Hotel & Tourism SMARTreport #40

cleverdis

THE PROFESSIONAL BUYERS’ REFERENCE

SMARTreport

ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

#15 / WELLNESS TRAVEL EVOLVES –

IDEAS TO AMAZE EVEN THE MOST

BLASÉ CLIENT

SPOTLIGHT ON

THE AMERICAS

#33 / A DYNAMIC BUT STABLE

MARKET. FACTS, FIGURES,

TRENDS AND IDEAS

INNOVATIONS

& TECHNOLOGIES

#41 / GETTING TO KNOW

YOU BETTER. HOW AI ADDS

VALUE TO THE TRAVEL

MARKET

SIGNATURE

OFFERS CUSTOMIZED

TECHNOLOGY

SOLUTIONS THAT

ADDRESS INDIVIDUAL

NEEDS OF EACH

MEMBER AND/OR

ADVISOR

Alex Sharpe

President and CEO,

Signature Travel Network

#40 - 2018 AUTUMN EDITION / A CLEVERDIS PUBLICATION


Richard Barnes

Editor-in-chief

richard.barnes@cleverdis.com

Tel: +33 (0) 4 42 77 46 00

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 3

FOREWORD

THE SMARTreport - 40 EDITIONS,

AND NEVER LOOKED YOUNGER!

There’s nothing like a round number as cause for celebration,

and this edition is our lucky number 40.

In this edition, we are honoured to have the participation of Alex

Sharpe – President and CEO, of the Signature Travel Network –

who explains the “raison d’être” of his organisation and how

it adds value in the marketplace. Our thanks also go to Laura

Turner Seydel of Ted Turner Expeditions for her valuable time and

contribution. We attended the Signature Owners’ Meeting in

Florida, as well as yet again being invited to Virtuoso Travel Week

in Las Vegas, this time also as contributing editor to Virtuoso’s

newsletter. Another major piece of news this year is that while

we have, for some years, been publishers of ITB Berlin News, in

2018 we are also official publishers of ITB China News and ITB

Asia News… not forgetting IFTM Daily in Paris. This gives our

staff an unparalleled vision of the industry at large – enabling us

to “put things in perspective”.

We are also proud to have some exceptional new contributors, in

the shape of luxury travel “legend” Mary Gostelow, and the very

savvy and proficient Virtuoso member Yuriy Horovyy of London’s

Almont Travel, added to our long time contributing “tech guru”

David Esseryk.

We trust it will all lead to an even more interesting read for you.

Don’t hesitate to give us your feedback and comments.

CONTENTS

5 EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

5 WHEN AN AGENCY BRAND IS PARAMOUNT

Alex Sharpe, President and CEO,

Signature Travel Network

8 EVENTS

8 WTM LONDON 2018

10 SIGNATURE GETS UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

11 ITB CHINA – FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

13 EVENTS CALENDAR

15 ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

15 WHEN GOOD ADVICE IS ESSENTIAL

17 IN THE FIELD WITH YURIY HOROVYY

THE LUXURY SPA EXPERIENCE EVOLVES…

WHAT ARE THE LATEST TRENDS?

18 TRENDING SPAS

WELLNESS TRAVEL: THE GROWING TREND

21 AS UNIQUE AS YOU

22 EGYPT TOPS SIGNATURE DESTINATIONS

23 TAKING RIVER CRUISES “OUT OF THE BOX”

25 WHEN ONLY THE BEST WILL DO…

26 WHAT’S IN A NAME?

26 7132 HOTEL – A NEW COMBINATION FOR

DESIGN AND LUXURY

27 “START WHERE YOU ARE”

28 RE-WILDING THE PLANET

30 THE ACCORHOTELS LUXURY PIPELINE:

+ 32% BY 2021

31 THE GRANDES DAMES OF CAMBODIA

SET TO HAVE A FACELIFT

32 NEW BRANCHES GROWING ON OLD ROOTS

33 AMERICAS

& THE CARIBBEAN

33 THE AMERICAS – CONTINUING GROWTH

IN A DYNAMIC SECTOR

34 IN THE FIELD WITH MARY GOSTELOW

MARY GOES WEST

35 FACTS & FIGURES

ASOUTH AMERICA LEADS THE CHARGE

IN REGIONAL TOURISM

36 TRANSPORT

AMERICAS 9% RISE IN INTERNATIONAL

AIR TRAVEL IN 2019

37 TRENDING DESTINATIONS

SPORTS DRIVE NEW TOURISM

CONCEPTS FOR LAS VEGAS

37 LIP SMACKING VEGAS

38 TRENDING HOTELS

PARK MGM - A FRENCH TOUCH IN VEGAS

38 MIAMI INTRODUCES FIRST WALDORF

ASTORIA

39 CHAMPIONS OF THE INDEPENDENT

HOTELIER

40 EL SILENCIO LODGE & SPA

40 BAHIA VIK JOSÉ IGNACIO

& PLAYA VIK JOSÉ IGNACIO, URUGUAY

41 INNOVATIONS

& TECHNOLOGIES

41 WE UNDERSTAND YOU

43 IN THE FIELD WITH DAVID ESSERYK

CLOSE-UP ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

– PART II

44 DRIVING THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE

HOTEL OPERATIONS: BALANCING HUMAN

TOUCH WITH TECHNOLOGY


HOTEL & RESTAURANT BUSINESS PLACE

RESTAURATION / DESIGN / BIEN-ÊTRE / TECHNOLOGIE / SERVICE

SALON EQUIPHOTEL

II-I5 NOV 2OI8

Paris expo - Porte de versailles

Votre badge gratuit sur

equiphotel.com

code : EPF046

Partenaires officiels


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 5

Alex Sharpe

President and CEO,

Signature Travel Network

WHEN AN AGENCY BRAND

IS PARAMOUNT

Going behind the scenes at Signature Travel Network

– with group President and CEO Alex Sharpe

EVERY AGENCY

THAT IS PART OF

OUR NETWORK IS

A SHAREHOLDER.

OUR MEMBERS

ARE PERSONALLY

INVESTED IN THE

RUNNING OF THE

NETWORK AND

ENSURING ITS

SUCCESS…

As they say, there are different horses for different courses. In

this exclusive interview, we went direct to the stables of one

of America’s leading networks – but one whose name is little

known by the general public. Signature Travel Network President and

CEO Alex Sharpe explains why…

There are many factors that make

Signature stand out from other travel

networks.

First, the fact that we are memberowned

cooperative. Every agency that is

part of our network is a shareholder. Our

members are personally invested in the

running of the network and ensuring its

success;

Second, our longevity. Being in the

business over 60 years, our network has

weathered many storms and we always

rise to the challenges and move forward;

Third, we promote our members’

brands, not our own. We always want to

be in a supportive role in the relationship

between our members and their clients;

Fourth, our strategy. Our two key

questions before embarking on any

new initiative are “How will this benefit

our members?” and “How will this help

us drive more sales to our preferred

partners?” If we cannot answer those

questions and are not comfortable with

these answers, we do not move forward;

Fifth, our community. We are a small

organization that is very hands-on and

very close to our members. More than


EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

OUR ADVISORS

ARE EXPERTS IN

THEIR FIELD AND

GO ABOVE AND

BEYOND TO FIND

THE BEST OPTIONS

AND VALUE FOR

THEIR CLIENTS

a network, we truly are a community of

like-minded entrepreneurs, each going to

market in their own unique way, but tied

together by a common set of values that

tie us together. Our meetings are family

reunions much more than just business

conferences;

Our track record, we have been very

focused and successful over the years, and

proud to be the most productive network

in North America, in terms of preferred

partner sales per member agency, as

well as the most engaged, with a higher

percentage of preferred partner sellers

within a network in the industry;

We also have the highest memberretention

rate of any network in North

America;

Finally, our guiding principles: to serve

our members and add value to our

partners and shareholders.

How do you help agencies develop

and promote their brand?

All consumer-facing communication and

marketing that is created by Signature

is personalized for the member at either

the agency or advisor level. The highlypersonalized

approach builds rapport

and trust between the traveler and their

advisor. Additionally, the traveler as well

as the advisor can manage what type of

communications are received. Signature

also supports members, and their unique

brand promises, by developing the

relevant content that consistently delivers

the inspirational, experiential, meaningful

and useful information that discerning

travelers want to receive.

Meanwhile, Signature offers customized

technology solutions that address

individual needs of each member and/or

advisor and include extensive web content,

online marketing tools and turnkey

email marketing programs, on-demand

personalized one-to-one communication

vehicles and other technological tools that

ensure advisors can respond to inquiries

and proactively manage the customer

experience. These tools comprehensively

assist advisors to build a strong trust

relationship with their customers. Advisors

are further empowered with weekly reports

providing them a complete overview of all

messages, print and electronic, that their

client receives, including e-mail campaign

open and click-thru details, which enables

the advisor to proactively connect with

their clients that show interest in a specific

destination or product.

Please tell us a little about Signature

Advantage Marketing…

Signature offers expertly planned

campaigns across multiple channels

and high-impact customer touch points

tailored to individual business models.

With more than 10 million direct mail

pieces and editorial publications every year,

Signature provides members with a wide

range of personalized marketing tools to

ensure every email, magazine or direct

mail campaign a client receives is targeted

and relevant to their interests and travel

needs. A centralized database of more

than four million travelers is combined

with ongoing analysis and segmentation

to help member agencies to maximize the

return on every campaign and expand

their reach with precision. This data

enables Signature to orchestrate highly

targeted email and direct mail marketing

initiatives for members that drive results.

Signature’s most highly circulated

publication, The Travel Magazine, and the

recently relaunched Ultimate Experiences

exemplifies Signature’s commitment

to producing original and compelling

content that supports our members and

attracts new travelers. Supplier-specific

and destination-oriented brochures and

direct mail pieces feature exclusive and

time sensitive offers. One of Signature’s

greatest marketing advantages is our

proprietary e-marketing program and

tools, which puts the power of 1-to-

1 email communication in the hands of

the travel advisor. Every Signature advisor


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 7

Signature Board

of Directors

has direct access to weekly campaigns

that are designed to touch customers

across all stages of the buying cycle, from

time-sensitive best deals and direct mail

automated follow-up, to information-rich

newsletters. Signature’s email marketing

program continues to surpass the industry

average in click-through rates. All digital

media and email marketing tools designed

by Signature integrate seamlessly with

members’ individual online and social

media strategies.

How many hotels, resorts, villas and

spas are in your network, and how do

they qualify to be listed?

As of today, we have over 1,100 partner

hotels, resorts, lodges, destination spas

and unique places to stay worldwide.

Every partner property offers unique

Signature privileges to our clients,

including breakfast for two daily,

complimentary wi-fi, a special Signature

privilege such as a $100 dining or resort

credit, in addition to upgrades, early

check-in and late check-out, subject

to availability, as well as access to best

available rates at time of booking. All

partner hotels are vetted with our Hotel

Committee, which is made up of hotel

experts within our network who provide

us with guidance and counsel. We also

have a Hotel “Mystery Shopper” program,

which enables us to gather intelligence as

to how our guests are being welcomed

and handled on property, based on actual

stays by selected members within our

network who experience the hotels as our

clients would.

OUR GOAL IS TO

BECOME THE MOST

VALUED BUSINESS

PARTNER FOR BOTH

OUR MEMBERS AND

TRAVEL SUPPLIERS

Signature Travel Network launched a

new consumer-facing hotel booking

engine earlier this year. Please tell us a

little about this.

