Leaders of Luxury Series: Matthew Upchurch

Leaders of Luxury Series: Matthew Upchurch

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

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

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

Are Micro-Influencers Living Up To Their Hype?

Are Micro-Influencers Living Up To Their Hype?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you measure the success of an influencer campaign?

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

How do you choose the right influencers for your brand?

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

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

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

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

*Source: HelloSociety Report

Video: People of ILTM – Louise Bang

Video: People of ILTM – Louise Bang

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chinmai Sharma

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chinmai Sharma

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Lindsey Ueberroth

Leaders of Luxury Series: Lindsey Ueberroth

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

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

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

Overcoming privacy concerns to engage affluent enclaves

Overcoming privacy concerns to engage affluent enclaves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Alex Wilcox

Leaders of Luxury Series: Alex Wilcox

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Wolfgang Puck

Leaders of Luxury Series: Wolfgang Puck

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

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

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

ILTM Global Forum 2017

ILTM Global Forum 2017

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

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

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


The Future of Technology

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

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


The Future of Luxury

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

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


The Future of Work

Jess Kimball Leslie, Chief Futurist at OgilvyRED

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


The Future of Sustainability

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

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


The Future of Politics

Chris Kutarna, Author of Age of Discovery

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


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

Leaders of Luxury Series: René Gross Kaerskov

Leaders of Luxury Series: René Gross Kaerskov

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Pierre Lagrange

Leaders of Luxury Series: Pierre Lagrange

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

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

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

How your choices impact others

How your choices impact others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reaching the technology-immersed generation

Reaching the technology-immersed generation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not all luxury packaging is entirely digital though.

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

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

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

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

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

The Gostelow Report Live

The Gostelow Report Live

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

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

Day 1 – Tuesday 5th December, 2017
Day 2 – Wednesday 6th December, 2017
Day 3 – Thursday 7th December, 2017

FREE REPORT: The State of the Affluent Mindset

FREE REPORT: The State of the Affluent Mindset

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

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

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

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

How to Make Sustainability Sexy

How to Make Sustainability Sexy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Transformative: the new “Authentic”?

Transformative: the new “Authentic”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Leaders of Luxury Series: Jessica McCormack

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jessica McCormack

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Vincenzo Poerio

Leaders of Luxury Series: Vincenzo Poerio

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Daniel Boulud

Leaders of Luxury Series: Daniel Boulud

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jan-Bart Verkuyl

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jan-Bart Verkuyl

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Richard Landry

Leaders of Luxury Series: Richard Landry

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Torsten Müller-Ötvös

Leaders of Luxury Series: Torsten Müller-Ötvös

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Robert Chavez

Leaders of Luxury Series: Robert Chavez

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series

Leaders of Luxury Series

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

David Rockwell

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

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Barry Sternlicht

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

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Mauricio Umansky

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

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Ralph Pucci

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

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Will Guidara

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

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Neil Jacobs

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

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Jack Ezon

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

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Nancy Schumacher

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

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Chris Cahill

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

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Matthew Upchurch

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

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Tina Edmundson

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

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Chinmai Sharma

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

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Lindsey Ueberroth

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

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Alex Wilcox

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

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Wolfgang Puck

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

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René Gross Kaerskov

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

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Pierre Lagrange

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

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Jessica McCormack

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

Watch Video

Vincenzo Poerio

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

Watch Video

Daniel Boulud

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

Watch Video

Jan-Bart Verkuyl

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

Watch Video

Richard Landry

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

Watch Video

Torsten Müller-Ötvös

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

Watch Video

Robert Chavez

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

Watch Video

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

FREE REPORT: Understanding the Latin American Mindset in Europe

FREE REPORT: Understanding the Latin American Mindset in Europe

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding the Latin American Mindset in Europe

Leaders with Substance: Philippe Garnier

Leaders with Substance: Philippe Garnier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaders with Substance: JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers

Leaders with Substance: JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you keep the world moving?

Leaders with Substance: Philip Ho

Leaders with Substance: Philip Ho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaders with Substance: Lucy Jackson

Leaders with Substance: Lucy Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Top Tips for Choosing the Right Influencer for Your Brand

5 Top Tips for Choosing the Right Influencer for Your Brand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Set your objectives clearly:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaders with Substance: Valeriano Antonioli

Leaders with Substance: Valeriano Antonioli

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


6 idiosyncrasies of the Chinese super-rich

6 idiosyncrasies of the Chinese super-rich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The definition of happiness

The definition of happiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Meet the world in Cannes

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

Nobu Hotels

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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile

The Trafalgar St. James

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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile

Sydell Group

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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile

5 cities that should be shaping your LatAm strategy

5 cities that should be shaping your LatAm strategy

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

Here is where smart hotels and travel brands are spending…

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time to get ready!

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

Forget millennials, resonating across generations is key

Forget millennials, resonating across generations is key

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

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

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

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

Read the article here  

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

News Views

Travel Brand View

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

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

Media View

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

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


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

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

A Q&A with ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore

A Q&A with ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video: People of ILTM – João Annibale

Video: People of ILTM – João Annibale

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

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

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

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

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

Edie Rodriguez – the hardest working person in travel?

Edie Rodriguez – the hardest working person in travel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edie Rodriguez is a regular attendee of ILTM, Cannes.

Video: a travel strategists’ guide to China

Video: a travel strategists’ guide to China

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

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

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

Video: Understanding Asia Pacific’s vital zones of influence

Video: Understanding Asia Pacific’s vital zones of influence

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

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

Our new home…

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

The top 12 luxury travel agencies in China

The top 12 luxury travel agencies in China

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

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

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

What explains the development?

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

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

Who’s already doing well?

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

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









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

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

Video: People of ILTM – Erik Sadao

Video: People of ILTM – Erik Sadao

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

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

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

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

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

6 essentials of hotel social media crisis management

6 essentials of hotel social media crisis management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you like this post please share it with your luxury travel community!

How to beat the competition at ILTM

How to beat the competition at ILTM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Creating a brand strategy for the Chinese market can seem as complex as anything you can attempt to do in this business. The country is vast and its population is diverse. Distilling its essential characteristics into a 28 page report isn’t easy. But you don’t have to worry about that…

Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher, is our guide to the complexities of building a travel brand in China. A masterful brand builder and expert in China’s super rich, Rupert’s insights cover everything you need to understand to start winning in China, including:

  • Top 12 luxury travel agents in Greater China 2017
  • China’s favourite luxury travel brands
  • Summer/Autumn travel trend analysis
  • Winter/Spring travel trend analysis
  • Travel spending check
  • Destination hot list
The English Version
The Chinese Version

How to make maximum impact in the first 7 seconds

How to make maximum impact in the first 7 seconds

You already know that in the luxury hospitality business expectations are high and first impressions of your property, promotional materials, or office are crucial. But did you know that the impact you make, personally, in the first 7 seconds of meeting someone is also crucial for making the connections needed to grow your business?

7 seconds is all the time it takes for a potential business partner to assess your confidence, competence, status, likability, warmth, and trustworthiness. First impressions are superficial and often made unconsciously — but first impressions stick because we are psychologically programmed to see what we expect to see.

Once people have labelled you as trustworthy or deceptive, powerful or submissive, friend or foe, they will go through all sorts of mental gymnastics to hang onto their initial judgment. They will take note of behaviours that reinforce that initial opinion and ignore or downplay behaviours that are contradictory.

While you can’t stop people from making snap decisions – the human brain is hardwired in this way – you can understand how to make those decisions work in your favour.

Because you are being assessed in so little time, first impressions are more heavily influenced by nonverbal cues than verbal cues. Here are nine simple but powerful ways to make is a positive impact:

  1. Adjust your attitude. People pick up your attitude instantly. A study at the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging discovered it takes the brain just 200 milliseconds to gather most of the information it needs from a facial expression to determine a person’s emotional state. Before you turn to greet someone, or enter the boardroom, or step onstage to make a presentation, think about the situation and make a conscious choice about the attitude you want to embody.
  2. Smile slowly. A smile is an invitation, a sign of welcome. It says, “I’m friendly and approachable.” A slow onset smile leads to even more positive reactions. So, begin with a slight smile and let it grow organically. (Also note that when you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings, the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way.)
  3. Stand tall. Pull your shoulders back and hold your head high. Good posture affects how people perceive you by sending positive signals of energy, confidence, and self-esteem. Good posture also makes you more resilient. A joint study by the USC Marshall School of Business and J.L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, found that by simply adopting open and expansive postures people felt in control and more able to deal with stressful situations.
  4. Make eye contact. Eye contact is most effective when both parties feel its intensity is appropriate for the situation. This may differ with introverts/extroverts, men/women, or between different cultures. But, in general, greater eye contact — especially in intervals lasting four to five seconds — almost always leads to greater liking. Looking at someone’s eyes when you first meet transmits energy and indicates interest and openness. (Try making a practice of gazing long enough to notice the eye colour of everyone you meet.)
  5. Raise your eyebrows. Open your eyes slightly more than normal to simulate the “eyebrow flash” that is the universal signal of recognition and acknowledgement.
  6. Lower your pitch. You’ll have them at “Hello” if your voice sounds warm and inviting. Don’t let nervousness take your voice into its higher range. Before speaking, take a deep breath and exhale through your mouth. (If you are unobserved, make a soft “ahh” sound.) Doing so releases the tension in your throat and helps to keep your vocal tone relaxed and lower.
  7. Shake hands. Touch is the most primitive and powerful nonverbal cue. We are programmed to feel closer to someone who’s touched us. The person who touches also feels more connected. It’s a compelling force and even momentary touching can create a human bond. In fact, research shows it takes an average of three hours of continuous interaction to develop the same level of rapport that you can get with a single handshake.
  8. Lean in slightly. Leaning forward shows you’re engaged and interested. But be respectful of the other person’s space. Although there are cultural differences, in most business situations you should stay about two feet away until the relationship has developed and you are invited to move closer.
  9. Begin to mirror. Subtly synchronise your body language to mirror your partner’s. Assume their stance, arm position or facial expression. You may not realise it, but you do this naturally with people you genuinely like or agree with. It’s a way of non-verbally signalling that you are connected and engaged.

You’ve got just 7 seconds to make an impact – but if you handle it well, 7 seconds are all you need!

Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an international keynote speaker who addresses business audiences in 25 countries. She is the author of “THE SILENT LANGUAGE OF LEADERS:  How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead.” For more information, contact Carol by phone: +1-510-526-1727, email: Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com, or through her website: https://CarolKinseyGoman.com

The travel CEO’s guide to Asia Pacific

The travel CEO’s guide to Asia Pacific

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the importance of Asia Pacific outbound tourism…

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

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

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

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

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

On the future’s hottest destinations… 

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

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

The key to America’s new elite

The key to America’s new elite

In the 1980s fast cars and ostentatious watches communicated social clout. Today, there is a new elite in town and they are more likely to reveal their status through organic heirloom tomatoes purchased from the farmers’ market, memberships to public radio, and violin lessons for their children. While many of these elites will be well-off (some even rich), the consumption choices they make are embedded in cultural acquisition and experiential consumption.

