It’s a cold but sunny winters afternoon in Sydney and I’ve just returned from fabulous Shanghai.
I was lucky enough to attend the annual ILTM ASIA event, where I wrapped up 3 days of back to back appointments with some of the worlds very best travel experts.
Even though my heels have only just been kicked off, I’m already reflecting on my experience this year, and I have to say that I leave feeling inspired and excited to share all that I’ve discovered with you.
ILTM Asia is an invitation only event that allows travel agents and advisors from across Asia / Australia to meet luxury travel suppliers from around the world, and it’s a great opportunity to network with highly successful, entrepreneurial travel industry professionals.
ILTM allows us to connect with current industry partners, network with and meet new industry experts, discover some of the worlds very best properties and find unique, once in a life time travel experiences for our clients.
This year I noticed a slight shift in what was deemed as a ‘luxury travel product’, with more and more experiential suppliers attending the show, and it got me thinking, ‘What does Luxury Travel mean to you?‘
The Oxford dictionary defines luxury as ‘The State of great comfort and extravagant living’, and in the past luxury travel has always been epitomised by grand hotels, fast cars, marble bathtubs and private jets, but it has evolved and the term ‘luxury travel’ is so much more.
To me ‘luxury travel’ encompasses some of the following elements, that mean more to me than a chandelier clad hotel lobby.
One of the the first qualities I use to define ‘luxury travel’ is personalisation and close relationships.
Getting to know your clientele, and industry partners ensures that the level of service and the relevance of your product are second to none. We have to remember that it’s often the smallest of details that make the biggest impression, so we need to take the time to put ourselves in our clients shoes, anticipate their every want or desire, and make it happen. Having great relationships with our industry partners ensures that it’s easier than ever to include lot’s of wow factor in your clients journey.
Personalised itinerary planning is one of the favourite parts of my role, and to be able to create a customised travel experience to not only suit but exceed my clients expectations, is exactly what ‘luxury’ is all about. What it’s not about, is a cookie cutter package deal or hotel that every other man and his dog has experienced.
‘Luxury Travel’ to me is also about unique, authentic and exceptional experiences.
To enjoy a once in a lifetime, experiential experience, that is iconic to a destination or specific to your individual interests, is a part of what defines travel, and being able to enjoy it on your own terms or in private is what takes it to the next level. For example, anyone who has the desire to travel, can see a famous landmark, but not everyone can see the same landmark in private.
It could also be as simple as a private airport transfer, or your very own ‘secret entrance’ to the Summer Palace in Beijing, anything is possible, but when you seek out experiences that are a little out of the ordinary, or a little more private, you can know that the experience really is about you, and not the thousands of other ‘tourists’ who may have come before.
Lastly and most importantly ‘luxury travel’ to me, is about time.
In a world that only demands more from us daily, to have the luxury of time is invaluable.
From taking the time to sit down and plan the perfect itinerary, without the ‘churn and burn’ mentality that goes on in some larger retail travel chains, to simply being able to spend your free time in stunning destinations, doing exactly as you please, with whom you please. To me, that is luxury!
This kind of luxury, the luxury I’m describing, is truly something that is accessible to anyone. You simply need to define what ‘luxury travel’ is to you, and it doesn’t necessarily have to cost you the earth… you just need to know the right people, and now you know me! (Lucky you)
Thanks to almost 13 years in the industry and events such as ILTM Asia, I have contacts all over the world who can assist me in planning your perfect ‘luxury’ travel experiences. From unique hotels and localised ground operators, to a VIP concierge in your favourite city, I’ve got you covered.
So, along with impeccable service and some of the more traditional elements of ‘luxury travel’, these ideas are what truly defines it for me, but I ask you again, What is luxury travel to you? Let me know!
Thanks as always for reading, and stay tuned for updates on my ILTM highlights & all my new discoveries.