In April we launched this new platform

for our members to showcase more

consumer-facing material. We partnered

with Freedom Travel Technologies to create

and integrate this platform for advisors

to connect with their clients’ needs even

deeper than before. While it is available

for all our advisors to use, it is a feature

that they need to choose to participate in.

For those who opted in to use the booking

engine, it is embedded within their own

sites so consumers are not redirected to

a third-party site. Everything is right at

their clients’ fingertips. The need for this

hotel booking engine derived from the

trend of consumers booking travel online

themselves through third-party affiliates.

With this new tool, consumers have

access to all the information while still

working with the consultants to receive

the additional benefits and be aware of

any restrictions outright.

What is your vision for the future of

the organization?

Our goal is to become the most valued

business partner for both our members

and travel suppliers. We want to

outperform the competition and continue

to be a leader in our field. We do not aspire

to be the biggest travel organization, but

we do want to be the best in class. Our

guiding principle is to serve our members

and advisors by providing industry leading

technology, marketing and training,

which in turn will allow us to give our

supplier partners the customers, matched

to their brand, at a premium ADR, and

likely to repeat time and time again


Virtuoso Travel Week 2017

Meet with Cleverdis Editor-in-chief,

Richard Barnes @ Virtuoso Travel

Week: editorial@cleverdis.com


EVENTS

SIGNATURE GETS UP CLOSE

AND PERSONAL

2018 Vegas conference spotlights personalisation capabilities of

Signature’s technology solutions and marketing programs

Signature’s 2018 Conference will

be held November 27-30, 2018 at

the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las

Vegas. This must-attend event

of the year brings together over

2,400 travel industry professionals,

including Signature travel advisors,

managers and agency owners, and

their worldwide supplier partners

to meet, network and learn from

each other.

Signature’s President and CEO, Alex

Sharpe, will address Signature advisors

and partners on Wednesday, November

28, to discuss the state of the network

and where they stand going into 2019.

Executive Vice President Ignacio Maza will

share his insights on the top destinations

for sophisticated travellers in 2019. Karen

Yeates, EVP of Information Technologies,

will present Signature’s technology

updates.

SIGNATURE’S

KEYNOTE SPEAKER IS

AMY VAN DYKEN, A

6-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD

MEDAL CHAMPION

SWIMMER WHO MADE

HISTORY AS THE MOST

SUCCESSFUL ATHLETE

AT THE 1996 SUMMER

OLYMPICS IN ATLANTA

Korea, Macao and The Philippines),

Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver

and Victoria), Hawaii, Israel, Thailand, New

Zealand and South Africa.

This year’s theme, “As Unique as You”,

represents the personalisation capabilities

of Signature’s technology solutions and

marketing programs. The agenda will

feature over 50 workshops on the most indemand

topics in the industry, networking

opportunities with over 850 of Signature’s

preferred partners including cruise lines,

land/tour operators, hotels, destination

specialists, specialty suppliers and tourism

boards from 60 countries on all six

continents, entertainment, and exciting

prizes valued at over $450,000.

This year, Signature’s keynote speaker is

Amy Van Dyken, a 6-time Olympic gold

medal champion swimmer who made

history as the most successful athlete at

the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta,

Georgia and the first American female

athlete to win four gold medals in a single

Olympics.

Signature advisors can strengthen their

existing destination knowledge or gain

insight into a new region at workshops

presented by Aruba, Asia (Hong Kong,

Sessions on Digital & Social Media for

Travel Advisors, Pocket Travel Consultant

by AXUS, ClientBase, Res Cards and Live

Connect will also be available.

Advisors will also have the opportunity to

meet with suppliers one-on-one during the

appointment sessions. Each travel advisor

will have thirty-two appointment slots and

will be able to request appointments in

advance.

Not to be missed is the Gala Dinner and

an evening of entertainment featuring

the band “Alter Ego”. The fun will then

continue at Signature’s exclusive afterhours

party at the House of Blues


EVENTS

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 11

© ITB China 2018

Media at opening ceremony

of ITB China 2018

ITB CHINA

FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

The stepping-stone to understanding and connecting with the

Chinese Travel Industry

According to the China Tourism

Academy, more than 130

million Chinese travelled to

overseas in 2017, a 7% growth

on a year-over-year basis and

more than 5 billion Chinese

travelled domestically in 2017, a 69%

growth comparing to 2012 and 11%

in average annual growth rate.

General attitudes towards Chinese

travel behaviour are changing,

and the challenges, as well as

opportunities concerning the industry

will be key topics at ITB China 2019.

In order to attract more Chinese travellers,

destinations and countries at ITB China can

learn how to provide more individual travel

experiences, or give better access to

online information. They will discover the

importance of creating visa-free travel for

Chinese visitors, and learn how to leverage

all new media platforms to engage

and connect with Chinese travellers,

who very much rely on tech services,

such as mobile messaging apps or

microblogging sites in order to find and

book holidays.

The image of a Chinese tourist group,

speed-visiting various destinations in a

tremendously short period, protected

in the bubble of a guided group, has

become a wide-established cliché. Young

Chinese travellers are now seeking

individual experiences rather than going on

all-inclusive tours as their parents used to. The

customising process starts by understanding

the needs of the Chinese individual, the

family, the millennial or group, and filtering

down the possibilities to a personalised

travel schedule that fits them best. Chinese

travellers are increasingly looking for trips

that match their interests and hobbies.

Themed travel, such as food travel, island

travel or sports travel among others, offers

the opportunity for a better connection with

a country or other special interests.

With requests for customised and

personalised vacations rising sharply,

ITB China, taking place from 15 – 17

May 2019 in Shanghai, provides both

agents and traditional tour operators a

platform to change their businesses to meet

that demand. The event is establishing itself

as the must-attend trade fair for anyone

looking to build a strong presence in China

ABOUT ITB CHINA

More than 850 top and hand

selected buyers from Greater China

meet with industry professionals

from all over the world

ITB China Conference brings

together top speakers delivering

hours of discussion to offer a wellrounded

experience where industry

leaders will network and discover

the future of Chinese travel

Various networking events and a

unique state of the art matchmaking

system in order to enhance

networking offer different ways to

maximize business opportunities


13

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition

Forecast Forum,

WTM 2017

EVENTS CALENDAR

31 OCTOBER - 2 NOVEMBER, 2018

ILTM China

Shanghai Exhibition Centre,

Shanghai, China

www.iltm.com/china/

1-4 NOVEMBER, 2018

The Luxury Travel Fair

Olympia, London, United Kingdom

www.luxurytravelfair.com

CLEVERDIS

PARTNER

5-7 NOVEMBER, 2018

World Travel Market -

WTM London 2018

ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock,

London, United Kingdom

http://london.wtm.com

6-8 NOVEMBER, 2018

Hospitality Qatar

Doha Exhibition and Convention Center

(DECC), Doha, Qatar

www.hospitalityqatar.qa

CLEVERDIS

PARTNER

11-15 NOVEMBER 2018

EquipHotel

Paris expo Porte de Versailles, Paris, France

www.equiphotel.com/en/Home/

CLEVERDIS

PARTNER

12 NOVEMBER, 2018

American Group Travel Awards

TAO Downtown, New York City, NY, USA

https://americangrouptravelawards.com/

AGTA/

13-14 NOVEMBER 2018

Future Travel Experience Asia Expo

Maryna Bay Sands, Singapore

www.futuretravelexperience.com/fteasia/

14 NOVEMBER, 2018

IHTF Asia (International Hotel

Technology Forum)

Renaissance Harbour View Hotel,

Hong Kong

www.arena-international.com/ihtfasia

19-21 NOVEMBER, 2018

loop Tirol

Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol, Telfs, Austria

www.loop-luxury-fair.com/loop-tirol/

20-21 NOVEMBER, 2018

Sleep + Eat

Olympia, London, United Kingdom

https://www.sleepandeatevent.com

27-29 NOVEMBER, 2018

GBTA Conference

Estrel Congress Center, Berlin, Germany

http://europeconference.gbta.org

27-29 NOVEMBER, 2018

IBTM World

Fira Barcelona, Spain

www.ibtmworld.com

28 NOVEMBER, 2018

PATA Destination Marketing Forum

Avani Khon Kaen Hotel & Convention

Centre, Khon Kaen, Thailand

www.pata.org/pdmf/

3-6 DECEMBER, 2018

International Luxury Travel Market -

ILTM Cannes

Palais des Festivals et des Congrès,

Cannes, France

www.iltm.com/en/cannes/

2-4 DECEMBER, 2018

LGBTQ Tourism Forum

W Hotel, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

https://communitymarketinginc.com/lgbtqtourism-forum/

10-11 DECEMBER, 2018

Brussels Travel Expo

Jeux d’Hiver, Brussels, Belgium

www.btexpo.com

13-14 DECEMBER, 2018

INSPIRE ‘18

Four Seasons, Las Vegas, Texas, USA

www.luxuryconference.org

5-6 DECEMBER, 2018

HITEC Dubai

Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE

www.hftp.org/hitec/dubai/

23-27 JANUARY, 2019

FITUR

Feria Madrid, Madrid, Spain

www.ifema.es

CLEVERDIS

PARTNER

31 JANUARY - 3 FEBRUARY, 2019

EMITT - East Mediterranean

International Travel & Tourism

Exhibition

Tüyap Fair Convention and Congress

Center, İstanbul, Turkey

www.emittistanbul.com

A CLEVERDIS Publication, 65 avenue Jules Cantini, Tour Méditerranée,

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Associate Editor: Simon King - Editorial coordination: Melek Selin Sozmen

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ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 15

© Ralf Roletschek – Roletschek.at

WHEN GOOD ADVICE

IS ESSENTIAL

This year, the term “travel

agent” is definitely becoming

old hat, as an increasing number

of industry professionals become

“travel advisors”. The difference

is evident. While one is just a

button pusher, the other is a

valued and trusted counsellor.

Thus, ASTA now officially

becomes the American Society

of Travel Advisors.

In the luxury market, this concept

of being a trusted mentor or

advisor for people whose time

is worth a fortune and who

need to trust someone to plan

that time in the most efficient

manner possible is today quite

essential.

“Getting the best” is also

somewhat addictive it seems, as

86% of people surveyed recently

by YouGov (study published by

Virtuoso) said they were willing

to pay full price if it meant

getting the best in service, and

73% agreed that once one has

experienced true luxury, it is hard

to scale back. 61% of those

surveyed said they expected to

spend more on luxury this year,

and even more – 71% – said

they expected to spend more on

luxury travel.

In the next pages, you’ll discover

the latest news from the “elite

travel” segment.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland


In The Field

with Yuriy Horovyy

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 17

THE “INSIDE LINE” ON WHAT’S HOT IN THE FIELD OF TRAVEL ADVICE

PART 01

WELLNESS TRAVEL

THE

LUXURY SPA

EXPERIENCE

EVOLVES…

WHAT ARE

THE LATEST

TRENDS?

The luxury spa experience is developing

rapidly. In many hotels, what used to be

a quiet space to find a mud bath and a

massage has grown into an entire world

of its own. For a start, the best hotels are

viewing their spa as not just as space, but

an experienced programme where guests

are provided with a complete itinerary

– not just a menu – including a tailored

culinary programme (food as medicine),

meditation and mindfulness, and specialised

fitness training. Virtuoso travel expert,

Yuriy Horovyy of Almont Travel, London,

gives some exceptional insight into what’s

trending at the moment…

Today, it is no longer just about “booking

the spa”, it’s about immersing oneself in a

wellness escape.

