing amidst all that wanderlust. And remember, you can always post about it later if you choose to, but you cannot regain moments lost. So, it all comes down to what matters most: live the moment or just pass by it? There’s nothing sexier than a person who lives in the moment. Haven’t we all learnt that by now?

Be present, enjoy life to its fullest, that’s living!

Juliana A. Saad is a writer, editor, and curator specialised in travel, culture, lifestyle, and luxury. In other words, Ju travels the world looking for incredible stories. A regular ILTM media attendee, you can catch them next at ILTM Latin America this October. This year, we’re at the Tivoli Mofarrej São Paulo Hotel from Tuesday 26 October to Friday 29 October, see you there!

Global Heatmap: The New World of Travel with Meryam Schneider

Global Heatmap: The New World of Travel with Meryam Schneider

Last month, we shared the first snippets from our exclusive ILTM x Altiant research into the changing mindset of the luxury traveller, their intentions going forward and the expanded role of the travel agent. Now, following the release of our latest report, we’re broadcasting brand new Data Digests created by ILTM’s resident consumer analyst, Meryam Schneider.*

The New Fundamentals of Travel

What do wealthy APAC individuals now want from travel?

The New Luxury Travel Wishlist

A focus on wellness, sustainability and privacy.

A New Era for Travel Agents

Renewed value and evolving responsibilities.

To download your own copy of the report discussed in these digests, please click here.

*For those who don’t know, Altiant is a fieldwork specialist that empowers insight experts and marketers working within the luxury goods and wealth management industries to gain a deeper understanding of their audience. It is drawn from a unique HNW sample-set collected through Altiant’s highly selective proprietary panel, LuxuryOpinions®.

The Future of Luxury Travel in Asia Pacific

The Future of Luxury Travel in Asia Pacific

Back in May, ILTM caught up with the ever-enlightening Dr Parag Khanna, Managing Partner of FutureMap, seasoned ILTM speaker and authority on globalization, before his debut at an ILTM virtual offering. That article was a segue into Parag’s exclusive talk at ILTM Asia Pacific, a digital edition for 2021 in response to the world’s travel restrictions. 

So, without further ado, released publically for the first time, please join Parag as he explores how the Asia Pacific region will be the first to reopen borders and deploy new technologies in a post-pandemic world.

For more data-driven Asia Pacific content, check out our latest report A New World for Luxury Travel and Travel Advisors available to download now!

A New World for Luxury Travel and Travel Advisors

A New World for Luxury Travel and Travel Advisors

The pandemic has led many people, including wealthy individuals, to re-evaluate how they spend their lives as well as time and money. Our previous expectations of unrestricted travel and recent inability to do so freely, have meant that there is now considerable pent-up demand as people look to get back out into the world.

It’s in this context that ILTM, in collaboration with Altiant, brings this unique research to your attention. We believe that with such fundamental changes to habits and sentiment, it is even more important to now understand luxury travellers’ wants and needs.

We believe that this research collected from the exclusive opinions of wealthy travellers and their travel agents across the APAC region, will give your business up-to-date tools and insights to help support and navigate this new travel landscape.

We hope you find the report valuable.

Download your copy now:

Global Heatmap: APAC luxury travellers’ appetite to get back travelling

Global Heatmap: APAC luxury travellers’ appetite to get back travelling

With ILTM Asia Pacific Virtual opening in just a few weeks, we decided to share the first snippet from our exclusive ILTM x Altiant research* into the changing mindset of the luxury traveller, their intentions going forward and the expanded role of the travel agent.

High levels of trust towards taking the vaccine and covid passports amongst wealthy travellers

The use of Covid ‘passports’, which enable people to show their vaccination status, has seen much discussion. We know there is much debate and many opinions on this, and we have no political opinion either way. However, our research shows that across all countries in APAC, approval rates to carrying a covid passport surpass 80%, and fewer than one in five are opposed to carrying them.

For some hotels, this could mean showing these passports on check-in to lower risk factors and to encourage future visitors that their Covid protocols are comprehensive. Ongoing testing may be another option as just under half of respondents say they would be willing to take a test every 48 hours while travelling domestically and internationally. These findings point towards a responsible and conscientious affluent traveller, many of whom are looking to protect themselves and others.

What does this mean for the future of luxury travel and for travel agents?

Despite the many challenges facing the luxury travel industry, there are clear grounds for optimism that many travellers accept the necessary bureaucracy required to travel safely, at least in the short term.

Travel agents play a key role here. At ILTM Asia Pacific Virtual, we will be exploring the growing importance of travel agents and the expanding expectations that travellers have of them.

Don’t miss the brand new, exclusive ILTM Asia Pacific research in the form of daily Data Digests open to all attendees from July 20 to July 22, 2021.

What Trade & Tech Trends Mean for the Future of Tourism’s Fastest Growing Market, APAC

What Trade & Tech Trends Mean for the Future of Tourism’s Fastest Growing Market, APAC

This time last year, ILTM caught up with the ever-enlightening Dr Parag Khanna, Managing Partner of FutureMap, seasoned ILTM speaker and authority on globalization, about the impact of COVID-19 on APAC destinations. One year on, as we sat down again, the lucrative countries from the region are showing signs of emerging from hibernation. Here’s what Parag is witnessing in 2021 and beyond…

Asia represents the largest share of domestic and international travellers. The region will also be the first to reopen borders and deploy new technologies. 

The coming years will witness trends in travel reinforce those in trade: Regionalization will outpace globalization. Before the pandemic, the number of outbound Asian travellers had doubled over the previous decade—but it had tripled within Asia itself. Post-pandemic, we can expect more and more Asian travellers to remain domestic or within the region. This has already been a strong contributing factor to China’s domestic consumption rebound, and as wealthy Chinese travellers venture abroad again, Asian nations are working hardest to woo them.

Many Asia-based travellers will play it safe and head to well-governed “islands of immunity” whether Japan or Australia, Taiwan or Singapore, where they know they can enjoy the cultural, culinary, or natural offerings. These countries have moved past lockdowns, and even elevated restrictions don’t dampen freedom of mobility. They also have the upscale facilities from resorts to service apartments to enable comfortable long-stays for those who have devised new schedules around dividing time across multiple locations. In essence, such travellers are looking for “home-tels” from which to conduct remote work while building new relationships.

Asian nations will also step up cooperation around harmonizing and digitizing new standards for cross-border mobility, such as immunity passports and blockchain based health certifications. Prior to the pandemic, visa restrictions had eased dramatically and Asian passports such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore had become three of the five “most powerful” passports in the world. Asians’ embrace of technology will allow them to quickly rebuild cross-border trust into their immigration policies.

Such policies are also underway in Europe, emanating from both the UK as well as the Schengen area. This could be a positive sign for restoring travel between Europe and Asia, especially as Europeans seek tropical holidays and Asians look to beat the heat. Currently, however, this thicket of regional and industry efforts has yet to be reconciled.

Asia will also reinforce the global trend towards longer stays and multi-generational family travel, creating novel opportunities for hospitality brands. This includes the hybridization of business and leisure travel that emphasizes maintaining professional connectivity and elevating consciousness around wellness and sustainability. Youth, in particular, have driven the trend away from material consumption towards authentic experiences, with an emphasis on environmental and cultural conservation. As Asian nations step up vaccinations, the winter season of 2021/22 presents many opportunities for families to criss-cross Asia to immerse in mega-events such as the Dubai World Expo.

It’s never been so clear that capturing the APAC market is an essential element of our industry’s global road to recovery. If you would like to join ILTM Asia Pacific Virtual to do just that, please enquire here.

Asia Pacific and the Global Travel Recovery

Asia Pacific and the Global Travel Recovery

In this latest report, created with Barton and powered by Wealth-X data, it has been revealed that Asia Pacific remains a key area of interest for the travel industry and will be an essential element of the global road to recovery which is now thankfully in sight.

APAC’s HNW population, known already to be prolific travellers, contribute a huge $363bn to the luxury travel universe and despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, their wealth-growth trend has only paused, rather than ceased altogether. With the financial resource, desire and inherent ability to pivot during incredible disruption, APAC travellers should be seen as pioneers of the new luxury travel landscape, providing the much needed economic injection the industry has been waiting for.

Download the full report here:

Hyatt Luxury Insights Session

Hyatt Luxury Insights Session

Recently, ILTM’s Portfolio Director, Alison Gilmore was invited to a panel talk hosted by Hyatt to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the luxury travel landscape. Making up the panel was Matthew Upchurch, Chairman, and CEO of Virtuoso, Jack Horne, the Global Head of Sales and Revenue for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, and the host, Tristan Dowell, the Global Vice President of Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Together, these key names in luxury discussed the impact of COVID-19 on luxury, the trends that have surfaced in its wake, the importance of wellbeing in these tumultuous times, and the likely shape of recovery. For all that and more, watch the conversation right here:

Millennials, COVID, and the Future of Travel

Millennials, COVID, and the Future of Travel

It’s not a total surprise that millennials are being eyed by the travel community with renewed interest right now. With their idiosyncratic break from traditional values, the millennial demographic has always foretold the future of travel. In fact, their desire to find new ways to see the world is so big, in a 2019 Deloitte study, 57% reported that seeing or travelling the world was their number one ambition, even overtaking high earning, owning a home, and having children.

A Giant Generation

If millennials were but a small drop in the ocean, then their power to influence commercial markets and industries would be less interesting. However, consider the fact that it is, in fact, the largest generation in the world, and our ears start to prick up…

“The millennials’ generation are, in size, larger than any other adult cohort. For example, worldwide, there are a quarter more millennials than in the preceding generation” MSCI

Collectively then, millennials are a significant force within commercial markets by their sheer numbers and combined with their emphasis on travelling and experiences, they are a demographic that the luxury travel industry would be wise now more than ever, to take note of.

Millennials And Money

Whilst the ‘affluent millennial’ is a growing market, it is more common for millennials to be conflated with their younger Gen Z counterparts, with the assumption being that their financial power is limited. Not so. In reality, many millennials are now in their thirties and have an education level far beyond that of the boomer demographic, which as a result, has opened the doors to well-paid employment. Couple this with their new attitudes towards tradition, either buying homes or having families, and we’re left with a generation who have a strong desire for meaningful travel experiences and more disposable income in which to do so.

It’s also worth noting that while HNW individuals and millennials are not mutually exclusive, the average age of most HNW individuals is 58 and so are considerably older than the oldest millennial making this a less significant sub-demographic. (See Wealth-X’s 2019 High Net Worth Handbook).

Despite the various socioeconomic issues tripping up all age groups right now, millennials included, the spend and value they are placing on travel are impossible to ignore and already shaping how travel brands ready themselves for 2021.

Bold In The Face Of Uncertainty

With the pandemic still refusing to submit, perhaps the key factor for travel marketers is that the millennial generation is more likely than other age brackets to consider returning to travelling again in spite of the risk:

“Millennials consistently answered that they will be more willing to travel sooner than Gen X and Boomers, and are less risk-averse.”  Fuel Travel

Of course, it’s perhaps unsurprising that millennials have been unfazed about travel. They do not have the same health concerns as older generations do. The oldest millennial is just under 40 years old and therefore travelling is still an unwavering priority for this vast generation who seem to live by the rule of ‘if not now, when?’. Added to that, it can be said that the millennial generation has already faced so much uncertainty in its lifetime that the pandemic, to them, is simply yet another unknown.

Much of this generation entered the workforce during the financial crisis of 2008, saddled with academic debt. University, the head-straight-to-go card of the generation before, instead became an expensive gamble in an educationally saturated and disrupted job market. And of course, while jobs became elusive and salaries stagnated, the property market inflated like never before.

Adding another layer of uncertainty came the horrors of 9/11 and a new landscape of fear that drove home the message that nothing and no one was untouchable. And through it all, young millennials were attempting to build a life. Little surprise then that in the wake of yet another disaster now that they’re keeping their goals firmly in mind.

“In order to make it in this unpredictable world, the millennial generation has had to learn to adapt.” inRiver

Sometimes named the anxious generation, millennials are living for the pursuit of meaning in what has been a tumultuous period in history and it’s no wonder that they, along with most who travel, find much of their meaning in exploring new terrains and tides.

Millennial-Made Travel and the New World

“millennials will likely offer the industry a lifeline during the recovery” Deloitte

As the travel industry has understood for a while now, millennials harbour a complicated mix of desires in their travel plans. Their travels often need to be sharable on social media, affordable, authentic, sustainable and rife with experiences all of which research has pointed to time and time again:

  • “78% of Millennials likely to choose sustainable travel options when planning and booking their travel” Booking.Com
  • “millennials want to seize the moment…millennials are simply enjoying experiences over things, access over ownership.” Forbes
  • “37% say the ability to post beautiful images and videos when they are on holiday influences where they travel to” The Telegraph
  • “Around 86 percent of millennials chose experiencing a new culture over partying (44 percent) and shopping (28 percent” The Wandering RV
  • “many Millennials tend to prefer to save on accommodation costs in order to spend more on unique experiences”  Eran Ketter

The Good News

The good news is that reaching out to the millennial generation isn’t an exclusive task that requires a total revamp of your brand. Many of the things a millennial wants are by and large what we all want and added to that, many millennials are already engaging with luxury travel in ways unexpected of them. For example, those tasked with creating travel itineraries should note that a recent study by The Advantage Travel Partnership discovered that: “44% of Millennials would book with a travel agent in the future”, which again, is a break from what has traditionally been expected of millennials whom we were all told would only book online via their phones.

However, the millennial influence on luxury travel has much more longevity than that.

The core reason millennials are so important in helping the luxury travel industry recover is not only down to their unwavering loyalty to living in the moment, nor for their size or receptiveness to millennial-focused projects, but because the future is millennial.

What was once characterised as a demographic is increasingly being defined as a mindset, and it already seems that in many ways other generations are getting on board with this millennial perspective.

Gen Z perhaps mirror them most closely, especially when it comes to touting travel as their main priority but it is not simply a case of millennials leading the way and influencing the younger generation, but that collectively both demographics also influence older generations, setting the bar for what the ever-elusive and endlessly-referenced ‘new normal’ post-covid will be:

“With or without a crisis, these generational cohorts are of special interest, given their increasing spending power in the coming years and their ability to influence older generations.” Boston Consulting Group

Luxury travel in 2021 will be undoubtedly different and the industry has already shown incredible adaptability in how it has pivoted to meet the new needs of the market. Combined with the millennial mindset that increasingly transcends generations, it seems that we have every right to be hopeful.

Maldives to Launch Loyalty Program for Travellers

Maldives to Launch Loyalty Program for Travellers

This recent article from Luxury Travel Advisor details the latest initiative by the Maldives Minister of Tourism, Hon. Dr. Abdulla Mausoom to encourage travellers to the Maldives:

“Maldives Border Miles” is a three-tiered loyalty program for tourists. Those who enroll in this program will earn points based on the number of visits and duration of stay. Additional points will be awarded for visits to celebrate special occasions. There are three categories in this program; Aida (bronze tier), Anantara (silver tier) and Abaarana (gold tier). Each tier will be defined by a set variety of rewards, services or benefits, which increase in value as members progress"

Check out the full article here

ILTM's Head of Sales, Steve O'Loughlin, had this to say on the new initiative:

Global Heatmap: How COVID-19 Will Shape 2021

Global Heatmap: How COVID-19 Will Shape 2021

This week’s Global Heatmap looks at how COVID-19 will continue to shape HNW individuals travel intentions for the year ahead, and what this means for the luxury travel industry.

A Little Bit About Altiant and the Global Heatmap

ILTM’s Global Heatmap is a new monthly series created by ILTM’s resident consumer analyst, Meryam Schneider of Altiant. Altiant is a fieldwork specialist that empowers insight experts and marketers working within the luxury goods and wealth management industries to gain a deeper understanding of their audience. Each month, Meryam will be drawing insights from a unique HNW sample-set collected through Altiant’s highly-selective proprietary panel, LuxuryOpinions®. In this piece, Meryam will be looking at new data from Q3 2020 taken from Altiant’s quarterly Global Luxury & Asset Management Monitor (GLAM).

A Heavily Impacted Industry

As expected, COVID-19 has led to a noticeable fall in the share of wealthy respondents saying that they had travelled within the past 12 months. From an average of around 86% in 2018 and 2019, this share dropped to 80% in Q2 2020, where it stayed for the past quarter. This figure is likely to drop a little further in the next quarter, and potentially also into early 2021. While some travellers used the relaxing of lockdown rules to make some trips over summer, others are remaining cautious, and are likely to continue doing so in the coming months:

“My family will be renting a yacht for an extended family vacation late summer, so we can limit exposure. But other than that, we won’t be travelling a lot like past summers.” [US, Over-40]

Some Signs of Travel Confidence Returning

COVID-19 has also led to a stark and immediate shift in spending intentions on travel for the year ahead. Pre-2020, the share of wealthy consumers saying they planned to spend more on travel in the year ahead averaged around 45%, with only around 10% saying they planned to cut back. As the virus proliferated in the first half of 2020, the share of global respondents expecting to increase their travel spending fell to 28%, while those planning to cut back jumped to 45%.

Encouragingly, however, there are signs from the Q3 data that optimism might be slowly returning. The share of those cutting back on travel spending fell back to 40%, dropping most among Europeans to just 34%. Meanwhile, 35% of the sample expect to spend more, driven most significantly by Asian respondents (41%). This is a likely reflection of many Asian countries passing through their peak infection periods earlier in the year, and with lockdown restrictions now being more relaxed than in many European countries and American states.

There remains considerable uncertainty as different areas see spikes in COVID-19 cases and are subject to being added to quarantine lists. The prospect of having to self-isolate for two weeks remains a deterrent for many to board a plane. This uncertainty is leading many travellers to holiday domestically, or to a well-connected or short distance of their home. Longer-haul holidays are likely to continue to be hampered until quicker testing, for example at airports, or until a COVID-19 vaccine becomes viable.

“I still want to travel internationally and also go on a cruise. But I may choose a different kind of vacation before those just to be safe.” [US, Over-40]

Green Travelling to Forge Further Ahead

Sustainability is becoming more important for many wealthy consumers. Over the past three quarters, there has been a three percentage point rise in the share of respondents saying that it is ‘very important’ to them that luxury brands commit to sustainable luxury policies. In Q3 2020, 56% stated this, with a further 31% saying it is somewhat important to them. And despite the economic uncertainty following COVID-19, many consumers are still prepared to pay for sustainable luxury. In Q3 2020, 35% of our global sample said they would pay 10% extra for sustainable brands and services, with men the more likely of the two genders to show this willingness (40% vs 30%).

For travel companies, there are opportunities to tap into this green mindset with compelling and credible actions. For hotels, for example, there are many ways of doing this. Some are relatively straightforward and already widely implemented, such as reducing water usage and reusing towels. Others could involve more significant changes such as carbon offsetting, using green fuel to power the venue, or by using food and drink ingredients sourced within close proximity (or on-site).

“I will research carefully if a company acts in a sustainable way and will avoid purchasing services or goods from those that don’t.” [UK respondent, over-40]

An Acceleration of Some Travel Trends

COVID-19 has accelerated certain trends within the travel industry, some of which were already evolving pre-COVID. For example, the concept of flygskam or flight-shaming had been gaining traction prior to the necessary halting of most flights to combat the spread of the virus. In February 2020 – just prior to the global spread – Altiant asked 200 UK and US members of our affluent/HNW panel (100 in each country) about how often they fly. Just over half (51%) of the sample told us that they had not tried to reduce how often I fly and would probably not do so in the future. This figure rose to 63% among the American response (vs 39% in the UK), suggesting that wealthy US travellers were more resistant to cutting back on how often they fly.

However, 30% said that they had not tried to reduce how often they were flying, but would probably try to do so soon (34% UK vs 27% US). For these wealthy travellers, who already appeared to be considering the impact of their flights, COVID-19 could have been a further nudge towards eschewing flights whenever possible. The remaining 19% said that they were already flying less and had adapted their travelling habits, for example using video conferences (27% UK vs 10% US). For these latter two groups, there is a need for travel companies to assuage travel concerns, such as health and impact upon the environment.

The same survey from February 2020 also told us that 25% of our affluent/HNW sample in the UK and US said that they always considered the environment when choosing where to holiday. A further 53% said they sometimes made this consideration. Increasingly, environmental and sustainability factors will evolve from peripheral considerations to fundamentals. The brands which are best positioned, and most credible, in delivering on these factors are particularly well-placed to secure the patronage of wealthy travellers.