Not simply rich or upper middle class, these elites – what I call the “aspirational class” – are defined by their educational pedigree and cultural capital.  The aspirational class will spend $20 on artisanal, locally sourced mac and cheese, read daily to their toddlers, breastfeed their babies for a year or more, keep up with (and care about) current events. In short, this class is comprised of individuals who ostensibly “aspire” to be better, more socially conscious human beings and who acquire consumer goods that reflect this ethos and eschew overt materialism. In my new book The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class, I argue that the spending of today’s elites reflects a shifting of values away from status-oriented material goods.

The key spending category for the new elite is inconspicuous consumption – immaterial, often experience-driven spending for the purpose of buying back time or acquiring cultural capital – not for the purpose of showing social position.  The new elites spend more on gardeners, nannies, housekeepers than any other income group, and their share devoted to inconspicuous consumption has increased significantly since the Recession. In fact, top income groups are spending less on traditional status goods or “conspicuous consumption” than the elites of previous years. Certainly their spending patterns are a far cry from Thorstein Veblen’s fabled leisure class.

Part of this change in spending is due to the fact that today’s aspirational class are not aristocrats, plutocrats, nor do they possess an abundance of leisure time. Instead, many of them work many long hours as lawyers, editors, doctors and financiers. As a result, they use their spending power to relieve themselves of gardening, housekeeping and other home duties that cut into any spare time they might have.  Their long hours make them dependent on services that make their lives easier.

The elite’s acquisition of cultural capital is a significant departure from the middle class and the data shows it. One of the biggest line items for today’s elites is education – the top 1% devotes 6% of their total expenditures on education while the middle class spends just 1%.  They also pour money into musical instruments — 20 times more in absolute dollars than the middle class.

Simultaneously, today’s elites also devote significant financial resources to health care and retirement, or what I call “consumption that counts” – they spend three and a half times more on education, over two times more on health care and 14% more on insurance and pensions than they did twenty years ago. Investing in these assets requires real financial firepower – and none of them can be bought on cheap credit.

The aspirational class also devotes time to things that are not necessarily expensive but imply knowledge and awareness —  reading the Economist or the New Yorker, listening to NPR and Radio 4 podcasts, exercising regularly (and at nontraditional times), and eating healthy and organic are all steps towards their aspiration towards better human being status, but all of these choices require a luxury of time (or the ability to buy it back) and cultural capital often attained through education, social groups and occupations.

Thus while in all of these choices the new elites are not broadcasting their social position explicitly, that does not make them any less significant. In each of these decisions, they shore up the chances of their future and their children’s future.  Elite consumption today entrenches intergenerational social mobility among the few. Others needn’t know about the violin lessons or the private school education but both pave the way for Yale or Harvard, and the prized job in the knowledge economy thereafter. Many of these choices are so cost-prohibitive that most middle class families (let alone low income ones) can simply not afford to participate at all. Cultural capital may not be materialistic but it is extremely expensive in today’s economy.

To catch up with America, Mexico and Canada’s top producing travel advisors, join us at ILTM Americas 2017.


Cultural awareness more important than labels for America’s new elite

Cultural awareness more important than labels for America’s new elite

There is a new cultural and social formation happening in America and travel is poised at the precipice.

A new book by sociologist Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class, argues that rich people are no longer choosing to display their wealth with clothing and accessories, preferring instead to demonstrate their class through non-visible goods and services that are educational.

“The fact that the aspirational class works, and that most of their income is based on the skills they have gained from high levels of education has made “social, environmental, and cultural awareness” the most valuable sources of social capital” Currid-Halkett argues.

Read the article here  

We asked ILTM movers and shakers how the move towards non-conspicuous consumption is impacting the way we sell luxury.

News Views

Media View

"We are witnessing a major shift in spending among educated, affluent, discerning Americans. They’ve increasingly aligned their spending with personal values. According to Boston Consulting Group, of the $1.8T spent on luxury, over $1T is now spent on travel and experiences rather than material goods such as jewellery, watches, and fashion.

Today’s discerning traveller yearns for experiences with more depth, access, sense of place, and distinctiveness. They want to be in the homes and studios of interesting people. They want to explore a destination from a different angle, coming away with a broader and deeper perspective of the places they visit and ultimately of themselves.

According to a study with Myriad Marketing, 82% of AFAR travellers experience a destination by connecting with its people, culture, and history, and 86% intend to meet with and interact with locals. Those surveyed were the most affluent, influential, and well-travelled of all American travellers. To that end, luxury travel companies need to continue to modify their offerings and positioning—moving away from selling the fantasy of travel to celebrating the world as it is in all of its beautiful colours. We all love supermodels atop elephants walking down a deserted beach, but American elites want to know what it is really like to experience a place in a deeper, richer, more fulfilling way. Help discerning travellers step outside of their bubbles and beyond their walls. You will be handsomely rewarded."

Travel Brand View

"We absolutely believe we are witnessing a big cultural and social change among American elites when it comes to their spending habits and travel choices. Oasis’ popularity and growth is a perfect example of American consumers putting a greater emphasis on experiences and cultural immersion rather than physical goods. While years ago, most upscale travellers chose to stay in luxury chain hotels known for their over-the-top service and plush accommodations, today many upscale travellers are choosing to travel with home-sharing options like Oasis. Our guests tell us that they choose Oasis because we provide them with locally immersive experiences without forgoing the hospitality standards that they have come to expect as upscale travellers, such as personalized service, security and hotel-level standards like fresh linens and toiletries. We are expanding rapidly to meet the demands of travellers asking for our services as they travel around the world.

The growing trend of travellers seeking educational and cultural experiences presents tremendous opportunity for travel companies to stand out from the crowd by rethinking the traditional hospitality standards and experiences. Today's tech savvy consumers value ease and convenience, and also seek out unique, authentic experiences that allow them to broadcast and tout their cultural credibility to their friends and family. The key is to really understanding your customer in order to serve them experiences that align with your brand and truly resonate as authentic, not manufactured. The biggest threat is the competition that technology and innovation has spurred in the travel industry over the last 5-10 years. Travel companies must adapt quickly to changing consumer behaviours and preferences, while standing out with a unique point-of-view and guest experience."

Hospitality Personality View

"Now more than ever, cultural and environmental sensitivity and awareness are critical to US travellers, which is a huge opportunity for luxury travel brands. From creating curated experiences with local experts and partners such as swimming with a resort’s resident marine biologist to learning about saving a dying reef, we are definitely witnessing a big cultural and social change among American elites. The affluent in the US have been seeking authenticity in experiences and goods for some time now – particularly in the luxury travel sector, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing. The conversation, particularly around travel, leans much more toward ‘where are you vacationing? Why? And what did you do or eat while you were there?’ rather than ‘What did you bring back?’. For an elite audience it’s 100% about experiences, memories, and being present in the moment."

5 tips for working with media at ILTM – and getting your story told

5 tips for working with media at ILTM – and getting your story told

I’ve now attended ILTM in Cannes for several years and always look forward to one of the best luxury travel shows on earth. Of course, it’s nice to be on the South of France every December, reuniting with industry friends and colleagues, but as a travel editor and writer, my mind is focused on news, trends, and business – at least during the day. We attend press briefings, schedule our own meetings, and are constantly eating, drinking, and socializing.

So, how do you stand out? This past year, I wrote 7 Luxury Travel Trends to Know Now – a piece that did phenomenally well on National Geographic, one of the most engaged digital brands in the world.  It took me about 25 hours to pull this piece together. Most of it was pulled from the notes I took during ILTM (and no, I wasn’t texting or checking Instagram, I was scrambling to write notes on my iPhone!). I am always looking for trends that we haven’t seen before. Yes –  health and wellness, multigenerational travel, and food are trends, but what are the new twists? What is new in river cruising?

Here are some tips to get spotted or seen by the international press that descends on ILTM:

  1. Schedule meetings before you go. Many hotels, tour operators, and cruise lines at ILTM use PR firms, who set up meetings before ILTM begins. But even if they don’t, it’s possible to find out which media are attending and start getting in touch. The emails start flying about six weeks before the conference starts. My goal is to always have breakfast with key people – execs and managers at top hotels, cruise lines, and more. Then I schedule drinks at night, even if it’s a 20-minute meeting. I keep wanting to stay one extra day to schedule Thursday meetings but I haven’t been able to yet. The point? Try to get on our schedule and tell us why you want to meet.
  2. Take online relationships offline. I always say social media has changed my career. It’s because I had a direct line to people I didn’t yet know. But I wanted those online relationships to go offline. If people in the travel industry friend me on Facebook, start interacting with my Instagram or Twitter – I almost always want to meet in person. This is a great tactic before the madness of ILTM begins.
  3. Focus on ONE key piece of news. We sit through daily press briefings, which are always helpful but I often want to say – Focus on one thing! What are the one, or two, things you want journalists to take away? If a hotel stands up and says “We want you to leave ILTM knowing about our new property in Bali,” I will remember that. It starts to get repetitive when each hotel group is announcing openings in Morocco and Oman. Of course, that could also be a trend to watch. Send us bullet points of news – 4 or 6 or however many top things I need to know.
  4. Tell us your own trends. Some trends in my piece came directly from breakfasts or lunches I attended (Intercontinental, Ritz-Carlton). Even if you don’t host a press lunch or breakfast, please do send trends and statistics you’re seeing our way. It’s extremely helpful and interesting and I personally love seeing how luxury travel brands are growing and changing.
  5. Hang out in the hotel lobbies. When I fly to France for ILTM, I just know I’ll average 3 hours of sleep during the conference and I plan my days accordingly. I love hanging out in the lobby where I’m staying (last year, it was the wonderful Carlton) when I have a break – usually around 5-7pm or after midnight. Of course, you see people at the parties as well. But sometimes it’s pure luck who you run into in a hotel lobby – and we all know how magical a glamorous hotel lobby can be. Settle down, order your favorite cocktail or cup of tea, and let the connections happen.

Know that ILTM extends far beyond the few days we are in Cannes. I can’t tell you how many times people I’ve met or stories I’ve heard made it into my stories later in the year.

Good luck and hope to meet you soon!

Feel free to reach out at: annie@anniefitzsimmons.com.

Video: Asia – a moving picture

Video: Asia – a moving picture

ILTM Asia is broadening to become ILTM Asia Pacific and moving to the iconic Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The new show will take place 21-24 May 2018.

At ILTM our mission is to #keeptheworldmoving. Will you move with us?