A key trend is for spas to source treatments

that depart from the tried and tired. These

might include new traditional methods

farmed from the hotel’s local culture, or

treatments harnessing cutting-edge

technology.

Another trend is to design an

immersive environment

where the details of

the experience have

been carefully

crafted for the

guest’s comfort,

rather than just for

the Instagram shares.

A place that exemplifies this,

in my mind, is Velaa Private Island

in the Maldives. Housed in a round

of bungalows perched serenely above

the waters, the spa places you in a world

far away from even the most obstinate of

distractions.

Entering a private treatment bungalow

the staff invites to prostrate yourself on

to a massage table. Immediately your eyes

begin to focus on the gentle waters playing

beneath a glass floor where fish meander

past, ignorant of the world beyond.

Meanwhile, the masseuse forcefully works

away the knots of stress buried in the

depths of your back (and mind).

THE BEST

SPAS AREN’T

JUST DELIVERING

TREATMENTS, THEY ARE

IMMERSING YOU IN

ANOTHER

WORLD

housing a luminous, egg-shaped cocoon,

courtesy of the future. Over the next half

an hour your body is bathed in waves

of sound and light designed to awaken

subconscious memories of womb-like

serenity.

Retiring again to the recovery area, you

begin to take advantage of the oceanviewed

Saunas and Steam rooms

before discovering the Maldives’

most novel treat, a genuine

snow sauna—which

feels both daring and

soothing against

the persistently

warm

outside.

air

Another spa experience

that has wedged itself

permanently into my soul is

the Terme di Saturna in the heart

of Tuscany. It boasts a mesmerising

array of treatments combining both

well-being and, aesthetic—rare for a

hotel. Their Rebalance programme offers

a five-day excursion into culinary and

pampering delight, an alternating stream

of heavenly bliss and healthy indulgence.

The spa benefits from its advantageous

placement next to a thermal spring and

the opportunity is not wasted in their

treatment programme. This is, after all,

nature’s own spa and an experience

humans have prized since before history.

Life restored, you transition into a recovery

area, lounge on a daybed, facing a

turquoise ocean and azure horizon. Later,

you are directed to a darkened sanctuary,

Whether for the long excursion or the brief

refresh respite, the best spas aren’t just

delivering treatments, they are immersing

you in another world.

SEE YOU AGAIN IN THE NEXT EDITION


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

TRENDING SPAS

WELLNESS TRAVEL: THE

A compilation of what’s new and what’s trending

From week-long wellness retreats

in the Costa Rican rainforest and

volcanic mud baths in Napa Valley

to the first spa train carriage in

Europe, New York based Alice

Marshal Public Relations released,

on 15 October, a long list of trending

spas around the world. Following is

a selection of just a few…

BELMOND

A global collection of 47 hotels, trains,

river cruises and restaurants, Belmond

has defined the world of luxury for more

than 40 years. From launching the first

spa carriage in Europe to introducing

locally-inspired treatments, Belmond offers

immersive wellness offers in some of the

world’s most exciting locations.

What’s New: Belmond Royal Scotsman and

Belmond Andean Explorer both introduced

a spa car. Guests can relax with a massage

or facial while gazing out at the passing

scenery. Belmond Royal Scotsman has

partnered with British spa brand Bamford

Haybarn Spa, while Belmond Andean

Explorer showcases an exclusive Andean

collection made of local, natural ingredients.

&BEYOND | BHUTAN

&Beyond’s new Bhutan Yoga Retreat Small

Group Journey allows travellers to immerse

themselves in the spiritual heartland

of Bhutan. Highlights of this 10-day

journey include yoga and meditation over

Bhutan’s magical scenery, hiking Tiger’s

Nest monastery in Paro, and exploring the

fortresses and temples of Thimphu and

Punakha, all led by an expert guide and

specialist healing facilitator to help guests

find balance of the mind, body, and soul.

NAYARA SPRINGS |

ARENAL, COSTA RICA

Cantilevered over the rainforest, the Spa at

Nayara Springs allows guests to experience

the sights, sounds, and scents of the

rainforest in outdoor spa bungalows.

Wellness Retreat: In Q3, Nayara is launching

customisable three- or five-day Wellness

Experience Packages inviting travellers to

disconnect from reality in the rainforest

of Costa Rica and find wellness for both

the mind and body. Days are filled with

yoga and meditation, special healthful

menus, and daily spa treatments. Highlights

include nature walks through the flora and

fauna of the rainforest to spot sloths and

resident wildlife in the trees; a volcanic

mud spa treatment using mud sourced

from the nearby Arenal Volcano; and

healthy mocktail mixology classes with local

ingredients such as herbs from the on-site

garden and tropical Costa Rican fruit.

ROYAL MANSOUR |

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

The three-story, hand-crafted Royal

Mansour Spa, resembling an elaborate

white birdcage, is reason enough to visit

the palatial property. The spa’s design

incorporates Moucharabieh, an element

of traditional Arabic architecture that

includes a window enclosed in carved

wood latticework. The Spa also features

an indoor pool with vaulted glass ceilings

and a traditional hammam with its narrow,

unadorned passageways and succession of

spaces, lighting effects, and lanterns.

Royal Mansour has taken the spa experience

to new heights with the introduction of

Bespoke Hammam Treatments. Here, each

step of the traditional technique will be

personalised to the specific skincare needs of


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 19

Viceroy, Resort, St. Lucia

Goldeneye FieldSpa bed,

Jamaica

GROWING TREND

around the globe

each guest using ingredients sourced from

Morocco’s bountiful environment. Purifying

clay, for example, has been collected from

the Atlas Mountains while roses from the

Kalaat Megouana valley are used in a new

regenerating body wrap and local saffron is

infused into the ‘gourmet glow’ wrap.

SUGAR BEACH, A VICEROY

RESORT | ST. LUCIA

Situated on the lower slopes of the

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Petit Piton,

the Rainforest Spa is a series of treehouses

rising above a lively stream.

Wellness Retreat: The fitness program

includes daily classes on the hour, ranging

from gentle yoga and morning walks to

military boot camp and body burn classes.

For the more intrepid guest, the new Piton

Recovery starts with a hike of the Gros Piton.

After descending from the peak, hikers

are met by one of Sugar Beach’s personal

trainers for a stretching session, rehydration

with coconut water, and revitalizing snack

of potassium-rich bananas before have a

muscle releasing massage back at the spa.

Treatment Worth Traveling For: The Sulphur

Seduction treatment involves a morning

trip to the volcanic sulphur springs near the

resort to bathe in the black waters, followed

by a sulphur mud bath and exfoliation

treatment. After rinsing off in the naturally

warm Piton waterfalls, the finale is a

massage back at the spa.

GOLDENEYE | JAMAICA

The FieldSpa at GoldenEye is built into the

jungle-like landscape on the edge of the

crystal-clear blue lagoon, allowing guests to

swim or kayak to their spa appointment. The

spa features destination-focused treatments

and draws on traditional Jamaican recipes

and the healing powers of flowers, roots,

leaves and herbs grown locally at the resort’s

800-acre Pantrepant farm.

What’s New: Jamaica’s GoldenEye will

unveil the new FieldSpa in December 2018.

As part of the sixmonth

development,

two new spa huts

will open, along with

a new hammam

and yoga deck. A

selection of elixirs,

juices, and healthy

bites incorporating

fresh ingredients from the hotel’s farm,

Pantrepant; and a new therapy menu will

be introduced. This expansion will provide

direct access to the new spa cove, a crescent

of sand nestled along the property’s

signature lagoon.

Treatment Worth Traveling For: Purifying

Lemongrass and Wild Lime Abyhanga is a

detoxifying massage that combines warm

lemongrass and wild lime coconut. The

treatment removes impurities and assists

with lymphatic drainage

Nayara Springs,

Costa Rica


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 21

LUXURY IS OUR FASTEST-

GROWING SEGMENT WITH

VIRTUALLY UNLIMITED

POTENTIAL, AS WELL AS THE

SECTOR WHERE WE CAN DELIVER

THE GREATEST VALUE TO OUR

CLIENTS.

Ken Schmidt, Brand Visionary &

Communications Strategist and

author, presenting at Signature

Owners’ Meeting in Florida

AS UNIQUE AS YOU

Signature Travel Network hosts travel industry leaders at Annual

Owners’ Meeting in Amelia Island, Florida

Signature Travel Network welcomed over

400 travel agency owners, managers and

industry leaders at their Owners’ Meeting

in Amelia Island, Florida in September.

The annual event is a forum for Signature

owners and executives to share updates

and best practice techniques, as well as

meet with representatives of Signature’s

Preferred Partners.

As a member-owned cooperative, the

Signature agency owners attending

represent the organisation’s shareholders.

During the event, shareholders have the

chance to hear updates from Signature

executives and vote for the network’s

governing body, the Board of Directors.

“2018 has been a fantastic year for

both our members and Signature,” said

Alex Sharpe, Signature’s President and

CEO. “This annual meeting is always a

wonderful opportunity to celebrate our

collective success and share with members

and partners how we are refining our

programs to serve the evolving needs of

the network and travellers.”

The theme for this meeting was “As

Unique as You”. Members participated

in a combination of networking events

designed to share best practices and

identify new ways to leverage Signature’s

technology solutions and turnkey sales and

marketing programs to increase sales and

run more profitable businesses.

Updates from the network included

technology enhancements as well as

the consumer-facing hotel booking

engine from Karen Yeates, Executive Vice

President, Information Technologies for

Signature, the revitalized flagship luxury

publication “Ultimate Experiences” from

Karryn Christopher, Senior Vice President,

Sales & Marketing for Signature, and the

new-to-industry programme, Embark,

from Nolan Burris, Talent Development

Consultant to Signature.

Additionally, members listened in on

partner updates and keynote speeches

from Frank Del Rio, President and CEO

of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.,

and Ken Schmidt, Brand Visionary &

Communications Strategist and author of

“Make Some Noise: The Unconventional

Road to Dominance.”

LUXURY – THE FASTEST

GROWING SEGMENT

As part of the program, Ignacio Maza,

Signature’s Executive Vice President,

presented an overview of the network’s

new initiatives that will accelerate the

growth of Signature members already

robust luxury sales.

“I am honored to spearhead new

programs that will take our network’s

luxury travel sales to the next level”, said

Maza. “Luxury is our fastest-growing

segment with virtually unlimited potential,

as well as the sector where we can deliver

the greatest value to our clients. I look

forward to working with our members and

partners as we launch new endeavours

that will make a difference”


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Ignacio Maza

& Jean Newman

Glock

Signature Travel Network

EGYPT TOPS SIGNATURE

DESTINATIONS

Signature Travel Network Presents “Where to Go in 2019”

at Annual Owner’s Meeting

Signature Travel Network’s Ignacio Maza and Jean

Newman Glock presented the next emerging

destinations for 2019 at Signature’s annual Owner’s

Meeting in Amelia Island, Florida, on September 6,

2018. This meeting brought together the owners and

managers representing Signature member agencies in

the US and Canada.

Egypt, a personal favourite of both Maza and Newman

Glock, leads the list for the upcoming year, with the

opening of Grand Egyptian Museum in 2019 alongside

its many other cultural attractions as one of the main

points of interest for travellers. Also noted as not to

be missed is Aswan, the city that mesmerised Julius

Caesar, Agatha Christie and many others. “Without

question, now is the moment to visit Egypt,” said

Newman Glock. “Always top of everyone’s wish list,

sophisticated travellers are returning to Egypt. Now is

the year to go before riverboats are once again rafted

six deep along the Upper Nile.”