How Will This Shape Luxury Travel in the Next Quarters?

Cautious optimism remains a good position for travel operators to adopt in the current climate. There remains a great deal of uncertainty about the duration and virulence of COVID-19, something which will understandably hinder many wealthy individuals’ intentions to travel. Local and shorter-haul destinations are therefore likely to benefit most in the coming quarters. City breaks, particularly those in busy hotspots, may also be shunned as travellers instead seek out more remote locations and privacy, which have become luxuries in themselves.

Rapid testing, for example, having results within 30 minutes, or a vaccine would represent significant progress and provide wealthy travellers with the security and confidence to travel safely again. Nevertheless, the onus remains on travel operators to also play their part, ensuring the highest of standards from a health perspective, but also tapping into considerations such as sustainability and environmentalism.

The sample-set in question is taken from Quarter 3 2020 of Altiant’s GLAM tracker. The sample in Q3 comprised 450+ wealthy consumers from Europe, North America and Asia, with a median household income of $285K.

Leading The Way with Amanda Elder of Kempinski Hotels

Leading The Way with Amanda Elder of Kempinski Hotels

For today’s Leading The Way interview, we speak to Amanda Elder of Kempinski Hotels about her challenges working as Chief Commercial Officer and how sustainability and flexibility are now more important than ever. 

Since becoming Chief Commercial Officer of Kempinski what has been your biggest discovery or challenge?

The biggest challenge and most exciting aspect of the role is certainly managing its complexity. It does not only entail shaping the company’s profile and brand, driving customer relationship management, developing business and sales, internal and external communications, but also deals with digital marketing and technology investment strategies. Leading constant change in response to evolving consumer behaviour with more diverse target markets and segments, you have to be a strategic activist. In addition, I am a member of the Kempinski Management Board and this gives me the opportunity to influence major decisions in paving the way for our company. It’s a very demanding but rewarding role.

What have you come to appreciate this year?

We have the most incredible talent around the globe, both in our business development teams and in the operations teams around the world. Ensuring that we communicate actively and appropriately to all, expressing cultural empathy and understanding has been a key. I have truly appreciated the global mindset that our teams have adopted, helping each other across time zones. With some colleagues in lockdown and others on short work hours, the teams not affected rose to the challenge and lent their talent and time.

Do you think 2020 is the year that will mark a change for our industry and if so, what do you think will change?

I think our industry is forever changing and evolving for the better. This year certainly took a completely different turn, and we have all needed to be agile and quick on our feet to meet the new challenges. I think we all have a completely different attitude and acceptance level to flexibility. Virtual appearances are now as accepted as in-person meetings for our team members while flexibility in terms of booking terms and cancellation policies has also become the norm. If we show flexibility in everything we do for our guests, owners, and staff members, we will all thrive.

Did you or do you have anyone you would consider a mentor? If so, who, and how have they helped you realise your potential?

In the past, I grew from being exposed to many great leaders as informal mentors. Having worked in so many different cultures during my travels in my career has allowed me to draw inspiration from several great people along the way. The team of people reporting directly to me at present, mentor, and guide me every day without even realising it. Their trust and confidence empower me and I believe it is a 360-degree circle which is feeding our positivity. We are inspired by those around us which in turn allows us to emerge as strong leaders in a crisis such as this. Our mentors are all around us, it’s in the books we read, it’s in the conversations we engage in.

What’s your top tip to people working in luxury travel?

Continue to be authentic to who you are, care about your guests and customers, stay in contact, never stop networking, be available – don’t forget where you came from! Educate yourself at every opportunity, what is new, what is emerging, how can you broaden your knowledge of the experiences that are out there!

It’s clear that one of the main aspects of your company ethos is around sustainability, do you feel that the pandemic and subsequent restrictions have affected or changed the demand for this type of travel experience?

I am very sure that our guests care even more about this incredibly important topic than ever before – they want to know that we are truly working towards sustainable solutions and wish to understand how luxury can embrace these solutions. With health, well-being, wellness, self-reflection, privacy, reevaluation of what’s important being key topics during the pandemic, it’s even more important to lead the company towards a sustainable travel experience.

What do you see as the key responsibilities of the luxury travel industry to the communities they operate within?

I see respect, understanding, empathy, job creation, equity, and diversity as being key responsibilities for all of us within or outside the luxury travel industry.

What can and should luxury travel brands be doing to help replenish lost revenue in 2021?

We all need to be extremely innovative, creative, and receptive to ensure we develop and launch new revenue streams in the future. I believe this starts with strong partnerships with like-minded brands. We have to assess our food and beverage offerings to meet the mobile consumer and once again flexibility is the key. By continuing to build trust with our guests we can rebuild occupancies. Constant communication is the key, giving the customers control, empowering them to change their bookings, and being as flexible as possible is the way forward.

Leading The Way With Craig Reid of Auberge Resorts Collection

Leading The Way With Craig Reid of Auberge Resorts Collection

For this week’s Leading The Way interview, we speak to Craig Reid, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Auberge Resorts Collection about how 2020 has changed the travel industry, and the new demand for bespoke road trips.

Do you think 2020 is the year that will mark a change for our industry and if so, what do you think will change?

I believe change is constant but mostly gradual. A year like 2020 will no doubt accelerate the pace of change, and in the leisure segment, we believe that the traveller will shift to more meaningful, deliberate travel, with travellers making considered choices about not only how and where they travel but also why. The journey and experience will be just as important as the destination. People are also becoming more responsible and conscientious travellers they want to feel a greater connection to the places they visit by engaging with the local community, delving deeper into local experiences, and supporting travel brands like Auberge that prioritize all things local.

What have you come to appreciate this year?

2020 has been a year of growth, learning, and rediscovering life’s simple pleasures. I, like so many, missed the joys of travel during the lockdown. However, I cherish the extra time it gave me to be at home in Dallas with my wife, daughters, and grandchildren. I’ve also found a new love and appreciation for road trips, which have allowed me to see all of the spectacular destinations that lie in our own backyard in the U.S. this summer.

What would you say are the core characteristics needed to be successful in the luxury travel industry now?

Authenticity, transparency, intuitive service, and one-of-a-kind, personalized experiences. My conversations with Auberge guests have been very positive -people want to travel again, but they are only traveling for truly exceptional experiences. After being cooped up for so many months, they want to experience bucket list items they had previously put off, learn new hobbies, and experience the world in a way they hadn’t before.  We just had a guest book a two-month stay at our hotel in Telluride so he and his family can learn how to ski. It’s something they have always wanted to do, but they could never commit to the amount of time required to learn how to become truly exceptional skiers. They will now spend every day for the next two months working in the morning and skiing in the afternoon. 

With wellness, sustainability and conscious travel becoming increasingly mainstream, is it becoming more difficult to set yourself apart from the rest of the market?

In the last two years, social awareness has shifted in guests around the world. Even in destinations, you wouldn’t expect, people want to know what a hotel or hotel group is doing to give back to the local community, how they are being socially conscious and the ways in which they are contributing to the environment in a positive way, even at the top end of the luxury sector. We are seeing guests choose destinations because of what we are doing in this space.  All of our properties continue to be laser-focused on connecting with their local communities, which is something guests increasingly want.

Separately these three topics are merely labels if not adopted with passion and sincerity. We are confident that the discerning traveler and or travel partner will seek out exceptional operators, who are delivering on their promise.

With private travel and domestic travel both heightened during this time, it seems your recent launch of bespoke road trip itineraries are meeting a key consumer demand, have you noticed any particular patterns in what people are looking for?

It’s all about space, convenience, and unique experiences right now. People are looking for unique destinations that are close to home, yet still, feel a world away. Our road trip itineraries have been incredibly successful because our guests want to explore multiple iconic U.S. destinations like the coast of New England or the Rocky Mountains. We’ve also seen a lot of family buyouts. Our resorts tend to be quite boutique in nature, so a hotel like Mayflower Inn & Spa in the Connecticut countryside is the perfect destination for families to take over for the week.

What can and should luxury travel brands be doing to help replenish lost revenue in 2021?

We are seeing great demand for long-term stays and tremendous on-property experiences. Guests want a change of scenery, and they are making our properties their home away from home. In fact, our long term stays are up by over 1000% year on year. We just unveiled Remote with Auberge, which is a program that allows guests to work, learn, and play seamlessly from Auberge properties. It’s the ultimate escape for parents seeking to balance the evolving demands of their careers and their kids’ educations, or for any professional looking for a change of scenery. Whether it’s for a week or for a month, it’s a great opportunity to get out of your day-to-day environment, boost productivity and leave your everyday cares to us, all while enjoying unrivaled space and knowing your kids are getting an edge with best-in-class tutors in naturally rich learning environments.

Image Reference: Mayflower Inn & Spa, Auberge Resorts Collection

Announcing The ILTM World Tour

Announcing The ILTM World Tour

With our industry in disarray and disruption being the calling card of 2020, ILTM Cannes was going to be the well-deserved boost we all needed, but despite our best efforts to make a face-to-face event happen this year and as great as our disappointment is, our responsibility for the safety of our guests is much greater.

The Exciting Part…

Nothing will ever replace meeting face-to-face and we didn’t feel we would do ILTM justice by simply offering an online alternative, which is why instead we’ve decided to do something different.

So, we would like to announce and invite you to the ILTM World Tour.

3 days a week for 3 weeks across 3 global regions:

  • Starting with sunrise in Asia Pacific(17/18/19 November)
  • Moving north to Europe, Middle East and Africa(23/24/25 November)
  • Crossing the Atlantic to the Americas (North & South)(1/2/3 December)

Events will happen in the buyer’s regional time-zones, and what’s more, suppliers can attend one week, two weeks or all three, giving them the opportunity to meet and discover new source markets, plus the flexibility to design an appointment diary that reflects their strategy for 2021.

With the opportunity to reach out to new markets across the world, the ILTM World Tour will be a global celebration of our industry with an emphasis on preparing you for the recovery.

It will allow buyers from these regions to have the opportunity to meet with suppliers from across the world and explore new markets.

We are creating short days, the ability to create your own bespoke schedule, and spreading the meetings out over 3 weeks, allowing you to schedule a large number of meetings around your daily workload.

Here is a snapshot of how our tour will go:

Week 1 APAC: Tuesday 17, Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 November 2020

The first leg of our journey offers a wealth of value and will kick the tour off in style. Developing relationships in this key region of growth is vital to luxury suppliers, and with the ILTM World Tour, it’s now right in reach.

Week 2 EMEA: Monday 23, Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 November 2020

This culturally diverse region offers Europe’s big spenders alongside the wealth of the Middle East and Africa. Ideal for those looking to make waves in a growing and receptive market.

Week 3: AMERICAS Tuesday 01, Wednesday 02 and Thursday 03 December 2020

Containing the world’s largest economy and bursting with opportunities and new discoveries.

One-to-one meetings are the heart of the ILTM World Tour and your journey with us will feature:

  • The ability to build your personalised user profile via your unique login details
  • Private and direct access to your company’s diary to arrange 15-min meetings
  • Visibility of your company’s tailored profile in the online Exhibitor Directory (for suppliers)
  • Unlimited access to exclusive content during the tour and beyond

This tour will be unlike your average online backup plan. Instead, the ILTM World Tour will be about reconnecting in readiness for the future.

We’re sad not to see you in person this year, but in the meantime, we’d love to have you travelling the world with us. Contact the sales team and join us on the ultimate ILTM World Tour.

The Value Of The Aspirational Traveller

The Value Of The Aspirational  Traveller

The smartest brands know you need more than customers – you need advocates. The perfect arrangement for a business is to have paying customers who are happy to tell others how wonderful you are, entreating them to become customers also. It works best because it is authentic – these customers are, after all, not paid “influencers” – and it also works because most consumers have a natural instinct to trust in things that others trust.

Of course, when it comes to luxury, many consumers can be more wary of trusting the crowd. How much experience have these consumers with luxury generally? What level of comfort or luxury are they used to? Do they even have the same taste? It’s why qualified, expert reviews still matter – even if consumers know the reviewer might have received something for free, their experience in that sector matters more.

It’s the same with personal recommendations. With luxury goods and services, people often seek the advice of an acquaintance who has greater experience with the category, rather than one who merely seems to know a lot but couldn’t be considered a typical customer. In luxury travel, for example, the advice of a seasoned luxury nomad can have equal weight as that of an industry expert or even an agent.    

All this produces a temptation to consider luxury as a sort of club, only permitting likeminded ‘members’ who are all experienced customers and who only share their experiences with other ‘members’, but the reality is luxury works on a far more democratic basis.

Of course, luxury does need to appeal to its core clientele of wealthy individuals. For one thing, its price point dictates that. In our collaborative report with ILTM launched last December at Cannes – ‘The Global Luxury Travel Ecosystem’ – we focused on the High Net Worth ($1m+) audience, the top 0.3% of the population, who each spend on average around $30,000 a year on travel. These are the individuals that all luxury travel companies are chasing, and with good reason, given that they contribute well over a quarter of the total global travel spend.

However, with just 22.8m HNWs around the world, they make for a relatively small tribe of advocates. Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci all have more Instagram followers than this HNW population, which also highlights an important factor in other luxury sectors – that ‘aspirational’ customers can often feel that they are as much a part of a brand as its core clientele. And whilst this core clientele should still be considered as being of vital importance to both the brand’s image and its product targeting, this does not mean that the aspirational luxury consumer should be ignored.

In luxury travel, these aspirational customers can often be under appreciated. They tend not to spend as much as higher end HNW customers, staying in standard rooms and often staying for shorter periods. They can also be much more modest when it comes to pursuing activities and extra services. However, there are four huge advantages to attracting these travellers and making them feel welcome.

The first one is an obvious one but easily overlooked – there are simply far more of these aspirational luxury travellers than there are core HNW travellers. Typically, aspirational travellers are those with above average household income but lower levels of capital. They are often younger too, in contrast to HNW individuals who are typically over 60 years of age. In the USA alone – the wealthiest country in the world – 30.4% of households earn over $100,000; this accounts for 38.9m households (2018, IRS SOI data). The HNW population of the USA by comparison -despite being the largest of all countries – is around one fifth of the size at 8.67m individuals (Wealth-X HNW Handbook).  

The first main advantage of this is that there is a greater market from which to acquire customers but also, there is a greater potential for advocacy from this audience who, through personal recommendations and social media channels particularly, inspire others to pursue similar experiences and with the same brands.

The second advantage is that aspirational luxury travellers are often less experienced with luxury travel than core, wealthy consumers. Why is this an advantage? Well, for one thing, it means that many of them are in a virginal discovery mode which often results in them drawing more positives than negatives from their experiences, given that their perspective is different. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are easier to please, but it does mean that certain aspects and rituals of luxury travel that are commonplace for core customers are simply more exciting for those for whom this is rarer or newer.

This also means they are more likely to be enthusiastic about sharing their experiences with others, becoming unpaid evangelists for not only experiences but the brands that provide them. This is connected to the third key advantage of aspirational luxury travellers in that they are – in these situations – highly likely to use social media, particularly visual social media channels like Instagram as well as Facebook, which document their journeys and interaction with luxury experiences.

Again, the greater likelihood of using social media in this scenario is connected to their wish to showcase their luxury travel experiences to those in their online social networks. The desire to share in this way captures a permanent value from the experience in a way that more experienced travellers have less need for. Aspirational travellers can therefore be far greater sirens for these luxury havens in their prolific production of online content.

The final advantage of aspirational travellers is that they are, on average, younger than the wealthy core. There are two elements to this. Firstly, early involvement in luxury experiences tends to produce a longer lasting attachment to it. Aspirational travellers are often pre-family, travelling as couples and friends, and experiencing genuine luxury travel experiences can often begin a tradition which they follow throughout their lives. The second element is that the presence of younger individuals revitalises the experience overall. Not only does it produce an exciting and diverse mix of guests who are at different life stages, with different perspectives on life and travel, it also helps bring a contemporary edge to the image of brands in the luxury travel world, which can at times – with their older core clients – become too traditional. 

There are of course limits to the value of the aspirational traveller and in their great hunger for exceptional, bucket-list luxury experiences, they may not necessarily be the most brand-loyal in the short term. However, the vast majority of those who are HNW become so through their own means*, not by inheriting the wealth from the previous generation. And often, these are the individuals that do so with a deep-seated determination to attain wealth that affords the great luxuries in life, a major one of which is travelling well. And so in attracting and looking after aspirational travellers, you aren’t just bringing attention and advocacy, a youthful vitality and the power of sharing experiences by those who appreciate them the most, you’re also looking after your future core clientele.    

*Data revealed in the Wealth-X High Net Worth Handbook 2019

Leading The Way With Dino Michael of Hilton

Leading The Way With Dino Michael of Hilton

Continuing with ILTM’s Leading The Way series, this week we speak to Dino Michael, the Senior Vice President and Global Category Head of Luxury Brands for the Hilton Portfolio. Today the topics include how to succeed in the travel industry and how brands might recover revenue for 2021.

Do you think 2020 is the year that will mark a change for our industry and if so, what do you think will change?

Guest expectations about travel are changing, and we need to continue to innovate to find unique solutions for today’s unprecedented challenges. 2020 is all about flexibility and adaptability in every sense. While we are all striving to strike the right balance in work and life, I think meetings and events are an area where we have the greatest opportunity to creatively adapt to the current environment. We need to make efforts to create unique and seamless experiences that have hybrid elements of both physical and virtual presence – leading with safe practices to give consumers peace of mind from the onset.

I think we will also see a continued blurring of business and leisure travel as some may be traveling a bit less, or leveraging the ‘flexcation’ trend that has become increasingly popular. In terms of unique solutions in the current environment, one such opportunity is finding alternative uses for our hotel guest rooms and spaces for things like remote work or extended stays. For example, our Conrad Punta de Mita resort, which opens this month, is offering a Work From Paradise package that allows guests to leverage technology to take their work abroad while reconnecting with family in a beautiful setting.

What have you come to appreciate this year?

The appreciation for one’s own country and exploring what is close to home has been a gift for many during this period. I have discovered parts of London that I never knew existed which is surprising given I was born here. Personally, given that my travel schedule pre-COVID kept me away from my family for up to three weeks a month, the extra time spent with them has been wonderful. I have especially enjoyed this stretch with my eldest son who leaves for University soon. Overall, this year has underscored the need to stay connected with family and colleagues, and will not be something I take for granted in the future.   

What would you say are the core characteristics needed to be successful in the luxury travel industry now?

Listening to and understanding consumers is critical to success. While we have always been laser-focused on service, in a post-COVID world, being able to read a guest and provide truly intuitive service will be more paramount than ever. Some will be more comfortable travelling than others, and we need to determine how to best accommodate all types of travellers with great flexibility. Having the ability to adapt quickly to situations that can change in a matter of hours or days will remain key, as will be maintaining a strong ecosystem to support travellers as plans alter. Our customer feedback is critical and we are responding to their needs more quickly than ever – creating innovative programs and making adjustments to our policies to provide customers with maximum flexibility while travel remains restricted in many parts of the world.

With wellness, sustainability and conscious travel becoming increasingly mainstream, is it becoming more difficult to set yourself apart from the rest of the market?

We have always tried to maintain a unique selling proposition in our industry, whether it’s our service ethos, our footprint in the world or our initiatives as an enterprise. One of the great things about our luxury brands is being a part of Hilton and the leading Corporate Responsibility program that defines us. Loyalty isn’t about introducing the latest trend, but more about ensuring you continue to understand the guest on multiple levels. As stewards of the destinations in which we operate, we must remain committed to investing our skills and support to build our communities’ resilience and growth. As part of this commitment, we invest in a wide range of programs, and last year we established the Hilton Effect Foundation, which now serves as our international philanthropic arm. We have also set aggressive goals which commit us to double our social impact investments and cut our environmental footprint in half by 2030. We believe efforts like these help set us apart and generate guest loyalty.

What project or venture are you currently most excited about?

We are fortunate to have an exciting and robust pipeline making it difficult to name just one. Our development shows no signs of slowing down with several key signings across the luxury portfolio where over the next 18 months we will add 15 hotels and resorts, including the aforementioned Conrad Punta Mita, a resort in Mexico, and a new project we are announcing in the East Indian Ocean as part of our LXR collection brand. I suppose if I had to highlight one project, the re-opening of the iconic Waldorf Astoria New York following a full restoration tops the list. It is a privilege to be a part of such a significant piece of New York’s history and so many people have a story from this hotel.