For your chance to be at the start of something BIG, discuss how ILTM can help develop your Asia Pacific and China strategies by speaking to a member of the team today.


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 2017, keep up to date with Asia’s hot new openings, acquisitions, appointments and influencers right here:

Day 1 – Tuesday 6 June, 2017
Day 2 – Wednesday 7 June, 2017
Day 3 – Thursday 8 June, 2017

Free Report: Engaging the Asian Millionaire Traveller

Free Report: Engaging the Asian Millionaire Traveller

The Asia Pacific is a luxury consumer powerhouse, with the number of HNWIs growing year on year. Yet to capture this market, a deep understanding of the unique values of each Asian country is fundamental. How often do China’s HNWI consumers travel? Where are Singapore’s HNWI consumers travelling to? What are Hong Kong’s HNWI consumers doing whilst abroad?

In order to answer: What do they expect from luxury brands? What are their travel spending budgets? What platforms do they use to gain travel information? Amrita Banta, Managing Director of Agility Research & Strategy will share insights from interviews with over 300 millionaires in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Focusing on their luxury and travel habits and preferences, the following will be revealed:

  1. Spending / outlook for travel
  2. Luxury brand expectations
  3. Key destinations
  4. Key activities
  5. Sources of influence

Amrita Banta is an Asia Pacific luxury expert and regular guest at ILTM Asia. For more information, please visit www.iltm.com/asia

8 things you need to know about Chinese luxury travel

8 things you need to know about Chinese luxury travel

The Hurun Research Report, ‘Chinese Luxury Travellers 2017’ examines the travelling patterns and future travel trends of Chinese luxury travellers. Produced in partnership with ILTM Asia 2017, the extensive new research report gathers the views from over 330 participants across 12 cities in China.

The following 8 findings represent the key trends in Chinese HNWI travel today…

  1. Boutique hotels are increasingly popular among luxury travellers. China’s luxury travellers have an average accommodation budget of 3,700 yuan per night. Over 30% of them have budgets over 5,000 yuan. Luxury hotels are still the first choice for China’s luxury travellers. The Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotels are among the most popular choices, ranking first and third. But boutique hotels are increasingly favoured, with Banyan Tree jumping from sixth place last year to fourth place this year, whilst Aman entered the top ten in seventh place.
  2. Luxury travel agencies are developing rapidly. Agencies have grown at a rapid pace over the past two years, with customised tourism products increasingly used by China’s luxury tourists. 72% of younger respondents used these sorts of products in 2016, an increase of 7.5% from 2015.
  3. A big increase in travel expenditure. The young high-end Chinese tourists surveyed for the report boast an average wealth of nearly 22 million yuan. Their travel expenditure amounts to nearly 380,000 yuan per year. With the increase of China’s HNWIs wealth and the effects of anti-corruption campaigns, their purchasing power has risen significantly from 14 million yuan per capita in 2015 to 22 million in 2017, a rise of 58%.
  4. Destination choice patterns are dependent on seasons. 59% of the luxury travellers surveyed prefer to travel in low season. In the summer and autumn, younger luxury travellers prefer to travel to Phuket (27%), Maldives (18%), Fiji (16%) and Sanya (16%). However, in the colder winter and spring months, Australia (16%) and Phuket (18%) are attractive to sun-worshippers. On the other hand, ski enthusiasts flock to Japan (32%), Canada (8%) and Switzerland (7%).
  5. The gastronomy patterns of luxury traveller’s are varied. 22% of young luxury travellers pointed out the importance of gastronomy and restaurant variety when they are choosing a hotel. Local cuisine (56%) is the most desirable food for travellers when they are dining in a hotel, followed by Japanese (32%), Cantonese (31%) and Sichuan (26%) style.
  6. 61% of luxury travellers choose to fly in first class or business class. China’s luxury travellers are placing a higher premium on comfort while travelling. When they talk about their most memorable trip experience, 61% of the respondents pointed out that they chose to fly in first or business class.
  7. Adventure travel is booming. Global travel, polar exploration and adventure tourism will be attractive to China’s luxury travellers in the next three years. Compared with leisure tourism, adventure tourism has caught more and more high-end tourists’ attention in the last few years. The report shows that a higher proportion of respondents are looking forward to challenging themselves. Among younger respondents, 36% of them plan to travel to Africa and 32% of them would love to explore the Polar Regions.
  8. The number of China’s millionaires is increasing. By the end of May 2016, the number of Chinese multimillionaires reached 1.34 million, 130 thousand more than the number in last year. This year, the number of billionaires will reach 89 thousand, with a growth rate of 14.1%. 45% of China’s luxury travellers have visited more than 20 countries overseas, and 10% of them pointed out that they have travelled to more than 40 countries. 20% of respondents have spent over 500,000 yuan on tourism over the past year. Nearly a quarter of them have visited their favourite overseas destinations 5-10 times. The figures showed that China’s luxury travellers have moved beyond their fledgling stage of development, and have reached a stage of full travel independence.

If you did not attend ILTM Asia 2017 you can still get your full copy of the report. Just subscribe to the View from ILTM quarterly newsletter to receive your copy by email, on July 12th.


5 ways to make more money from Latin America

5 ways to make more money from Latin America

It’s no secret there were some bad economic headlines coming out of Latin America last year. However, there are bright spots of momentum from Colombia to Mexico and Peru. Figures released recently show that Chile is maintaining modest but steady growth, while Argentina, enjoying renewed access to the world’s capital markets, is beginning to stage a comeback.

Considering that the consumers of the future are overwhelmingly urban, recent research from McKinsey Global Institute projects that more than 90% of global consumption growth over the next 15 years will come from cities. This trend is extraordinarily concentrated: just 32 cities are likely to generate a quarter of the $23 trillion in urban consumption growth projected through 2030. Two of them— Mexico City and São Paulo —are located in Latin America. In addition to these powerhouses, Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago, Monterrey, and Bogotá rank among the 100 urban areas that will account for 45% percent of urban consumption growth worldwide.

To make 2018 your most lucrative year for Latin American travellers yet, you may have to do some things differently to how you’ve done them in the past. Here are my 5 tips to make more money from the region of Latin America.

  1. Focus on investing in the major urban cities for the years to come
  2. The region has still a very young population – consider all segments that talk to this generation such as fitness, wellness, sports, beauty
  3. Still on the young population, the region is becoming the digital capital of the world. Brazil alone is a highlight. Latin America is highly digital-oriented where “instagraming” became a new verb. Technology is a must!
  4. New riches everyday, all over, and very young. Luxury niche consumption will keep growing stably throughout the region. Gastronomy and real estate are driving forces, so look to them for the trends
  5. Cultural education is growing fast. Look for dialogues with art & entertainment. Art galleries, trade commerce fairs, movie complexes and theaters are booming

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

Europe proves irrepressible to security challenges

Europe proves irrepressible to security challenges

Whilst overall growth slowed from 5% in 2015 to 2% in 2016, the majority of European destinations reported healthy growth in the last months of 2016 and the most visited region in the world still welcomed 620 million international arrivals last year, according to the European Travel Commission's latest report, "European Tourism - Trends & Prospects"

“Iceland remains the top growth destination with an extraordinary performance (+40%) followed by the outstanding performance of Cyprus (+20%) and Slovakia (+19%) owing to improved air connectivity and off-season visits. Bulgaria (+16%) also saw robust growth while other destinations such as Serbia and Portugal (both +13%) are increasingly becoming appealing."

Read the report here  

We asked Visit Iceland Director, Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir, for her View on the secret to Iceland's success, and T+L's Nathan Lump about the prospect of more arrivals from the US.

News Views

Exhibitor  View

"Today, tourism is the largest foreign revenue generating industry. There have been a number of contributing factors but we have been working hard in the last few years to make Iceland into a year-round destination, in all regions of Iceland. Our public/private marketing initative Inspired by Iceland has been pivotal in making Iceland recognised but I would say that the cooperation within the industry towards this common goal has been one of the keys to this success. People around the world are now more aware of Iceland being closer than you think and we have various new flight connections from different destinations - being only 3 hours from Europe and 5 hours from North America, which are our largest markets.

Nature has always been the biggest draw to Iceland, but now we measure more interest in experience of our culture, food, music and design, and festivals around Iceland are also being recognised. We are very proud of the creativity in our country  all year around.  Popular TV series and films are also putting Iceland on the map e.g. Game of Thrones, Fortitude and Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Now is the time to visit Iceland and explore all our different regions, in the west, east, north and south."

Media View

"Certainly I think all the uncertainty has its impact on the industry but the good news is that at least for our audience - those for whom travel is a hugely important part of their lives—over the years they have become more accustomed to this state of affairs. Lately we have seen no measurable negative impact on the degree to which they are travelling. While some of them may adjust where or how they travel based on their particular concerns at any given moment, they are definitely not stopping. They are still out there exploring the world, heading far afield and making adventurous choices, and not letting fear or anxiety get in their way. If anything I think some of this has made them more adventurous in a certain way than ever, since many of the places that are today perceived as being safer or more secure are also some of the most remote."

Exhibitor  View

"Cyprus has returned to health having experienced a remarkable rebound, mainly achieved on the basis of resilience and strong performance of key industries in Cyprus. It has broken free from the crisis, the economy is growing month by month, its reputation is enhanced, unemployment is falling, the island prepares for a shipping revival, infrastructure is undergoing major reform and new development are underway (such as new marinas and an all inclusive Casino resort),  tourism is booming and the popular holiday hot spot of Paphos is the the 2017 European Capital of Culture.

More than three million tourists visited Cyprus last year, a record, and most were attracted by its climate, security, Aphrodite's myth and many reasons to appreciate the island's important cultural and historical sites. The CTO plans to further encourage year round tourism by expanding the holiday months covering also shoulder and winter months and by further cultivating special interest segment tourism, such as golf, tracking in the Troodos mountains, diving and bird watching.

In addition to Cyprus's strategic location as a gateway between Europe and the Middle East, the island's attractions also include a stable political climate, security, a robust legal framework, membership of the EU and the Euro and a business-friendly tax environment. All these create growing confidence which is reflected in the continuous stream of investments and tourism flow to the island, that lead to the officials expressing optimism for further growth in the future."

How to engage 400 million Chinese millennials

How to engage 400 million Chinese millennials

Asian millennials are the fastest growing luxury consumer segment on the planet. But to capture this market, companies will need to ensure that they understand what makes each Asian region different from the next. Avoiding generalisation is essential; each Asian country represents its own unique set of sales and marketing challenges.

Li Xing is the Publisher and Chief Editor of Robb Report China. She tells us what the new Quality Life Report 2016* will reveal about millennial travellers from China and beyond.