“Every year, we look for destinations that are emerging,

for different reasons. We search for authenticity and

uniqueness, for the next frontiers in travel. We believe

2019 is the year to visit these special places” said Maza.

“These up and coming destinations are well worth

visiting, and we expect they will experience strong

growth, interest, and visibility in the coming year.”

EGYPT. Visit the New Grand

Egyptian Museum and Nefertiti’s

tomb, cruising the Nile, sites at

Aswan

BOLIVIA. South America’s most

innovative cuisine in La Paz,

stunning landscapes, endless

biodiversity

FOLLOWING IS SIGNATURE’S LIST

OF PLACES TO THINK ABOUT FOR 2019

FIJI. The world’s 4th largest

barrier reef, exceptional beaches,

a unique culture, new world-class

resorts

ABU DHABI. Cultural capital of

the Gulf, new Louvre Museum,

desert adventures, over the top

hotels

SRI LANKA. The best Asian

safaris, archaeological sites,

unique places to stay, great

shopping and dining

TASMANIA. Australia’s most

vibrant dining scene, a hub of

modern art, breathtaking natural

beauty

OTTAWA. Canada’s green,

friendly capital offers outstanding

museums and the best winter

festival

ETHIOPIA. Rock-hewn churches,

rugged landscapes, ancient

cultures and the original source

of coffee

PUEBLA. Mexico’s finest colonial

architecture, new Baroque

Museum, pottery, fantastic new

hotels

THE AZORES. Portugal’s best

kept secret – 9 unspoiled islands,

heaven for outdoor adventures

FLANDERS. Mecca for lovers

of history, art, design, fine

dining, and Instagram-worthy

architecture

ANGUILLA. Renovated &

enhanced resorts, 33 white

sand beaches, some of the best

Caribbean dining


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 23

WE DO NOT TARGET

AGES OR ORIGINS. WE

TARGET LIFESTYLES.

Andrea Kruse

Sales and Marketing director, VIVA

TAKING RIVER CRUISES

“OUT OF THE BOX”

VIVA launches onto the market with no compromising

on comfort

VIVA is a new player in the river cruise market, but what they are offering

is not new… it is being renewed. We asked Sales and Marketing director

Andrea Kruse to tell us more.

will keep on expanding its sailing area. In

2020 for example, our guests will also be

able to enjoy the Douro river.

We want to take river-cruises out of the

boxes in which it is usually framed, this by

turning away from segmentation based

on socio-demographics. We do not target

ages or origins. We target lifestyles. VIVA

Cruises are created for those who want to

explore the world, without compromising

on comfort. Therefore, we work with the

all-inclusive formula. Next to included

food and beverages, every single VIVA

cruise offers additional Wi-Fi, a filled

mini-bar, bath amenities, to add that little

extra. Creating a relaxing atmosphere is

our goal. For this reason, we also stepped

away from the fixed time slots and

seats for dinner. With VIVA cruises, the

restaurant is open from 7PM to 10PM,

and seating is free of choice. This way,

our guests get the freedom to create their

own experience. On and off the ship.

VIVA had its launch in September of this

year. Our first trip is on the Danube, with

Vienna and Bratislava as destinations.

VIVA is mostly focussing on the German,

Swiss and Austrian market, yet during

the coming seasons, this focus will be

broadened to other areas such as the UK,

Benelux and the Nordics.

What other destinations will VIVA be

offering?

VIVA sails among the highlights of

European waterways. Trips are currently

planned on the Danube, the Rhine, the

Elbe, the Moselle, the Rhône and the

Saône. Next to these waterways, VIVA

What is the added value for travel

agents in working with VIVA?

With all-in cruises, VIVA creates a

product that is easier to sell for travel

agents. Offering the peace-of-mind

that comes with it, is an additional USP

to communicate to people looking for

the ideal trip. This peace-of-mind, we

also want to offer to the travel agents

themselves. On our website www.vivacruises.com,

they can access the VIVA-4-

YOU module. This platform gives clear and

easy to use tools, such as photographic

material, print material, but also a clear

overview of our terms and conditions. This

way we want to offer total transparency

to our partners

SMARTreport Commercial Content


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 25

Adare Manor

WHEN ONLY THE BEST WILL DO…

Adare Manor, Limerick, Ireland wins Virtuoso “best of best” award

The 2018 Virtuoso Best of the Best award winners were honoured

at the 30 th annual Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas in August.

The most coveted prize – “Hotel of the Year” – went to Adare

Manor, Limerick, Ireland.

OTHER PRIZE-WINNERS

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DESIGN

The Silo Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Commenting on the award, Adare

Manor’s CEO, Colm Hannon said: “This

award gives us great encouragement

in the product and quality of guest

service that we have created and reenforces

our ongoing commitment to

continuous improvement in reaching

our vision of ‘Beyond Everything’.”

Adare Manor reopened last November

after an extensive restoration,

refurbishment and expansion

programme over 21 months. The

resort has been meticulously restored

to its former splendour, and with

the addition of the very best of the

newly designed features, ensures that

Adare Manor can be experienced and

enjoyed now for generations to come.

The newly designed luxury resort now

features a new 42-bedroom wing,

bringing the total number to 104

bedrooms. Adare Manor recently

opened its newly rebuilt, redesigned

and remodeled golf course, which

was led by world-renowned golf

course architect Tom Fazio and is

fast becoming regarded among the

top golfing resorts in Europe and

worldwide.

Virtuoso’s voting public included

its 1,000-plus travel agency members

and their 17,500 professional

travel advisors from 50 countries.

“This year’s Best of the Best winners

are a beautifully diverse group with

worldwide appeal, showcasing

hotels that are historic and

contemporary, small and large,

and boutique properties alongside

well-known luxury brands,” said

Albert Herrera, Senior Vice President

of Global Product Partnerships for

Virtuoso. “These properties set

a standard of the highest quality for

the entire Virtuoso portfolio with their

commitment to innovating constantly

to improve the guest experience. We

are proud to call these world’s-finest

properties our own and are inspired

by their creativity in breaking new

ground for the luxury hospitality

industry”

BEST DINING EXPERIENCE

Meadowood Napa Valley - The Restaurant,

St. Helena, California, U.S.

BEST BAR

Brown’s Hotel, A Rocco Forte Hotel

The Donovan Bar, London, U.K.

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM LEADERSHIP

Six Senses Douro Valley – Lamego, Portugal

BEST FAMILY PROGRAM

The Ranch at Rock Creek – Philipsburg,

Montana

BEST WELLNESS PROGRAM

BodyHoliday Saint Lucia – Castries, St. Lucia

BEST VIRTUOSO NEWCOMER

Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel

– Paris, France

BEST VIRTUOSO HOTEL AMBASSADOR

Andrea Filippi, Belmond

HOTELIER OF THE YEAR

Patrizio Cipollini, Four Seasons Hotel Firenze,

Florence, Italy


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

7132 HOTEL – A NEW

COMBINATION FOR

DESIGN AND LUXURY

JoAnn

Kurtz-Ahlers

President, Hidden Doorways

WHAT’S

IN A NAME?

A new name and new web address could, in many

cases, throw a cat among the pigeons when it

comes to brand identity. JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers

took the plunge earlier this year, evolving into

“Hidden Doorways”. We asked her why.

Especially in the travel

space, with all the agencies

and sub-agencies that have

sub-branding, it’s very hard

to come up with something.

I had a consultant and we

were working on other

things, and I said, ‘You

know, I would like to really

attempt again to change my

name’. When you do that,

people think you sit around

and brainstorm words –

but it’s not really that. It’s

really a case of digging

deep and expressing who

you think you are and what

you bring to the table that

differentiates what you do.

When I started, I was doing a

lot of consulting, so it made

sense to have my name.

But a lot of times, if I was

consumer-facing, I spent so

much time explaining what

that name was and what

we did, and it was wasted

moments. So, “Hidden

Doorways” is I think what

we bring to the table,

whether it’s new properties

or new experiences, or new

ways of looking at things,

if it’s a consulting project

… it’s those doorways that

take you into a different

knowledge

Joanna Peyer

Director of Sales

and Marketing, 7132 Hotel

Roman Frauchiger

General Manager,

7132 Hotel

A recently named member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts,

7132 Hotel, Vals was an eye-opener for many a Virtuoso

member in Las Vegas, thanks to its exceptional design, by –

among others - the Pritzker prize-winner Thom Mayne.

With original designed by Peter Zumthor in the 1990’s, the

property had already become renowned over the years,

but with recent renovations, it has become even more of a

“masterpiece”.

New five-star superior rooms have been designed by a local

architect – built primarily for comfort, but General Manager,

Roman Frauchiger, underlined the exceptional work being

done in other zones: “The thermal baths by Zumthor… that

was the masterpiece of his career, built in the late 90’s. The

hotel also had some rooms by him… but it became a little

bit ‘old’, and people forgot about the hotel connected to

the thermal baths. The owner bought the hotel four years

ago, and he renovated rooms in the four-star ‘House of

Architects’ tower, where we now have rooms from four

world famous architects. They had ‘carte blanche’ to do

what they wanted with the 20 sqm rooms. There are still

rooms by Zumthor, but also now by Thom Mayne, as well as

two celebrated Japanese architects. Next year, we will build

a new entry gate designed by Thom Mayne.”

The property is family oriented, with a separate building

“just for kids” – designed with fun in mind!


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 27

“START WHERE YOU ARE”

Virtuoso Sustainability Summit 2018

According to Virtuoso, when it comes to sustainability,

there is a common language among all in the industry:

“Keep it simple and make sure the consumers ‘get

it’.” This is done by supporting the culture, the local

economy, and protecting the planet.

In 2017, key business owners,

travel advisors and global

influencers came together at

the first Virtuoso Sustainability

Summit – a think tank launched

to coincide with the UNWTO

Year of Sustainable Tourism for

Development.

The idea of the summits

was spawned ten years ago,

when National Geographic

Sustainability expert Costas

Christ and Jessica Hall

Upchurch, now Virtuoso’s

Sustainability Ambassador

discussed carbon offsetting and

recycling, and the conversation

led to a broader topic of

sustainability. According to

Christ, “In 1950, it was the

first year they kept track of

international tourist arrivals.

There were 25-million people

who took an ‘international

holiday’ in 1950. Fast forward

to 2017 – 1.2 billion. By 2030,

we are probably going to hit

either just below two billion

international travellers, or we

are going to hit it. All of us

know that travel can be a force

for good. We also know that

unplanned and unmanaged,

it can be a destructive force. It

can harm communities, it can

endanger habitat and wildlife.

So, at the heart of Virtuoso’s

strategy to advance sustainable

tourism, is to harness this

‘thing’, which is a little bit of a

beast … harness it and make it

a force for good. Ensure that

travel delivers on its promise

to make the world a better

place.”

This year, Ms Upchurch says

Virtuoso is starting with a

very simple message: ‘start

where you are’: “We feel at

Virtuoso that the way in which

we can get our travellers and

our guests and our clients to

start and really think about

sustainability is for them to start

where they are… To start with

very simple, basic ideas that

can turn into something that

is transformational. Some are

starting very simply by turning

the lights off and reusing

towels. Others are far beyond

that – they are into education

and engaging in cultures,

waste reduction, energy

management and production,

recycling… there are so many

different ways. But the key is to

just start where you are. That

helps build the future of the

travel industry and what we

can do together.”

