TTW – There are various shows and business meetings organized year round on business tourism, appointments and networking sessions. How you propose to be different from others?
Alison Gilmore : International Luxury Travel Market events are the world’s leading trade only ‘hubs’ exclusively for the business of bespoke luxury travel. Our flagship event – ILTM in Cannes, France – is now in its 12th year and reaches a global audience of over 3000 invited participants and selected luxury travel buyers and exhibitors from 85 countries worldwide. No other event has such reach and diversity – from leading 5* hotels and established brands to the very latest in independent luxury travel experiences from all four corners of the world. With two key regional events inviting buyers from the world’s leading emerging markets – ILTM Asia and ILTM Americas (also encompassing the world’s largest outbound source market); two market-specific events – ILTM Japan and ILTM Africa (turning the ILTM proposition on its head by inviting only the best of luxury African product to meet international buyers) and the first product specific ILTM – ILTM Spa.
ILTM has set the scene for other events to try and emulate its successes, but by carefully selecting its hosted buyers and creating new business driven features at each event, the events continue to grow its ROI for all participants. Over 200 of the world’s leading luxury travel media attend ILTM events, taking part in exclusive Press Roundtables and Press Briefings. In addition, the innovative ILTM Opening Forum and Leaders Forum ensure leading global luxury travel figureheads view the event as un-missable and ultimately essential.
TTW – This time selective buyers on invitation are going to come. Any particular reason for being so selective?
Alison Gilmore : ILTM events have always been ‘by invitation only’ – this is what ensures they are so successful. We invite only the most reputable of buyers who are booking significant recent business, are recommended and then vetted by our hosted buyer team. No more than 30% of buyers will ever attend two different ILTM events – we continually seek the new and the established from all markets.
TTW: How has the luxury travel industry changed over the past few years?
Alison Gilmore : Both the demands of luxury travellers and the way they book their travel has changed significantly in recent years.
Luxury travellers are looking to explore the world – its cultures, beaches, spas and its cuisine – in complete style! Luxury travel experiences are still new to many from emerging markets such as some countries within Asia and Latin America, so they want to know where to go and what they should expect from a luxury experience. ILTM’s philosophy is to offer this knowledge by inviting and introducing luxury travel agents to ILTM events to select suppliers of such experiences.
Luxury travellers today also don’t just want to stay in their hotels, they have a desire to get out and discover the landscape, local arts, crafts and cuisine and therefore support local communities.
The way these travellers book their travel has also changed – the numbers of bespoke and concierge travel companies continues to grow to reflect the tailored approach demanded by the high net worth traveller today. Interestingly, of the current 11.8 million ‘millenials’ (aged under 30) earning $100,000+ per annum in the US, only 14% are using travel advisors – what an opportunity for luxury travel agents to build business?
TTW: How has been the response from BRIC nations as of yet?
Alison Gilmore : We have had an incredible response from the BRIC nations, both from potential buyers and exhibitors. Russia and India have an established and growing interest in inbound and outbound luxury travel and are active partners of the ILTM Portfolio.2014 will see the eighth edition of ILTM Asia – which has doubled in size since its launch and now welcomes over 500 buyers representing high net worth individuals from over 20 countries across the Asia-Pacific.
With the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s World Economic Outlook forecasting that Latin America will expand by 3.9% in 2013, anchored by a 3.5% expansion in Mexico and Brazil (Latin America’s largest economy).ILTM Americas is proving fundamental for all luxury travel brands that want to take advantage of this robust economic boom.
ILTM Americas 2013 (30 September – 3 October) will include a high-level panel discussing ‘Developing Latin America’at its Opening Forum. Featured panelists includeJack Horne, Senior Vice President, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts and Paul James, Global Brand Leader, St. Regis, W Hotels and The Luxury Collection. They will discuss their views on the strategic development of the region’s inbound luxury tourism markets, but also capitalising on the opportunities presented by its emerging outbound markets.
“Today, Latin America is illustrative of the trends that we are seeing around the world, including rising wealth and greater global connectivity, which have fueled new demand for travel and a new type of Latin American traveler who demands a more luxurious experience,” said Paul James, Global Brand Leader, St. Regis, W Hotels and The Luxury Collection. “As a result, we are seeing an ever greater affinity for Starwood’s luxury brands amongst this group as well as a strong demand for new hotel development across our portfolio. With 80 percent of Starwood’s global growth coming from emerging markets, we consider Latin America to be one of the most dynamic tourism markets in the world and a strategic priority for the entire company.”
TTW: Who are the selective exclusive buyers and suppliers and exhibitors this time?
Alison Gilmore : ILTM 2013 will select over 1,300 buyers from approximately 70 countries to meet with an equal number of exhibitors from over 85 countries. The real proof of ILTM’s ongoing success is the positive feedback from its participants: last year’s event hosted over 51,000 meetings and much of the detailed responses referred to the mix of quality buyers who attended – with so many new from countries previously unrepresented – adding to this success. ILTM 2013 will continue to build on thiswinning business strategy.
TTW: What are the changes or incorporations you are undertaking to make the ILTM 2013 a success?
Alison Gilmore : ILTM works with our exhibitors and buyers to continually evolve both the content and educational features from each event. This year, the ILTM 2013 Opening Forum will feature a completely different format – that’s all I can say at the moment. We will also introduce photo-badges for all attendees, ensuring increased security and a guaranteed high-level presence. Other interactive features will take place and more will be revealed as we near the show.
TTW: How do you propose to work out with your Pre-Scheduled Appointment programmes for the invitees?
Alison Gilmore : Three days of pre-scheduled appointments are based on the preferences of each party – whether it be to meet established partners, discover new products from across the world or create new opportunities to catch up and build relationships during the pre-scheduled meetings or the many social networking opportunities throughout each event. Both buyer and supplier are asked for their selections and these are cross-matched 3 times to ensure as close to 100% satisfaction across the board as is possible. Buyer registration for ILTM closes at the end of September so I encourage your readers to register their interest in attending as soon as possible.