Did you or do you have anyone you would consider a mentor? If so, who and how have they helped you realise your potential?

I’ve been a part of Hilton for over a decade and have been fortunate to work with so many talented individuals who have supported my career throughout, but I take significant inspiration from our executive committee. Despite the size of our organisation, the direct engagement we have with our leaders is unique and the way we have responded to the current crisis, the speed of implementing new initiatives such as Hilton CleanStay and EventReady is amazing. Chris Nassetta needs no introduction and his impact on Hilton has been transformative. And there are two people in particular I would consider mentors – the first is our Chief Brand Officer, Martin Rinck, who always puts the guests at the forefront of any discussion. The second is one of my oldest friends who works in a very different type of organisation – it’s great to have opposing viewpoints, particularly from someone who has no insight into the world of hotels and travel.

What can and should luxury travel brands be doing to help replenish lost revenue in 2021?

Luxury brands should continue to focus on service and personalisation. This will be something many will struggle to deliver on, with reduced headcount and cost overhead pressures, but is critical to maintaining the unique luxury experience for guests. Also key will be leveraging strategic partnerships with complementary industries to look at broadening appeal and customer base, and leveraging multiple activities on-site to encourage locals to enjoy a staycation with wellness, F&B and other experiences. I won’t give away all of our plans, but expect continued creative efforts to maintain safe and special experiences!

Covid-19: A Lesson on Authenticity

Covid-19: A Lesson on Authenticity

The Covid-19 pandemic has completely changed our lives. Take something as mundane as the adjective close: geographically, we’ve been socially distancing and domestically travelling, and metaphorically, we’ve been looking within and discovering ourselves. Transparency and truth have never been so important, and for brands, that means authenticity could accelerate your recovery.

In today’s world, the power of perception reigns. Brands can no longer get away with simply chasing profits and staying neutral. Under the ever-increasing spotlight, supporting your staff, contributing to society, and serving the planet are all up for debate. With Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movements exposing the world’s disparities, consumers are more ‘woke’ than ever. Discussing this new level of awareness on the inaugural episode of PROUD Experiences’ podcast, On the Mic, Black transgender activist, Raquel Willis, explains:

“It feels like in a lot of ways that the rest of the world is catching up to where we’ve been for so long. Honestly, this feeling of discomfort is not new for black people; it really just feels like a lot of white people are catching up to it. In that regard, it’s a promising time; folks are uncovering things that have always existed and are finding new ways and new solutions for tackling them.”

With many brands engaging in woke-washing—trying to cash in on social injustice—consumers are relying on an age-old proverb: actions speak louder than words. Those responsible for brand campaigns are tasked with the tricky business of keeping up with our fast-paced world, where winning strategies can become obsolete plans in weeks. So what questions do brands need to ask themselves? Shannon Knapp, CEO of Leading Hotels of the World, shared her advice during On the Mic’s latest episode:

“We are acutely aware of the brands that are authentic in their support of and engagement with the LGBTQ+ community and those that are pandering. We look beyond the rainbow logo. What are they doing for their employees? What are they doing for their communities? How are they investing in LGBTQ+ charities and causes? This is, quite frankly, what our community values.”

As marketers and advertisers, that’s what we’re all aiming for, right? Strengthening our brand equity. Making sure the opinions, beliefs and feelings surrounding our brand are positive. Those doing it right, such as avoiding negative stereotypes and monolithic constructs, will always come out on top. Joining Raquel for On the Mic’s launch, Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride Festival, echoed the dangers of narrow-mindedness:

“I use the term ‘communities’. I think one of the big myths of being an LGBTQ+ person is that we’re all part of this exclusive membership. For me, there are many different communities within a group of people. I’m really proud of the work I’ve been able to achieve in platforming black queer artists. Or making visibility key for BAME people in our marketing channels. How can you be if you can’t see yourself?”

Being accepted, seen, and understood is no more important than in the hospitality industry, whose backbone is comprised of first-class customer service. Moreover, today’s clientele is more diverse than ever with 31% of Centennials (those born in 1996 and after) identifying as LGBTQ+. If you’re not speaking their language, you’re potentially missing out on a third of future business. As a brand, being authentic is crucial. Simon Mayle, PROUD Experiences’ Event Director, highlights how some companies can struggle to do so:

“The personalised experience level for the LGBTQ+ traveller is not as good as it should be, certainly not at a premium or a luxury level. We spend day in, day out in the luxury travel world talking about micro-personalised experienceshow to really make the traveller or the guest feel like an individualand whilst succeeding on so many levels, it is not filtering down.”

So, how can brands authentically reach and service people from top to bottom? Here are five key takeaways:

  1. Vocal over silent.

People appreciate brands that take a stand and do so transparently; in fact, 94% of consumers would be more loyal to brands that practice transparency.[1]

  1. Actions over words.

Consumers are demanding that brands act differently during the pandemic; one in three have already stopped using a brand that was not acting appropriately in response.[2]

  1. Diverse over similar.

Diverse workforces aren’t just good for brand perception, they also increase your profit margins: ethnically/culturally diverse executive teams outperform their peers by 33%.[3]

  1. Informed over ignorant.

Cultural intelligence shouldn’t only be appreciated, staff should be trained in it: 66% of Black and 53% of Latino Americans say they feel their ethnic identity is portrayed stereotypically.[4]

  1. Seen over hidden.

Never underestimate the power of representation, your marketing needs to be inclusive: 64% of allies are more likely to consider a brand after seeing LGBTQ-inclusive advertising.[5]

For more lessons on authenticity, join PROUD Experiences for their third edition in June 2021, and in the meantime, check out their amazing podcast, On the Mic.

[1] Label Insight Transparency ROI Study

[2] Special edition of Edelman Trust Barometer

[3] PSLA: Diversity & Inclusion Made Simple

[4] Adobe Digital Insights: Diversity in Advertising

[5] Ogilvy Pride Survey (LGBTQ Inclusive)

Travel Tracker: Switzerland

Travel Tracker: Switzerland

Switzerland opening up again: to enthusiastic domestic tourists, but a severe lack of foreign guests.

After the horror of lockdown, brought about due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are still in a transitional phase in Switzerland. Easing of the measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus has now become possible, and the tourism industry has started up again. Domestic tourists are once again traveling throughout the country, and a few tourists from across Europe are already coming back, slowly but surely. The majority of overseas travel though is still not possible. Most of the typical summer events in Switzerland have had to be cancelled or at least took place with a particularly limited scope and with venues looking very different from usual. Additionally, business and congress tourism are still very much on hold.

To keep its finger on the pulse of Switzerland’s tourism providers, Switzerland Tourism recently asked destination marketing organisations and key mountain railways and tourist attractions across the country about their ongoing business over the summer.

Mountain destinations throughout Switzerland have reported an onslaught of Swiss guests from June to August. On average, the number of hotel overnight stays has risen by a respectable 37%, a result that was heavily influenced by the mountain resorts that have traditionally been popular among locals. This equates to 1 million overnight stays more than in 2019. Foreign demand for summer holidays in the Swiss mountains is still rather limited, however. Despite the first few tourists visiting Switzerland again from neighbouring countries and the Benelux countries, local tourism providers are expecting a decline in foreign demand of at least 44% compared with last year, equating to 1.3 million fewer hotel overnight stays by foreign guests.

Even the increase in the number of Swiss guests was unable to compensate for this huge drop in demand from abroad. The overall figures for the summer holiday season, even in the mountains, are therefore expected to have fallen by more than 5% year on year with respect to hotel overnight stays.

Swiss Holidaymakers Enthusiastic About Mountain Holidays “At Home”

The traditional Alpine destinations in particular are more popular than ever among Swiss guests, both as day trips and for overnight stays. This boom is also attracting many local first-time visitors to the mountains, who until now had never spent their summer holidays in the Swiss mountains. Fortunately, when they do stay overnight, many of these Swiss tourists are doing so for much longer and can afford to spend more than they did in the past.

As initial indicators have already shown, stays and visits in another language region continue to be highly sought after, with Swiss holidaymakers from the French-speaking part of Switzerland discovering parts of German-speaking Switzerland and vice-versa. Tourism providers in the German-speaking part, for example, are reporting that the French versions of their brochures have been quickly selling out – they would never have foreseen such a high presence of their French-speaking compatriots as tourists in their region.

On the other side of the “Röstigraben”, a term literally meaning “rösti ditch” and used to refer to the linguistic boundary between the French and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, the French-speaking regions too are happy to be receiving more visitors from the German-speaking area than ever before.

A Different Situation in the Cities

In the cities, however, the picture is sadly quite different. Tourists from overseas, with their preference for city breaks, are yet to return. And business and congress tourism are also still largely absent. Events are still being cancelled as a result of the pandemic, which has had a profound negative impact on Switzerland’s cities. Among foreign visitors alone, there have been over 2.5 million fewer hotel overnight stays over the summer holiday months this year – a decline of 63%. That being said, some of the medium-sized cities definitely saw more Swiss guests this summer. Here, too, they often came from other language regions and had a higher daily budget than last year.

Even the major mountain railways and top attractions, which are usually popular with tourists from overseas, are still suffering greatly from the absence of their foreign guests.

An Uncertain Future

According to the latest figures, the number of overnight stays in hotels in cities and on the mountains from June to August is down by a total of 3.2 million, meaning a year-on-year decline of 27%.

With regard to the outlook for the coming autumn, tourism organisations and providers throughout Switzerland are very concerned as well as cautious: due to the significant uncertainty as a result of the pandemic, it is difficult, perhaps even impossible, for destinations and service providers to predict how things will go from here. But the current booking situation is very weak, and fears of further significant declines widespread.

Image Reference: Jetboat Interlaken AG 

Global Heatmap: The Flight To Quality

Global Heatmap: The Flight To Quality

This week’s Global Heatmap looks at how COVID-19 has influenced HNW travellers’ budgets and what this means for the luxury travel industry.

A Little Bit About Altiant and the Global Heatmap

ILTM’s Global Heatmap is a new monthly series created by ILTM’s new resident consumer analyst, Meryam Schneider of Altiant. For those who don’t know, Altiant is a fieldwork specialist that empowers insight experts and marketers working within the luxury goods and wealth management industries to gain a deeper understanding of their audience. Each month, Meryam will be drawing insights from a unique HNW sample-set collected through Altiant’s highly-selective proprietary panel, LuxuryOpinions®.

A Change in Values

One of the most revealing aspects of the pandemic so far is how it has shaped HNW individual mindsets around how and where they place budget within the luxury travel market. For the first time in perhaps a long time, it seems that many HNW luxury travellers are questioning their consumption and in some cases moving towards new concepts and options to safeguard both their health and finances. Out of the 580+ sample-set* we looked at it was discovered that the French, American and British HNW individuals were most transformed in this regard, with a near 40% questioning their luxury goods consumption as a result of COVID-19. Interestingly, although there was still a move towards reevaluating budget with Chinese HNW individuals it was at a much lower percentage of 16%.

But how does this translate to specific behaviours within luxury travel? One positive is that once travel is back up and running it may benefit from a reapportioning of luxury budgets away from luxury goods and towards the experiences they feel they have been missing out on:

“Interestingly, having been confined to my home I have found different things to be more important. Luxury goods are not a necessity but I feel travel and experiences are necessities. I want to get back on the road/plane – safe, clean flights and hotels will be more important than carrying a luxury item.”

So where will that spend be headed? Well, it seems to position itself most prominently in three specific areas.

A Move Towards Quality Travel Seclusion

With these shifting perceptions of risk, be it financial or health, comes an increased demand for quality and, often by default, privacy. For example, HNW individuals displayed an increasing intention to place budget with more private options than had been seen prior to the pandemic. For example, 20% were looking to use more private chauffeurs in the future, as well as 17% looking to put budget with private yachts, helicopters or jets:

“More luxury travel and more private travel” Chinese respondent, 18-39 years 

“I will focus on value, quality” UK respondent, 18-39 years 

When it comes to hotels and resorts the overall findings revealed that 38% of HNW travellers plan on spending the same amount as they did pre-COVID-19 on hotels and resorts, whilst 25% will spend more than they did before the outbreak. Furthermore, when questioned on what would make travellers feel safer at a hotel or resort, 43% reported that minimum occupancy would be the crux to securing their comfort.

Again, this suggests that budgets currently are moving towards, if not outright privacy, then as secluded in nature as possible.

Fright or Flight

Flying has, of course, become a key concern for all in the travel industry during this time and it’s no surprise that in this climate HNW individuals too have, in the short term, reconsidered their modes of transport.
Caught between anxiety about health as well as quarantine regulations and financial loss, flying, be it domestic or international has taken one of the hardest hits within the sector and HNW individuals are displaying crucial changes in their intended spend within this area.

As you would expect, private forms of travel are significantly on the rise and this is coupled with a drop in purchase intentions of flying with long-haul flights suffering from this deficit the most. Starkly, 45% of HNW individuals globally reported that they will book fewer long-haul flights for leisure than they did before the crisis, and this was at 38% for short-haul leisure flights. For a third of HNW individuals, however, their budget will remain the same, 39% for short leisure flights and 32% for short business flights.

Overall, however, 36% of HNW individuals reported that they were ‘very likely’ to consider putting spend towards international travel again should restrictions allow. It should be noted that among all the many open comments analysed, the fear of being blocked abroad due to cancellations of flights was often raised together with the inconvenience attached to it. The affluent and HNW individuals will, however, rebound faster than others with a readjustment of budget and a strong appetite to book travel in the right environment. This shift will reinforce the strong need for reassuring messages from agents and brands, using technology and marketing to glamorise these protocols, much like we’ve seen the fashion industry do with couture-branded masks.

A Harder Lean Towards Green

As we touched on in our first article: ‘Green Goes Mainstream’ the tendency towards the sustainable and local has noticeably increased since the start of the crisis. What’s particularly of note however is that this is something that has grown beyond its typical millennial audience and extended to the 40+, primarily female demographic. Most notable in the data is that globally, 35% of people will put more stress on sustainable purchases and 35% on locally sourced goods.

This newfound desire for the sustainable and local is not simply one born of appreciation, but once again one of budget safeguarding:

“I will be much more conscious spending in an effort to prepare for the unknown financially. I have different priorities now” French respondent, 18-39 years

“Much more likely to stay local” UK respondent, 40+

This growing trend for local luxury that’s sustainable is a remarkable shift compared to what dominated and defined luxury only months ago. Now, it is the safety-focused sustainable travel that is truly defining the market.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Luxury Travel?

There’s no denying the next few years are going to be interesting for marketers and travel brands of all types. But with the right reassurances in place combined with a short-term redistribution of budgets to safety-focused options, the future of luxury travel is patently one of change, not expiration. This new road to quality, with a focus on the sustainable and intimate, plays well into the sensibilities of many modern luxury brands, but will clearly be more difficult for others. The heartening fact amongst all the data is that no matter where in the world our HNW audience live, the trend towards experiences over objects has been accelerated.

* The sample-set in question comprised of 580+ wealthy consumers from the UK, US, France and China, all of which had a median household income of $404K and investible assets of $911K.

The Road to Cannes

The Road to Cannes

In years to come, when we look back at 2020, we will no doubt describe it as a turning point for the luxury travel industry. The ebb and flow of change that was lapping at our industry’s shore has been replaced with something more persistent, and with every passing day, the desire to travel wrestles with the challenges that prevent us from doing so.

Here at ILTM, we’re as much in a state of limbo as anyone else and with our much-loved Cannes event on the horizon and the luxury travel landscape in flux, it seems that the need for transparency and honesty is more important than ever before. Because, as much as 2020 will undoubtedly be remembered as a turning point, it will also be remembered as the year our community showed up with remarkable resilience, connection and friendship. It is these qualities that drive what we do here at ILTM and now with the industry in need of a boost, we want to be there to help carry the load.

To that aim, ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore visited Cannes recently to meet our partners in the region and find out how they are, 5 months on from the initial break of the pandemic:

There’s no doubt then that we face some challenges ahead. With countries and regions diving in and out of lockdown and quarantine rules becoming increasingly normal, the road back to travelling in a usual fashion may be a long one. However, though the fluctuations continue, so too does our resilience and positivity.

France’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness recently announced that, as of September 1st, events and trade shows will be able to resume. Though likely smaller and with heightened safety features in place, France is already making big steps towards recouping what the travel industry has lost thus far.

Closer to home, ILTM has also seen plenty of signs that the travel industry is picking up; with just under 500 registered qualified travel advisors already signed up and ready to join us in Cannes. All this along with data pointing towards a steady climb in traveller confidence is undoubtedly a cause for celebration and we can only hope it’s an upward trajectory that continues.

And this is what ILTM Cannes 2020 is; an event to kick-start the rebuilding of our industry. For those able to join us, we want to recognise the key role that you’re playing in this rebuild, helping to reconnect travellers with the experiences they crave and forging ever stronger bonds in the quest to keep them safe.

How we do this is the next big mountain. Of course, we can’t make predictions about tomorrow. We cannot offer unflinching absolutes in a world that changes daily, but we can recognize that the travel industry not only wants to travel, it needs to. As such, ILTM is committed to providing the industry with the reset it needs this December.

But what would a reset look like? The industry we love has been written and reckoned about for months, with a great many saying it will never be the same again. And they’re right. But change isn’t a synonym for standstill and the changes we predict are far from terrible. They are the heart of what travel has always – and should always – be about. The authentic, intimate and meaningful moments we find when we open our hearts and concentrate on the people and places we love.

At ILTM, we have been riding the waves of many trends and changes but never before have we been so weighed with responsibility and warmth to our industry; with such pride for our community who have shown such grace and robustness in what has been world-turning times.

Whether we’re lucky enough to see you at Cannes this year or whether the circumstances prohibit you, we want everyone to know that you’ll always be among friends with ILTM. As a brand, we’re made up of individuals who are in love with this industry and we want nothing more than to work with it every step of the way to build its future.

Friends, there’s no denying it’s been hard, but we stand now looking out toward Cannes and what comes after with hope and a whole lot of determination. We hope you can join us.

The ILTM Team.

For regular updates please see:

Why Travel Advisors Are Everyone’s Best Friend Right Now

Why Travel Advisors Are Everyone’s Best Friend Right Now

While it’s clear that the pandemic hasn’t put an end to the desire to travel, how clients book and the priorities they now hold have undoubtedly shifted. This modified attitude towards travel has manifested in a variety of ways, not least of all in creating a new dimension of discourse between brands, advisors and their clients. 

The urge to travel, coupled with the new concerns around safety has begun to redefine the industry and refocus these relationships towards authenticity and loyalty. The role of the advisor has become ever more elevated and is fundamental to the way people buy and sell travel. Working closer than ever with their clients, advisors are the translators of this new language, increasing the need for constant communication between travel advisors and their partnered travel brands.

When ILTM reached out to various travel advisors about this topic, it was evident that their role within the luxury travel industry had already adapted and that the expectations from both clients and brands had shifted significantly in the wake of the pandemic.

Travel Advisors Build Essential Confidence About Safety

Unsurprisingly, one of the clearest changes was the new language of safety. While many HNW individuals are clearly ready to travel (64% of agents we spoke to have received bookings since the start of the COVID-19 crisis as outlined in our recent Buyer Survey) it is not without a need for reassurance:

“There seems to be a tendency towards familiar resorts and destinations with clients wanting to stay within their ‘comfort zone’. Clients generally seem confident that the high-end resorts and destinations will be complying to new health and safety regulations so this has not been an issue for new enquiries” – Melissa Roston of Colletts Travel

The need for staying within comfort zones as well as leaning towards the familiar is, of course, all symptomatic of a need for reassurance and was a clear trend within our Buyer Survey. For example, 39% of those clients willing to travel were taking domestic flights only. This concern with safety came up again and again in the various conversations we had with advisors:

“People want to travel, they want a holiday, but they want to do it in a safe and comfortable way that makes them feel secure.”– Andrew Steinberg of Ovation Travel

“Since the beginning of May, our high net worth customers have been increasingly travelling regionally, making their choices by brand and location – and not price.” – James Liao of HelmsBriscoe

This heightened need for safety is a new angle for travel advisors but as has always been the case, it’s their business to be the authority on all things that interest and concern their clients. Now, in an era of high anxiety, luxury travellers are leaning on travel advisors heavily as voices of authority when it comes to travelling safely:

“It is a new language for all of us to learn and definitely a new and definite addition for the trip planning process with clients. While it may seem overwhelming, Advisors will get used to this. What we are doing at TTI is making ‘Safeguarding the Traveller Journey’ a topic at our weekly town hall meetings.” – Lucy Vieira of TTI Travel

Moreover, brands are looking to advisors to help push their new protocols and assist in rebuilding customer confidence, amplifying their messages about reopening and safety. The media too, recognising the key role advisors play, are also sourcing their stories off the back of conversations with agents, considering them direct sources for how both brands and their clients feel about the current situation.