This year’s Virtuoso

sustainability goals are: to

make sustainability a greater

factor in consumer choice,

make it easier to do good, and

to cultivate more passionate

sustainability stewards through

their advisor network

THE WAY

IN WHICH WE

CAN GET OUR

TRAVELLERS AND

OUR GUESTS

AND OUR

CLIENTS TO START

AND REALLY

THINK ABOUT

SUSTAINABILITY

IS FOR THEM TO

START WHERE

THEY ARE…

The Upchurch family

at Vermejo Ranch with

Rutherford Seydel and

Laura Turner Seydel.


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

© Sean Fitzgerald

RE-WILDING THE

Laura Turner Seydel, spokesperson for Ted Turner Expeditions,

At the recent Virtuoso Sustainability Summit in Las Vegas, Laura

Turner Seydel, daughter of the US media mogul Ted Turner, was

among the most highly outspoken when it came to setting a clear

roadmap for the future. After the summit and press conference, she spoke

to us about what she sees as being the key motivators for industry players

to work towards a more sustainable future.

Laura Turner

Seydel

Ted Turner Expeditions

We need to encourage everybody to take

action in their own sphere of influence.

That’s what dad has always done the

best. He has really been such a visionary

on various issues. Now, opening up his

properties to share with the public is really

something. My father owns two-million

acres around the US – primarily out in

the west, but some in the south-east.

He invested so much in restoring the

land and bringing it back that he saw an

amazing opportunity to focus on telling the

story about conservation, opening his places

up to the public and making them best in

class. Vermejo Park Ranch, which is

585,000 acres, is the largest

contiguous piece of land privately

held in the United States.

When dad first started acquiring ranches

several decades ago, they were largely

overgrazed, because they were cattle

ranches, and cattle don’t belong here.

When dad was five years old, he learned

the plight of the American bison and how

30-million of them had been killed – mostly

to control the indigenous Americans, who

depended on the Bison for their entire

livelihoods, and were thus pushed onto

marginal lands and reservations. When he

had the opportunity to focus on bringing

back the bison, he also realised it would be

the best thing for nature, and nature really

did come back in full force. He started TTX

– or Ted Turner Expeditions – in 2015 – so

we are the new kids on the block relatively.

At Vermejo Park Ranch, we just hired

Jade McBride – a year ago – from Ranch

at Rock Creek, who is one of the best


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 29

WE WOULD

LIKE, BY 2020,

TO BE A “MUST

DO” TRAVEL

DESTINATION

WITHIN THE

SUSTAINABLE

TRAVEL

COMMUNITY

PLANET

talks about the importance of getting back to real nature

in the business. He has put a real shine

on the hospitality part of the business.

How did you get involved in all this

and what is your role?

Dad raised us outdoors, and the worst

thing we could hear when we were kids

was that it was time to come back indoors.

We learned to hunt and fish and sail, and

the person who managed dad’s property

was like Mother Nature, and any injured

or orphaned animal that was found there

would be nurtured and nursed back to

health – anything from snakes to birds to

deer. In the end, we became very aware

of our life support system, and I became

very passionate about these issues.

Why has Virtuoso been so supportive?

Our “re-wilding” aspect is a great model

for their preferred partners and their

member/advisors, to say, “Look at what

Ted Turner has done and look at what the

family is doing. You might not be able

to do all of that, but you can do some

of it, and it is an important model”.

How do you connect with sales

channels to get people to come to

your properties?

We are very lucky to be part of the

Virtuoso Network and value the support

that comes with being a preferred

partner. We also go to travel shows in

Europe and visit offices, taking agents out

to lunch, using the human connection

rather than hopping on a phone call. This

year we are focusing on bringing a lot of

travel advisors out to the properties. The

vastness of the properties is very difficult

to explain in a four-minute presentation

– just what people feel when they are

there. That is what differentiates our

properties. So, getting agents out to

the properties really makes a difference

in helping them sell put our properties

in the best light for their clients.

In a day and age when families are going

on vacations to see national landmarks

that are disappearing, we can provide a

hope-filled vacation, in which people can

come to magical places that are not being

parcelled-out and destroyed, it’s being

protected and preserved, practically right

back to its original state, and it will be

forever with what my dad has been doing,

and what the foundations we are working

with will achieve. People staying there

realise that they are directly contributing

back to the conservation efforts of the

ranch. That is what the future of travel

should be – it should be travelling for

a purpose – travelling with meaning.

We would like, by 2020, to be a “must do”

travel destination within the sustainable

travel community, and be the model

of sustainability for peer companies,

whether they be big or small, because we

are all between a rock and a hard place

on so many levels and we need to work as

a community to find solutions and share

best practices and models that work.

Smaller companies can thus avoid having

to re-invent the wheel or making the same

mistakes that have already been made


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

THE ACCORHOTELS

LUXURY PIPELINE:

+ 32% BY 2021

Luxury Hotels CEO gives bullish outlook

and outlines new acquisitions

Chris Cahill

CEO Luxury Hotels, AccorHotels

ONE OF THE

THINGS ABOUT

RESTORING GRAND,

ICONIC HOTELS, IS THAT

WHEN YOU START TO

PAIR BACK THE WALLS,

YOU ARE NEVER QUITE

SURE WHAT YOU ARE

GOING TO FIND

At the annual AccorHotels

Virtuoso breakfast in Las Vegas,

Luxury Hotels CEO Chris Cahill

gave an overview of new luxury

hotels in the pipeline, explaining

that between 2018 and 2021,

32% growth is expected, from a

current 507 properties, up to 671.

“We recently opened the Raffles in

Warsaw. It has had tremendous press,

and tremendous coverage. It was an

exciting opening for us. The Singapore

property has been under a restoration

programme over the past twelve

to eighteen months, and will open

probably in the first quarter of next

year. One of the things about restoring

grand, iconic hotels, is that when you

start to pair back the walls, you are

never quite sure what you are going to

find, so there has been a bit of a delay.

Raffles in London – the old war office –

will open probably in ‘21.”

One of the most exciting announcements

by Cahill was the fact that the group

is “quite aggressively” working on five

projects with the aim of launching the

Orient Express brand in their portfolio,

after the announcement in October

2017 of a strategic partnership with

the SNCF for the development of

the brand. “As of this date, we can’t

announce an opening date”, said

Cahill. AccorHotels announced late

last year that it intends to build on this

partnership to strengthen its leadership

in the luxury segment, by developing

a new collection of prestigious hotels

under the Orient Express banner.

On the acquisition of European-based

Mövenpick hotels this year, Cahill said,

“We are the largest operator of hotels

in Asia-Pacific outside of China. We are

the largest operator in Europe, and in

South America. In the Middle East and

Africa, we were number two. So, in

terms of building platform, which drives

all kinds of not only efficiencies, but

effectiveness in terms of growing your

portfolio of brands, the acquisition of

Mövenpick moves us into the number

one position in MEA. The second thing

it did for us, is that in our array of brands

from eco to luxury, this was a brand

that sat on top of Novotel in the midscale

category, and it sits in the upscale

category below our upper-upscale

portfolio. That just happens to be one

of the fastest growing segments from a

development standpoint globally.”

Cahill also explained that due diligence

had been progressing on the SBE group,

with lifestyle brands such as Mondrion,

Delano and SBS brands


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 31

THE PROPERTIES NOW HAVE NEW

OWNERSHIP. WITH THIS COMES NEW

INVESTMENT AND BOTH HOTELS WILL

UNDERGO EXTENSIVE RESTORATION.

Oliver Dudler

Cluster General Manager,

Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh

Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, Siem Reap

THE GRANDES DAMES OF

CAMBODIA SET TO HAVE A

FACELIFT

Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Pnom Penh and the Raffles Grand Hotel

d’Angkor may be historic marvels, but they’re soon to get a makeover

Born into a family of hospitality professionals in Switzerland, hotelier

Oliver Dudler worked for many years in Food & Beverage before moving

into hotel management. His previous position was at Raffles Fairmont

in Manila. He is now the Cluster General Manager of Raffles Cambodia,

responsible for Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, as well as Siem

Reap’s Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor. We asked him to tell us a little more

about the two properties.

I am a very lucky man. I am entrusted with

looking after two of Cambodia’s most

beautiful hotels, two “grande dames”,

built by the French in 1929 and 1930,

respectively. “Le Royal“ will turn 90 next

year, so this is an exciting time for us. As

you have probably seen in the media,

the properties now have new ownership.

With this comes new investment and both

hotels will undergo extensive restoration.

Raffles Cambodia have the same owner

as the famed Metropole Hotel in Hanoi,

so there is a lot of synergy.

Tell us a little more about the history…

In the early 1990s, after the Paris Peace

Agreement was signed ending the civil

war, HM King Sihanouk returned from

exile. Being familiar with the restoration

work that had been carried out at

Raffles Hotel in Singapore, he asked if

Raffles would be interested in acquiring

Cambodia’s two heritage hotels. This was

how, in 1997, “Le Royal“ and “Grand

Hotel d’Angkor“ became the first Raffles

hotels outside Singapore.

The Siem Reap property has an

extraordinary story. If I was visiting the

temples of Angkor today, I feel that

I would want to stay in the same hotel

where the first wave of travellers stayed

in the 1930s, as the sites were first

being excavated. The hotel has a historic

connection with the French explorers who

brought the majesty of Angkor to the

attention of the western world. There are

wonderful hotels in Siem Reap, but none

have this kind of heritage.

What are the key differentiators of the

hotels?

Raffles as a brand is not a “cookie cutter.”

We are very much involved with the local

culture. We have historians working with

us and we have the privilege of having a

Royal Princess on our team. We have a

close relationship with the Royal Palace

where the official opening was attended

by HM Sisowath Monivong (reigned

1927-1941) and our doormen’s uniforms

are the same as the Royal Guards at the

palace. In Siem Reap, the hotel retains

many of its original features, such as

its timber elevator. It is also home to

Cambodia’s most iconic swimming pools,

modelled on the ancient royal bathing

pools of Angkor. These historic references

and experiences just cannot be had in a

modern hotel.


ELITE TRAVEL TRENDS

MANY OF THE

WORLD’S LEADERS

HAVE STAYED AT

THE METROPOLE

William J. Haandrikman

General Manager, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

Area Manager, AccorHotels North Vietnam

NEW BRANCHES

GROWING ON

OLD ROOTS

AccorHotels promotes Sofitel Legend

Metropole in Hanoi, but announces new

properties in North Vietnam

27 years with the AccorHotels group,

William J. Haandrikman has worked

in ten countries in three continents,

from sales and marketing to

GM positions at Sofitels in The

Hague, Paris, Vienna, Shanghai

and Bangkok, before taking over

as area general manager – North

Vietnam – at the helm of the Sofitel

Metropole Hanoi. He speaks about

its exceptional history.

The property was built in 1901 by two

Frenchmen who had seen the Raffles

in Singapore, and said “Whatever the

English can do, we can do better in

Hanoi – the Paris of the East”. Thus,

the Metropole came to be (indeed there

is humor in this). During the conflict

periods, antiwar activists like Joan Baez

and prominent journalists lyke Sy Hersh

stayed at the Metropole. In 1988, Accor

took over the management contract. First

it was a Pullman, and then within 4 years

it was brought into the Sofitel chain. In

2007, when the decision was made to

create the Legend brand, it became the

first Sofitel Legend in the world.

