Posts by: ILTM

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

The Future of Luxury Travel in Asia Pacific

The Future of Luxury Travel in Asia Pacific

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

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

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

A New World for Luxury Travel and Travel Advisors

A New World for Luxury Travel and Travel Advisors

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

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

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

We hope you find the report valuable.

Download your copy now:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asia Pacific and the Global Travel Recovery

Asia Pacific and the Global Travel Recovery

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

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

Download the full report here:

Hyatt Luxury Insights Session

Hyatt Luxury Insights Session

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

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

Millennials, COVID, and the Future of Travel

Millennials, COVID, and the Future of Travel

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

A Giant Generation

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

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

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

Millennials And Money

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

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

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

Bold In The Face Of Uncertainty

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Millennial-Made Travel and the New World

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

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

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

The Good News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maldives to Launch Loyalty Program for Travellers

Maldives to Launch Loyalty Program for Travellers

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

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

Check out the full article here

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

Announcing The ILTM World Tour

Announcing The ILTM World Tour

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

The Exciting Part…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a snapshot of how our tour will go:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Road to Cannes

The Road to Cannes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ILTM Team.

For regular updates please see: www.iltm.com/cannes/latest

Why Travel Advisors Are Everyone’s Best Friend Right Now

Why Travel Advisors Are Everyone’s Best Friend Right Now

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

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

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

Travel Advisors Build Essential Confidence About Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Travel Advisors Offer a Genuine Personal Touch

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

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

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

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

Travel Advisors Are the Prime Source of Travel Trends

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

Travel Advisors Appreciate the Importance of Family

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

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

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

Travel Advisors Provide the Support Hoteliers Need Right Now

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

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

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

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

Travel Advisors Have Become Experts Of Domestic Travel

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

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

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

Travel Advisors Can Provide Clients With The Flexibility They Now Need

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

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

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

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

Travel Advisors Have Been Preparing for the Future

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

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

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

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

The Future Is Personal

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

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

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

European Luxury Travellers Gaining Confidence

European Luxury Travellers Gaining Confidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ILTM Data Reveals Key Global Insights

ILTM Data Reveals Key Global Insights

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

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

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

Current Booking Behaviours

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

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

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

flights and length of time for bookings

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

Popular Destinations And Shifting Travel Preferences Among HNWI

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

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

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

The Barriers To Travel And The Return Of Bookings

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

why are clients not booking yet?

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

expectation of when clients will travel again

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

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

What the Industry Needs and the Journey Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

The ILTM team look forward to seeing you there.

Leading The Way With Timo Gruenert Of The Oetker Collection

Leading The Way With Timo Gruenert Of The Oetker Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carol Chen On The Mood Of Chinese Travellers

Carol Chen On The Mood Of Chinese Travellers

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

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

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

How has your team and the business managed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Travel & Tourism: The Global Employer

Travel & Tourism: The Global Employer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* International Trade Union Confederation

Spreading The Wealth

Spreading The Wealth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what does this mean for the future?

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

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

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

Luxury Travel’s True Impact on Employment

Luxury Travel’s True Impact on Employment

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

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

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

Download your copy now:

Why empathy is the critical word right now

Why empathy is the critical word right now

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

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

Check out the full article here

 

Space tourists by 2021

Space tourists by 2021

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

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

Check out the full article here

 

Luxury segment continues to surge

Luxury segment continues to surge

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

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

Check out the full article here

 

NEW REPORT: LUXURY TRAVEL ECOSYSTEM WORTH $1.54trn

NEW REPORT: LUXURY TRAVEL ECOSYSTEM WORTH  $1.54trn

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

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

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

Download your copy now:

Building a modern luxury legend

Building a modern luxury legend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Report: Elevating Emotion in Digital China

New Report: Elevating Emotion in Digital China

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

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

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

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

Revealing Nature’s Hidden Powers with Dr. Tierney Thys

Revealing Nature’s Hidden Powers with Dr. Tierney Thys

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

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

When did your love of nature start?

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

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

Why is nature so important to our well-being? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shaking up the pecking order with Jannes Soerensen

Shaking up the pecking order with Jannes Soerensen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luxury Hotels Reformulating as “Holistic Global” Brands

Luxury Hotels Reformulating as “Holistic Global” Brands

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

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

Download the report here 

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

9 Reasons Why You Need a Real China Strategy  

9 Reasons Why You Need a Real China Strategy    

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

Download Here

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

What’s New with Bill Bensley?