Travel Advisors Offer a Genuine Personal Touch

While agents have always been a key source of information and well utilised when it comes to creating travel itinerates for many, there are, of course, alternative options available to travellers like online booking systems. Booking online and through various sites without any human interaction needed has continuously been touted as convenient and hassle-free, but it becomes clear, especially in times like these, that nothing can beat the reassurance of an authentic interaction with an adviser. It’s also clear that in times of crisis, trust becomes a core commodity that clients look for, returning to or maintaining those connections they trust in rather than looking elsewhere:

“Our clients have been amazing and in fact, a positive from this whole situation is a growing realisation that booking through a reputable agent is much more reassuring than an online booking engine – the personal connection really does matter. There is a lot of positive social media out there supporting travel agents and planners too.”- Debbie Collins of Spencer Travel

“Our clients want to travel and our aim is to inspire them with the confidence they need to explore the world with us again when borders safely open. We are constantly updating them about the incredible efforts of our partners to safeguard their future journeys in luxury.” – Lucy Vieira of TTI Travel

Put simply, computers can’t ease our fears the way a person can and nor can they generate trust the way a travel advisor can. Right now, travel seems rife with questions from uncertain clients and anxious brands trying to navigate this new terrain. Supporting both are advisors and the power of their role in this way has never been so starkly illustrated as during this pandemic.

Travel Advisors Are the Prime Source of Travel Trends

With years of forging long-lasting relationships with HNW clients under their belts, travel agents are often the direct source of insight for the media wanting to report on the changing trends of the luxury travel market. By keeping in constant contact with their HNW travellers throughout the pandemic, agents are perfectly placed to provide the media with up-to-the-minute data on what clients are concerned about or looking for next.

Travel Advisors Appreciate the Importance of Family

As we all know only too well, this period of restriction has separated families, sometimes for months, and so when restrictions began to ease slightly it’s little wonder that family travel was top of the agenda. In fact, we discovered from our Buyer Survey that 55% of trips booked were family holidays, many of which were doubtlessly reuniting many people after unprecedented periods of isolation. With their personalised knowledge and connections, travel advisors are primed to meet these needs and make these important family holidays memorable for all the right reasons:

“At the end of May we started receiving a few requests like a honeymoon to Dubai and Seychelles, New Year’s trips to ski in Vail, a family trip to India for Easter week 2021, etc. I think this is very positive, the clients are just waiting for the COVID crisis to be controlled so they can start planning their trips.” – Maria Elena Gamboa Vazquez of DG Luxury Essential

With their ears to the ground throughout this crisis and a wealth of knowledge at their disposal, travel advisors can provide clients with family holidays that make up for the long periods of separation.

Travel Advisors Provide the Support Hoteliers Need Right Now

With the pandemic still very much at the forefront, it’s no surprise that brands are suffering. Whether it’s travel restrictions to general uncertainty, being able to continue in the current climate is proving a challenge. Many hotels and experiences are finally reopening all over the world, but are struggling against a backdrop of indecision that stems not only from safety concerns but logistics too:

“My luxury travellers are emailing me constantly in regards to what is open and what is safe – they are keen to go where and when they can as soon as possible. Also, I think my position as a travel consultant will be that more pertinent as luxury travel re-builds, trusting in our relationships with our travel colleagues and hoteliers for suppliers” – Brittney Magner of Royal Travel & Tours

“At this stage communication is key. We have to be informed about our suppliers and the innumerous changes that they are going through. New protocols and opening dates also need to be aligned with not only the Country protocols, but with that of the Government, City, and finally County protocols!” – Felipe Soubhia of PHD Travel

The understandable uncertainty about what is open, where it’s open and what the protocols are, have all become very much part of the new language of luxury advisors. Not only is this good news for travellers seeking to venture back to new locations, but also for hoteliers who are desperate to get their businesses back up and running. Travel agents everywhere recognise that the key elements stopping people from travelling currently are all in some way linked back to uncertainty and have become essential when bridging this communication gap between brands and HNW travellers.

Travel Advisors Have Become Experts Of Domestic Travel

Prior to the pandemic, many travel agents were masters of pushing locations beyond their own shores, yet since the crisis began many have had to switch tactics with incredible speed. With the desire to travel wrestling with the anxiety of straying too far from home, domestic travel was bound to increase as was touched upon in a recent article by Anthony Goldman:

“The irony is that our travel advisors need to become quick experts in selling domestic and regional travel. Fast. We are great sellers of Europe, Asia and the Americas. We have never been super-sellers of our own region. We are better at selling Sicily than Sydney. Better at selling Madrid than Melbourne.” – Anthony Goldman of the Goldman Group

This quick turnaround has gone a long way towards keeping the industry afloat during the crisis and will perhaps see continued demand for this type of travel post-COVID-19.

Travel Advisors Can Provide Clients With The Flexibility They Now Need

The reality at the heart of travel currently is that many people are ready to travel again but they are at a loss as to where to begin. With so much change in such a short time, clients are wrestling with not only uncertainties about how safe it is to travel but where exactly they can go and how to get there. This level of flexibility is something an online system can’t manage and even brands themselves can only offer so much advice, but for an agent, this is their bread and butter:

“We’ve also noted how flexible our clients are: they just want to get away but don’t know how, where to go, what the local regulations are, etc. and come to me with extremely open-ended requests…The process from initial inquiry to booking is now much lengthier but it’s great to see bookings bouncing back.” – Elyssa Roberts of Marchay

“The flexibility of the flights makes it easier to know that they have two years to use the tickets if things do not improve. Other clients include those looking for a multi-generational trip to Cancun (very flexible on dates) and also 40 people travelling to Puerto Vallarta in September – flexibility is the name of the game in luxury travel at the moment.” – George Carrancho of First in Service

This innate ability to work with clients who have limited perimeters has always given advisors an edge over other travel organisational systems, and during a time when clients can be nothing but flexible it is a trait that is making them invaluable to clients. Planning is what agents do best and even when options and choices can change day-to-day, travel advisors are armed with a knowledge-base that allows them to adapt and overcome for the benefit of both brands and clients.

Travel Advisors Have Been Preparing for the Future

Despite the sudden halt to travel earlier in the year and the slow return now, travel advisors have continued to network and increase their connections. This activity during the lull of the industry allows for a quicker recovery and stronger businesses once travellers are fully committed to taking trips once more:

“I have continued to build my network of connections with luxury suppliers and properties as it is these relationships that are so important to my business and hence why ILTM is so important to me. I will be back strong in 2021.” – Mary Krueger of Travel Leaders

This continued networking has all been working towards the future, one that advisors know better than anyone will include a return to travel and with plans put in place now, the recovery will be all the smoother for it. In fact, when we asked travel advisors about their estimations on the recovery time of the travel industry as part of our research over 50% expected a full recovery within a year.

Beyond simple future-proofing of businesses, however, is the realisation that this is a key time to discover new brands and new experiences for clients in what will be the changed landscape of luxury travel. This ever-watchful eye on the industry as a whole has always been what has made travel advisors so key to all involved – not just clients looking for new experiences – but brands eager to keep ahead of the changing needs and wants of their customers too.

The Future Is Personal

“A disproportionate number of Brownell’s new travel inquiries have come from consumers who have never used a travel advisor before. Travellers are waking up to the fact that they need a resource and an advocate to reach out to when, not if, requirements change.”- Haisley Smith of Brownell Travel

It’s never been so clear that travel advisors are as much the glue as they are the guides of the travel industry. Not only are they the experts on their destinations and brands, but they are a key link in the chain of communication between clients, the media and brands too. Tasked with generating confidence and rebuilding the ways and means of travelling, it’s no doubt at the moment that all parties involved are deeply thankful for the travel advisors they work with.

With that in mind, we at ILTM are working hard to put everything in place for a safe return to Cannes in 2020 to celebrate our resilient industry 2020.

European Luxury Travellers Gaining Confidence

European Luxury Travellers Gaining Confidence

Just five months on from the start of the European lockdowns, ILTM has been able to reveal some stark insights that show a remarkable return of confidence. Out of the many findings that our Global Buyer Survey gave us, one clear trend discovered was that despite many European destinations being among the hardest hit locations – with Italy, in particular, becoming the media’s morbid face of the crisis for many weeks- it’s in fact European buyers that have seen some of the biggest increments of recovery since the pandemic began.

Notably, 64% of buyers from Europe have reported that they have received bookings since March. Even more astonishing is how soon these bookings are set to take place, with European buyers stating that half of their bookings are set to happen within 3 months. Furthermore, across the entire study, it was European buyers that had the highest number of regional flights booked at 37%.

Of those European buyers with bookings, the top 5 destinations booked were Greece, Spain, France, Italy and the Maldives and the most popular trip category was beach escapes at 73%. Not only are travellers returning to travelling quicker than anticipated, but also back to core destinations that were not long ago being deemed ‘hot spots’ of the pandemic. This is particularly welcome news for the many European destinations that rely heavily on tourism who will be hoping for a quick uptick in international visitors as the next step on the road to rebuilding their business.

Furthermore, when European buyers were asked to pinpoint when they expected the luxury travel industry to recover, 51% estimated it would only take a year, with 37% estimating up to two years.

The possible reasons for the growing sense of recovery are interesting. The ability to travel regionally across European destinations is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors. Unsurprisingly, another key factor affecting people’s travel plans are safety concerns, with 64% of all buyers who are yet to take a booking citing this as the core obstacle for clients travelling. However, the more practical issue of quarantine rules was also highlighted and 68% of European buyers without bookings noted it as the key reason clients were reluctant to book.

This emphasis on the obstacles faced by European clients being mainly practical in nature is promising in two ways. Firstly, it shows that a significant number of people wish to travel despite the crisis and that travel will rebound strongly once restrictions are lifted. Put simply, the pandemic has not changed what we’ve heard said numerous times: people will always want to travel. Secondly, practical barriers are much easier to address than shifts in behavioural attitudes and fears.

Significantly, as of the 10th July 2020, Europe and the UK announced the launch of numerous air bridges to key locations – many of which without the need for a 14-day quarantine upon returning. While not all the locations on this worldwide list of 73 are practising reciprocal agreements, it has allowed the floodgates for much-needed tourism to open and to date, there seems to be little reluctance to take this new opportunity.

Considering the swift return to regional travel by a significant number of HNW European travellers – based upon our buyer research, coupled with the increasing number of restrictions on travel being lifted – it’s entirely feasible that this trend will grow. Moreover, this is happening beyond just European travellers, with many other key demographics also showing signs of recovery and renewed confidence.

While life as we know it will come back, there will patently be some key changes and new facets to the way we book travel. Questions of brand loyalty, the reassurance travellers seek, and the elevation of travel advisors will all be shifted and perhaps reborn. ILTM will be looking at these aspects in more detail next week, but for now, the key take away seems to be that travel is a fundamental human desire and this industry continues to weather the storm.

We very much look forward to the very first face-to-face event in the industry calendar for 2020, ILTM in Cannes.

Global Heatmap: Green Goes Mainstream

Global Heatmap: Green Goes Mainstream

To kick-off the launch of ILTM’s Global Heatmap, we’ll be looking at the accelerated demand for green travel in the wake of COVID-19 and what that might mean for the future.

Introducing Altiant and the Global Heatmap

ILTM’s Global Heatmap is a new monthly series created by ILTM’s new resident consumer analyst, Meryam Schneider of Altiant. For those who don’t know, Altiant is a one-of-a-kind fieldwork specialist that empowers insight experts, marketers and agencies working within the luxury goods and wealth management industries to gain a deeper understanding of their audience. Each month, Meryam will be drawing insights from a unique HNW sample-set collected through Altiant’s highly-selective proprietary panel, LuxuryOpinions®.

Green Travel: Acceleration and Adoption

The factor currently at the heart of every decision, of course, is COVID-19. This unprecedented crisis led to equally unprecedented responses including some key demographic shifts, one of which being the acceleration and adoption of green travel.

Based on our data, this new desire to ‘go green’ has extended to all corners of luxury consumerism, from fashion and luxury goods to travel, suggesting that many people will now take these factors into consideration when purchasing, either amplifying their burgeoning desires or creating ones that didn’t previously exist.

The sample-set in question comprised of 580+ wealthy consumers from the UK, US, France and China, all of which had a median household income of $404K and investible assets of $911K. From this data set, we have discovered some key points that will likely help shape the future for travel professionals looking to stay ahead of the curve when the industry is back in full swing.

Undoubtedly, one of the most notable takeaways is that in the UK, France and the US, the increase for green living since the onset of COVID-19 has dramatically increased. This is manifesting as a big shift in mindset, with luxury consumers questioning their consumption of luxury goods and stating strong intentions to consume green and local in the future. As of the time of this publishing, 38% of French and US luxury consumers have actively questioned their consumer behaviour and this is only slightly lower, at 37%, for people in the UK.

What’s especially interesting, however, is not only the geographic trends but the age demographic changes that have also developed.

Pre-COVID-19, green living and sustainability were primarily millennial (18-40 years) concerns, with older generations placing far less emphasis on them. Today, by far the biggest shift in mindset has been in the 40+ demographic, suggesting the favoured brands of GenX-ers and Baby Boomers may need to think very carefully about how they react.

It is within China, however, that there’s the biggest deviation here. The data from China suggests that only 25% of people are concerned with local produce and experiences, though an astonishing 57% are noted to be interested in sustainably produced luxury products. This illustrates that while China may be more interested in going green, they are not necessarily as interested in doing so from their own shores.

What Might This Mean for the Luxury Travel Industry?

All this translates into a far stronger interest in sustainable luxury and, where possible, luxury products produced locally. The latter applying less to the Chinese wealthy, who show a very strong desire to buy green but not necessarily in China.

Although sustainable consumption is much stronger within the Millennial segment, women and the 40+ age group were more likely to question their consumption of luxury goods, pointing towards a future shift in the messages that resonate with some Baby Boomers and Gen-X.

And of course, with this new world awareness brings the reaffirmed need for travel experts, able to advise people who are now much more concerned with sustainable options and quality experiences. All this provides the travel community with a clear direction on what post-COVID-19 clients will be looking for when they eventually return to travelling and holds great promise for the industry’s future.

Watch this space for the next Global Heatmap.

ILTM Data Reveals Key Global Insights

ILTM Data Reveals Key Global Insights

For a period of more than 100 days, travel professionals around the world have been striving to make sense of the ever-changing global conversation surrounding COVID-19.

ILTM has no crystal ball, but whilst we can’t predict the future, our unique and close ties with buyers from around the globe gives us the next best thing: insight and data.

Throughout this crisis, buyers, armed with industry experience and knowledge of past sector upheavals, have been talking to their clients constantly. Keen to tap into this unrivalled knowledge source, ILTM created the 2020 Buyer Research Survey and want to share with you the optimistic, yet realistic, findings therein.

Current Booking Behaviours

The ILTM Buyer Research Survey ran between the 4th-18th June 2020 and went out to over 4,000 buyers from shows within the ILTM Collection, including Cannes, North America, Asia Pacific, China and Africa. The response was overwhelming and comprised of a majority of buyers in senior positions as private travel designers (35%) or within retail travel agencies (34%), among many others.

The crux of this research was to establish a number of core elements. Firstly, ILTM were keen to gather insight into the current needs and behaviours of the globe’s wealthy travellers. Additionally, we wanted to establish any fundamental barriers when it came to the idea of travelling again, and the changes in travel preferences that may be a side-effect of this. To that aim, one of our pivotal questions was determining the current demand for travel during this pandemic. Somewhat surprisingly, the volume of bookings buyers had received since the start of the outbreak was not as bleak as perhaps feared. It was found that 6 out of 10 buyers (64%) have received bookings since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, a result that was most prevalent in the Americas, Russia and Europe.

However, these figures don’t imply that those who are travelling are jumping in with both feet just yet. Of those clients willing to travel by air, for example, the majority (39%) are travelling domestically with 27% taking long-haul flights. Whilst this still represents a huge hit to revenues, it is certainly a step in the right direction and becomes increasingly positive when we apply time frames to when these bookings will take place.

flights and length of time for bookings

Notably, it was revealed that just over half of the bookings made (52%) are taking place in less than 3 months’ time. The next increment of which at 39% are occurring in 3 to less than 6 months’ time. Despite the ongoing uncertainty and a reluctance of many to travel internationally as of yet, this swift return to travelling at all is undoubtedly a relief and it is not the only sign of latent demand that the industry is displaying.

Popular Destinations And Shifting Travel Preferences Among HNWI

When looking at the destinations chosen by clients, these too show a slow return to some key areas. European travellers, for example, are especially confident, with locations such as Greece, France, Spain, Italy and the Maldives all being among the booked choices.

For clients of APAC buyers, Australia, China, New Zealand, Europe and Africa were the top picks. When we consider the type of getaways that are being booked, the data continues to show some clear themes, with beach escape holidays being the overall most common type at almost 70% across all buyer regions save for APAC, possibly due to them having this type of landscape readily available domestically. Unsurprisingly too, family holidays were the second most prominent type of trip being booked at 55% and private villa trips were next in line in this data set at 42%. In light of the lockdown and the separation from family that we have had to endure, the surge in family bookings shows the key role that our industry will play in bringing loved ones back together.

Of course, what’s important to note here is that despite travel being a complicated business right now, we are not seeing a big impact on the desire to travel and this is supported time and again by the buyer research.  As we’ve seen, clients are still willing and wanting to fly, with even a significant number willing to travel long-haul. For those who are still uneasy though, the response has for the most part not been to halt travel but to instead adapt and in many cases move to more private means. Of those buyers who have had bookings since the start of the pandemic, it was reported that 59% of clients were considering cars as an alternative mode of transport. It was also found that across the ILTM collection of buyers, those with bookings also reported that 22% of clients were considering other forms of travel which included private options such as jets, planes and yachts among others.

The Barriers To Travel And The Return Of Bookings

To further analyse these behaviours, we asked buyers to outline what they felt were the key barriers for clients to overcome in terms of travelling and unsurprisingly, health concerns and quarantine rules emerged equally at 64% as being the core reasons that many clients felt unable or unwilling to travel.

why are clients not booking yet?

In spite of the barriers highlighted by buyers being seemingly hard to navigate or influence, the general optimism from buyers, even those who had not yet received any bookings, was significant. For example, when buyers who had yet to receive any bookings were asked to make an educated estimation on when they expect their clients to start travelling again, a huge 72% anticipate a climb in bookings in 3-9 months. When this data is drilled-down into, and reflective of the overall numbers, Asia Pacific buyers are split between thinking this change will be between 3-6 months and 6-9 months, whereas half of the European buyers are certain bookings will have an upsurge in 3-6 months.

expectation of when clients will travel again

By comparison, buyers from the Middle East are predicting things to happen much sooner, with 42% foreseeing more bookings in less than 3 months. Interestingly, 40% of North American buyers who have not had bookings are estimating a 6-9 month window for increased bookings despite North American buyers as a whole being graced with the most number of bookings in total.

These relatively short-term turnaround estimations reveal a confidence that the industry couldn’t imagine back in March. In a similar vein, when asked to estimate just when they thought the luxury travel industry would be able to rebuild there was overwhelming positivity. 50% of buyers from all of the ILTM Collection shows expected the luxury travel industry to return within a year. A further 38% expect this recovery to take up to two years, with Chinese buyers the most likely to state the longer time frame. European buyers, in particular, revealed a high confidence level at 51% predicting a sub-two-year time frame.