What other notable guests have

stayed at the property?

We have a list of several hundred, starting

with Charlie Chaplin, who honeymooned

at the hotel in the 1930’s. Many of

the world’s leaders have stayed at the

Metropole. In the past 20 months, Prince

William stayed, as did the Queen of

Holland, coincidentally on the day I took

over as GM.

What are the trends in visitors to

Hanoi?

Overall it is positive for us. Some markets

that had been a bit flat have been on

the rise this year while just a few are

slightly down. The US is up, France is up

a little bit, Australia is down after a slight

recovery due to currency fluctuation.

The Americans still make up our biggest

clientele with a lot of multi-generation

travel by South and Central Americans as

well as honeymooners. We are also seeing

an increase in Vietnamese travellers from

the south and centre wanting to visit

the city, not forgetting Taiwan and more

recently Korea as strong source markets.

What’s in the pipeline?

We are opening an M Gallery Hotel in

Sapa, in Northern Vietnam, a mountain

retreat of the French in the past – where

you can find the highest mountain in

Indochina. The hotel is the brainchild

of Bill Bensley. We are opening another

Bensley-designed M Gallery property in

Yen Tu – a more “zen” retreat. There will

be other M Gallery properties opening, as

well new Sofitels, a new Novotel in Hanoi.

In Northern Vietnam, we hadn’t opened

many new hotels in past years, but now

we see the change and the Vietnamese

owners see a stronger interest in investing

with AccorHotels, as we can really drive

business for them


AMERICAS & THE CARIBBEAN

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 33

© Cristo Vlahos

THE AMERICAS –

CONTINUING GROWTH

IN A DYNAMIC SECTOR

In recent years, the tourism sector

in the Americas region has been

showing a notable dynamism

reflected in the growth of domestic

tourism and an increase in

international tourist arrivals as well

as in greater diversification and

development of products. It is a

key sector for economic and social

development, job creation and the

welfare of numerous communities

in the Americas. It has furthermore

grown as a driver of integration and

development in the region.

The Americas region, thanks to

the variety and strength of its

culture and its history, its natural

and architectural attractions, and

the hospitality of its people, has,

says UNWTO, great potential for

tourism development. In a context

of political stability and economic

growth in the region, there has

been development in infrastructure

and tourism products, improved

connectivity conditions by land,

air and sea, as well as a boost to

human resources training and

the formation of a culture around

tourism. These are all factors

that have enabled the growth of

domestic and international markets

with the resulting social benefits for

host communities.

In the following pages, we bring you

some of the top travel and tourism

news from the region…

Iconic South Beach Lifeguard Station,

Miami Beach, Florida, USA


In The Field

with Mary Gostelow

THE "INSIDE LINE" ON WHAT'S HOT IN HOSPITALITY

NAPA VALLEY

- MORE THAN JUST WINES

MARY GOES

WEST

Mary Gostelow is often called the world

authority on luxury hotels. In addition to

being global ambassador for International

Luxury Travel Market events, www.iltm.com,

she has a daily travelogue, www.girlahead.

com. In this report, she takes us to the US

west coast.

Napa is more than just wines – it is

also superb lodging. Calistoga’s fivebedroom

Francis House luxury B&B has

been booked out since it opened August

2018. Architectural Digest and Robb

Report immediately lauded how owners

Richard and Dina Dwyer have so brilliantly

transformed the former local hospital,

built 1860 in the style of a Parisien palais.

Ten minutes’ drive south in St

Helena, is the adult-only Los

Alcobas, on St Helena’s

Main Street, immediately

next to the Culinary

Institute of

America (it’s

sibling to Los

Alcobas Mexico City

- both Luxury Collection,

managed by Mexico Cityborn

Sam Leizorek). Here, in

California, his partner is Presidio

Companies. The 1907 main building,

Acacia House, which has a total of three

acres of land, has, with three, three-floor

2010-vintage bedroom blocks, a total of

68 rooms, designed by Yabu Pushelberg in

soft greys that beautifully complement the

Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards

immediately behind.

GM Alain Negueloua feels he is back home

– fortunately he kept his house here, from

his days running Meadowood. He told me,

over dinner at Acacia House restaurant,

how all food here is overseen by Oliver

Wharton, including room service and

events (there is a gorgeous outdoor space,

right in the centre of the development,

that is really popular for weddings).

CALISTOGA’S

EIGHTBEDROOM

FRANCIS HOUSE

LUXURY B&B HAS BEEN

BOOKED OUT SINCE IT

OPENED AUGUST

2018

Former F&B guru for SBE, Oliver Wharton

heads Las Vegas-based A Perfect Bite Inc:

one of its divisions is Delicious MFG & CO,

a partnership with Chris Cosentino. It is

he, Cosentino, who is the ‘celebrity chef’

fronting Las Alcobas, and he who attracts

locals to the restaurant. My night, we

drank Beringer Single Vineyard Cabernet

Sauvignon 2009, from the vineyard

just outside corner suite 338 – this

is probably best-on-property,

with two all-wall windows,

both leading out on

fire pit.

to an L-shaped

balcony, with

seating, and an

electrically-operated

Las Alcobas is a highly popular

wedding venue, with a readybuilt

outside spot, grass and concrete,

to hold up to 200: some parties have

the ceremony here, and move into the

adjacent just-built Acacia Barn for food –

they might, alternatively, build in a tasting

at the hotel’s wine shop. There’s also a

great spa, and a 24/7 LifeFitness gym.

Talking of fitness, Four Seasons Hotel Los

Angeles at Beverly Hills has a 24/7 poolside,

and open to the elements that seldom

interrupt workouts in California – the main

equipment, Precor, is complemented by

oh-so-trendy Peloton bikes.

SEE YOU AGAIN IN THE NEXT EDITION


AMERICAS & THE CARIBBEAN

FACTS & FIGURES

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 35

SOUTH AMERICA

LEADS THE CHARGE

IN REGIONAL TOURISM

The first half of 2018 has seen a rise of

3% in inbound tourism in the Americas,

following on from an overall increase of

3% in 2017, according to figures released

by UNWTO.

Growth is led by South America, where

international arrivals increased 8% this

early part of 2018. Ecuador (+57%) and

Colombia (+48%) both reported a surge

in arrivals, building on already strong

results in 2017. Peru (+23%) also posted

remarkable growth.

Central America recorded 6% growth,

with Belize (+19%) and El Salvador

(+13%) driving results. Growth in

Guatemala (+6%) was in line with the

subregion’s average, while Honduras

recorded a 5% increase. Costa Rica, the

subregion’s largest destination, grew 4%.

Irma and Maria. In North America (+2%),

robust results in Mexico and Canada

contrasted with a decrease in the United

States, the region’s largest destination.

The decline in arrivals to the United States

also weighed down the region’s average.

In South America (+7%), the growth

momentum continued in 2017, led by

Paraguay (+25% through September)

and Colombia (+23%), the latter boasting

its fourth straight year of double-digit

growth. Uruguay (+21%) continued

to benefit from promotional actions in

bordering source markets and tax-free

benefits for tourists. Chile and Ecuador

both recorded 14% growth in arrivals

last year. Ecuador rebounded from weak

results in 2016 due to the earthquake that

hit the country’s central coast.

Central America recorded a 4% increase

in arrivals in 2017, led by Nicaragua

(+22%), which is enjoying strong demand

from regional markets. Guatemala (+9%),

Belize and El Salvador (both +8%) also

posted solid growth. Honduras recorded

3% more arrivals, a similar increase as in

2016. Results in top destination Costa Rica

(+1%) were more modest due to a decline

in visitors from the United States, while

Panama reported 12% fewer arrivals.

In 2017, tourism receipts were up 1% on

the previous year in the Americas. The

United States continued to be the world’s

top international tourism earner, with

US$ 211 bn in tourism receipts in 2017

The Caribbean (-9%) experienced a

decrease in arrivals this period, weighed

down by negative results in a few

destinations that are still struggling with

the effects of the hurricanes of August

and September 2017.

In North America (+4%), Mexico (+10%)

led growth in international arrivals,

while Canada (+4%) grew in line with

the subregion’s average. Data from the

United States for 2018 is still unavailable.

8

6

4

2

INTERNATIONAL TOURIST ARRIVALS, AMERICAS

16/15

17*/16 Jan-Dec

4.9

4.5

4.2

4

4

3

2.7

2

(% change)

7

Overall, in 2017, the Americas welcomed

207 million international tourists, with

most destinations enjoying solid results,

led by South America (+7%). Central

America and the Caribbean both grew

4%, with the latter showing clear signs

of recovery in the aftermath of hurricanes

0

Americas

North

America

Source: World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) ©

Caribbean

Central

America

South

America


AMERICAS & THE CARIBBEAN

TRANSPORT

New Delta A220 aircraft in

paint shop – soon ready to fly

Southwest Airlines

AMERICAS 9% RISE IN INTERNATIONAL

AIR TRAVEL IN 2019

According to International air travel

from the Americas increased 9% in

2017, boosted by the US market in

particular and a generally stronger

economic environment.

Air travel to destinations outside the

region (+11%) grew faster than to

destinations within the region (+7%), led

by travel to Europe (+14%).

Demand remains solid for January-April

2018, with international reservations up

9% compared to the same four months

in 2017. Bookings for interregional travel

(+11%) remain stronger than for travel

within the Americas (+7%), with flight

reservations to all world regions growing

in double digits.

Domestic reservations (mostly

corresponding to the US and Brazil) are

6% higher for the first months of 2018,

after growing 4% in the entire year 2017.

NEW A220 AIRCRAFT FOR

DELTA

Delta has announced it will be the first

US airline to take delivery of the A220,

formerly known as the «C Series,» which

will feature a modern interior with a

spacious, wide-body feel, and best-inclass

fuel performance. From January

2019, Delta will be upgrading its fleet to

replace less-efficient aircraft with highly

efficient and state-of-the-art aircraft like

the A220 as well as new Boeing 737-

900ERs, Airbus A321s, Airbus A350s as

well as Airbus A330-900neo and Airbus

A321neo. Delta’s A220s will feature 18.6»

wide Main Cabin seats – the widest Main

Cabin seats in Delta’s fleet – in a two-bythree

layout. Each customer will also have

personal power ports and complimentary

premium entertainment on individual

seat-back screens.

AMERICAN AIRLINES

ADDS SOUTHERN

DESTINATIONS

American Airlines is adding new

international flights to Cuba, Dominican

Republic, Honduras and Mexico and more

domestic options from DFW in 2019.

The company will add a sixth destination

in Cuba with a new daily flight from

Miami International Airport (MIA) to

Antonio Maceo Airport (SCU) in Santiago

de Cuba starting May 3.

The airline will also start new service

from Dallas Fort Worth International

Airport (DFW) to Durango International

Airport (DGO) in Mexico starting June 6.

American will be the only U.S. carrier to

serve DGO and SCU.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES –

HAWAII NON-STOP

Oakland Metropolitan Airport (OAK), San

Diego International Airport (SAN), Mineta

San Jose International Airport (SJC),

and Sacramento International Airport

(SMF) are set to gain direct Hawaii services

in Southwest’s flight schedules following

FAA authorization. In May 2018,

Southwest announced its initial plan

to serve four airports in the Hawaiian

Islands: Daniel K. Inouye International

Airport in Honolulu(HNL), Kahului

Airport on Maui (OGG), Lihue Airport

on Kauai (LIH), and Ellison Onizuka Kona

International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on

the leeward side of The Island of Hawaii


AMERICAS & THE CARIBBEAN

TRENDING DESTINATIONS

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 37

Michael Goldsmith

Vice President, Marketing, Las Vegas Convention

and Visitors Authority (LVCVA)

Donald Contursi

President, Lip Smacking Foodie Tours

SPORTS DRIVE NEW

TOURISM CONCEPTS

FOR LAS VEGAS

International visitation to Las

Vegas represented around 16%

in Las Vegas in 2017, with the

city’s top three international

markets being Canada, Mexico

and the UK, followed by

Australia, China and Japan.