What’s New with Bill Bensley?

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

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

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

Luxury ‘Mindstyle’ Shifts from Indulgence to Wellness

Luxury ‘Mindstyle’ Shifts from Indulgence to Wellness

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

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

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

Asia: The Future of Global Wellness Tourism

Asia: The Future of Global Wellness Tourism

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

That was a mistake.

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

CatchOn Report Icon

The Asian Millionaire Traveller 2019

The Asian Millionaire Traveller 2019

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

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

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

Agility Report Icon
Download the latest report here!

Not Just a Trend

Not Just a Trend

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

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

Download your free presentation here

The Asian Century is set to begin

The Asian Century is set to begin

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

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

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

Read the article here

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

How wellness is tackling overtourism

How wellness is tackling overtourism

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

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

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

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

Read the full report here 

 

Forget guided tours, the Chinese want autonomy

Forget guided tours, the Chinese want autonomy

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

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

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

Read the article here 

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

Video: What Is Wellness and How to Embrace It

Video: What Is Wellness and How to Embrace It

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

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

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

Video: Wellness with Cynthia Rosenfeld

Video: Wellness with Cynthia Rosenfeld

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what’s happening?

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

Stuck in a vicious circle

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

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

But with change comes new opportunity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blair Hong, CEO, T Percent

Es Shin, GM, Oui Tours

Michael Ahn, MD, Tailored Travel

Video: Wellness with Six Senses’ Neil Jacobs

Video: Wellness with Six Senses’ Neil Jacobs

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

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

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

Free Report: The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2018

Free Report: The Chinese Luxury Traveller 2018

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


JACK EZON’S TOP 5 LUXURY TRENDS FOR 2019

JACK EZON’S TOP 5 LUXURY TRENDS FOR 2019

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

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

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

The Year of Health and Wellness

The Year of Health and Wellness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Forum 2018: The ILTM Year of Health and Wellness

Global Forum 2018: The ILTM Year of Health and Wellness

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

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

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

ILTM Global Forum 2018

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

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

 

Dan Buettner, Founder of Blue Zones

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

 

Julien Paccaud, Osteopath and Founder of Ecologie du corps

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

 

 

 

FREE REPORT: T+L Rising Stars – Alumni Network

FREE REPORT: T+L Rising Stars – Alumni Network

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Download our free report here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: David Rockwell

Leaders of Luxury Series: David Rockwell

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

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

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

Video: An Interview with Haisley Smith

Video: An Interview with Haisley Smith

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

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

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

Video: An Interview with Josh Bush

Video: An Interview with Josh Bush

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

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

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

Spotlight on China

Spotlight on China

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

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

Download Here

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

Luxury Hotels Go Plastic-Free: EDITION Hotels

Luxury Hotels Go Plastic-Free: EDITION Hotels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Barry Sternlicht

Leaders of Luxury Series: Barry Sternlicht

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

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

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

Luxury Hotels Go Plastic-Free: Six Senses Laamu

Luxury Hotels Go Plastic-Free: Six Senses Laamu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Mauricio Umansky

Leaders of Luxury Series: Mauricio Umansky

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

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

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

The Rise of Ultra-Luxury Cruises

The Rise of Ultra-Luxury Cruises

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources

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

 

FOCUS ON ASIA PACIFIC: CHARLOTTE HARRIS

FOCUS ON ASIA PACIFIC: CHARLOTTE HARRIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Ralph Pucci

Leaders of Luxury Series: Ralph Pucci

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Will Guidara

Leaders of Luxury Series: Will Guidara

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

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

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

Discover Your Passion in Singapore

Discover Your Passion in Singapore

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

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

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

FOODIE

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

EXPLORER

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

COLLECTOR

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

SOCIALISER

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

ACTION SEEKER

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

CULTURE SHAPER

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

 

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

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

Meet the college student redefining the luxury travel agency

Meet the college student redefining the luxury travel agency

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

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

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

Photo credit: The Harvard College Leadership Review

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

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

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

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

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

8 Experts Talk Social Consciousness and Awareness in Luxury Travel

8 Experts Talk Social Consciousness and Awareness in Luxury Travel

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

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


1) JESSYCA GEORGISON

Travel and Cruise Consultant, Renshaw Travel

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

2) DAVID SCAFF

Centurion Relationship Manager, American Express Travel

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

 