Travel inspiration for millennials in China comes from various sources. Magazines are still the main channel for ultra-high-net-wealth individuals, with 67% of respondents obtaining information about luxury brands and products through magazines, whilst WeChat has become the imperative social platform for millennial travel inspiration.

The biggest travel trend for Chinese millennials is investing in resort properties. According to the research data in 2016, 43% of respondents would like to buy properties, among which, 63% are willing to invest over 1 million US dollars.

Chinese millennials differ from other millennials in Asia as family travel is a key motivator. Leisure family travel (78%) is the main purpose of their overseas trips, followed by business (49%) and individual leisure (44%). 78% of respondents had arranged family travel in the past year. Unlike western millennials, 38% of respondents travel abroad to broaden their horizons and life experience; 22% for education. Overseas travel is becoming an important approach to enrich their spiritual life.

The one defining trait of the young, affluent class in China is the desire to seek out niche brands and spend money on their specific interests, such as fashion and art. Research in 2016 showed that 83% of respondents under the age of 30 prefer more low-key products in terms of luxury consumption.

Engagement and marketing are the most important methods to develop relationships with Chinese HNWIs. Chinese Millennials are more social. 69% of respondents believe “making friends and networking are important and helpful for their career development”.

Chinese millennials will travel to Northern Europe and Northern America in the next 12 months; however, this trend has been affected by some international visa policies. Popular modes of travel include first-class cruise (61%), followed by luxury train (50%) and chartered super yacht (28%). Polar adventure (24%) and safari (23%) are also increasing in popularity although it should be noted that 22% of respondents travelled by corporate aircrafts and private aircrafts, such figures have been increasing year on year. Chartering corporate aircrafts for overseas travel has already been established in China and is now becoming a popular way of travel among HNWIs in Hong Kong. The concept of fly-in resorts may become a highlight in future.

The Robb Report is a regular attendee of ILTM Asia, which takes places in Shanghai, June 5th – 8th.  Find out more about the show.

* The Quality Life Report, a joint research by Robb Report China and Ipsos, is released in print each year.

How to land a dream project like The Ned

How to land a dream project like The Ned

London’s most eagerly awaited opening is here. Standing opposite the Bank of England in London’s financial heartland is The Ned, an alliance between Nick Jones, owner of Soho House, the Sydell Group (NoMad, The Line and Freehand) and Ron Burkle, the billionaire investor who introduced the two.  A genre-defying hybrid of businesses, The Ned is luxury’s latest high-concept hang out. If it didn’t pop-up in your Instagram feed during the soft-opening in April, where were you? The Ned opened for bookings this week and Managing Director, Gareth Banner, is excited. We asked him how he got to lead such a dream project and what he has learnt along the way.

My previous role to this was GM at St Pancras Renaissance, which is a very good example of a large hotel group, but I’ve found where I am most comfortable and that’s in the independent sector. I get a lot of opportunity and freedom to deploy my own creativity, and the success or the failure of what we do is down to the people in my team, rather than the big brand sitting behind us pushing us along. For me, The Ned will be the best example of that; if The Ned is a success or a failure, I will feel extremely proud or extremely disappointed in myself, and I know it will be down to the people I’ve been working with to deliver.

Arguably, what we are trying to achieve has never been done before, so this is a whole new ball game and it does put you in a whole new place, thinking about how you launch a hotel with 9 restaurants, or 3 floors of spa, beauty, grooming and fitness. It shouldn’t be viewed as a hotel, which is what I’m sometimes guilty of; it’s actually 4 or 5 really serious stand-alone businesses. Food and beverage revenue will be more than room revenue in this property, so it’s a completely different perspective.

The most valuable thing I’ve learnt on this project is to constantly challenge whether or not what you believe you are going to deliver is relevant, and whether or not you need to push the boundaries more. The only way The Ned is going to be successful is if it is truly relevant and appropriate for what is current today. So for example, 5 years ago when the project was conceived, one of the restaurants was essentially a sushi restaurant. Today sushi is everywhere. We made a decision in the last 6 months that, after 4.5 years of working towards opening a sushi restaurant, we needed to change our mind and re-concept that restaurant.

We understand that relationships are everything, we cannot rely purely on the likes of the OTAs to drive business through our front door, we want to have really solid relationships with both corporate and leisure agents that understand and can represent us with their clients and understand what we have created here, it’s really, really important that I can have advocates globally that have a relationship with us, that trust us, and that have an opportunity to experience us so they can go away and drive the business into the hotel that we need for it to be successful.

The biggest challenge in building our network is starting from zero. You know, 12 months ago no one had heard of The Ned, so we are establishing a brand and a business absolutely from scratch. Whilst we come from really good stock, The Ned is not a chain so the education process isn’t immediate. Story telling is a big thing that we’re doing a lot at The Ned, and it gives you identity, it gives you a reason to create loyalty, and it rewards customers for being loyal to you.

As far as what makes me happiest I’m hoping that the best is yet to come. I really am extremely excited about this project and I know that this is a once in a career opportunity. I don’t know if I’d have the energy, or the opportunity to do this again, but this is something that genuinely gets me out of bed in the morning with a big smile on my face –  and a little bit of anxiety along the way, I won’t lie –  but I’ve always left a business in better shape than I found it and I’ve always made a point of saying that that is the benchmark for me to feel confident to move onto something bigger or better or different, I’ve always set myself very clear goals and that is what I attribute my success to, and those are my principles that I think I will take with me for the rest of my career.

After its debut at ILTM in Cannes in 2016, more ILTM travel advisors will be able to book appointments with The Ned at this year’s event.

Building Brand Love and Loyalty in Luxury Hospitality

Building Brand Love and Loyalty in Luxury Hospitality

ILTM and Skift have been working super hard to bring you this exclusive FREE REPORT: Building Brand Love and Loyalty in Luxury Hospitality, which examines some of the biggest issues facing luxury travel professionals today.

Our goal is to help you to build a fantastic network and reinforce business and relationships in that special ILTM way. We hope that this report helps you to make the next connections you need to grow your luxury travel business.


Bain & Co Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, Fall-Winter 2016

Bain & Co Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, Fall-Winter 2016

The 15th edition of the Bain Luxury Study, published annually by Bain & Company, underlined in statistics what we've all known for some time; we are in the middle of a shift in luxury spending away from luxury goods and toward luxury experiences, such as travel and gastronomy. Indeed, the travel sector grew faster than luxury goods by at least 5 percentage points last year. 

Read the article here  

The Luxury Futures Report by The Future Laboratory, posits that much of this change is being driven by demographic shift,"Baby Boomers have been the dominant force in luxury consumption, but by 2025, 85% of luxury spending will be in the hands of Generations X, Y and Z. This demonstrates a consolidation of power and influence among those under the age of 52 who have very different priorities to their older counterparts. Younger Millennials and Generation Z – what we refer to as Generation D, or Generation Digital – demonstrate attitudes that are in some ways incompatible with the current articulation around luxury."

We asked some of our favourite luxury brand managers for their View on the redirection of luxury spending worldwide, and how established brands can meet the challenge of appealing to these younger consumers without alienating their traditional core.

News Views

Analyst's  View

"Younger Millennials do not hold the old codes of luxury close to their heart, and switch off when brands identify themselves too strongly as a heritage brand, or create campaigns about the craft-based, artisanal nature of a product. For them what status and luxury means has shifted. Old signifiers do not necessarily mean anything anymore. Gucci is a good example of a heritage luxury brand successfully transforming into a brand loved by younger consumers. Its approach is now playful, experimental and painfully on trend. Take its Instagram campaign using memes, which successfully tapped into the younger generation’s appetite for net culture. This shift is also perfectly encapsulated in the Louis Vuitton collaboration with skate brand Supreme on its AW17 menswear collection. Streetwear is inspiring luxury, whereas luxury used to inspire high street trends. Both brands have embraced audiences who would traditionally be considered outside the luxury industry, and who wouldn’t be the perfect luxury consumer. They understand that the luxury consumer is now a multifaceted being – one might be into skateboarding, while another might be into art."

 PR View

"Nowadays people don’t buy because they can’t do it themselves, they buy because they don’t have time or don’t want to do the task. Millennials will pay good money for a personal trainer or a private chef, so why not a travel advisor? Would you attempt to cut your own hair? NO! There has been a shift in mind-set to ‘why would I do it myself if someone will do it so much better than me?’, so, as an industry, we need to communicate the value of the experience travel advisors bring to the equation and that it doesn’t necessarily come with an extra cost."


"As the younger generation arrives into adulthood, the luxury sector will continue to search for new opportunities for growth using strategies that emphasize the transformative qualities of new experiences. The great digitization of everything rolls on at pace, and the world is looking to travel to provide the antidote. For this reason, the migration of spending from goods that gave status, to experiences that give peace of mind will keep gathering speed. Great news for our industry and even better news for the people who have been so passionately trying to explain this for years!"

Exhibitor View

"The new generation of luxury consumer is more international and curious in spirit. This interest in global cultures has shifted their understanding of luxury, which has at once become less formal, more inviting, and more of an immersion into a destination. They are seeking out a genuine discovery, which naturally inspires a desire to travel and to delve into locations across the world. Luxury hotels have evolved with time to celebrate these different preferences and attitudes, and have become more malleable in their experiences so that each guest can enjoy a truly personalized stay. For The Set it is as much about fusing the rich legacy of our properties with modern design touches, remarkable experiences, and unmatched service, as it is about successfully creating a luxury experience in the some of the worlds’ most sought after cultural destinations. We need to create environments where both younger consumers and our more longstanding guests will continue to want to return, which is a true hallmark of success in hospitality."

Influencer View

"Classic techniques such as sponsorships and partnerships have to be re-examined. Creating the right partnerships and joint ventures allows you to scale. Anything is possible when the right people work together in the right ways, and your business will adopt the characteristics of the people and organisations you partner with. Partnerships don’t need to be with corporations, but instead, real human beings. By harnessing people who love your brand, and encouraging or incentivising them to share their opinions online, you’ll provide a source of authentic information that millennials and generation Z are likelier to trust."

Have money, will travel: More and more wealthy Indians explore the world

Have money, will travel: More and more wealthy Indians explore the world

India is on the move. While China remains the largest market in Asia, 9 out of 10 Indian respondents in the Experiencing Luxury - The Asian Traveler in 2016 report said they expected to spend more on luxury in the next year, giving India the highest likelihood of growth of all the nations surveyed. In fact, according to this article we read in The National, India’s luxury travel market has a projected annual growth rate of 12.8 per cent between 2015 and 2025.

Read the article here  

We asked some of our trusty Indian travel advisors their View. 

News Views

Buyer View

"Indians are travelling and from all segments of society. It's no more a luxury which can be experienced only by the elite class, everyone is travelling now and the seasoned travellers are moving upwards to the next level of luxury, both in terms of wealth, affordability and in the maturing mind-set in the way they take holidays.