While the city has long been

known for its sporting events,

the past three to four years

has seen an explosion in

professional sports previously

unseen in the city. Rugby

Sevens is now an Olympic

sport, and Las Vegas now hosts

major games. The National

Hockey League Team, the Vegas

Golden Knights started playing

in 2017, already making it into

the championships. The Raiders

will be in Vegas in 2020 and a

new stadium is being built for

them. The world championship

of Curling takes place in Las

Vegas, the National Finals

Rodeo take place in Las Vegas

every December and there are

now two NASCAR (National

Association for Stock Car Auto

Racing) races every year.

“Las Vegas is a very good

place for these events,” says

Michael Goldsmith, Vice

President, Marketing, Las

Vegas Convention and Visitors

Authority (LVCVA), adding,

“We have the ability, with

almost 150,000 hotel rooms,

to accommodate just about any

kind of event. The evolution of

sports in Las Vegas has been a

really big mover, and has really

changed the way a lot of people

view the destination.”

Meanwhile, the Luxor hotel

boasts a huge eSports arena,

where people watch experts

playing video games. Little

wonder, as it is reported that

more money is being spent

nowadays in the US on video

games than going to the

cinema!

LIP SMACKING

VEGAS

Las Vegas is renowned for its great food… but

getting a “different angle” on the cuisine and

history of the city is also a lot of fun thanks to

innovative “Lip Smacking Foodie Tours” – an

initiative launched by Don Contursi.

Contursi has concocted numerous ideas, such

as “Savors of the Strip”, “Boozy Brunch”, the

“Downtown Lip Smacking Tour”, the “Ultimate

Steakhouse Tour” … The list goes on.

Having lived in Vegas for 16 years, Contursi had

experienced countless restaurants himself, and

says “With that information, I thought, there is so

much, for most people it’s overwhelming. Why not

take people around to a few places, and just taste

their speciality signature dish – just the highlights…

and in between the restaurants we give titbits – for

example in downtown Vegas we talk about how

it’s changed over the past few years, and why

it’s changed. On the strip, we talk about other

things to do in Vegas, sights along the way, art

installations, things to do during your trip. People

never get that unless they have a tour guide, which

isn’t really common in Vegas, and you walk right

past gems and have no idea about it unless you

have a local expert taking you around!”


AMERICAS & THE CARIBBEAN

TRENDING HOTELS

PARK MGM - A FRENCH TOUCH IN VEGAS

A condo with intimate South-of-

France style bars and terraces…

not something one expects to find

in the centre of Las Vegas. But the

look and feel has been achieved in

the new Park MGM.

The Monte Carlo officially shed its name this

year with a major refurb and a new identity

– Park MGM – a welcoming social hub that

evokes the residential spirit, intimacy and

individuality of a boutique experience on a

resort scale. And with its central location,

Park MGM offers guests direct access to

what is quickly becoming the city’s premier

entertainment district, featuring T-Mobile

Arena, The Park and Park Theater.

A partnership between Sydell Group and

MGM Resorts International, Park MGM was

born from the collaborative vision of the

New York-based lifestyle hotelier and one

of the world’s preeminent destination resort

developers. When complete, the project

will comprise two new distinct experiences:

Park MGM, and a Las Vegas version of the

renowned NoMad, a standalone 292-room

hotel encompassing the tower’s top four

floors.

While a dramatic arboreal sculpture by

Brazilian woodworker Henrique Oliveira is

the focal point of the lobby, Park MGM’s

rooms evoke the essence of a private

apartment with a mix of thoughtful

touches, antique-inspired pieces, “found”

objects and original artwork by artists and

photographers from around the world

commissioned for each room by France’s

be-poles studio

Park MGM

cocktail lounge

MIAMI

INTRODUCES

FIRST WALDORF

ASTORIA

Downtown Miami is set to have a prestigious new address, with

the arrival of a Waldorf Astoria project that will be one of the

tallest residential towers on the East Coast.

Designed by architect Sieger Suarez

and conceptual architect Carlos

Ott, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel &

Residences Miami is the fruit of a

partnership between New York-based

developer Property Markets Group

(PMG), along with Toronto-based

private equity and asset management

firm Greybrook Realty Partners, and

global hospitality company Hilton.

It will be located at 300 Biscayne

Boulevard in Downtown Miami.

“We are incredibly excited to partner

with PMG and Greybrook Realty

Partners to bring the first Waldorf

Astoria to Miami,” said Danny

Hughes, Executive Vice President

and President, Americas. “Miami

– a vibrant, dynamic and truly

cosmopolitan destination that draws

travellers from all over the world –

is the perfect market for our iconic

Waldorf Astoria brand.”

Recently, Waldorf Astoria launched

its “Live Unforgettable” campaign,

which combines True Waldorf

Service, iconic environments and its

guests’ desire to live in the moment.

This brand positioning falls in

line with PMG’s core principles of

creating innovative ways to offer a

truly unique result of luxury living.

By fusing these two entities, the

bar is being raised within the Miami

market in order to create a landmark

destination


Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 39

WE DO NOT USE A “ONE-

SIZE-FITS-ALL” MEMBERSHIP

MODEL

Michelle Woodley

President, Preferred Hotels & Resorts

CHAMPIONS OF THE INDEPENDENT

HOTELIER

Exclusive interview: Michelle Woodley, President – Preferred Hotels

& Resorts

Preferred Hotels & Resorts are celebrating their 50 th anniversary this year.

We asked company President Michelle Woodley to tell us more about the

anniversary and the importance of the celebration.

This year we are recognising our 50-year

heritage as one of the original players in the

independent hotel space.

Since our foundation in 1968 by 12 North

American hoteliers, we have grown to

represent more than 700 hotels in over

85 countries, making Preferred Hotels &

Resorts the world’s largest independent

hotel brand. Our success is largely due to an

unwavering focus on our positioning as the

champion of the independent hotelier and

curator of exceptional hotels that deliver

authentic and inspiring travel experiences.

How do you see demand and supply

evolving in terms of the type of

accommodation?

While the hotel development pipeline is still

booming, the rise in popularity of residentialstyle

lodging has made a huge impact

on the industry and how travellers search

and book accommodation. As such, hotel

groups are investing more in their residential

product offering to enhance services that

apartments and residences cannot deliver

such as F&B, spa and experiences. Almost

all hotel chains have now launched or are

in the process of launching at least one

product line in this segment. Our Preferred

Residences Collection provides travellers

with the highest level of living with luxury

in the world’s most desired locations. The

collection has doubled in size in less than

two years and now counts more than

80 properties offering transient vacation

experiences that combine the space,

privacy, and flexibility of a home with the

luxuries and convenience of a hotel stay.

What differentiates Preferred Hotels &

Resorts from its competitive set?

We have always been committed to

supporting independent hotels and regional

hotel groups. We believe in the inspiration

of travel, and we selectively work with

hotels that can deliver authentic, one-ofa-kind

experiences to true travellers while

maintaining high standards that are in

line with our own. The crucial points of

difference between our brand and the

hotel chains are that we truly understand

independent hotels, that our relationships

with hoteliers are mutually beneficial

partnerships, and that our hotels are

independently operated, owned, and

managed. In fact, we provide many of

the services that a chain provides – group,

corporate, and leisure sales, integrated

marketing solutions, comprehensive

revenue management, global connectivity

through reservations services, progressive

distribution technology, and a guest loyalty

programme to name a few – at a fraction

of the cost. Further, each member hotel

is distinctly unique and locally relevant -

from business-orientated city hotels, to

mountain resorts and private island retreats;

therefore, we do not use a “one-size-fitsall”

membership model


AMERICAS & THE CARIBBEAN

TRENDING HOTELS

EL SILENCIO LODGE & SPA

Floating like a cloud in the

rainforest canopy near the Poas

Volcano, El Silencio Lodge &

Spa is one of the most secluded,

tranquil and relaxing luxury hotels

in the Costa Rican mountains, an

eco-resort created to be a luxury

retreat for travellers seeking

out authentic experiences and a

deep connection to nature.

Simple luxury and exhilarating

adventures are the essence of the

El Silencio guest experience, with

a torch-lit forest dinner featuring

farm-to-table ingredients from their

organic farm and a curated wine

list; scenic hikes in the Hummingbird

Garden and cloud forest trails; or

zip-lining through the forest canopy

or rappelling down the face of a

roaring waterfall. Tours of Espíritu

Santo Coffee Hacienda or sampling

local goods and cuisine at a

nearby country market are other

options.

​The Lodge & Spa is located in

picturesque Bajos del Toro on

a 500-acre private cloud forest

reserve flanked by the Juan Castro

Blanco and Poas Volcano National

Parks. Just 90 minutes from San

José, the eco resort is a dream

destination for Costa Rica mountain

honeymoons, family vacations

or wellness holidays.

El Silencio Lodge & Spa was the

first Central American member of

Relais & Châteaux

BAHIA VIK JOSÉ

IGNACIO & PLAYA

VIK JOSÉ IGNACIO,

URUGUAY

Winners of the Conde Naste

readers’ choice 2017 award for

best resort in South America and

#3 in the world, Bahia Vik José

Ignacio and Playa Vik José Ignacio

are built on the “vision” of

Norway-born entrepreneur Alex

Vik. Vik Retreats are a collection

of private South American resorts

designed for discerning travellers

seeking a unique and unrivalled

experience.

Comprised of

Estancia Vik José

Ignacio, Playa Vik

José Ignacio and

Bahia Vik José

Ignacio in Uruguay,

and Vik Chile

and the Viña Vik

Vineyard in the

Millahue Valley, Vik

Retreats promise

singular stays

offering entrée into the very best

of their respective locales. Since

their debuts, the properties have

been lauded as some of the most

exceptional destinations in the

world.

Working in tandem to provide

a world-class stay for visitors,

Estancia Vik José Ignacio is

romantic, rustic and traditional

and located nearby in the hills

rolling down to the José Ignacio

lagoon, which runs into the

ocean, Playa Vik José Ignacio

showcases ultra-contemporary

art and design along the most

coveted spot on the coast, and

Bahia Vik José Ignacio celebrates

contemporary beach living with

seamless flow between indoors

and outdoors


INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 41

© iStock Photo

WE UNDERSTAND YOU

An underlying theme in

this edition is the way

technology is enabling

a more personalised

approach to welcoming

and working with

travellers.

Indeed, Signature

Network’s upcoming

Sales Meeting in Las

Vegas has the theme “As

Unique as You”, based

on the personalisation

capabilities of Signature’s

technology solutions and

marketing programs.

At the same time,

Virtuoso CEO & President

Matthew Upchurch has

long touted the fact that

Artificial Intelligence,

when used correctly,

will bring incredible new

value-add to the travel

and tourism market.

In this section, we take

another look at how

AI is being used in

the industry, and how

technology can, and

should, make our world

a better place in years to

come.


