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.

Leaders with Substance: Lucy Jackson

Leaders with Substance: Lucy Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaders with Substance: Valeriano Antonioli

Leaders with Substance: Valeriano Antonioli

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Meet the world in Cannes

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


Nobu Hotels

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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


Seabourn

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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


The Trafalgar St. James

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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


Sydell Group

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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


Joali

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

View ILTM Exhibitor Profile


Forget millennials, resonating across generations is key

Forget millennials, resonating across generations is key

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

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

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

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

Read the article here  

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

News Views

A Q&A with ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore

A Q&A with ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video: People of ILTM – João Annibale

Video: People of ILTM – João Annibale

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

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

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

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

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

Edie Rodriguez – the hardest working person in travel?

Edie Rodriguez – the hardest working person in travel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edie Rodriguez is a regular attendee of ILTM, Cannes.

Video: a travel strategists’ guide to China

Video: a travel strategists’ guide to China

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

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

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

Video: Understanding Asia Pacific’s vital zones of influence

Video: Understanding Asia Pacific’s vital zones of influence

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

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

Our new home…

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

The top 12 luxury travel agencies in China

The top 12 luxury travel agencies in China

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

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

Source: Agility Report in partnership with ILTM, Engaging the Asia Pacific Millionaire Traveller

What explains the development?

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

Source: Agility Report in partnership with ILTM, Engaging the Asia Pacific Millionaire Traveller

Who’s already doing well?

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

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

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

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

Video: People of ILTM – Erik Sadao

Video: People of ILTM – Erik Sadao

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

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

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

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

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

How to beat the competition at ILTM

How to beat the competition at ILTM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The travel CEO’s guide to Asia Pacific

The travel CEO’s guide to Asia Pacific

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the importance of Asia Pacific outbound tourism…

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

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

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

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

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

On the future’s hottest destinations… 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the article here  

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

News Views

Video: Asia – a moving picture

Video: Asia – a moving picture

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

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

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

 

Europe proves irrepressible to security challenges

Europe proves irrepressible to security challenges

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

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

Read the report here  

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

News Views

How to land a dream project like The Ned

How to land a dream project like The Ned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the article here  

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

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

News Views

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

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

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

Read the article here  

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

News Views

REPORT: The Great Rebranding of an Industry

REPORT: The Great Rebranding of an Industry

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

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

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

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

 

Strong potential for luxury travel in sub-Saharan Africa

Strong potential for luxury travel in sub-Saharan Africa

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

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

Read the article here  

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

News Views

10 things you need to know about virtual reality

10 things you need to know about virtual reality

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

Download our Guide to VR now to find out…

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

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

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

Video: People of ILTM – Caroline Goux

Video: People of ILTM – Caroline Goux

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

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

How your competitors are winning in Asia

How your competitors are winning in Asia

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

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

Report: The Asian Luxury Traveller 2016

Report: The Asian Luxury Traveller 2016

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

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

The research looks at…

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

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

Top 5 luxury travel buyers in China

Top 5 luxury travel buyers in China

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

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

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

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

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

Alona Yang, Executive Director, 7 Sea Travel

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

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

Jizhong Zhou, CEO, 8 Continents Travel

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

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

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

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

Joshua Chiang, Business Development Manager, Quintessentially Lifestyle

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

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

 

How to be the best tour operator in the world

How to be the best tour operator in the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grey & Co are regular attendees of ILTM in Cannes.

 

Video: People of ILTM Asia 2016 – Jeffrey Sirota

Video: People of ILTM Asia 2016 – Jeffrey Sirota

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

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

The ILTM guide to the perfect working relationship

The ILTM guide to the perfect working relationship

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

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

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

Roger Kershaw, Custom Travel Inc

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

Caroline Goux, Oetker Collection

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

Quentin Desurmont, Traveller Made

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

 

Duncan Palmer, Marco Polo Hotels

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

 

Jennifer Wilson-Buttigieg, Valerie Wilson Travel

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

 

Christina Deeney, Aman

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

Erina Pindar, Smart Flyer

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

 

Chrissie Lincoln, House Collective

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

Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso

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

Kasra Esteghamat, Eden for Your World

John Oberacker and Kasra Esteghamat

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

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