What the Industry Needs and the Journey Ahead

All of this culminates in something ILTM have firmly believed throughout: even in what can feel like the darkest hour for the luxury travel industry, buyers from across the entire ILTM Collection are telling us that while bookings have slowed and are less profitable, the fundamental desire to travel has not. Travellers are not only booking trips amid the ongoing crisis (52% within the next 3 months), but over 50% of buyers are also confident that the luxury travel industry will have returned within a year.

Of course, this is a global view and therefore the results don’t always account for the distinct and often stark regional differences that we are all still experiencing. Many of our colleagues and clients are operating within regions that do not yet feel the light at the end of the tunnel. But, with our flagship event ILTM in Cannes on the horizon in 6 months’ time, it seemed more important than ever to release these figures to meet the clear demand and desire of buyers and their clients the world over.

With the right set of circumstances ahead of us, we now believe it will be possible to deliver the show that the industry needs at the time the industry needs it this coming December.

As one buyer put it: “I am honestly hoping (and other partners I talked to feel the same) that ILTM in Cannes will happen as it is one of the most important places to meet with partners. We are very keen to have the possibility to connect and meet in person again after such a long time”.—2019 ILTM Cannes Buyer, Europe

ILTM Cannes will be the key to kick-starting that travel come December and for that reason, we are delighted to be beginning the journey towards our 2020 event. Our hope for Cannes 2020 is not only that it meets the ever-growing demand but also provides some much-needed respite to what has been a tough year. You will be hearing from us again very soon.

The ILTM team look forward to seeing you there.

Marketing And Measuring Risk For Luxury Travel Clients In The New Normal

Marketing And Measuring Risk For Luxury Travel Clients In The New Normal

As we emerge from months of isolation I find it fascinating to discover how different people feel about the ‘new normal’. Living in New York with various measure still in place makes the idea of sharing public spaces with people – especially indoors – still seems like an impossibility. 

However, talking to clients in places like Miami, Denver, Detroit and even the Hamptons, I soon discovered that I have been getting in my own way of bringing business back. You see, so many of our clients are ready to move on. They are thinking about tomorrow. They are craving human connection.

So do we just forget this all happened? Well, not exactly. For every client asking to plan a getaway, two are still in hiding. The strangest thing is that it is hard to peg feelings by demographics or psychographics. Some Baby Boomers are hiding for their lives while many others flat out tell me they’d rather not live if they have to live alone at home. By comparison, Millennials, supposedly the least at risk, are not all ready to hop on a plane. And while many Gen-X’ers seem to be the most cautious, still many don’t hesitate in trying to make travel plans abroad.

Are these wildly different responses related to conservative states versus liberal ones? Maybe. But as we talk – and-more importantly- listen to clients, it seems that everyone has a different tolerance of risk, and our job is to help each individual navigate the risk in accordance with their own comfort level.

Many of my colleagues shrink at this realization. Tolerance for risk? How do we do that? Well, my friends, it’s really no different than what we have been doing for years. In our space of luxury travel, we often talk about curating experiences for our clients; well there has never been a more essential time to curate than now. We need to tailor not only every trip to our clients’ taste and preferences, but now also their tolerance for risk.

Our success historically has been to specialize in our clients and know the world. To deep-dive into their lives and help them live it to their best. And this time it should be no different. We need to help them live their best lives amidst a world in change. We need to help them understand risks and make sure they are comfortable. We need to educate them on the world’s doorways and what getting there looks and feels like.

Ultimately, this is micro-marketing 101. As we emerge into recovery we need to reach out and listen to our clients even more. We need to tailor messaging to each individual. We need to tailor product offerings to each one. We need to look at every client as a distinctive opportunity and, once successful, then try to scale it and see how it works.

The more you listen and the more creative you are to address their situation the more successful you will be in developing innovative ways to engage clients, win their trust and ultimately close business in an ever-changing global environment.

Leading The Way With Timo Gruenert Of The Oetker Collection

Leading The Way With Timo Gruenert Of The Oetker Collection

Kicking of ILTM’s Leading The Way series, we speak to newly appointed CEO Timo Gruenert of the Oetker Collection, on what it takes to be successful in the luxury travel business, and what the future traveller might desire next.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I guess the honest answer is: I wanted to run a company. From my early years, I was attracted by business in general, by the mechanism of stock markets and by the art of aligning different interests of different people towards one common goal.

What would you say are the core elements needed to be successful in the luxury travel industry?

Understanding the needs of your guests, having a clearly defined and relevant brand promise and always being true to your values (and have the values in the first place).

Did you or do you have anyone you would consider a mentor? If so, who and how have they helped you realise your potential?

I can think of two people: Frank Marrenbach, who put a lot of trust in me when he brought me into the fold of the Oetker Collection in 2009. His charismatic leadership has always been an inspiration. And Dr Ernst F. Schröder, former general partner of the Oetker Group and my boss for 13 years. Apart from supporting me and from entrusting me with new responsibilities early on in my career, he always told me openly when I needed to improve on certain things. This was not always fun, but it helped me learn a lot.

Is there anything that stands out to you as the biggest mistake of your career or something you’d choose to change if you could turn the clock back?

Well, yes, I can think of a few things. But overall I am quite happy with the balance of my decisions, and especially with the more important ones.

What’s your top tip to people working in luxury travel?

Stay humble, be sincere, and do not get confused between the luxury world that surrounds you during work and your own personal life.

Now that you have stepped into the role of CEO, what will change for the Oetker Collection?

 I have been around as CFO and a co-managing director for 11 years now and so have seen the brand build-up from just four properties that were initially owned by the group. Knowing this history, I think we are certainly going to see more of an evolution rather than a revolution. That said, while the Oetker Collection has gained a good reputation with the travel trade over the years, the brand awareness for the direct clients can still be improved on and that’s something we will look at in the future. Plus, if we continue to do a good job, there will be some new Masterpiece Hotels in the future too.

It’s clear that one of the main aspects of your company ethos is about meaningful connections, what does this mean to you?

I am going to reveal the secret to creating meaningful connections: you have to care. We operate exceptional hotels – true Masterpieces – with a family spirit, elegance and genuine kindness. It is this combination that creates a very strong emotional bond between our guests and our hotels. Our hotels are places that people really care about, places that become part of their lives, and they would miss them deeply if they were no longer around. That may sound exaggerated, but I know that this is indeed the case for many of our guests – and employees!

How integral do you think sustainability will be to future travellers when choosing destinations?

Sustainability is indeed going to be one of the most important subjects for the industry going forward. This is not a trend that will go away, on the contrary, luxury hotels have to find their way to becoming genuinely good corporate citizens. This is first a question of mindset, then a question of thinking smart and only finally a matter of execution. Removing plastic bottles is a start of course, but certainly does not stretch far enough.

How does it feel to be part of the luxury travel industry and what has been the most significant change you’ve noticed since you began your career?

What I like most about this industry is the people. This is not just a nice thing to say, it’s true. There is something in this industry which, simply, attracts a lot of very kind people. The way of talking to each other is respectful, there is a lot of passion around, and people are used to and willing to go the extra mile constantly. And if we do our job well, we can positively influence the lives of people around us. What more could you wish for?

If you could pick one other brand to work for, who would it be?

As you know I just became CEO of the Oetker Collection on May 1st. So please forgive me, but while there are a few other brands that I like, I cannot think of anything else other than the Oetker Collection right now.

What do you think makes people’s desire to travel so strong despite global uncertainties?

Well, you can sit at home and watch the news but a lot of things that you see you are not going to like. Or you can get up from the couch and see the world with your own eyes, discover it with your own senses. The journey will make you realise that the world is a pretty amazing place and full of very kind people that care a lot.

What do you see as the key responsibilities of the luxury travel industry to the communities they operate within?

The players within the industry need to be good corporate citizens. As such, they need to integrate themselves into the local communities and make sure they are not considered foreign objects.

COVID-19: The Outlook From Hong Kong

COVID-19: The Outlook From Hong Kong

I remember the week before my three children finished school in January for the Chinese New Year break vividly, as I was at the hospital with my daughter for her check-up.  Having lived in Hong Kong for almost a decade and a half, I am all too familiar with Hong Kong citizens wearing masks, but I found it especially strange that everyone was being asked to wear one on arrival! Looking around, there seemed to be an underlying panic about this new ‘virus’ that was escalating rapidly in China.  There was a lot of talk about it, but no one really had any insight into what the next few months would hold nor the extent to which lives around the globe would be affected.

This was eighteen (long) weeks ago; a time when the 360 Private Travel team in Hong Kong were getting their teeth into the notoriously busy, post-Christmas booking season. We could never have predicted what was around the corner!

Four and a half months on and we have found ourselves equally busy – reassuring our clients and rescheduling beautifully tailored trips that were very much being looked forward to; all whilst trying to keep on top of the ever-changing global travel advice.

During this unprecedented and worrying time, the 360 team have shifted their focus from enticing clients to travel, to offering support where needed to those affected, either directly or indirectly, by the pandemic.

Hong Kong has handled the COVID-19 situation with strict measures and were quick off the mark to close borders and to enforce a 14-day uncompromising quarantine for all overseas arrivals. This, teamed with an unwritten rule of compulsory mask-wearing in all public spaces, many believe, has led to Hong Kong having the virus well under control. Our beloved city is cautiously striving to return to normality and to a position of being able to restart inbound and outbound travel, be it for business or leisure.

In the last few weeks, we have seen a glimmer of light at the end of (what has felt like) a long and narrowing tunnel, and we feel that the time is now right to encourage our clients to resume ticking off their ‘bucket list’ of travel dreams.  Many clients have actually used the lock-down period to learn about and add new places and experiences to these lists that they hadn’t considered before.

Locally, we have seen a huge increase in Hong Kong staycations for last-minute and summer travel and outside of Hong Kong, many clients are enquiring about travel to Macau. The prospect of escaping a mere hour away by ferry has become extremely appealing after 14 weeks of home-schooling!  Although the borders are not open yet between Macau and Hong Kong, there is talk that this could be on the horizon as early as July.

For mid to longer-haul overseas travel, enquiries are underway, but most are for the latter part of the year and 2021 when we assume borders will be open and quarantines lifted.  There is a ‘pent up’ demand for travel, however, we have noticed that our clients are more cautious when booking and are opting for destinations that can provide good medical care in the unfortunate event of them falling ill.  Many of our older and high-risk travellers prefer to stay put until a vaccine is available.

So luxury travel IS coming back, just slowly and differently with flexible terms and conditions at the top of our clients’ requirements. Remote and secluded travel, such as private yachts and villas are without a doubt also in demand.  Across the globe, we are seeing the positive effects of travel being halted, (less pollution, a reduced carbon footprint) influencing client choices as they seek to spend the travel fund they have saved on more thoughtful and sustainable options.

COVID-19 lessons from Down Under

COVID-19 lessons from Down Under

On March 19, 2020, our business changed forever. It was 10.30 am, 30 minutes after Qantas Airways stood down most of its 30,000 workforce.

We gathered our teams in our boardrooms in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and delivered the news that due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, there was no new work to be done for at least 6 months. Just like that, we sent our teams home. An abrupt stop to our wonderful travel advisor businesses. It happened fast.

With our desks and award trophies gathering dust, we have been running on a half-full (not empty) engine, liaising with clients on cancellations and rescheduling. A thankless task with no earnings, in fact, negative earnings. Reminding our clients “We are here to help if you need us”, just in case our borders miraculously open up and travel starts again.

There have been proud moments; gifts arriving from thankful clients to our advisors and seeing our advisors hungry for our newly developed online training and development programs delivered via zoom, the world’s favourite new social media platform.

“When do you think we will travel overseas again?” has been asked 1,000 times. For our Australia/NZ region, travel is starting. Intrastate travel is allowed in most states. The ability to sleep in a hotel bed is back – it feels like years. The next stage is interstate travel. This will be phased in by state, according to the different risk appetites of our leaders. Don’t forget, Australia and New Zealand are heading for the colder winter months, so there is little demand for sun and beach holidays until later in 2020.

The mooted “travel bubble” may include Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and some other South Pacific Islands. That’s when things will get a little more exciting. Economic and social demands will come into play. As I heard the other day “If we don’t send tourists to some of these smaller countries that rely on tourism, we’ll have to send aid workers”.

The irony is that our travel advisors need to become quick experts in selling domestic and regional travel. Fast. We are great sellers of Europe, Asia and the Americas. We have never been super-sellers of our own region. We are better at selling Sicily than Sydney. Better at selling Madrid than Melbourne.

The opportunities in our region are endless, Beaches, outback stations, bushlands, mountains, wineries, major cities – all there for clients to book and enjoy with their friends and families.

Our clients love travelling. For the time being, we will connect with them and sell them the dream of local travel. And more importantly, present holidays ideas so they book with us today. It’s important for our teams that they see bookings. They love booking, not cancelling. They love making money, not seeing negative results.

The relationships we have with our loyal clients will prevail. Later in 2020, we will start planning overseas trips for 2021.

What will change in our business? I think our industry role will be cemented as trusted travel advisors. As experts who know where to go, how to go safely, and what measures need to be followed. The strong relationships we hold with our supplier partners will be critical to travel intelligence and forward planning requirements.

Have we taken our business, our people, our clients, our supplier partners and our wonderful industry for granted? To some extent, yes. Caught up on the treadmill of work and life, we seldom stop and digest our lives and our work.

COVID-19 has afforded me the opportunity to stop and think – and to appreciate the travel industry more than ever. We are so lucky to work in this sector. It brings together so many people from different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs and circumstance. But one thing unites us. And that is our passion for travel.

We will travel cleaner. We will travel better. Our clients will make us work harder to provide more information and details of their planned trips. They will ask more questions about hygiene and cleanliness.  And hopefully question us more about sustainable environmental practices.

In Australia, we are so far away from the rest of the world. We crave human connections. We wonder farther to seek different experiences. And nothing will stop us from continuing. We just have to wait a little longer. See you soon World.

Carol Chen On The Mood Of Chinese Travellers

Carol Chen On The Mood Of Chinese Travellers

With the landscape of international travel in near constant flux, the ILTM team are in constant communication with our friends around the world to check the pulse of the global luxury travel community, and bring you the views of your counterparts around the world.

To kick things off, this week we were delighted to speak at length to Carol Chen, Director of Chinese travel agency, Diadema Group, about her outlook on the luxury Chinese traveller’s mood and behaviour during this time. She had this to say:

As you know, the international travel industry ground to a halt in late February. We locked down at home, feeling both upset and very worried. After several months we decided we had to do something to change this situation and insisted that we needed to contribute more to this industry which we love so much.

How has your team and the business managed?

During this quiet period, we organised webinars for the team, arranged book reading sessions internally every week and organised hiking and trekking activities since March around the countryside of Guangzhou or Shanghai. In terms of the business, as we have only operated an outbound business for the past 20 years, we didn’t have any business to manage until just now in May! Despite that, we insisted we could recover fully in the near future and it helped keep our spirits up to hear the good news from European countries too.

You mentioned you didn’t have any business until May, so are you starting to see more enquiries from Chinese travellers this month?

Yes, we have had some enquires now for domestic tailor-made travel experiences as early as May! Some of the locations requested include Yunnan province. Because of these enquiries, we feel confident that the world will eventually keep moving as usual, even if it needs more time for now. We are happy to know that brands like Belmond, for example, are already putting things in motion to encourage travellers back, which is a good sign for the whole luxury travel industry.

Can you explain a little more about what Belmond did and what lesson is there for brands operating in China in terms of enticing Chinese HNW travellers back?

Belmond seems very smart, as they have 5 hotels in the Asia area and they recently announced their pre-sell program including 5 hotels in different Asian countries that are valid until 30th September 2021, which gives more confidence and flexibility to the clients, and encourages them to purchase in advance. Of course, they offer a very competitive rate for the clients too, which is very effective in the market.

What practices have you put in place to help secure your own business?

We are still keeping up communications with the international cruise companies and suppliers in order to postpone or change our previous program, though the situation depends on many things including whether flights are able to proceed and what Governmental policies allow, which we couldn’t control based on our own country policy. However, we still feel confident and know we need patience and time as well as the support of suppliers and partners globally, whether in the Polar area, or in Africa, or in Latin America. For now, things are looking very promising in China, with the domestic situation getting better all the time and some travellers showing an eagerness to travel in June.

It’s promising that Chinese travellers are already showing interest in travelling again, what kind of enquiries are you getting?

Currently, we’re only receiving enquiries concerning domestic travel. We’re starting to think about sending prospective travellers to places like Yunnan, Tibet and Xin Jiang etc. as they’re naturally peaceful and beautiful with typically fewer people. Attractions like hiking tours, culture tours, the study tour of Buddhism with Philosophy etc. are also very popular. Family travel is still on demand, but again, only domestically and not at an international level.

So do you expect that Chinese individuals will first travel within China, then the rest of APAC, then the rest of the world? Can you talk a little more about this? Where do you think the Chinese will like to go and when?

Yes, I suspect the Chinese travellers will travel firstly within China, then Asia, then other destinations. The air travel situation and the permits from the Government are really the key elements for travellers to travel again though and what we’re all waiting for.

Do you notice any trends in the demographics of travellers who have approached you so far?

Overall it was family units or groups of friends and the ages ranged from 18 to 55.

Any particular trends you are seeing within China since COVID-19?

Yes, the Ecotourism concept is getting more and more popular since COVID-19, and the government are also taking notice of this concept too. In light of this, we organised an online forum focusing on China named REBORN. With it, we arranged more than 50 international and domestic webinars, where we invited the experts in the travel industry to discuss ecotourism as a concept and the real examples of it from around the world. For example, there are many good ecotourism cases of domestic travel in China.

We’re currently trying to help the domestic travel industry to build up an ecotourism concept, educate them as to the necessity of ecotourism, and help them to re-build the product-designing process.

Lastly, has there been any room for rethinking your business model during this travel lockdown?

During this slow down period, we have had to really think about strengthening both ourselves and our partners, re-consider our products and methods, re-connect with the world and try and get the REBORN situation more commonplace after COVID-19.

Last but not the least, we are confident we could re-start business fully soon, with the help of not only ourselves but our global partners and with the power of the travel industry as a whole.

A Data-Driven Look At The Impact Of COVID-19 On APAC Travellers

A Data-Driven Look At The Impact Of COVID-19 On APAC Travellers

ILTM was lucky enough this week to get some time with the ever-enlightening Dr Parag Khanna, Managing Partner of FutureMap, seasoned ILTM speaker and authority on globalization, to ask him about the impact of COVID-19 on APAC destinations.

It was clear long before COVID-19 reared its ugly head that locations within APAC were huge catalysts for growth in the luxury travel market. Now, in the wake of the crisis, many people have their eyes on APAC to deliver some much needed, confidence boosting signs of recovery.

We asked Dr Parag Khanna for his insight on the current situation in the APAC region, as well as some insight as to what the future might hold for these lucrative countries.

  1. Pre COVID-19, HNWI wealth and travel from APAC was a huge engine of growth for the luxury travel industry. Do you still see this on track?

The total number of HNW travellers out of APAC may well continue to grow, but its national composition and destinations of travel will be the real story of the next couple of years. Other than some notable and high-profile cases of fortunes being lost, APAC nations have done well to preserve their wealth amidst the pandemic.

  1. We know APAC loves APAC and the region’s HNWI spend a huge amount on travel and experiences within the APAC region. Are we likely to see the first signs of recovery happening within inter-APAC travel first?  And what does this mean for quarantine policies?  Are there any regions within APAC that are quarantining/closed to other APAC countries?

The past few weeks have witnessed Chinese return to Thailand and Vietnam in decent numbers. At the same time, most Chinese have remained in China, resulting in very high occupancy in early May. Rather than individual quarantine policies, it is a positive sign that pairs of Asian countries are working together to allow for free mobility between them such as Australia and New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea, and so forth.

  1. Do we think the rest of the world will lose out with quarantine policies towards APAC or do you believe by the time the APAC HNWI traveller is ready to travel outside of APAC again, it will be in 2021 and quarantine will be over?

If Asia continues to move quickly in testing out “immunity passports” -meaning some kind of certification of health – then it is very likely that other regions will accept them given their desire to bring in Asian tourists and business travellers.

  1. What do you think will be the impact on China? How critical is attracting these Chinese HNWI back to APAC and the rest of the world?

Given how many countries depend on Chinese tourists, they will be eager to lure them back. Soft competition is already underway in that regard. At the same time, there’s a realization that countries have to diversify as well, and are seeking to attract more Japanese and Indians.

