ILTM Americas welcomes exhibitors from the most luxurious products and destinations around the world to meet with 229 exclusively invited buyers from the Americas.
The ILTM Americas Opening Forum kicked off with Javier Arredondo, Founder of Travesias, a premier travel publication in Mexico, who encouraged attendees to begin thinking of the Americas as an all-encompassing region inclusive of North, Central and South America, with much potential to develop its luxury travel industry.
“With more than half a million HNWI* in Latin America alone, ILTM Americas is geared toward a really interesting and very exciting future,” said Arredondo. “Those with more than US$30 million invested in assets grew by 11% last year. This makes our region increasingly enticing for the luxury market.”
Latin American countries have continued to show financial strength, with a growing middle class, rich energy sources and abundant agriculture. To share their experiences and views of the region, CBS travel news editor Peter Greenberg interviewed both Jack Horne, SVP, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, and Paul James, SVP and Global Brand Leader Luxury Portfolio, Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Hyatt Hotels has 25 hotels under construction and 23 of these - 14,000 rooms in total - are located in Latin America. “It’s a natural fit for us to invest in this market,” said Horne. “We’re expecting a 8.3% growth rate in luxury within the next year.”
Starwood Hotels currently has eight of their nine brands represented in Latin America. Paul James said “Mexico represents the number 3 source of business for us at Starwood in New York and is top 5 globally.” He also commented that whilst hotels’ brand values should be the same in every property, genuine success comes from “playing it through a local lens.”
The Opening Forum closed with a panel discussion between clients and luxury travel suppliers who highlighted the must-haves of a successful relationship between the two. They mentioned the value of brands being able to provide world-class service, but more importantly, the power of a luxury travel agent being able to curate an itinerary with an extra level of service and specialisation.
Prior to the Opening Forum, two seminars were held. Mario Jobbe, COO & Co Founder of Brand Karma addressed “The Luxury Traveler and Social Media” which emphasised the importance of social media and its influence to court millennial guests as they redefine luxury as Instagram-able experiences.
The panel was moderated by Wendy Perrin, Director of Consumer News & Digital Community at Condé Nast Traveler and also included Felicia Yukich, Manager, Social Media Marketing Worldwide, Four Seasons. The seminar explored the emerging and evolving social media platforms, and panelists stressed the importance of authentic and organic messaging to engage in real-time conversations with Millennials (those born in 1980 onwards) who are hungry to document their luxury experiences.
At the ‘Meet the Editors’ seminar, Nilou Motamed, Features Director & Senior Correspondent from Travel + Leisure said: “Travel today isn’t just about luxury for the sake of luxury; we are seeing more luxury with a purpose.” Maria Shollenbarger, Travel Editor of the FT How to Spend It in the UK commented on the sophistication of today’s luxury traveller: “If something doesn’t feel right, our readers just don’t like it.” Maria Pellicer, Editor-in-Chief of Travesias added that luxury travellers today are as sophisticated because of social media. The emerging middle class from around the world including Asia and Latin America is creating a new type of traveller who still look for ‘luxury for the sake of luxury’ to exercise their bragging rights.
*High net-worth individuals