Even under luxury segment in India, we have bifurcations, wherein the nouveau rich have different travel patterns, preferences, expectations and needs. The traditionally wealthy luxury traveller has moved towards a need for seeking experience-based travel, wherein luxury is all about time and space, intrinsic and deeper, life transforming experiences and not just creature comforts (which is a priority for the nouveau rich). Some of these experiences are very expensive due to their exclusivity, remoteness etc. but the discerning HNWIs are able to see value wherein the spend is treated, not as an expense or cost, but an investment or means to life fulfilling enrichment through travel.

The majority of HNWIs in India are exploring established destinations, products, experiences, using known global brands for Hotels, Resorts, Cruises. But a growing segment has moved to next level of indulgence travelling everywhere from Polar Regions to South Americas, Latin America, Indo-China, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Baltic States, Northern Europe and Arctic, Deeper into Africa exploring Botswana, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia, and South Pacific."

Exhibitor View

"Beverly Hills considers the Indian market an emerging, newly sought-after destination that warrants an effective tourism and educational strategy.  We retain representation for our trade and communications efforts and conduct in-market visits as often as time and budget allows. During our visits, we combine sales calls with destination driven events that help us update our current contacts and secure new introductions.  Over the last five years, we have seen an increase in the amount of visitors coming from this region and continue to work with our luxury hotels and restaurant partners to ensure that cultural and service expectations are consistently met."

Buyer View

"Travel has overtaken many tangible investment avenues, and an increasing number of my Indian clients are now investing more in experiential travel than in other luxury lifestyle product. HNWI's in India are attaching more value to experiences when they travel, some even for bragging rights. Of course Luxury Hotels, Michelin Star dining options, luxury shopping experiences & sight seeing opportunities are always a given with them. 

Its not just Hollywood & Beverly Hills that attracts HNWI's to LA, but also Santa Monica & Malibu. A lot of them come for the Universities where they have their children studying, some for their fancy for Broadway-like shows, each one has their own draw.

Realizing the spending power & disposal income levels of Indians, the biggest Marques in the Luxury lifestyle goods segment are queuing to open their outlets all over India, so practically everything that one may want to own is pretty much available in India. Having said that, luxury shopping has and always will be on every Indian's holiday agenda. One has to appreciate that overseas shopping has been made into an experience in itself by a lot of lifestyle brands, you have personal shopping assistants, exclusive previews & shopping hours, limited edition items and of course the very latest inventory & personalisation possibilities."


"The research conducted for ILTM by Agility Research, ahead of ILTM Asia 2016, clearly shows a notable increase in optimism for the coming 12 months among Indian travellers, with 9 in 10 saying they expect to travel more. Surveys on the purchasing behaviour of over 300 HNWI's revealed some notable implications for brands operating in this market, namely, Indian's want superior quality from luxury products and services, so you need to be able to show them that your offer is of a genuinely superior standard. They also want plenty of opportunity to buy luxury products, which continues to be a key feature of Indian itineraries" 

REPORT: The Great Rebranding of an Industry

REPORT: The Great Rebranding of an Industry

As it moves further into the new millennia, the luxury travel industry finds itself facing major challenges. The days of every average Joe calling up their travel advisor each time they needed to book a flight have come and gone, and today’s travellers are smarter, more demanding, and more empowered. But as vacationers became adventurers, this did not signal the end of the travel advisor as we knew them, rather we find ourselves at the start of an exciting new era.

Bright Young Things is an event series for smart young agents in London and New York. Facilitated by ILTM’s range of experts, 40+ up and coming young travel advisors are asked the following questions:

  1. How do we dispel the myths about luxury travel agents in order to convince a generation of people who are used to booking travel at the click of a button?
  2. How do we authentically showcase that only luxury travel experts can provide the insider, transformative experiences of a lifetime?
  3. How do we increase awareness of our expertise, on-the-ground experience, hard-fought skills and customized services in order to come together to win back market share?

The answers they gave are collected here in this special report; Bright Young Things – The Great Rebranding of an Industry. Download now to discover the simple steps we can take together as a community to stay relevant in this ever-changing industry. As in life, sometimes all it takes is a face-lift and a new outlook!


Strong potential for luxury travel in sub-Saharan Africa

Strong potential for luxury travel in sub-Saharan Africa

From the US presidency, to Brexit, to continued security threats and political upheaval, the world is a more complex and challenging place today than it was this time last year. Just two years ago, few would’ve believed we’d be talking about Africa’s emergence as a safe haven for global travellers, yet across the continent, a combination of factors is leading to reports of double digit growth.  Available data for Africa points to an 8% rebound in inbound tourism in 2016, adding 4 million arrivals to reach 58 million overall. Sub-Saharan Africa led the growth at 11%, easily outstripping inbound growth figures of the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Adding to the good news, luxury travel markets throughout the continent are experiencing uplift as the surge in demand for 'transformative travel' experiences continues to propel Africa into the global spotlight. The Deloitte Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2016 report predicts air traffic will double over the next 15 years, driven largely by an increase in travellers from emerging markets. Crucially, these travellers are much younger than travellers from developed market countries and a report we read this week believes these two factors represent a huge opportunity for African luxury.

Read the article here  

Is transformational travel the trend Africa has been waiting for? Time to get a View...

News Views

Exhibitor View

"At the moment, Chinese millennials do not make up a significant portion of our market. However, I have recently been on a marketing trip to Asia and it became evident to me that there is a whole market that has not been fully tapped. There is a rise in the medium and upper class in Asia, and they are becoming more interested in different destinations. My observation is that people in these countries are very keen to travel and adventure to unique places, in fact we have seen an upsurge of enquiries from that market just from my initial trip, because of the media exposure and the few partners we are working with there. That being said, the Asian market is more discerning than traditional markets, which could be challenging. There are many luxury destinations in Asia which are quite affordable for the average income and with the technology and level of service that is available on that side of the world, their expectations will be high."

Buyer View

"Certainly there is an increase in travellers requesting Africa, this is for a few reasons. First, people need adventure in their trips nowadays and Africa meets that need perfectly. Safaris are a perfect gateway for a family of all ages to be together, whether grandparents or children. Namibia and Botswana are the top ones. Secondly, there’s a perception that Europe, Egypt etc. might not be completely safe to travel, which also opens an additional door to Africa. The type of traveller going to Africa are the wealthy Chinese group travellers – doctors, lawyers, investors, aged from 40 to 70. There is also increased demand from honeymooners. Certainly not millennials, considering travellers from Hong Kong. Biggest reason is time - Safari trips are always 11 to 15 nights long and Hong Kong’s millennials can only gateway for hardly 5 to 7 nights. Besides, millennials are more explorers than to be focusing only on prime luxury, which Africa focuses on. Based on experience, I would say ratio of wealthy Chinese with age group of 50 and above has been much higher."

Buyer View

"I have found that in the last 2 years interest in Africa peaked within my clientele, especially South-Africa, Botswana and Ethiopia, but in my experience the interest has come from my traditional luxury clientele: more in the 40 – 60 years old category and often as family holidays. In my opinion, the above generation is very aware of the importance of quality time with family while on holiday, introducing children to different cultures & social awareness. Volunteering is often part of the plan. The general feeling of terrorism on many traditional tourist areas in the world perhaps “pushed” Africa forward on the bucket list but the simplification of visas in certain countries in the last few years certainly helped, and I noticed an increase in corporate and incentive travel that then is being extended as personal vacation. The exchange rate of the Rand has also been helpful and the FIFA World cup in 2014 brought more awareness."


"The Asia outbound luxury market continues to grow, especially in China where the rich are getting richer and there are more and more of them. Coupled with the gradual maturing of the travel market in the region, we are seeing many more non-traditional destinations for Chinese travellers starting to include the Chinese in their strategies for next year. Europe will always be big, but Iceland, Sri Lanka and Thailand are now seeing huge growth also."

Buyer View

"We're most interested in Europe, luxury islands and adventurous places, above all, we're always intrigued by companies who have unique businesses or resources. Our target customers are looking for really unique experiences when travelling abroad, luxury hotels with special features - edgy design, unique location, distinctive activities - are the most attractive ones to us."

The dos and don’ts of brand imagery with 500px

The dos and don’ts of brand imagery with 500px

Sylvia Ng is the Vice President of Growth and Analytics at 500px, the photography platform behind the groundbreaking local images first seen on AirBnB, Google and Lonely Planet. 

What makes a good luxury travel image? There is not just one answer to that question. The right image for any brand is one that converts viewers to customers, browsers to buyers, or elicits the specific action you want the viewer to take.

We advocate testing your imagery against your target audience's responses. Too many companies choose beautiful shots, but do little measurement and adjustment. In the image examples we provide for you here, it is important to note that the images on the left are perfectly good images. But, because we are such a large and active global community, we have a lot of insight into what characteristics of imagery seem to elicit the strongest response, per location and per type of viewer. We share that knowledge with our customers to help them curate the strongest imagery possible. Here are a few examples.

NYC typical shot vs NYC greater response

500px data shows that people seem to respond better to the images on the right above. For the NYC image skyline for example, you see much more sharpness, contrast, and the time of day is more optimal as well. In general NYC shots of the “golden hours” of sunrise or sunset seem to perform best.

SF typical  vs SF greater response

In the San Francisco images above, the right image gets a greater lift with rich colours, that particular time of day, lighting, and photo processing that lends a very “real” feeling to the image.

LA typical vs LA greater response

In the shots of Los Angeles shown above, all of the image differentiators previously mentioned, (colour, light, time of day and processing), are still very much a part of what people love, but another very important characteristic that helps this image perform better is that it showcases a less oversaturated but still recognizable landmark of the L.A. area. The trees and mountain are more unique and broaden the viewer’s perspective of the beauty  California has to offer beyond a city skyline.

Check out the 500px Insta for more ideas.

The day transformational travel got its driver’s license

The day transformational travel got its driver’s license

Don’t get me wrong, there has always been experiential, adventure and transformational travel, nurtured by the likes of Geoffrey Kent and Lars-Eric Lindblad, however, if it wasn’t for Delta Air Lines, it is likely they would still be in very narrow and specific niches, open to only a select few.

In 1995, I was seated in the back of an expansive auditorium in Lisbon. At the front, on the stage, welcomed politely by the hosts, executives of the American Society of Travel Agents or ASTA was Ron Allen, then the Chairman and Chief Executive of Delta Air Lines.

The invitation to have the CEO of a major airline address what was the most influential group of travel agents with some 7,000 present in Lisbon was not unusual. Texas Air’s Frank Lorenzo and American Airlines’ Bob Crandall had been keynote speakers before. What was unusual in this case is that between being invited and that morning in Portugal, Delta had announced it was slashing commissions, capping lucrative pay that was assumed to be the lifeblood of the travel agency community.