  1. Do we have any way to predict where APAC HNWIs will want to go? And on what kind of trips?

It’s already evident that because of the restrictions on inter-regional travel, HNW travellers in APAC will mostly stay within the region. Countries like Singapore will try to capitalize on those who want to have multi-stop trips in the region. It could be that the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics and Dubai Expo could bring more travellers to other parts of Asia instead over the summer and fall months.

  1. Which destinations are likely to come back as options for travel the quickest?

It looks like China itself is coming back, including both Hong Kong and the mainland as people see life return to normal in Shanghai. Thailand and Vietnam appear to have coped well with the virus and branded themselves successfully as healthy destinations. Once they allow foreigners back in, Australia and New Zealand will do very well.

  1. Are there any destinations that will see increased demand because they are better suited to the new demands of HNW travellers?

HNW travellers in the post-COVID context may fall into two categories: Those that want to take long holidays off the grid on safe and distant islands such as New Zealand or Lombok, or those that want to be in connected cities such that there is access to top-quality medical care and the option to immediately return home if needed. Holidays may therefore either be very short or very long!

  1. Are there some destinations that need the support of HNWIs more than others that it would be safe to advise people to travel to?

I believe that with the right precautions, most places will soon be safe to travel to. The COVID experience has taught countries that they must improve their health systems and have the social discipline to be considered reliable societies to engage with. I can imagine that concierge services that offer an extra degree of healthcare-related precautions in various destinations will be in demand by HNW travellers.


Travel & Tourism: The Global Employer

Travel & Tourism: The Global Employer

Currently, the world is all sat in a waiting room of sorts, eagerly awaiting the green light of free movement to be switched on while simultaneously glaring at the receptionist who’s so far refused to acknowledge we’re here, or that we’re well-past our appointment time.

With the worry of COVID-19 on our shoulders and the frustration of its imposition on our everyday lives, it’s little wonder we’re collectively daydreaming of sandy shores and sandal-appropriate weather. Not only that, but we now have the added pressure of juggling our newly-amalgamated domestic and work lives. Our valiant attempts to work while our children find new and ingenious ways of testing our patience is no easy feat.

Of course, many people are dealing with much harder circumstances than simple disruption to their routines. For some, this crisis has been cataclysmic at both a personal and industrial level, bringing to the forefront not only how interconnected we all are but how vital each role we play is too.

Undoubtedly, one of the hardest-hit industries is travel and tourism, with its core ways of operating being obliterated almost overnight. The consequences of this, however, are far more intricate than just the worldwide economic loss, it’s also heavily impacting people at a micro-level in terms of employment.

ILTM’s 2020 white paper which focused on the Global Luxury Travel Universe discovered that across the top 50 most visited nations, 105.9m people were directly employed by the travel and tourism industry. These are people who run hotels, work in travel agencies and manage our flights, people for whom travel restrictions are far costlier than missing a trip.

Amid this crisis then, the value of the travel and tourism industry has come into increasingly sharp focus. Its undeniable role within communities and countries can no longer be downplayed as merely a second string to superior economic contributors. If we consider Italy as an example, one of the countries hit hardest by this crisis, the necessity of travel and tourism to its economic health is unquestionable, not only broadly but for individuals too. As the fifth most visited country in the world, recorded at close to 59m visitors a year, Italy’s symbiotic relationship with the tourism industry is no secret. Putting aside tourism-related industries like food and drink or sporting events, Italy’s prime benefit from tourism is through direct employment. Of those who are employed in Italy, which stands at 23.4m, a significant 1.54m are directly employed in travel and tourism.

The Philippines is yet another stark instance of this trend. Ranking 48th in the world for international visitors and welcoming a substantial 6.6m each year, travel and tourism is easily one of the most prolific sectors it has and generates an estimated 25% of GDP. Compared to its next largest sector, being the financial industry, the GDP contribution attained there is significantly lower at only 15.4%. Even more tellingly, however, is that a 2018 study revealed that there was an estimated 13% of the Philippines’ population, roughly 5.5m, who relied on travel and tourism for employment.

Italy and the Philippines are just two examples of travel and tourism’s role in employment, but many more exist. Recent employment data suggest that other countries within the top 20 countries in the global top 50 most visited destinations are just as reliant on this global employer, including Croatia, Greece, Portugal and Spain. It’s estimated that Croatia for example, is second only to the Philippines within these top 20 countries and has 12.5% of its population directly employed within the travel and tourism sector as you can see in ILTM’s 2020 white paper.

The figures from all over the world then indicate that travel and tourism is a formidable friend to employment. This global employer is the cornerstone to many livelihoods, and without it, there are vast swathes of people without income or a clear path for the future. As it stands, an *ITUC survey that considered 82 countries (including fifteen G20 countries) have found that 82% of them have implemented travel bans that, while necessary, have choked the lifeblood of many individuals who are employed within this industry.

Further, the domino effect of these travel bans on employment doesn’t only touch those who are directly involved within it. As ILTM have highlighted recently, there is also an associated Global Luxury Travel Ecosystem that, while not as significant in terms of contributions, still has a relative role to play. The restaurant owners, wellness instructors and museum staff, not to mention countless others, will also, to lesser extents, feel the bite of travel and tourism having its wings clipped.

COVID-19 has touched us all in one form or another. For some, the disruptions are an annoyance, for others, disastrous. As for the travel and tourism industry, it has been a swift right hook from nowhere and the hits seemingly keep coming. Now, some weeks on from the initial worldwide alarm being sounded, we’re all left wondering when this odd stalemate with nature will end.

Until then, we all remain in the waiting room together. As we do though it’s worth remembering that necessity is the mother of invention and if we’ve learnt anything at all in this strange interlude it’s that we need travel and tourism back to being the global employer it has shown itself to be. How and when we get there is still up for debate, but get there we will and when we do it will be with more knowledge, more pride and more power than ever before. Travel advisers and fellow wanderers, keep a weather eye on the horizon.

* International Trade Union Confederation

Spreading The Wealth

Spreading The Wealth

How HNW Travellers Support the Global Economy More Than Any Other Tourist

With travel and tourism in lockdown for the foreseeable future, all eyes are understandably scanning for the source of the inevitable comeback. Though speculation is now rife as to who will be key in jump-starting the economy from its current inertia, recent data points heavily to High Net Worth (HNW) luxury travellers.

Making up only 0.3% of the global population, HNW travellers can be easily overlooked as lacking impact when it comes to the global economy. Often, luxury travel is dismissed as a small offshoot of tourism, existing for the privileged few who are more an anomaly than a force with real economic influence. How then can such a small subset of tourist be the key to reigniting the economy when the time is right?

Well, the power to it lies in reach. While the HNW demographic itself may be small, its wealth and role within the Global Luxury Travel Universe is unquestionably vital.

This Global Luxury Travel Universe is comprised of two main features; that which is directly travel-related and that which is not. There are 105.9m people who are directly employed in the travel industry, including hotels, transport services and travel agents. Indirectly related to this, there is a global luxury travel ecosystem of activities and experiences including food and drink, sporting events and outdoor pursuits that employs approximately 62m people.

This vast and interrelated web is worth $2.05trn overall, a staggering amount that exceeds other global industries in terms of discretional spend and one that is the crux of many businesses and families the world over. With travel bans affecting key locations, the ripple effect of the lockdown not only on the tourism sector directly, but on the industries that relate to it, is both wide-reaching and erosive.

From this lockdown, however, the true value of HNW travellers to the global economy has come to the forefront. Whilst travellers considered not part of the HNW demographic make up a far bigger portion of the world’s tourists, their individual value is far lower and thus far less reaching. By comparison, HNW tourists number globally at around 22.8m and their individual worth is more than $1m. More tellingly, this relatively small branch of traveller collectively controls over $94trn in wealth, which to put in perspective is almost $10trn more than the total annual global GDP.

What’s important to appreciate here, of course, is that it’s not just the inherent wealth HNW travellers have at their disposal, but the reach that wealth has and the behaviours it enables. These high value and high spending travellers not only book longer trips, but they typically do so at premium rates and it’s this amalgamation of traits and tools that results in significant economic influence. The impact then that HNW travellers have across major sectors within the economy is incredible given their disproportionate size.

Take air travel and accommodation for example, its overall combined value is worth $1.41trn globally including international, domestic, business and leisure trips. Of that $1.41trn, 36% of the spend is provided by HNW luxury travellers which is an amazing $507.6bn.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what travel entails. As mentioned previously, there is also the activities and experiences which make up a global luxury travel ecosystem. Within this ecosystem, we know that approximately 62m people are employed across a range of sectors such as food and drink, cultural activities and wellness. Though it’s not exclusive, these jobs are partially sustained by the contributions of HNW luxury travellers.

To illustrate further, take the food and drink industry, one of the biggest trades within the luxury travel ecosystem. From cafes and bars to fine dining, this is one of the most lucrative businesses in the world and one that’s often dependant on tourism to greater or lesser extents. International travellers contribute 261bn spend on this sector globally, which is approximately 16% of the total. Of this amount, however, a significant $113bn is contributed by HNW travellers alone.

Cultural activities, including museums and amusement parks, are yet another sector hit heavily by the current crisis and yet again one that HNW travellers have a huge impact on. Specifically, international travellers were found to contribute 31bn to this sector each year, while HNW travellers alone were accountable for 2.3bn.

Similar patterns for other travel-related sectors including sporting events, wellness experiences and performance arts have been noted in the ILTM 2020 White Paper that was recently published. The data therein reveals that time and again HNW travellers prove to be essential contributors to the global ecosystem of activities, and that’s not counting the financial support they directly feed into the travel and tourism industry.

So what does this mean for the future?

The world, as we all know very well, currently sits motionless amid the outbreak of COVID-19. A recent ITUC survey conducted across 86 countries, including 15 G20 countries, found that 82% have enforced travel restrictions on those arriving into the country. Evidently, this has a gargantuan effect on travel and in turn the ecosystems that exist around it. Across the top 50 most visited nations an average of 10.9m GDP is contributed by travel and tourism, and with the world at a standstill, it’s clear that when the time is right it will be this industry that the world looks to for the economic boost.

More specifically, HNW wealth and far-reaching spread across multiple interrelated industries has always been a core element of the overall global health of the economy and it’s only now that the vital role they play has become so clear.

With HNW travellers finally identified as a crucial demographic within travel and tourism, it’s reasonable to hope that they will pave the way for the global economic rebirth in the post-COVID-19 world. Travel advisors get ready.

Luxury Travel’s True Impact on Employment

Luxury Travel’s True Impact on Employment

This latest white paper, created with Barton and powered by Wealth-X data, highlights the impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry and the ripple effects this has caused in multiple other sectors.

The seismic consequences of COVID-19 bring the interconnectedness of travel with other key sectors such as sport, culture and food and drink into focus for the first time. Shutting down travel and its interconnected activities not only has an impact on well-heeled travellers, it severely affects the many millions of businesses, communities and families that have come to rely upon them.

This report deals with the salience of the travel and tourism industry in maintaining the global economy and the vital role HNW customers and luxury travel brands will play in kick-starting global recovery.

Download your copy now:

Why empathy is the critical word right now

Why empathy is the critical word right now

Jeff Weinstein of HOTELS Mag takes a common sense approach in his opinion piece today.  Some practical advice here about what we can be doing now, and the importance of keeping one eye on the future. A very nice idea to pull together and collaborate with your competition in your area;

“It is also a good idea to reach out to your local competitors and other hospitality-related businesses to create a working group and develop an action plan to promote business in your community when the time is right.” 

Check out the full article here


State of the Luxury Hotel Industry

State of the Luxury Hotel Industry

As the global hotel industry embarks on its next decade, the tenor for the next few years will be one of continued uncertainty.  From the recent, and as of yet uncalculated, outbreak of the Coronavirus, to global climate change, to political uncertainty, to more homegrown influences such as new supply, luxury hotel operators will need to continue to be vigilant.  In our line of business we approach all these headline around the theme of ‘uncertainty’ with the same mantra: “trust the data”.

STR, a Costar Group company, has been benchmarking hotel performance in the US since 1989 and globally since 2006.  Most major luxury brands and high end independent hoteliers are our clients and provide us with the weekly performance data in exchange for market and competitive set benchmarking reports.  We use that data to evaluate the performance of markets, countries and continents and comment about it at investment and owner conferences around the world.

The state of the luxury hotel industry in 2019 was good, but not great.  Globally supply increased 2.9% over the last few years, pointing at the prolonged and steady interest that the top hotels receive from individuals and development funds around the world.  This supply increase has had, especially in the Middle East, a negative effect on performance, sometimes profoundly so.

This supply growth was in the past outpaced by increases in room demand buoyed by a healthy global economy.  That trend has now reversed.

The outcome of the lack of stronger demand growth is then the deterioration of occupancy. Unfortunately, the afore mentioned uncertainty and occupancy softness has then led to global pricing uncertainty and in 2019 global luxury ADR declined (in $USD).

The supply and demand fundamentals on a global scale are of course a function of the more specific regional performance.  In Asia, supply and demand growth were healthy but room rates (in $USD) deteriorated.  In Europe, occupancies actually increased but in US Dollars the room rates declined, pointing partially at the strong dollar and particularly at a tough operating environment in some markets.  The 2019 Europe comparative data was also impacted by the comparison with the World Cup in Russia which had strongly lifted the results in 2018.  In the Americas lack of occupancy growth still translated into some room rate growth for luxury hotels pointing at pricing confidence in the Americas markets.

Looking ahead, developers will continue to vote with their wallet and quite a few cities around the globe are set to see new luxury properties, chief amongst them markets in China, the US and the UAE.  It will be important to monitor if the Coronavirus outbreak will make developers more hesitant to move forward with their projects or if they think – likely correctly – that the luxury market is very resilient and that the room demand will rebound in time.

We will continue to monitor the global luxury hotel industry results and report back on the trends that emerge as the new decade gets underway.

Space tourists by 2021

Space tourists by 2021

The New York Times reports that SpaceX expects to launch 4 tourists into super high orbit by the end of next year. Tickets are being sold through Space Adventures Inc., the company behind a previous trip to the International Space Station. This trip will be much higher, up to 750 miles above earth, and the company are already in discussion with potential clients, who are expected to pay somewhere in the region of $35 million;

“Space Adventures' goal is to create “unique and previously impossible opportunities for private citizens to experience space,” Eric Anderson, company chairman, said in a statement. NASA has softened its stance on space tourists, and is opening the station doors to paying customers once commercial crew flights by SpaceX and Boeing have been established." 

Check out the full article here


The Next Decade in Luxury Travel

The Next Decade in Luxury Travel

We made it to 2020 and it’s not only a new year, but a new decade. The last 10 years brought about a lot of change for those of us in high-end travel. The concept of luxury became less prescribed and more personal, destinations once considered off the beaten path instead offered coveted stories, time was dubbed the new luxury… and for those of us in the business of offering experiences, Instagram changed it all.

The world is undergoing a significant economic transformation, and as the luxury market continues to grow, there has been a fundamental shift in luxury consumer values. It is a move that prioritizes experiences over goods… in other words, a week in the Maldives is the new Hermès handbag. This is great news for all of us in luxury travel as we play an outsized role in this space. This evolution ladders up to the buzzworthy concept of transformative travel, which I see as travel motivated and defined by a shift in perspective, self-reflection and development, and a deeper communion with nature and culture. While there are many aspects to transformative travel, the one I am focused on and intrigued by for the years ahead, is the idea of purposeful travel. It is giving way to a new breed of traveler, which we have dubbed the new purposeful luxurian. They look at travel as a means to affect personal growth, connect with new people and passions, and affect positive change – all while still delighting in the indulgence of global exploration. In order for us to stay relevant, it means that we need to constantly elevate and evolve our approach to speak to this guest who is more global, skews younger, and has a different idea of what luxury looks like.

Read more

Luxury segment continues to surge

Luxury segment continues to surge

The latest article by STR's Jan Freitag is packed insights about the continued growth of the luxury segment, and how that is projected to hit RevPAR on a global scale;

“The steady increase in room demand then caused myriad developers to give the industry their undivided attention, and our supply growth data is proof of the continued influx of development funds into the industry." 

Check out the full article here


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 2019 in Cannes, keep up to date with the region’s hot new openings, appointments and influencers right here:

Day 1, Cannes, Tuesday 3rd December

Day 2, Cannes, Wednesday 2nd December

Day 3, Cannes, Thursday 3rd December



This report, powered by Wealth-X data and in partnership with Barton: Defining the Global Luxury Travel Ecosystem, is an in-depth analysis of the size and significance of the global experience economy.

This is the first report to size the global ecosystem of businesses closely connected to luxury travel, comprised of a complex mixture of food & drink, cultural activities, wellness, sporting events, performing arts and outdoor pursuits.

If this Ecosystem were a country, it would rank in the world’s top fifteen economies. This report details how to capture a greater share of that wealth, and how working in unison with advisors and travel consultants is key to moving the hotel further in playing a major role in creating memories that last a lifetime.

Download your copy now:

Building a modern luxury legend

Building a modern luxury legend

Today’s young brands are often crudely split into two camps – those that are synonymous with timeless luxury, and those that are achingly cool and cutting edge. It is a rare kind of brand that manages to achieve the double feat of being both at the same time. Meet Capella…

The Capella Ubud sits in the travel world’s imagination as a by-word for elegance and sophistication, yet, to the casual onlooker, it resembles a modish tented commune, where an ethos of  environmental consciousness exists effortlessly alongside its luxurious design. Nicholas Clayton is the man behind one of luxury’s most talked about brands…

Bill Bensley spoke at ILTM Asia Pacific recently about Capella Ubud and the superhuman lengths you went to to respect the local environment. How important is this for Capella?  

Working with and supporting the local community is at the core of what we do. Capella Ubud is a fantastic example: In the design of this property minimal invasive site preparation was decided from the beginning, and all trees and local plants were left untouched and protected throughout the construction process. Not a single tree was cut during the camp’s creation, and as such, several trees are intercepting the property’s accommodation, restaurants and the spa tents. This is true of the way we work with all our hotels; recognising the importance of culture and the local context, each property sits in harmony with its environment.

We recruit colleagues and our leader base from the local communities in which we operate and collaborate with great architects, like Bill Bensley, interior designers, chefs and artists who embrace and champion our way of working. 

Capella’s locations are predominantly in Asia, why are you focusing your expansion here?

Our roots are in Asia as Capella Singapore was the first property in the region. We intentionally set out to provide a new level of personalised service where the guests were engaged as ‘co-creators’ to curate experiences they desire and we would do everything to facilitate. After more than ten years of having just one Capella hotel on the continent, we set a milestone goal to undertake an aggressive expansion across the Asia-Pacific region. We will soon have a Capella hotel in Bangkok, the Maldives and Sydney, in addition to the ones now open in Sanya, Ubud, Shanghai and Singapore – each in their own right unique and successful. Opening these properties in the biggest populous centre of the world, Asia, is a gamechanger in amplifying the Capella brand and make us a very sought-after hotel group. 

Our journey to grow the prominence of the brand doesn’t stop here, there are many opportunities we are looking into. On the radar are Beijing and Hong Kong and countries such as the Taipei, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, plus emerging tourism markets like Bhutan and Tibet. We are fairly young in our development and it is feasible to see 25 hotels under the Capella brand in the next 5 years, the challenge is finding the right locations where our vision of properties sitting in harmony with environment and curation of culture through meaningful experience can be fully realised. 

Capella is a brand that often comes up in conversation when talking about ‘new luxury’, what does that mean to you? 

An emergent type of traveller is coming to the fore; one who desires self-reflection and enrichment in their travels, to connect with humanity through the local community and the natural kingdom through conservation efforts, ultimately with the goal to return home more enlightened. The response to this is today’s hospitality brands look less like a way of travel and more like a way of life. And the market is shifting where experiences and knowledge are more significant than material or superficial manifestations of luxury. 

What’s the most important issue in luxury hospitality now and what can we expect from the future?

