For those doubtful about the future of luxury travel and the luxury travel consultant, please take note — there’s NO stopping the luxury travel market, nor the travel professionals in the industry.
I had the pleasure of attending Virtuoso Travel Week, one of the largest — if not THE largest — travel industry gatherings in the world recently in Las Vegas, and the energy was electrifying. There were more than 4,200 attendees ranging from travel consultants, hotel and resort sales managers, directors of sales, general managers and owners, to visitor bureau representatives and tour operators. Luxury travel is alive and well, and we have this very diverse group of travel professionals to thank for that success.
The passion, energy and enthusiasm I witnessed were infectious. I, along with many other hoteliers in the luxury segment, each had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of travel consultants throughout the conference. While most of the four-minute one-on-one meetings were spent providing the latest updates and offers, the opportunity to connect and meet in person was priceless. The relationship between the hotelier and travel consultant is invaluable. These travel professionals are an extension of our sales team and messengers of all things Lana’i. While our meeting may have only lasted a mere four minutes, the relationship and trust we built in that swift period of time will last an eternity. It often was an opportunity to reconnect with the travel consultant, introduce the property, finalize a booking and/or just provide a quick update about the latest upgrades and improvements at the property.
As a hotelier — but more importantly, as a general manager — it was important for me to attend this travel conference, not only to support my sales team, but also to foster the relationships with countless travel professionals who send business our way every day of the year. The presence of a general manager at such events makes a direct impact and speaks to the commitment of the partnership. It also is a great opportunity to stay on the pulse of all things travel and spotlight your specific hotel.
As I plan for 2014, I guarantee I will be attending similar events next year. Beyond the one-on-one meetings, there were many other opportunities to connect — breakfasts, lunches, dinners, cocktails and after-dinner events. All in all I have more than 800 new friends to thank, and 800 new friends to welcome (back) to Lana’i.
There is no stopping the luxury travel industry, and there has never been a better time to be a part of this exciting business and work alongside incredible hospitality partners.