In The Field

with David Esseryk

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 43

THE "INSIDE LINE" ON WHAT'S HOT IN HOSPITALITY TECHNOLOGIES

PART 23

HOSPITALITY AND A.I.

CLOSE-UP ON

ARTIFICIAL

INTELLIGENCE

– PART II

In this edition of his regular report, David

Esseryk takes another close look at how

Artificial Intelligence is impacting the

industry, and what we can expect to see in

the future.

AUTOMATION AND MACHINE

LEARNING FOR EMERGING

HOTELS

Much of the hopeful promises made for ​

Artificial Intelligence in the hospitality

industry​are intended for established

brands. Small, less celebrated hotels

receive less attention even though they

form a big enough segment to reap

the best out of AI offerings. Since

large hotels can hire more

competent staff to work

on a myriad of tasks,

smaller brands with

a limited budget

and members

can’t reach

the goals of

revenue growth and

business intelligence

management, eventually

settling for weak solutions and

average profit margins.

THE DOMINANT UBIQUITY OF

DIGITAL VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS

The rise of digital concierge and virtual

assistants can be attributed to evolving

travellers, vacationers and business

guests who desire exemplary customer

experience. Hence, to enable digital

experiences with hotels, companies rely on ​

Natural Language Processing​of famous AI

leaders such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa

and Microsoft’s Cortana. To augment the

experience furthermore, we will see AR

purge the linguistic barriers by enabling

English speaking employees to converse

effortlessly with hotel guests from any part

of the world using AR headsets for realtime

translation.

AR is also becoming as integral as AI.

UK’s largest hotel chain Premier Inn has

outfitted each guest room of their Hub

Hotel with an interactive wall map that

contains local spots of the surrounding

neighbourhood. To view interesting local

sites, the facility allows travellers to point

their smartphones at the map.

When it comes to serving customers with

AI-powered virtual assistants, ​Edwardian

Hotels London​leads the chart. The

hotel in May 2015 introduced the

GUESTS

WILL

ENJOY HYPER-

PERSONALISATION IN

THE FORM OF REAL-TIME

NOTIFICATIONS THROUGH

CHATBOTS FROM DINNER

SPECIALS, CASINO FACILITIES

first ever AI-based chatbots with

which guests can interact via

text using a smartphone

to order room service

and request various

recommendations

for spa,

restaurant,

hotel specials and

other local attractions.

TO EVEN BABYSITTING

SERVICES FOR THE

FAMILY PERSONALISATION

ON A LARGER SCALE

Incorporating Artificial Intelligence

in hotels is stipulated to transform room

services completely by 2025 through

the process of creating personalised

experiences that will incorporate individual

preferences. Hotels will integrate ​chatbots

and AI​as a useful tool to acquire and

retain various demographics. McKinsey​

claims in their research that companies

are effectively personalizing their services

can increase revenue by 10% to 15% and

diminish service cost by 15% to 20%.

Over time, with broad adoption of Artificial

Intelligence in hotels, we will see guests

will enjoy hyper-personalisation in the form

of real-time notifications through chatbots

from dinner specials, casino facilities to

even babysitting services for the family.

SEE YOU AGAIN IN THE NEXT EDITION


INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

Pascale Chatelain

Vice-President - Global Sales,

Marketing and Channels, FCS

DRIVING THE TRANSFORMATION OF

THE HOTEL OPERATIONS: BALANCING

HUMAN TOUCH WITH TECHNOLOGY

FCS targets strong growth for its operational applications

to support Hotel Operations Digital Transformation

THERE

IS NO GUEST

EXPERIENCE

WITHOUT STAFF

EMPOWERMENT

Operational solutions are becoming mission critical item in the management

of a hotel, and FCS is hard at work to provide innovative ways to lead

& support that change. Pascale Chatelain recently joined the company

as Vice-President - Global Sales, Marketing and Channels. We asked her what

prompted her move and her vision for the future of the industry.

I joined FCS 16 months ago as I could see the

hospitality industry was going through a massive

transformation journey with a huge potential to

contribute to the revolution that will forever change

the way the hotels are operating : Achieving the

right balance between technology benefits and

workforce empowerment. FCS’ solid international

footprint, its unique position as a trusted advisor

to leading hotel brands, combined with innovation

agility, are what made the differences and attracted

me. FCS Customer portfolio is comprised of over

5,000 customers. It includes a wide range of hotel

brands, hotel profiles/sizes from different market

segments: Shangri-la, Banyan Tree but also Hilton,

Marriott, IHG, Fairmont Raffles (AccorHotels), as

well as unique brands such as The Langham in

Chicago, Yotel in Singapore, the Five in Dubai, Taj

Group in India, to cite only a few. I spent 15 years

at Oracle Europe Middle-East & Africa– before its

acquisition of Micros Fidelio Systems – working

in various industries where the role of IT was

growing fast as a core part of companies strategy,

SMARTreport Commercial Content


INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

Hotel & Tourism

SMARTreport #40

2018 Autumn Edition 45

93%

of surveyed hoteliers agreed that

“Highly trained staff backed up by technology

will be key to delivering personalized service &

experiences.”

Source – Hotel Trend 2020

part of their competitive advantage and

staff retention. The Hospitality industry

is reaching that maturity, and I felt

excited about the opportunity to bring

that experience and combining it with

FCS’ innovative technology with a human

touch at the service of hotel clients.

What is the opportunity for FCS and

its hospitality operations management

solutions?

In the race for the best “GX” guest

experience, hoteliers are thriving to deliver

the best/most personalised experience to

guests. Yet a personalised GX can only

happen if hotel teams are empowered, and

are freed up to do so. Staff empowerment

can only happen through the right tools: Our

service optimisation applications are used

to automate functions that free up staff to

spend more time with the guests. We aim at

being a Face Up not Face Down application,

giving staff the ability to concentrate on the

guests and not on the technology. At FCS,

we believe technology innovation should be

at the service of people and not the other

way around.

The way it works: FCS enables each hotel

staff/department to connect to a single

platform that allows for seamless & fluid

communication. Staff & management are

armed with the right tools to communicate

faster and more efficiently, serve guests

better, improve room turnaround time,

fix room defects, track glitches and

understand/track guest preferences...

Ultimately, this will also improve staff

loyalty and retention as tasks are made

easier and relationships with guests are

more favourable.

Hoteliers that understand the importance

of innovating in the next decade recognize

that standardized operations will act as a

multiplier effect, impacting the bottom

line while enhancing guest loyalty, quality

of services, and gaining competitive edge.

FCS helps hoteliers build that loyal bond

with their guests.

The hospitality industry is fast growing

in many regions where the shortfall of

qualified staff makes it imperative for

businesses to become more efficient and

productive. The competitive landscape

of the hospitality market, together with

the consolidation of groups and brands,

means that they have to be more creative

in delivering a more personalised service to

the guests without increasing workforce,

impossible to do if everything has to be

processed manually. They have to gain

efficiencies elsewhere to allow time for a

truly personalised approach.

In a hotel, speed & accuracy of service, is

a critical part of the guest services. As

in many other industries, having the right

information at ones’ finger tips to make

faster and educated decisions is critical. I

believe that in providing the management

and staff real-time information, they have

a competitive advantage.

When I look at the market today, there

is not one player that has conquered

the market. In the same way a PMS is a

must have for a hotel of any decent size,

operational solutions are becoming a

must-have as well.

It’s a labour-intensive market, but it’s

also a people market. Depending on the

brands strategies, high level or low level

of guest touch points, it remains a human

touch business about people. As much as

robots may fulfil some tasks, take care of

your luggage, or check you in, operational

excellence will remain people driven.

The best technology is the technology you

don’t see.

THE RIGHT

TECHNOLOGY IS THE

ONE WE DO NOT SEE

Who benefits the most from your

solutions?

Actually all stakeholders benefit from our

solutions. It’s probably one of the few IT

solutions that is a win-win-win for guests,

hotel staff & management, and thus

hotel owners and Brands. Moreover, it is

evidently an important factor of seduction

when it comes to attracting new and

younger talent to the hospitality industry.

The Economic Intelligence Unit reported

that 60% of employees believe themselves

more productive as a result of using

technology. We truly believe that it is a

game changer for the hospitality industry.

From a pure economic standpoint our

solutions have a very important impact

of the bottom-line. To take only one

example: automation and optimisation

of preventive maintenance demonstrates

better asset management and significant

extension of asset longevity.

We understand that you have recently

recruited hoteliers to work for FCS.

What was the thinking behind that

move?

SMARTreport Commercial Content


INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

FCS GLOBAL REACH

With offices around the world,

FCS provides 24/7 support

The reason for hiring hoteliers is twofold:

firstly, to be at the heart of the FCS

innovation, and secondly, to ensure we are

hand-in-hand with the hoteliers as they go

through that transformation.

Successful change management in any

organisation requires complete staff

adoption. Thus it is important for our

clients to feel that we have an in-depth

understanding on how we can best help

them succeed in deploying solutions.

Moreover to best understand how we can

add value to the hotel operations of the

21st century, we need to live and breathe

the hotel operations challenges. Working

with our solutions expands beyond the

scope of implementing technology, it

is changing a lot of the ways the hotel

operates, which is always a challenging

factor on the human side for any hotel

management.

FCS is a very successful business, with

a strong footprint in Asia; how are

you leveraging that success in Western

markets?

Actually, we already have strong presence

in Western markets, and we are further

expanding by opening more offices

around the globe. With our global HQ in

Singapore, we are leveraging the Asian

brands. We have a track record and success

with very prestigious high-end luxury

brands from Asia-Pacific who have helped

us grow in the Western market where they

have expanded. They equally represent a

strong base for the international brands

moving into Asia, which have been very

fast adopters of FCS in the region with our

existing footprint and track record.

The hospitality sector in the Middle East

& Africa region is setting the pace for

innovation, which has generated high

demand for our comprehensive suite of

tools and solutions, thus we opened a new

office and customer service team in Dubai

earlier this year.

An important objective for us is to raise

further awareness of our solutions in the

United States – we aim to gain increased

visibility in the Americas. We have had

some very unique and prestigious recent

wins in the US and we have grown our

operations in the US by opening an

additional office in Washington DC.

How will FCS look to develop its

successful technology platforms

around the globe?

We have 13 sales offices around the world,

and yet we don’t see ourselves as selling

technology. The success of technology

is how people use and adopt it. Good

technology is invisible and the FCS mantra

is innovation at the service of people.

Part of the strategy is in-depth innovation

of the product and to have the handholding

quality of service, not only before, but also

post-deployment. The strategy is also in the

solutions’ footprint – we have expanded

much beyond housekeeping, engineering

and job dispatch. FCS today has laundry,

public space cleaning, and luggage, and

more recently our analytics layer is further

empowering hotelier’s managements.

FCS is an innovative company, what are

its USPs?

What is unique is a combination of large

footprint, solid experience, and constant

reinvestment in research and development.

This is at the heart of FCS go to market,

which goes hand in hand with our

customer intimacy. The hoteliers which

have trusted us for years, appreciate our

agility to grow with their requirements, but

also help them embrace new technologies

and propose innovative solutions to help

achieve their strategies.

Moreover we are an open platform, as such

we can integrate with other innovative

companies on the market, whether IoT or

new service players, our clients appreciate

that openness and flexibility with FCS to

meet their growth strategies.

We offer a business benefit to hotels

around the world

Readers of the SMARTreport will find out about

the FCS range of solutions in the next edition.

SMARTreport Commercial Content

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