The most important issue in luxury hospitality for travellers now is sustainability. More and more customers are aware of sustainability issues concerning the travel industry. As the Capella brand continues its expansion, we have sharpened our commitment to sustainability with several initiatives in place to ensure environmental protection. An example is Capella Ubud which has an onsite organic garden, crayfish farm, and beehives – in addition to the garden being used for menu preparations within the camp, there are plans to expand the garden to enable the local villagers to sell goods and benefit from the proceeds. In line with their dedication to supporting local village residents, the property also has a scholarship programme whereby they teach children a hospitality-related skill and offer English classes, and instead of monetary repayment, Capella Ubud asks students to “pay” by bringing a bag of empty plastic bottles to each class. The team recycles the plastic bottles with all proceeds reinvested in the village. 

What do you think about the rise of conscious travel and whether the role of the travel industry is changing in the lives of the people we serve?

The travel industry is rising to fill the need of mindful travellers who want more conscious travel experiences that enrich their lives and those of the people in the locales they travel. No longer satisfied with a typical luxury hotel experience, luxury travellers are now looking to give back as much as they get out of travel. According to research from OnePoll on behalf of Exodus Travels: 78% of travellers define themselves as more “ethically conscious” than they were a decade ago. Conscious travel has lit a fire under multiple travel brands to go beyond the everyday and see travel as more than a form of escape – by moving away from the humdrum experiences of substance can be created which have a positive impact on the world we live. 

New Report: Elevating Emotion in Digital China

New Report: Elevating Emotion in Digital China

We’re publishing a new trend report, in partnership with Reuter Intelligence: Elevating Emotion in Digital China. The report investigates the evolving tech trends of China’s wealthy digital natives.

Connecting with Chinese consumers – the leaders in luxury travel globally – is a must for luxury brand strategists. Focusing on how to engage, this report uses campaign case studies from China’s most successful digital campaigns, analysis of the strategies used by your luxury hospitality competitors, and includes a guide to China’s most important platforms.

We hope that this resource will give you plenty of ideas and analysis on how travel brands must move to inspire emotion, but we recommend giving this report to any member of your sales or marketing team who wants to learn about a digital landscape that is two years ahead of any other!

To join 220 luxury travel brands creating exceptional experiences for this market, inquire about exhibiting at ILTM China 2020.

Revealing Nature’s Hidden Powers with Dr. Tierney Thys

Revealing Nature’s Hidden Powers with Dr. Tierney Thys

The idea that nature can restore health is age-old but how does it work? Recent advances in neuroscience and other scientific disciplines are revealing how nature influences everything from our minds to our micro-biome.

Dr. Tierney Thys is a National Geographic Explorer, biologist, filmmaker and just about the most fascinating conversationalist we’ve met. In her keynote speech at ILTM North America, she will explore some of nature’s hidden powers and share how well-being programmes can light the way to a brighter future for humanity and all biodiversity.

When did your love of nature start?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love being outdoors exploring the natural world. When I was two, if you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said “OUTDOORS”. I was born in California, in the SF Bay Area and my parents would take me and my sisters to the beaches of Santa Cruz on the weekends when we were little. We’d go rafting and hiking during the holidays. Later I moved to a tiny town in Vermont and lived next to a beautiful brook where I spent many hours having fish nibble on my toes and watching dragonflies.

This love of biology fueled my research interests in college where I had the chance to visit Catalina Island and conduct research in the kelp forests, do internships for the Smithsonian in the Chesapeake Bay and also explore Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. All these experiences whetted my desire to pursue marine sciences in graduate school and for my career.

Why is nature so important to our well-being? 

Our species evolved through intimate and inextricable relationships with the nonhuman world. The natural world, the wilderness, is deeply embedded in who we are as a species. We naturally affiliate with other forms of life. To separate ourselves from the natural world and live strictly within the confines of our built environments places us in peril of losing a large part of our identity, and with it, our mental sanity and physical health.

Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. What three tips would you give to city dwellers and office workers to change this?

All of us already have a lifelong relationship with the natural world. We need to acknowledge and nurture that hugely vital bond by regularly going outdoors.

Exploring outside, visiting parks, getting the sand or soil under our feet and into our hands, swimming in the sea, smelling the lupin blooming in the mountains, watching clouds skirt across the sky and feeling sunlight on our skin, listening to frogs at night or the dawn chorus of birds at sunrise—all these activities can recalibrate our minds, reignite our deepest joys and remind us what it means to be human; one species on this planet of millions.

We are part of an epic four billion-year-old story of life. We are only here because of all the intrepid fantastic life that came before us and we can only write our next exciting chapter with nature by our side. All lasting, meaningful relationships are built on the premise of love and respect. The forces of nature have graced us with our precious existence. Let’s return the favor. As poet Mary Oliver once wrote, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”

1 / I’ve got two words of advice: get outdoors. Look at your meeting schedule and see if there is a way to shift some of your meetings to happen while you walk together with your office mates in the park.

2 / Bring plants into your office space and take care of them. See if you can grow some food or spices even in a large pot—you’d be surprised what fun that can be. Their silent green living presence does more good than you can imagine and can remind you of the beauty and calming effect of natural organisms.

3 / Try to walk outdoors on your way to and from work. You don’t need to park right next to the entrance of your job. Try parking a couple of blocks away and get in a little walk before you need to be indoors all day. At break time, go outside and walk around too if you can.

Follow the all the latest news from ILTM North America on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #journeydeeper…

How travel became the new designer bag

How travel became the new designer bag

The latest article by Annie Fitzsimmons explores how travel's meteoric rise is having a profound effect on the way people live and work;

“The impacts of this shift are far-reaching, well beyond the boom in the travel industry. (According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the global travel and tourism sector grew at 3.9 percent in 2018, capping off many years of continuous growth.) Not only do we spend our money on travel, but the desire for travel also impacts how we make money. Job seekers are asking for more time off as a negotiation tactic, and more companies are offering unlimited time off or flexibility in working remote

Check out the full article here

ILTM's Simon Mayle, who is quoted in the article, agrees...

Fitness and Fresh Air, the Latest in Chinese Luxury Travel

Fitness and Fresh Air, the Latest in Chinese Luxury Travel

By now, we all know China is the largest travel market and biggest opportunity for luxury brands, but what do the biggest consumer base in the world actually want? Lee from Reuter: Intelligence shares some of the latest emerging trends in Chinese luxury travel.

With reports of Chinese outbound travellers expected to reach anywhere between 200 and 240 million by 2020 and tourism revenue within China growing at more than double the rate of GDP growth, the country represents the leading market for hospitality brands. This is particularly true for luxury, with any key report from Bain & Co to McKinsey charting China to be responsible for 45-50 percent of global luxury consumption by 2045.1

Chinese cities are ultra-competitive environments with relentless construction, traffic and transport hubbub, and little green-space. This has given rise to a huge trend in consumers looking back to nature, craving countryside escapes, beach retreats and fresh air, while in the city, the fitness industry grows so rapidly that new gym brands pop up on a weekly basis and social media posts make it seem as though affluent consumers live in the yoga studio.

Culturally, China has long been a foundation for the health & wellness mindstyle.

    • Vegetarianism is a key part of China’s Buddhist history, and Traditional Chinese Medicine’s adherence to natural life forces are a key aspect – still today – of general wellness beliefs and treatments. This, coupled with the sheer market size and an urge to escape city concrete, make China the leading driver for global wellness travel.
    • The Chinese government is committed to a health drive, with ‘Healthy China 2030’ promoted by the State Council, including plans for 530 million people to regularly exercise and an aim to extend the country’s average life expectancy to 79 by 2030.2
    • At least 15 million Chinese have gym memberships while the country counts 10 million yoga practitioners. Lululemon now has 10 stores in mainland China, having entered the market in 2016 with just three outlets. French sporting goods and apparel chain Decathlon grew sales by 34 percent in 2016 on the back of 51 new store openings, which brought its total in China to 214.3
    • 40 percent of adults in China said they experience a lot of stress daily. Health really is the new wealth – the modern, aspirational generations view ‘all things healthy’ as desirable additions to the lifestyles that they live and present, and this is in all forms; not only exercise and fitness, but eco-friendliness, sustainability and holistic wellbeing.4

For a closer look at Chinese luxury consumers, download our insight report MindStyle: The New Generation of Health & Wellness Travel, produced in partnership with Reuter Communications.


Asia’s Innovators in “Mindful Travel”

Asia’s Innovators in “Mindful Travel”

Chloé Reuter is Founding Partner of Reuter Communications, Asia’s go-to digital and communications agency for connecting luxury businesses and brands with Asia’s affluent consumers. 

Travel in Asia is closely intertwined with mindfulness and yoga, after all, certain forms of all three things aim for the same goals – self-reflection, being in the present, and in general, reducing stress. But who is innovating in the space of hospitality, and who can the broader industry turn to and learn from?

Mental health issue rates vary from 4 percent in Singapore to 20 percent in Vietnam, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia. And with rising diagnoses of mental health problems in China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia, mental health will remain a concern for many in the region.2 The Willis Tower Watson 2017/2018 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey found 56 percent of close to 9,500 workers across Asia-Pacific’s largest 1,141 employers suffered from elevated stress.3 Globally, Apple’s top-ranking smartphone applications in 2018 were those related to self-care and mental well-being, such as South Korea’s Mabo.

Belmond may have been one of the earliest global luxury groups to offer mindfulness cruises on board the Belmond Road to Mandalay in Myanmar in 2017 with morning and evening yoga, meditation sessions on- and off-board the ship, as well as coaching on top healthy spa cuisine to encourage healthy food choices.

Alila Manggis in Bali conducts frequent 6D5N Signature Yoga Retreats with yoga practice three times a day, workshops, daily spa treatments, and a curated wellness menu.

Ananda in the Himalayas offers a suite of mental and physical health programs, including Dhana meditation to become more self-aware, stress management to help make positive changes to life, and yoga retreats combining posture, yogic breathing and meditation to centre oneself.

Nobody is the same and so, Santani in Sri Lanka offers fully personalised curated packages based on guest’s body composition, lifestyle, emotional state and future goals.

Balinese wellness resort Revivo opened in 2018 offers ten types of yoga depending on client needs from more traditional pranayama breathing, hatha, vinyasa and asthanga to more recently developed aerial flow yoga, aqua yoga fitmat, and hammock yoga.

For further regional insights, download our report, created in partnership with Reuter: Intelligence, here.


Shaking up the pecking order with Jannes Soerensen

Shaking up the pecking order with Jannes Soerensen

Described by Skift’s Colin Nagy as “one of the most articulate and passionate people I’ve met in recent memory”, Jannes Soerensen is The Beaumont‘s superlative inducing, trailblazing GM. Famed for being one of the youngest to achieve such a pedigree, we asked him what it takes to be successful in this business… 

As one of the luxury industry’s youngest GMs, you inspire a new generation. Who has influenced and mentored you throughout your journey?

I was lucky in that I have encountered some amazing mentors, who taught me some fundamental lessons in how to look after guests and how to manage teams effectively. My route to becoming a General Manager was perhaps more unusual than for most GMs: I started on the concierge desk at The Adlon in Berlin, before progressing in the same department to the Four Seasons George V in Paris, the Arts in Barcelona and then The Plaza in New York. The experience I gained as a concierge is fundamental in how I approach the role of GM. From some of the best concierges in the world, I learnt in-depth what people want, how they feel, how this makes them behave and how ultimately to enrich their lives – this is important, whether you are dealing with guests or your team.

When it comes to General Managers, I have been incredibly fortunate to work alongside several true industry icons over the years: Jean Van Daalen was my first GM at The Adlon in Berlin, Didier Le Calvez at the FS George V in Paris and later at Le Bristol, Victor Clavell at The Arts in Barcelona, Shane Krige at The Plaza in NYC and Nathalie Seiler-Hayez at The Connaught in London. And then there is Jeremy King, who, as part of Corbin & King, opened The Beaumont. I have never met anyone who takes such a proprietorial approach in the running of all his businesses, and his vision, impeccable sense of taste and his quest for perfection in every detail were truly inspiring.

The service at The Beaumont is renowned. What do you think is the key to a successful team, is there anything you do differently?

The team here at The Beaumont truly cares about delivering an outstanding stay experience to each and every guest and they are fully entrusted to deliver on this. They know that hospitality is all about meaningful relationships and real interactions.

I was brought up to trust people. And you need to give them a stable environment and the freedom to be the best they can be. I have worked with a number of senior leaders in different countries, who were coincidentally all very much of the same mind-set: they saw the potential in people, they trusted them, they believed they would rise to the challenge and they empowered them to make it work. Today I apply this to my team: believe in the talent that surrounds you, encourage them and guide them to take ownership of how they perform and they will do so at the highest level because they want to and not because they are required to.

I believe that it is important to create teams of people that are not all the same, but work well and coherently together, complementing each other’s styles, characters and skill sets, and able collectively to reach a consensus. As the manager of the Executive Committee, it is my job to lead, to set the values, to pick the right idea in the room and to nurture a culture of debate, where people contribute, and show how much they care. The Executives are the backbone of the hotel and it is so important that they are all committed to striving to achieve what we have set out as our goals and not to be afraid to make the right decisions. This team needs to be seen to be credible and visible.

The members of staff are everything in a hotel, whilst the design of the hotel and the rooms should be compelling but should not impose. The reason guests come back time and time again is because they remember people, not things, and because they are remembered. I recall my first day at the Hotel Arts Barcelona many years ago, expecting to be given a list of job tasks and an ops manual, only to be told that ‘the most important thing is that you are happy at your work – that’s it’. This was the priority (although the ops manual clearly had its place!) and this approach has always stuck with me. Happy employees are the best employees. Sincere happiness is contagious and for a guest to have somebody at a hotel regard them with an attitude that says ‘I’m happy you’re here’ and to show they genuinely care is the most important thing of all.

Our events are all about building lifelong relationships, how does this intersect with your role?

The other fundamental skill I picked up along my journey is one of cultivating relationships. By the time I became head of Rooms Division at the Connaught here in London and later at Le Bristol in Paris, I had learnt that meaningful relationships are made one guest at a time, one travel professional at a time, one member of staff at a time. It is vital to build trust and this is a slow process, but so, so important in our business. Agents book their loyal clients into our hotel because experience has shown they can trust us to look after them; guests come back time and time again because they feel a personal connection with the people at the hotel. We don’t have a guest relations position at The Beaumont because I feel everyone is in the role of managing guest relations, and that starts with me.

What are the biggest issues in luxury hospitality right now and what can we expect from the future?

We have such an overload on information, intelligence and resources that we have to challenge ourselves to use what matters most to us and our guests. I feel hoteliers and owners can easily hide behind the technology, the reports and the procedures, and need to remember the soft skills. We spend endless resource in the industry benchmarking ourselves against our competition on all sorts of key performance indicators, but these exercises never reveal the real truth about the unique experiences we deliver to our guests.

Staff recruitment is a perennial issue but we are lucky at The Beaumont that turnover is low. We have a very large number of colleagues that have been with us since the opening five years ago.

For an independent hotel such as ours in an environment of big and bigger hotel brands, it can be challenging to make your voice heard above the large groups and to stand out – that is where the life-long relationships with the agencies come in – although there is clearly a desire amongst our guests for a more independent, non-branded experience. The challenge comes in finding each other!

Finally, I feel that luxury hospitality needs to lead by example and take responsibility where the health of the planet is concerned. For many years, spoiling and material luxury was a large element of what hospitality was deemed to be all about, but it is up to us to demonstrate that excess is not luxury.

Luxury Hotels Reformulating as “Holistic Global” Brands

Luxury Hotels Reformulating as “Holistic Global” Brands

The latest Wealth X White paper is out and, besides mapping the future growth of HNW individuals worldwide, it heralds a new era for global luxury brands;

“For the last decade, luxury brands have become ever more reliant on the mushrooming population of Chinese luxury consumers to shore up global sales, while managing the brand image (and often decline) in the west. Now, more and more luxury businesses appear to be moving on from this single-issue era. While China remains an immensely important market to all luxury brands — including, increasingly, ‘experience’ brands such as hotels — luxury brands are more honestly reformulating themselves as holistic global brands, focusing on international growth beyond now increasingly saturated and highly competitive markets. The most significant outcome from this has been an acceptance of China’s exceptionalism, and that ‘another China’ is not easily found.”

Download the report here 

We asked our ILTM China Event Manager, Andy Ventris, if he agrees.

9 Reasons Why You Need a Real China Strategy  

9 Reasons Why You Need a Real China Strategy    

China makes two new billionaires a week! That’s according to a new report by Swiss Bank UBS. But as China’s super-rich become more wealthy than ever before, luxury brands race to lay the foundations that will help them to harness the power of the world’s fastest-growing economy. Here are some key facts to get you started…

Download Here

Discover further insights about Chinese luxury travellers by downloading our free report The Asian Millionaire Traveller 2019.

Asia’s New Culinary Concepts: What Every Hotel Needs to Know

Asia’s New Culinary Concepts: What Every Hotel Needs to Know

We asked Chloé from Reuter: Intelligence, Asia’s leading luxury insights & research group, to explain how wellness has impacted culinary experiences within travel in the APAC region.

Health & wellness is not a niche category but a key aspect in the lives of the luxury consumer demographic. F&B is, of course, a key pillar to any wellness offering. What we’re seeing from the leaders in the field is not just new menus and dishes, but new culinary concepts and diverse sub-sectors of food, drink and the idea of dining.

Hotel dining has previously been seen – by the industry and consumers – as more of an indulgence, a splurge and time to let loose. The healthiest options usually offered are perhaps a juice bar or a ‘healthy menu’ with calories counted alongside each dish. While indulgence and luxury will of course remain, the new mindstyle of luxury Asian travellers means that travel brands need to match or exceed what they are already seeing in the world of food.

At home, the affluent, globally-aware elite are experiencing every new trend available to them; alternatives to dairy, continued interest in supplements and new diets. So, when they arrive to you, a juice bar and ‘leaf icon’ next to the couple of vegetarian options on the menu will be as disappointing as being unable to read where the ingredients were all (carefully) sourced from. Luxury wellness travellers are taking entire holidays dedicated to detox diets – showing the market is moving away from a mindset of ‘I’m allowed to eat what I want on holiday’ to a mindstyle of a holiday that continues to – is specifically catered to – achieve their body goals.

So what are the noteworthy sectors in F&B that will impact travel?

Moving Away from Meat

With the world of wellness talking down meat for both body and world health, it’s a trend well worth taking note of 39 percent of urban Indonesians and 34 percent of urban Thais increased consumption of non-animal protein compared to the year before and 24 percent of urban Indonesians plan to follow a plant-based diet this year.1

The Upper House in Hong Kong serves a vegan ‘revitalising menu’, labelled as environmentally conscious. Grand Hyatt Manila now offers plant-based meat substitutes – Green Common’s Omnipork, Beyond Sausage and Burger. Not only advertised as ‘meat free’, such substitutes are branded as‘cruelty free’.

China’s vegan market is expected to grow over 17 percent by 2020 2, particularly in Hong Kong where the number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants has more than doubled in the last two years. Chinese government guidelines are encouraging the nation’s 1.38 billion people to reduce their meat consumption by 50 percent by 2030.3

Organic & Natural

China is the world’s largest importer of organic food products 4, while in the region, two thirds of Asian consumers believe in superfoods for treating ailments.5


The Asia-Pacific nutritional supplement market was worth USD 44.02 Billion in 2017 and is forecast at a growth of 14.63 percent from the period of 2018 to 2023.6 The supplement market is segmented into Vitamins, Proteins, Amino acids, Enzymes and Botanicals supplements which had the highest share in Asia-Pacific in 2018.

Personalised Nutrition & Nutrigenomics

The sector is popular in APAC – according to Herbalife’s Asia-Pacific Balanced Nutrition Survey, a third of consumers are interested in personalised nutrition.

Nutrigenomics is when DNA and metabolism is tested to gain a full understanding of individual conditions. Ancestry testing services such as 23andMe are even offering nutrition analysis, and Nestlé has pilot-tested AI-supported DNA analysis in Japan.

Low Sugar

Countries including Thailand, the Philippines and Borneo have introduced some form of sugar tax, meaning brands and their suppliers have been striving to reformulate their products. Stevia remains a popular alternative, and earlier this year Coca-Cola launched its stevia version in several APAC markets.


The market was valued at USD 40.09 Billion in 2017, and it’s expected to generate revenue of around USD 65.87 Billion by the end of 2024.7


In the past five years, non-dairy milk alternatives have grown by 61 percent, and the market is expected to reach more than USD 35 Billion by 2024.8

Detox Tourism

In Huahin, the Chiva – Som Health Resort offers ‘detox retreats’ from 5 to 7 nights. It includes eight daily fitness classes and a fully planned meal program, alongside private wellness consultations, lymphatic drainage massages and colonic hydrotherapy sessions.