While there are always tensions in the distribution chain, airlines and agents were both in a period of rapid expansion despite the ups and downs of our highly volatile industry. In a world before websites, online booking and e-tickets, travel agents saved the airlines hundreds of millions of dollars they would have had to spend on rent and salaries to expand and staff their networks of expensive city ticket offices if they had to pick up the reservations and ticketing agents were doing, at that point well about 80% of airline tickets. The idea of paying commissions to agents made sense on a lot of levels. Unlike having to enter long-term lease agreements, airlines simply paid agents only when they sold their product and even better, after they collected the money!

Of course, Allen must have sensed once the shock wore off, agents would figure a way to make up at least some of the revenue. Charge you customers fees for the tickets you sell them was the call. Before Allen took the stage, some had called for walkouts, anti-Delta signs or whistles, and other forms of protest including disinviting him. Perhaps disappointingly the agents in the audience behaved like true diplomats, taking their beating as ladies and gentlemen.

Right there, we probably all should have known that the way the agency community handled the sensitive moment with such a sense of finesse and class would reflect that two decades later as airline executives are still looking to cut costs, nickel and dime customers and moan about competitors, the travel agency industry, consolidated, is a stronger force than ever at all ends of the spectrum.

For the masses, Expedia, Travelocity and plethora of booking sites have made travel accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Because of this impressive reach and the ability to sell combinations of airlines and travel products, these sites, largely funded in the beginning by the airlines, are now very much the two-ton gorilla that independent travel agencies never were. Moreover, they sell travel as a commodity making it harder for suppliers to raise prices thus encouraging the plethora of extra services we now pay for that used to be included.

On the other hand, retail travel agents today are a powerful force in selling all sorts of travel to a time-pressed public, particularly at the luxury and premium end of the market where consumers who have less time want more. Creating memorable experiences that last a lifetime or surprises that turn great vacations into the perfect Instagram moment can’t be done by checking off boxes on a web form. Travel advisors, designers, and counselors combine a unique knowledge of what’s out there with what their customers want and most importantly what they want but didn’t know they wanted.

Maybe it’s the difference between being in the corner office of a glass tower and spending your days and nights familiarizing yourself with product and taking the time to know what customers want, not merely how many status miles they’ve flown in the past 12 months.

A couple months ago I was at an event to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Valerie Wilson Travel. In the middle of the toasts, a vice president of Delta came to the podium to pay homage. After he finished, Valerie thanked him, and then brought the house down by adding, “And please make sure to extend my appreciation to Ron Allen.”

Quite right. Without the cuts, travel agents would never have had the business need to innovate and expand their horizons, and the idea of being able to execute experiential and transformation travel on the scale that is has grown to today would not have been possible. In fact, one of the biggest challenges at the travel agency business for the level of agencies that participate in ILTM and TravelWeek is finding new talent to handle the demand from clients who want more than online agencies or suppliers can provide directly. But if you wonder where it all started, look back to Lisbon in 1995.

For more information on transformative travel, and how to build loyalty in today’s complex marketplace, check out the joint ILTM and Skift report: Building Brand Love in Luxury Hospitality.

10 things you need to know about virtual reality

10 things you need to know about virtual reality

Virtual Reality is getting a load of air time and as with any new technology, there’s a lot of confusion as to what it is and how best to use it. At ILTM, we have teamed up with Everywherebrand, our creative partners, who have been pioneering this for some while and picked their brains on everything you might want to ask.

Download our Guide to VR now to find out…

  1. What is it?
  2. How can i watch it?
  3. Why should i be interested?
  4. How and where do i start?
  5. Who else is doing it?

We will be launching a Pilot offer in the next few months to allow you to share the technology more widely at each ILTM event around the globe. We will be creating a beautiful virtual lounge to view your content in a perfectly
controlled environment.

To express your interest in VR broadcasting sponsorship opportunities at ILTM shows contact Andy.Ventris@reedexpo.co.uk for more information.

Video: People of ILTM – Caroline Goux

Video: People of ILTM – Caroline Goux

There is one thing that every happy luxury travel professional knows; just be yourself you will connect with people. That is a fact that successful people understand very well, and Caroline Goux of Oetker Collection is a great example of this philosophy. As VP of Sales, Caroline is a masterful business woman and inspirational networker, she’s also one of the most genuine people in the industry. If you’re looking for some great advice on how to get to the top in this business, this is the person to give it.

For more advice on how to make it in travel, check out the other videos in this series on ILTM’s YouTube page.

How your competitors are winning in Asia

How your competitors are winning in Asia

The world’s fastest growing market and a glittering, gold-rush of a business opportunity for luxury travel pros. But your targets are sky high and your marketing budget can feel like a drop in the ocean? You’re not alone. We spoke to some of our exhibitors at ILTM 2016 to find out how they tackle the challenges of building a strategy for growth in Asia. 

Meet the highest caliber of buyers from 8 regions across Asia at the next editions of ILTM Asia, which takes place in Shanghai, June 5th-8th 2017. To find out more about consumer behaviour in all 8 source markets, click here.

Report: The Asian Luxury Traveller 2016

Report: The Asian Luxury Traveller 2016

Most large consumer-facing companies realise that they will need China to power their growth in the next decade. But to keep pace, these companies will also need to understand the economic, societal, and demographic changes shaping the profiles of consumers and the way they spend. This is no easy task, not only because of the fast pace of growth and subsequent changes in the Chinese way of life, but also because of the vast economic and demographic differences across the country.

Experiencing Luxury – The Asian Traveler in 2016 is an Agility Research report created for and released at ILTM Asia 2016. Focusing on the behavioural patterns of luxury travellers from 8 Asian markets; China, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, the report explores the outlook for luxury travel in 2016, what shores the Asian luxury travellers are heading for, and what’s on the top of their wishlist.

The research looks at…

  1. Travel frequency
  2. Wallet share by category
  3. Preferred destinations
  4. Preferred travel experiences
  5. Motivations behind destination choice
  6. Favourite airlines, hotels and cruise lines

So for a comprehensive profile of these lucrative consumers, how they book their travel, what media are influential in the process, and their path to purchase, download the report now.

Top 5 luxury travel buyers in China

Top 5 luxury travel buyers in China

If you want to reach China’s super rich, you’ll need to build relationships with the travel agents that represent them.

For the past 10 years, ILTM Asia has been doing just that. These 5 influencers are among the agents we are requested to introduce more than any other. They regularly place business of millions of dollars each year, and have proven loyal networks among China’s emergent luxury class.

If you want to know who is the best in the business in China, read on. And if you want to be introduced, join us at ILTM Asia 2017!

Chang Song (Tony) Liu, Managing Director, Deluxe Mice Tour

Deluxe Mice Tour & Luxury Travel is a company working at the highest end of the luxury market in China. Dealing with affluent Chinese travellers from across the whole of China, Deluxe leverages its B2B incentives business in the private banking sector and extends family travel services to the same clients. As a result, they have a huge market share, one of the most impressive client lists in the whole of China, and Tony is consistently one of the buyers that receive the most requests at ILTM Asia.

Alona Yang, Executive Director, 7 Sea Travel

7 Sea Travel is among the top high-end travel advisory companies in China. It’s widely recognized WeChat platform is something of a revelation, being one of the leading luxury travel and life style content sites in the sector. Equally at home creating your content strategy as delivering it, 7 Sea are an industrious and talented bunch and are richly rewarded with strategic alliances with world-renowned travel partners, organizations and governmental authorities. Most importantly, the quality of their content gets operators into the hands of well-selected HNWIs.

“We select the companies according to certain standards and match that with the company’s profile. We’re most interested in Europe, luxury islands and adventurous places, above all, we’re always intrigued by companies who have unique businesses or resources. Our target customers are looking for really unique experiences when travelling abroad, luxury hotels with special features – edgy design, unique location, distinctive activities – are the most attractive ones to us.”

Jizhong Zhou, CEO, 8 Continents Travel

8 Continents Travel is one of the most influential high-end tour operators in China. Founded in January 2012, the company is headquartered in Shanghai, with branches in Beijing and Chengdu. As the name suggests, they offer packages all over the world. Their main focus is honeymooners and families.

“How do we select the companies we meet at ILTM in Asia? First of all, it depends on what we think our market needs in the next season. We study the supply list very carefully, select our preferred supplier very carefully, check their brief and website one by one to make sure we have right choices, then we contact them right way to introduce ourselves and express our interest to ensure we will successfully match an appointment in ILTM.”

Yun (Benny) Wang, China Head of New Product Development, CITS

Leading a team of 40 in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou; Benny and his team are responsible for choosing the high-end concierge leisure travel products for American Express business travellers on their personal trips (and also the only team to serve the premier lifestyle card, TLS, in China). Since its partnership with American Express began in 2002,  CITS have amassed more than 300 fortune 500 business accounts and a staff of over 800 people.

Joshua Chiang, Business Development Manager, Quintessentially Lifestyle

Quintessentially Travel is the sister company of Quintessentially, one of the world’s leading members-only Lifestyle Management and Concierge Clubs, and Joshua Chiang sources its partnerships in the region, from dining and retail to spa, nightlife, trains, cruises and hotels. No wonder he is on the top five most requested travel buyers at ILTM Asia.

ILTM Asia takes place in Shanghai beginning on June 5th 2017. Booking your spot is easy, to find out more click here.


How to be the best tour operator in the world

How to be the best tour operator in the world

Canada based tour operator Gray & Co is celebrating. And who can blame them?  They were voted no.1 tour operator in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016, capping an extraordinary year for the cycling and hiking specialists. Talking to travel manager, Sylvia Pasqualettie, it’s easy to see why their scrupulously researched trips are making waves.  I asked Sylvia what it takes to be the best.

I am from the North of Italy, near Venice? The Prosecco area.  I am 39 years old. When my daughter was very little I studied for a degree in marketing and worked at an outdoor clothing company. It was very small so I could put my hands everywhere and I loved that. After that I quit my job and got my Masters in coaching. My speciality is sports – not the physical but the mental – everything related to the performance and how to overcome emotions.

I got into guiding by chance, my best friend started working for Butterfield & Robinson and at that time I was doing my training and coaching stuff but I was too relaxed. I always wanted to travel and she was like, “why don’t you apply?” and that’s what I did, I applied. The same friend gave me the contact of Cari Gray, they were putting a trip together in Sicily, it was a last minute thing and she needed a guide and I went, that was in 2011!

Guides have a big ego. As a guide, you are in charge of everything so you want to shine and you want to show the best things about a place and make people happy, so you have to have a big ego, you can’t be shy.  It’s not about being arrogant; it’s being willing to do things for others, willing to make them happy. The best satisfaction for us is to see that everything went well and the people are extremely happy, that’s what matters.