3) COURTNEY SHEELEY

Luxury Travel Consultant, Jet Set World Travel

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

4) VICTORIA STRUBBE

Luxury Travel Advisor, Camelback Odyssey Travel

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

 

5) JACQUELINE MORGAN

Luxury Travel Advisor, Travelink, American Express Travel

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

6) MEGAN PERI

Director of Leisure, Plaza Travel

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

 

7) KRISTIANA CAPATI CHOQUET

Luxury Travel Consultant, Ovation Vacations

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

8) JAYME HOOD

Luxury Travel Advisor, Huffman Travel Ltd.

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


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

What is Your Strategy for Targeting the LGBTQ+ Traveller?

What is Your Strategy for Targeting the LGBTQ+ Traveller?

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

The Value of the LGBTQ+ Traveller

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

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

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

Advice for Unlocking the Potential

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Neil Jacobs

Leaders of Luxury Series: Neil Jacobs

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

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

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

Video: People of ILTM – Miguel Carrillo

Video: People of ILTM – Miguel Carrillo

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

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

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

How to engage 108 million Millennials in the Middle East

How to engage 108 million Millennials in the Middle East

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

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

Here are three key behaviours you can capitalise on:

1) Highest number of Millennial entrepreneurs

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

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

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

2) Highest video consumption

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

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

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

3) Highest brand loyalty

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

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

Key takeaways to attract Millennials in the Middle East:

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

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


Sources

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jack Ezon

Leaders of Luxury Series: Jack Ezon

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Nancy Schumacher

Leaders of Luxury Series: Nancy Schumacher

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

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

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

The Four Key Values of Today’s Luxury Traveller

The Four Key Values of Today’s Luxury Traveller

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

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

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

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

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

  • Product
  • Environment
  • Personnel

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

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

Leaders with Substance: Matthias Kaesweber

Leaders with Substance: Matthias Kaesweber

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

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chris Cahill

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chris Cahill

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

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

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

Video: People of ILTM – Christian Sierralta

Video: People of ILTM – Christian Sierralta

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the article here 

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

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

Industry Views

Leaders with Substance: Tania Swasbrook

Leaders with Substance: Tania Swasbrook

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

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

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

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

Video: The ILTM Asia Pacific Quiz

Video: The ILTM Asia Pacific Quiz

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

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Tina Edmundson

Leaders of Luxury Series: Tina Edmundson

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

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

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

Focus on India: Amit Kalsi

Focus on India: Amit Kalsi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Matthew Upchurch

Leaders of Luxury Series: Matthew Upchurch

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

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

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

Are Micro-Influencers Living Up To Their Hype?

Are Micro-Influencers Living Up To Their Hype?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you measure the success of an influencer campaign?

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

How do you choose the right influencers for your brand?

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

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

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

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

*Source: HelloSociety Report

Video: People of ILTM – Louise Bang

Video: People of ILTM – Louise Bang

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chinmai Sharma

Leaders of Luxury Series: Chinmai Sharma

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Lindsey Ueberroth

Leaders of Luxury Series: Lindsey Ueberroth

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

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

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

Overcoming privacy concerns to engage affluent enclaves

Overcoming privacy concerns to engage affluent enclaves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Alex Wilcox

Leaders of Luxury Series: Alex Wilcox

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Wolfgang Puck

Leaders of Luxury Series: Wolfgang Puck

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

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

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

ILTM Global Forum 2017

ILTM Global Forum 2017

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

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

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

 

The Future of Technology

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

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

 

The Future of Luxury

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

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

 

The Future of Work

Jess Kimball Leslie, Chief Futurist at OgilvyRED

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

 

The Future of Sustainability

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

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

 

The Future of Politics

Chris Kutarna, Author of Age of Discovery

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

 

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: René Gross Kaerskov

Leaders of Luxury Series: René Gross Kaerskov

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

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

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

Leaders of Luxury Series: Pierre Lagrange

Leaders of Luxury Series: Pierre Lagrange

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

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

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

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!

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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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™.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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!

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


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.

Watch Video


René Gross Kaerskov

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

Watch Video


Pierre Lagrange

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

Watch Video


Jessica McCormack

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

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.