For further insights, download our insight report, created in partnership with Reuter: Intelligence, here.

Photo credit: Escape Haven

Meet Asia’s Most Lucrative New Segment: Affluent New Agers

Meet Asia’s Most Lucrative New Segment: Affluent New Agers

Cathy Feliciano-Chon is the Founder & Managing Director of Hong Kong’s award-winning brand & marketing agency, CatchOn. No one is more in tune with the Asian luxury traveller, so we asked her, just who is driving luxury travel growth in the region?   

There’s never been a better time to grow old in Asia. With the combined factors of longer life expectancy and having the means to pursue wellness at a younger age, Asians who are approaching mid-life are recontextualizing aging as aspirational.

They’re not postponing living well after retirement, but are embracing a life-well-lived mindset in their ‘40s because they can afford it.

These Affluent New Agers are younger and changing the notion of age from a chronological construct to biological and mental mindset – “65 is the new 45.” They want to achieve and maintain quality of not only life but also lifestyle.

Instagram or WeChat addicts, pursuing wellness for self-care and health improvement, these New Agers are travel experts that live very differently from previous generations and consider ‘middle age’ as the prime of their lives. It’s the period when they have the resources and time to take on new adventures and explore the world. They’re willing to spend on travel and wellness with the goal of indulging in bucket-list activities while they can. That’s not to say that they are not value conscious. When pursuing luxury travel, these Affluent New Agers are more demanding in ensuring they get the very best for their money, from accommodations to exclusivity of experiences.

Several luxury tour operators agree. At Lightfoot Travel, New Agers are spending upwards of US$200,000 per trip and there’s been an increase year on year of 20% in these bucket list activities. A typical itinerary? Hop on a helicopter and fly around Everest before enjoying breakfast at 14,000 ft. Walk up an appetite by hiking to see gorillas in Rwanda. Affluent New Agers’ idea of wellness isn’t just spa treatments but physical activity such as hiking and trekking. So much so, that Scott Dunn have designed a number of ‘Gourmet Hiking” tours to destinations such as Slovenia, the Spanish Pyrenees, Provence and the Kumano Kodo Trail in Japan.

“We see a lot of enquiries where the emphasis of ‘adventure’ is on the destination itself, such as Central Asia, Bhutan or Israel,” says Theng Hwee Chang, CEO of Scott Dunn Asia, where 70% of their Asian market comprises silver set travellers.

LGBTQ+ Affluent New Agers are also an area of enormous potential. Acceptance for LGBTQ+ travellers have been growing in Asia with recent changes in legislation in India, Australia, Thailand and Taiwan. Affluent New Agers are less likely to have children and therefore have a higher disposable income to pursue luxury travel. The Tourism Authority of Thailand launched #GoThaiBeFree in Jan 2019 to target these travellers. Why? Tourism revenue from the LGBTQ+ community contributes 1.15% to Thailand’s economy, the highest in the countries or regions surveyed by LGBT Capital, followed closely by Hong Kong at 1.11%.

Want to know more? Discover the top 10 “bucket list” destinations for these New Agers (and more!) by downloading Asia: The Future of  Global Wellness Tourism.

What’s New with Bill Bensley?

What’s New with Bill Bensley?

For somebody so successful, Bill Bensley is unbelievably nice. The Bangkok based architect / designer / landscaper is the brains behind some of the world’s most iconic luxury experiences. Hotels like Capella Ubud  and Rosewood Luang Prabang have to be experienced to be believed, and his own resort, Shinta Mani Wild, complete with its zip-line entrance and open-air Waterfall Restaurant is, perhaps, his magnum opus. 

But Shinta Mani isn’t just a hotel. In fact, as ILTM Asia Pacific attendees learnt during Bill’s keynote speech,  Shinta Mani was created to provide a permanent way of financing the efforts of the Wildlife Alliance, who provide on-the-ground protection to one of the last unfragmented rainforests in Southeast Asia.

We asked Bill about his high yield / low impact philosophy and his new project in Phuket…

Luxury ‘Mindstyle’ Shifts from Indulgence to Wellness

Luxury ‘Mindstyle’ Shifts from Indulgence to Wellness

We’re sure that you’ve read the headlines about the global wellness industry being ‘worth USD 4.2 Trillion’. But besides the big numbers, what is the health & wellness mindstyle of luxury travellers in APAC? Where do the shortfalls of the hospitality industry lie and what are the opportunities?

This report, researched by Reuter: Intelligence in partnership with ILTM, has taken a deep dive into the world of wellness, looking among sustainability, spa, dining, mental health, social media, and many more, to answer these questions and find out where each sector is heading.

We hope you enjoy reading the actionable insights and takeaways found in this fascinating segment.



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 2019 in Singapore, keep up to date with the region’s hot new openings, appointments and influencers right here:

Day 1, Singapore, Tuesday 28th May

Day 2, Singapore, Wednesday 29th May

Day 3, Singapore, Thursday 30th May

Asia: The Future of Global Wellness Tourism

Asia: The Future of Global Wellness Tourism

Back in the mid-2000s, when the concept of wellness first started to gain commercial traction, some stakeholders across different industries simply “brushed it off” as just another fad or fast-burning trend.

That was a mistake.

Download our latest report, produced in partnership with CatchOn – A Finn Partners Company, below to find out why!

CatchOn Report Icon

The Asian Millionaire Traveller 2019

The Asian Millionaire Traveller 2019

Asia Pacific is home to the world’s most millionaires.

Collaborating with our longstanding partner, Agility Research & Strategy, this report uses over 900 consumer interviews from six key markets: China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore and South Korea to discover key insights for 2019 and beyond, including:

  • Dominant leisure destinations
  • Leading travel activities
  • Love of family travel
  • Travel spending outlook
  • Favourite travel brands

Agility Report Icon
Download the latest report here!

From Cure to Prevention: How The Wellness Industry is Travelling Back to its Roots

From Cure to Prevention: How The Wellness Industry is Travelling Back to its Roots

Travel and wellness technologies might be trending, but wellness travellers are desiring a more holistic approach when they embark on healthy holidays. Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, nature bathing and plant-based detoxes are a few healing methods from wellness retreats in the East being adopted by medical doctors in the West. Compare Retreats founder and leading luxury wellness travel expert Dervla Louli shares the shift from cure to prevention happening globally, what current natural wellness trends we’re seeing being adopted by the Western medical world, and what she hopes to see in the future.

The traditional medical world is slowly shifting its focus to prevention instead of cure. The main driver is a desire from a government level to prevent diseases caused by lifestyle habits as there is predicted to be a global shortage of healthcare workers over the next ten years. Similarly, a key driver of the US$4.2 trillion wellness industry is a desire to prevent lifestyle diseases. As these worlds come together, one area that is inspiring shifts in traditional healthcare systems is wellness tourism. In Asia especially there has always been a focus of maintaining one’s health naturally whether that is through gentle daily movement, TCM or even being outside in nature. Now the West is taking note and adapting the below wellness philosophies into their systems.

Ayurveda and Yoga from India

Ayurveda and yoga from India are being integrated into the National Health Service in the UK. A project between Soukya Ayurveda retreat in India and an NHS community facility in North Kensington offers Ayurveda dietary advice and yoga classes. The project is supported by sound medical advice and research and recognises the benefits of Ancient Indian wellness practices on mental and physical wellbeing.

Traditional Chinese Medicine from China

Traditional Chinese Medicine follows a wellness school of thought that focuses on prevention over cure. Being recognised by the World Health Organisation in 2022 will see the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems including details about Traditional Chinese Medicine for the first time which will be a significant occasion. This document influences physicians, insurance companies and official health organisations decisions hence the importance of it being recognised and an indication that we will be seeing it becoming more mainstream in the future.

Forest Bathing from Japan

Shinrin Yoku or forest bathing from Japan is being adopted by the National Health Service in Scotland who have doctors prescribing nature to patients. The medical evidence for doses of nature is wide-ranging suggesting it offers powerful medicine for our bodies and minds. A daily 25-minute walk is said to add at least three years to your life and walking in nature is said to reduce stress and improve mental health.



Not Just a Trend

Not Just a Trend

Covering the Latin American luxury consumer is a passion project for ILTM and we are delighted to partner with Stylus on this essential presentation for ILTM Latin America attendees.

We hope that the insights uncovered will give you clear actions and important context for strategic brand extension and development. Above all else, we hope it will help you to create unforgettable experiences for Latin Americans all over the world.

Download your free presentation here

Free Report: Travel’s Biggest Opportunity

Free Report: Travel’s Biggest Opportunity

To mark the ILTM Year of Health and Wellness, we’ve teamed up with Altiant to bring you a unique piece of research solely focused on affluent and HNW individuals’ views on the latest big travel trend.

Meryam Schneider, VP of Partnerships at Altiant AB, said, “It will come as no surprise to the luxury industries that affluent and high net worth consumers have adopted new lifestyle habits in recent years. Whether we are looking at the beauty industry, athleisure fashion or the luxury travel world, the conclusion is crystal clear: Physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing are now guiding some of the key purchasing decisions of the wealthy.”

Covering the US, UK, China and France, this research will give you tangible insights into how your future marketing and business development strategies could unfold. Find out how you can seize this burgeoning opportunity by downloading the report here:

Download your free wellness report here

The Asian Century is set to begin

The Asian Century is set to begin

By 2020 the economies of Asia will be larger than the rest of the world combined.

That’s according to a fascinating feature in the FT, which unsurprisingly showed the economies of China and India being responsible for a large part of this surge.

What is surprising, however, is Indonesia being on track to become the world’s seventh-largest economy, and Myanmar rising 24 places in 23 years!

Read the article here

We asked our ILTM community how these surging Asian economies are shaping the values and behaviours of luxury travellers.

How wellness is tackling overtourism

How wellness is tackling overtourism

50% of the worldwide population is now classified as “middle class or rich”

But out of 1.3 billion international trips taken every year, 46% of all travellers visit just 100 destinations. This places an increasing amount of pressure on the local infrastructure in popular destinations such as Venice, Italy and Bali, and at iconic landmarks such as the Louvre in Paris and the Ginza in Tokyo.

Wellness travel is often described as an opportunity to connect with nature and focus on improving holistic well-being through a personalised mix of meditation, yoga, massage, cultural activities and cleansing diets, to name just a few. As wellness travel continues its exponential growth worldwide, many travellers are taking trips that are focussed on reconnecting with oneself through mindfulness and self-care.

The Global Wellness Summit’s 2019 trends report identifies wellness as an ‘antidote to overtourism’. This shift has already begun to relocate wellness travellers away from busy tourist destinations in favour of lesser-known, off-the-beaten-track locations that allow for the physical and mental space that is often one of the defining factors of a wellness destination.

Read the full report here 


Check In, Zone Out

Check In, Zone Out

From sleep shows to sleep teams; betterness to in-home pilates – there’s never been a better time to get to grips with the wellness phenomenon. April Hutchinson looks at some of the trends affecting the UK traveller and beyond.

According to The Global Wellness Institute, the wellness economy has now surpassed the $4 trillion mark, and with figures of this magnitude, wellness should also be the mainstay of the travel and hospitality world.

For hotels, ensuring there is a switched-on, comprehensive approach to wellness – whether on-property or knowing places to connect guests to locally – will become even more important as travellers look to plug-in to wellness on-the-go.

Speaking at the recent ttgluxury Summit in London, research and insight agency Stylus took things one step further, speaking of the rise in “betterness”, whereby consumers seek to “self-sharpen and improve themselves”. Travel and hospitality companies that can play a part in helping clients along this journey of “exploration and self-development” will definitely be one step ahead.

But where do people turn to in order to find a wellness break to suit them? Balance Holidays is a new UK-based wellbeing brand that will present a heavily curated range of options, conscious that some wellness or spa companies list anything and everything on their sites, potentially heightening stress over what to choose in the first place.

Following the general trend for personalisation and on-demand services, the UK has recently seen the launch of My:Method, a company that seeks to match pilates and yoga classes to when the user wants them, whether that be at home or in the office, starting off with 150 instructors across London. It has already become an official partner of luxury lifestyle concierge company Quintessentially and its corporate clients include Farfetch, Estée Lauder Group and Burberry.

Introducing services such as these is becoming an ever-crucial part of the workplace too – whether it be for physical fitness or an understanding of employees’ mental wellbeing; Lisa Fitzell, the new managing director of one of the UK’s top luxury tour operators Elegant Resorts, brought yoga classes and mindfulness sessions for the team with her when she joined and employee engagement scores are already seeing the effects.

Brand expansion in the UK is also key, with companies such as Africology launching for the first time, conscious of the potential for spa and wellness products here; the South African brand opened a flagship shop in London’s Covent Garden in November. Meanwhile, Bamford, a British brand already loved by country gals and city slickers alike, launched a three-floor whitewashed space in Chelsea, with a sky-lit yoga studio, tea bar and of course treatment rooms.

But one of the most talked about elements of wellness is of course sleep, and this autumn, London saw another debut, a new show called Somnex, an exhibition utterly dedicated to helping visitors easier achieve this often-elusive state. The move comes at a time when the sleep-health industry is estimated to be worth £30 billion, and the Great British Bedtime Report has suggested that almost a third of us are still getting poor sleep most nights – usually due to stress and worry.

According to Somnex, the average Brit only gets six hours and nineteen minutes of shut-eye a night, so is it any wonder they look to their holidays to try and play catch-up? While it may not be a new trend, more hotels are certainly taking this on-board, by improving the quality of the sleep experience they try and present to frazzled, sleep-deprived guests.

“In hotels across the world, pillow menus, ambient lighting and herbal teas have long come as standard, but hotels have upped their game to offer exercise classes, in-room massages and even bespoke supper menus,” according to Bansri Shah, co-founder and organiser of Somnex.

Leading the way in its holistic approach to sleep is Six Senses, which has taken a top-to-toe look at helping guests nod-off easier. The Sleep with Six Senses experience includes Naturalmat mattresses (made in the UK) and dedicated sleep ambassadors to guide guests in achieving the very best night’s sleep.

For its sleep-seeking guests, Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai offers a 90-minute spa experience, with herbal steam, acupuncture and a hot bath of Tibetan roseroot bath salts; pillow menu of six, with lavender eye pillow and diffuser; and a magnesium-rich bedtime smoothie of Valrhona chocolate, banana and walnut.

And over at The Benjamin in New York, there is a 24-7 “sleep team”, who have all been trained by sleep consultant Rebecca Robbins on the fundamentals of sleep medicine and promotion of healthy sleep habits. The hotel’s sleepy package also includes on-demand meditation; eye masks, ear plugs, blackout curtains and a lullaby music library; in-room pampering and spa treatments; “bedtime bites”; “work-down” and wake-up calls; and even the Winks’ programme for younger guests.

Now where’s that cup of cocoa…

Forget guided tours, the Chinese want autonomy

Forget guided tours, the Chinese want autonomy

Chinese travellers will venture off the beaten track independently, shunning the long favoured guided tour system.

Recent research shows a surge in the proportion of Chinese travellers making their own arrangements and travelling completely independently. The ones leading the charge are those from tier-one cities.

“We predict that experienced travellers will increasingly take firm control of their itineraries and visit exciting locations that are sure to make their friends back home swoon.”

Read the article here 

We asked our ILTM China Event Manager, Andy Ventris, how luxury brands can attract the increasing number of autonomous Chinese travellers.

Australian Travellers in Search of ‘New Luxury’

Australian Travellers in Search of ‘New Luxury’

With longer annual holidays, higher disposable income and a keener sense of adventure, Australians are widely considered among the world’s most prolific travellers.

But a distinct cultural shift is changing the way Australians now explore the world – and luxury travel brands are responding to the new mindset.

“Small and intimate is in,” says Cathy Wagstaff, Editor-in-Chief of Signature Luxury Travel & Style, and of LATTE, the only luxury travel trade enewsletter in Australasia.

“Australians will always love Europe, especially Italy and France, but there is a trend towards smaller hotels, customised tours offering unique and immersive cultural experiences, and authentic regional cuisine in places like Japan, Iceland, the Galapagos Islands, Africa and Antarctica,” she adds.

Wagstaff points to tented camps, ‘bubble’ tents, exclusive wellness retreats and off-the-beaten-track wildlife safaris, especially those with a genuine focus on conservation.

“Australian luxury travellers want the best and will be loyal to luxury travel brands that deliver on service, product and experiences,” she adds. “Giving back to local communities wherever possible is also increasingly important.”

Michael Londregan, Managing Director of Virtuoso Asia Pacific, agrees.

“Small is big and exotic is really popular,” he says. “Australian travellers are looking for things in the middle of their wishlists like the Galapagos, Japan, Antarctica, Cuba and Mexico.”

“These are all places that have traditionally not sat at the top of people’s bucket lists, but that are really doing well this year,” he adds.

Londregan says there is also a backlash against mainstream travel offerings. “Now it’s all about bespoke,” he contends. “I want travel to be designed around me, according to my family’s brief. I don’t want to be offered a trip that’s near enough, but cheaper. The point isn’t the cost; it’s the perfection of the fit.”

The latest Virtuoso Luxe Report (Australia), which surveyed the opinions of leading luxury travel agencies and advisors in 82 locations across the country, predicts 2019 will be a year of ultra-personalised experiences for Australian luxury travellers.

“High-end brands are starting to understand that personalisation is the new luxury,” says Londregan. “For the industry to do this well, we need to understand broader societal changes and trends towards health and wellness, authenticity and true engagement. The human trends that are happening for high net-worth individuals are translating into the travel trends we are seeing today.”

While the average income of Australian luxury travellers is reported to be around $318,000 – and they spend approximately $13,000 per trip – value for money is still a key driving influencer.

“Everyone wants value, no matter how much money they have to spend,” says leading luxury travel authority and Joint Managing Director of The Goldman Group, Anthony Goldman.

“Luxury travel brands need to understand that even though a client will spend big on travel, if the experience doesn’t live up to the promise, you will not be able to attract that high-end traveller on an ongoing basis,” he says.

“Another point to note is that luxury means different things to different people, and contrary to what most people think, luxury travel is no longer the reserve of the very wealthy.”

Goldman says luxury travel is changing, and it is no longer about being over the top. “The luxe travellers of today are seeking more personal and stripped-back special experiences, with superior service and recognition remaining mandatory,” he says.

“Australian luxury travellers are adventurous, travelling with family and travelling more often, and want to experience local culture over white tablecloths and chandeliers.”

The booming luxury cruising industry is also seeing a shift in trends. Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Steve Odell, says Australian luxury cruise clients are increasingly looking for a one-of-a-kind, fully inclusive experience akin to travelling on a private yacht.

“Simply translated, this means a personalised style of travel,” he says. “Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the only luxury cruise line to offer free unlimited shore excursions in every port. This is matched by exemplary service, all-suite accommodations with private verandahs and an array of inclusive dining choices on every ship in the fleet.”

Odell says key trends for luxury cruising in 2019 include bespoke guided tours that immerse guests in the local culture of the region being visited.

“We are also seeing a surge in bookings for destinations such as Japan, French Polynesia, the Baltic and Alaska,” he says. “Smaller ships mean smaller boutique ports of call, away from the crowds.”

Cathy Wagstaff, Signature Media

Michael Londregan, Virtuoso APAC

Anthony Goldman, The Goldman Group

Steve Odell, Norwegian Cruise Line

Meet the travel agents representing these discerning Australian travellers at ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, 27 – 30 May 2019.



. . . 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.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”Calum Morrison” link=”” color=”#000000″ class=”” size=”24″]It’s about finding the EDGES OF YOUR CAPABILITIES and stretching them.[/perfectpullquote]

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.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”Calum Morrison” link=”” color=”#000000″ class=”” size=”24″]The more you try to hold tightly onto the illusion of control, THE LESS FREEDOM you give yourself to act.[/perfectpullquote]

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.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”Calum Morrison” link=”” color=”#000000″ class=”” size=”24″]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.[/perfectpullquote]

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™.



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 

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.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”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.”[/perfectpullquote]

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.


  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.

[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”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.”[/perfectpullquote]

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.


  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.


  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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.