The most challenging thing for new operators is that normally people like me are freelance so they are, sort of entrepreneurs. They do what they know. Their biggest difficulty is to scale-up and become a company. I see a lot of guides that have loads of experience and they just say hey, why don’t I start doing my own thing, that’s normal right? I have a lot of friends that have done that and they do a very limited part of what they could do, because they don’t know how to shift from an entrepreneurial mentality to managing a business. It’s very difficult for them to make that step because, as guides, we are very used to being in control. We want to make sure that everything works and so delegating and letting other people have the space to grow to do things? That’s the hardest part.

To choose our partners we focus on food, the hotels, the environment, and what you can find outside of the cycling. It’s a whole combination of different things. In Australia we find a lot of these kinds of combinations. Margaret River, from Perth down is amazing. Also 2/3 hours North West of Melbourne there is a great cycling community, good restaurants and the right accommodation. For the levels that we provide, we need great accommodation and food to support the North American standards.

The best thing about this job is being in contact with so many incredible people. You know, there is a reason why they are extremely successful and that’s a great part of the job for us, that we are in touch with these sorts of people. Recently a client asked me, do you live every day of your life to the fullest? You can do better, everybody can always do better, right? But it came from a person that I know lives their life to the fullest every day and so that it sticks in my mind most of all.

Grey & Co are regular attendees of ILTM in Cannes.


Video: People of ILTM Asia 2016 – Jeffrey Sirota

Video: People of ILTM Asia 2016 – Jeffrey Sirota

At ILTM we love connecting people and sharing their stories. In this video series, created at ILTM Asia 2016, we introduce you to some of the brightest and best in luxury travel. Here’s Jeffrey Sirota of Small Luxury Hotels of the World on the best piece of advice he’s ever been given.

For more advice on how to make it in travel, check out the other videos in this series on ILTM’s YouTube page.

Reach Indonesia’s HNWIs with Erza S.T.

Reach Indonesia’s HNWIs with Erza S.T.

Wealth in Indonesia is on the rise. At a time of decline in Japan, China, India, Hong Kong and Singapore, luxury spending in Indonesia is being fueled by a boost in the number of middle class and upper income groups. Already Southeast Asia’s largest economy, Indonesia is set to account for 40% of ASEAN growth through 2030 (Mckinsey) and with its young population, rapidly expanding middle class, and massive urbanization, its economy seems destined to continue to outperform its neighbours. 

Jakarta’s Erza S.T. is Indonesia’s most prolific travel writer and a regular attendee of ILTM Asia. I asked him where his wealthy Indonesian readers want to go to next.

Affluent Indonesian travellers are most interested in Japan, Korea, Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

They want to find out about new destinations or cities that are not yet commonly explored. Iceland and Morocco are becoming really popular. Africa and South America are definitely a whole new destination to be discovered.

When choosing which properties to feature, it is important to me to have not only a great angle but also concept and originality, whether in design, native culture or nature itself.

I find my own travel inspiration from word of mouth from well-travelled friends and other travel writers is quite significant to me. Social media such as Twitter and Instagram also help to give me idea about what will be the next ‘it’ destination. And ILTM Asia of course.

The biggest story in luxury travel last year? The arrival of Sri Lanka on the luxury travel map. People are quite excited to go there and see what the country is all about. The fact that they have 2 restaurants on ‘Asia’s 50 best restaurants’ list this year (Ministry of Crab and Nihonbashi), really gives Sri Lanka a lot of hype.

My prediction for the next 12 months? For Indonesia, Europe will always be big as there are so many countries to explore. Countries such as Slovenia and Bosnia might be the next big thing. I am also curious about the raising of Caucasus region that attached to the European continent. In South East Asia, my bet is on Myanmar, it gets stronger by the day.

Erza S.T. is a regular attendee of ILTM Asia, which takes place in Shanghai, June 5th-8th. To find out more about the show, including how to apply to exhibit, click here.

How to get into Asia’s top travel mags

How to get into Asia’s top travel mags

If past growth rates hold, Asia-Pacific is likely to continue to be the dominant force over the next decade, representing two-fifths of the world’s HNWI wealth, more than that of Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa combined.

Japan and China have emerged as engines of that growth, driving close to 60% of the global HNWI growth worldwide, but the Capgemini World Wealth Report 2016 projects South-East Asia, Indonesia and India will all play their part, with global wealth set to surpass US$100 trillion by 2025.

ILTM PR guru, Lucy Clifton, interviews Asia’s top travel editors to find out what makes them tick, and how they pick the stories that appear in their magazines.

Chris Kucway, Editor-In-Chief, Travel + Leisure South-East Asia

Like most in the tourism field, my interest in travel stems from a love of travel and a curiosity, not just of places but of the people we encounter on our trips. I travel on the assumption that I will go anywhere once, so both my best and worst travel experiences tend to be ones that I still talk about years later. Those tales normally involve the people I’ve met along the way, whether it’s a young monk in Ladakh who replied by letter in very shaky English after I’d sent him a photo of himself—his family didn’t have one until that point—or the apologetic immigration officer who had to detain me and throw me out of his county: the immigration laws had changed while I was in flight! I snuck back in overland.

We choose stories based largely on feedback from our readers but also by trying to ascertain what they might enjoy. That’s where events like ILTM Asia come into play. Ideas coming from the people there inevitably lead down paths we might have bypassed.


Farhad Heydari, International Managing Editor, Centurion And Departures, Europe, Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America

I’ve been travelling since I was four-years-old and was one of Lufthansa’s youngest (and most frequent) unaccompanied minor flyers. I guess, I really haven’t ever stopped. The son of a diplomat, we lived in multiple locations and frequented many countries; this opened up my horizons to learning and absorbing from varies populaces and peoples. Today, I’m a bit of a contrarian in the sense that I eschew the obvious for the more elusive and exclusive, much as our readers do. As a result, our stories and coverage in some instances, go against the grain. Plus, our readers are exceedingly well-versed, highly educated and experienced consumers of luxury, so we present them with content that is selective and surprising.


Christopher Hill, Editor-In-Chief, DestinAsian (Jakarta)

 I got into travel the long way around. My journalism career began with financial writing (thanks, Economics BA!) and gradually shifted into lifestyle and eventually—during a three-year sojourn in Bali—travel writing. But travel has been a passion for me for as long as I can remember. It just took me a while to realize I could make a career out of it too.

When picking a feature to write about we  look for anything with a timely/original angle that hasn’t been covered to death already in print or online. This could be something personal to the writer—a family connection to a given locale, for example—or simply newsy, like the opening of a major museum, or the emergence of a neighborhood as a new hot spot. Human interest stories are always of interest too, providing they help broaden the readers’ understanding of the destination.


Divia Thani, Editor, Conde Nast Traveller India

I’ve been traveling since I was very little, as I grew up with my Mother in India while my Dad lived in Africa. We’d vacation in London and Europe. And my extended family lived in the Caribbean and the Far East. So I’ve always been a bit of a nomad! That said, I never considered a career in travel – I used to work at Vogue!

I adore almost every place I have been, but I hold a special place in my heart for India, which is my home, of course, but also because it offers a range and richness and depth of experience that no other country does. It’s the most incredibly distinct, and original, and complicated place. You could love it or hate it, but you can’t not be changed by it. That’s the power of its raw beauty. The best and worst of the human experience (see, I did it again!) is here.

Meet ILTM travel gurus at ILTM Asia 2017, taking place in Shanghai.


How to seduce a travel editor

How to seduce a travel editor

Ever wondered how to get into the good books of the industry’s top editors? At ILTM each year, over 100 of the world’s most influential journalists gather to explore new brands, experiences and new trends emerging onto the luxury scene.

But how do we grab their attention?  Who and how do they love?  Let us count the ways…

April Hutchinson, ttgluxury

BRAND LOVE:  Aesop – love their products and ethos and I would smell fantastic!

I look for creativity, resonance, corporate social responsibility  – oh and love of travel agents!  As well as Aesop, I love TOMS – for their philosophy of buy-one, give-one and the link between products that work (very comfortable, great for travelling for me) and social good.

When I’m experiencing a brand, I look for space to breathe and enjoy, a chance to understand the product, a connection to useful sources/local stories and ultimately, an understanding of my job at hand and the TTG Luxury audience.

Please don’t: ride the zeitgeist too hard…. If your stories are genuine and have real relevance to our audience, no doubt we’ll find them.

Sarah Miller, Wall Street Journal

BRAND LOVE: Apple Mac, iPhone and iPad – beautiful, useful, compact and efficient

A real love is about a conversation that never ends: I like being in love with brands that last.

To grab my initial attention, a good old-fashioned telephone call is so rare these days they come as a pleasant surprise. You can hear a tone of voice, establish a relationship much more quickly and it cuts out all the email ping-pong!  I want you to know me, my readers and who my publication is aimed at and I also want to know that the same story hasn’t been touted everywhere. Oh and I’m looking for great photography too.

Please don’t: sell me the Emperor’s new clothes.  There are very few truly new brands, but if there is a good narrative with a point of view and a compelling storyline, then that will grab my attention.

Nathan Lump, Travel + Leisure

BRAND LOVE: Brunello Cucinelli – classic, tailored, fresh and committed to craft, an emotional connection to people and a very special place (Umbria).  Also a Rimowa suitcase has recently won me over with its fabulous form and function.

 We aim to look at everything from the perspective of the consumer—what will be relevant to them, what will inspire them, what will meaningfully help them to be smarter and travel better.

To make us notice you – please be nice and concise.  Although we don’t do FAM trips at T+L, when journalists do come and stay, we look for freedom to explore, to meet people, to report out stories rather than a too tightly packed itinerary.

Please don’t: Brands often forget that announcements and details and programmes that essentially tell a business story about themselves are not going to be fundamentally interesting to most consumers, and therefore also not to us.

Jennifer Flowers, AFAR

BRAND LOVE: The Peninsula Hotels – its distinct point of view on hospitality always remains the same

I fell hard for Singita following my recent stay at Singita Lebombo in Kruger National, Park, South Africa – a conservation-driven luxury brand with a soul and a sense of purpose. The lodges have meaningful connections with the people and landscapes where they’re located, and set a great example for the tourism industry, which needs to be sustainable in order to survive.

Today we’re all looking to align ourselves with brands that help us express who we are and what we stand for. Tell me about the compelling story that sets you apart. And make it as personal as possible – why you exist and the personalities who bring your brand to life.

Please don’t: if there isn’t a unique or distinct story or narrative behind your brand, it’s hard to make it come to life.

Rashi Sen, TTN

BRAND LOVE:  Too many amazing ones to choose from

Brands are about people. When you go the extra mile to connect with your audience, they take note and remember you forever. I fell in love with a certain brand of hotels recently when they shipped me a set of bath accessories (embossed with my initials) that I did not take back with me. I fell in love with a brand of luxury chocolates because they remember my birthday every year, and I only purchased sweets from them once, on a short layover in Switzerland.

Every travel editor is on the lookout for new stories, destinations, hotels and concepts. The cherry on the cake would be if you do something new as well. Luxury is about personalisation, Sometimes, sending an email is not enough to get my eye, I still really value anything that comes in the mail.

Please don’t:  Assume I know all about you or send me a brochure or a link. Pin me down over a coffee and share interesting stories about your brand. I am in the job to be inspired!

Andrew Nelson, National Geographic

BRAND LOVE: Airbnb – right now the most innovation in accommodations is stemming from their growth and the hotel industry’s reaction to it.

Grab my attention with humour, delight and a shared glass of Bonal. A friendly hello, in person is always welcome and although I can’t always meet with PR folks, I view them as industry lifelines. The best ones are full of great information – about their sector NOT just about their client. And they have a broad horizon. Spare me the 500-thread-count news. Tell me trends you’re seeing.

I take a long view with PR relationships. Educate me first. Who are you? What are your core values? What do you stand for? Don’t expect me to drop you in a sentence at first meeting.  And on press trips, give me time to post and tag to our platforms – that’s what I’m there for.

Please don’t:  tell me about a brand that doesn’t fit a story.

Rodrigo Vieira, Panrotas

BRAND LOVE: Relais & Châteaux – always pleasantly surprising me, even though my expectations are now very high

Last month, I fell in love with a new brand – a hotel in the Argentine side of Patagonia served a simple lunch with local ingredients and it was extraordinary. The view of the mountains and the atmosphere were perfect. This was pure luxury for me.

Organisation is key for me – I like to understand your news at the outset and on visits, I like to have a defined schedule of what is to come as well as of course free time for my personal impressions – all important for the article.

Please don’t:  Just tell me what you want me to write – please answer my questions.

Maria Pellicer, Travesias

BRAND LOVE:  So many but I love independent hotels with spirit such as Casa Sandra in Holbox, Mexico

A few months ago I travelled with LATAM airlines to Easter Island where we stayed at Explora Hotel. It was my first Explora experience and I just loved it, I was so in love with the philosophy of the brand, the way they connect with the destination, how the most important part of the experience is the surrounding nature.

A travel experience to me is about good content, good stories and the real local experience – I don’t need to be pampered.  Tell me a good story, be direct, and take some time to look at our magazine just to see what we are interested in.

Please don’t: Try to convince – if you have a good story we will write about it, so don’t push it, help us find the story.

Satomi Kurabayashi, CREA Traveller

BRAND LOVE: Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna – a truly exclusive historical experience

All journalists want their own stories in their own style.  Either on a press trip or when pitching me something new in person, giving me time to develop my own personal story angle is vital.

When travelling abroad, my readers are most interested in service that exceeds their expectations. I need to trust the people that are telling me what it is like to stay at their brands, even if I have not experienced it myself.  A fast response to personal requests from high-end travellers is also important which again comes back to  excellent service levels.

Please don’t: tell me the same things you are telling everyone else.

For an opportunity to talk to ILTM hosted media about your brand, join us for the press round-table events that take place at each ILTM event.

Raini Hamdi’s top 3 forces shaping Asia’s outbound markets

Raini Hamdi’s top 3 forces shaping Asia’s outbound markets

Raini Hamdi is a writer and editor who has been covering hotels and tourism for more than 20 years. Originally trained in hotel management, Raini quickly rose to lead Asia’s oldest travel trade editorial team, TTG Asia, and is a regular contributor to Forbes and Skift. Based in Singapore, Bangkok and Zurich, Raini is the perfect choice to tells us about the forces shaping Asia’s luxury outlook in 2017 and beyond.

Despite economic headwinds, Asian luxury travellers still crave for bragging rights to unique experiences and

destinations – think the likes of Bhutan, Ireland, Galapagos Islands, and Antarctica. But, while there is still a lot of flash, there is less splash. They want more value out of their travel dollar; there is less of the free-wheeling spending seen years ago and they’re no longer content to leave the decision-making process simply to the experts.

Slower GDP growth, an unpredictable stock market and difficulties finding good yields for their investments are a few factors that are sobering travellers from Asia up. They are also increasingly sophisticated and have greater consciousness of what they want from a trip.

What are the biggest changes in Asian luxury travel? In the last 12 months it was the shift towards even more experiential travel. In the next 12 months, new destinations such as Cuba and Iran will be sexy. We’ll also hear a lot about Airbnb; continued consolidation in the hotels sector; heightened consciousness of safety and security amid increased global tourism; continued uncertainty over the shape of economies and currency ups & downs.

Raini Hamdi is a regular attendee of ILTM Asia, taking place in Shanghai.

The ILTM guide to the perfect working relationship

The ILTM guide to the perfect working relationship

Have you seen them? The agent and operator who’ve been working together for years, the ones with the best rates, whose clients are treated like royalty?

I’ve seen variations of this relationship many times over at ILTM and often wondered what the secret is. Strong relationships are the happiest but they are also the most resilient when dealing with the inevitable difficult times. And like our own personal relationships, it can be really tough and stressful when you’re having problems understanding one another.

So, what are the essentials of a solid, happy, healthy buyer / supplier relationship? And how do successful ‘couples’ manage to maintain and strengthen their relationships over time? ILTM exhibitors and buyers reveal their top tips for long lasting luxury love and some common mistakes made by both sides…

Roger Kershaw, Custom Travel Inc

Start with a clear understanding of your partner’s parameters – that is, know in advance if there will be commission and what the process is, what the cancel policy is, so there are no misunderstandings early in the relationship. A common frustration is a hotel or operator’s failing to understand that while the individual traveller is the guest, the travel agent is the client. Cultivating a guest’s loyalty is important, but recognize that a travel agent’s loyalty is manifold. When an amenity is placed in the room, for example, a nice note or gift from the general manager is nice, but recognition at the same time of the travel agent goes a large step beyond that: it shows class on the part of the hotel and reinforces the importance of the travel agent to the overall experience.

Caroline Goux, Oetker Collection

Never assume anything, never take the relationship for granted once it has been established, be truthful, be trustful, and ensure a prompt follow up. Don’t overpromise, over deliver. The most common mistake agents make is sending a VIP request note or special room allocation request 48 hours prior to arrival. Best practice would be to send a VIP request note at the time the booking is made. Most booking being made more than 15 days to a month prior to arrival, we then would have a greater flexibility in room allocation‎ enabling us to ensure they are allocated the right room, the right floor, the right view, etc. matching all their requirements and expectations.

Quentin Desurmont, Traveller Made

The most common mistake operators make when dealing with agents is giving us useless details about their property, I even heard from a member of staff in a luxury hotel: “we have a bathroom in all rooms, and we serve breakfast”. They should focus on five key differentiating points that agents can memorize as key selling points to their clients. As an agent, it is important to meet the supplier’s top manager in person and share great discussion.


Duncan Palmer, Marco Polo Hotels

My top tip for maintaining a good relationship with a luxury travel agent is give them the possibility that they can reach you when there’s last minute information, changes, or whenever they wish to check on the well-being of their clients. Adding a personalised touch by meeting guests or giving them a courtesy call when I’m off-property gives agents a higher degree of confidence that their clients are well taken care of and everything is in place.


Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, Valerie Wilson Travel

My top tip for maintaining a relationship is do not take me for granted. Help us build a lasting, trusting, and evolving long-term relationship. Get to know me, my company, my clients. A common mistake would be assuming we know what you, your brand and what your top 3 initiatives are. The world is a dynamically changing environment. Always re-solidify our partnerships. You need to repeat, repeat and repeat your concise message in multiple ways and channels.


Christina Deeney, Aman

Our top tip is very simple: build a relationship with the agent and take the time to meet with them in person, learn about them, their clients and what they are looking for. The next step would then be to invite them to experience our properties – it is so much easier to talk about and sell a product when you have had the opportunity to experience it yourself. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal, which is to ensure we have happy and satisfied clients who want to return to us and to the agent so it’s about working together as a team to ensure this happens. The more we know the better and more personalised we can make their experience.

Erina Pindar, Smart Flyer

As travel agents, we need to be able to show our value to the consumer beyond just our knowledge and expertise, which is why price parity is important. A hotel’s biggest mistake is to offer the same product for a lower price should the consumer go direct, it’s the easiest way to make agents feel like the property or brand do not value the relationship. For operators, it’s important to disclose if they sell direct to consumer and they need to disclose what that means for the agent.


Chrissie Lincoln, House Collective

A lasting and mutually beneficial relationship between a luxury travel agent and a hotelier needs to be based on trust and respect. I have always lived in the destinations I have worked in and therefore travel agents often ask me for destination advice as well as just advice on the hotel group I work for. Travel agents that I have long standing relationships with know that they can trust me for an honest opinion and that I will always help them match their client to the right experience, not just hard sell my own property.  When you have a transparent relationship with the agent, they feel comfortable asking your opinion, picking your brain for local knowledge and then working with you to not only plan the hotel stay, but to ensure their clients have access to insider local tips which will enhance their travel experience.

Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso

The important qualities of a strong working relationship with a luxury operator are mutual respect and the acknowledgment of a common desire to fulfil the client’s needs. You aren’t doing a one-time transaction; you’re building a long-lasting relationship. Perhaps the operator can’t accommodate everything you want this time, or neither of you is going to make a large profit. What counts is that you are building a collaboration where you will both ultimately benefit by gaining a loyal client and by establishing a long-term partnership. I wouldn’t say it’s common, but the one mistake hotels and operators can make is to not be transparent with a travel advisor. If there’s a problem on your end, let the advisor know. When you act as a team, you can fix just about anything together. You look better, the advisor looks better and the client’s Return on Life experience may be even more spectacular than anticipated.

Kasra Esteghamat, Eden for Your World

John Oberacker and Kasra Esteghamat

The start should be easy, we start off on common ground. We’re all in this together, usually because we love to explore this world, and to be part of making people’s journeys memorable and the best they can be. To maintain a great relationship you need respect, which to me means responding to requests in a timely fashion and with correct information. Honesty, we all have expectations, and it’s vital that current conditions, issues, availability, and trends are understood by all parties. Passion, I think it’s vital that all our passion about the industry and about servicing our clients are evident. If we or the supplier is not feeling it, and excited about the product, it is difficult for us to feel the passion and to relay it to our clients. And finally, time. I do think it’s important that these relationships be nurtured.  Spending time to send and email, a quick hello at at , grabbing a coffee or having dinner together really solidifies the relationship.

For specific advice on how to connect with ILTM’s buyers and exhibitors, pick up the phone and speak to one of us today, on +44 (0)20 8271 2172.