ILTM Cannes is growing up fast

With more than 57,000 bespoke appointments over four days, 1,400 elite buyers and 95 countries represented, ILTM sure is showing signs of maturity
A busy ILTM from years past

INTERNATIONAL Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), the world’s leading luxury travel event is ready to take the world of indulgence by storm when it opens from December 1 to 4 this year. Featuring some of the world’s most creative thinkers, the ILTM Global Forum will explore the new wave of technological and cultural advances that will transform the world of luxury travel and set the tone for the event business week ahead.

From technological advances in artificial Intelligence and Big Data, to cultural and economic shifts such as the sharing economy and the rise of reputation, ILTM will feature global experts to address three key areas of change; travel advisors, travel spaces and travel technology.

Among the 117 member properties showcased by Leading Hotels of the World’s (LHW) will be New York’s newly opened Knickerbocker hotel and the Ritz Paris – set to re-open in the second half of 2015, following an extensive restoration. Small Luxury Hotels of the World will host 32 properties including Casa Angelina on the Amalfi Coast, where guest experiences include an open drive in a convertible Alfa Romeo Spider, Volkswagen Beetle or Fiat 500 Baby.

They will be joined by world-renowned brands including Amanresorts, Belmond, Bulgari Hotels and Resorts, Fairmont & Raffles Hotels and Resorts, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, LVMH Hotel Management, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

In addition, a dedicated pavilion of Brazilian properties will take part alongside a significant number of smaller, undiscovered hidden gems from across the globe. These include boutique private travel designers and specialists such as Nordic Luxury and The Real Japan, as well as independent properties including the soon-to-open Hideaway Beach Resort and Spa in the Maldives and Sardinia’s Su Gologone.

Up to 1,400 luxury travel buyers will attend this year’s event, 90 per cent of whom do not attend other ILTM events. A minimum of 30 per cent of the buyers in attendance will be entirely new to ILTM, providing a continually replenished community of new business prospects and guaranteeing the social atmosphere that is so integral to the event.

Alison Gilmore, ILTM Portfolio’s senior exhibition director spoke to TTN ahead of the event’s 13th chapter.

ILTM is growing at a steady pace year-on-year. What are your expectations for ILTM 2014?

Now in its 13th year, the global ILTM event takes place in Cannes in December. ILTM opens the doors to the global luxury travel community in a time-efficient format; introducing select suppliers to the most sought-after of buyers, planners and designers of elite travel itineraries from all four corners of the world. A record 57,000+ bespoke appointments are scheduled to take place this year and this figure does not include the more informal meetings that take place during ILTM’s extensive social networking sessions throughout the four days of the event. 

But it is always quality and not quantity that matters to ILTM. Our raison d’etre is to always feature the very best – from established brands and smaller independent products to meet with the most discerning as well as the newest and most vibrant of high-end agents from across the world. We leave no stone unturned in our quest to offer our hosted buyers the chance to visit the newest and the best the luxury travel world has to offer – in a matter of days at ILTM 2014.

What is new at ILTM 2014?

ILTM in Cannes has reached its teens.

Cannes is where it all started and one can feel the maturity in the absolute refinement of the event. The attendees are the world’s best, the properties on show are the best that the world has to offer and our guests evenings are spent among the true pathfinders of luxury travel. Making sure they all leave Cannes with well-sourced business, vital new contacts and, importantly, garden-fresh enthusiasm for their vocation is our raison d’être, so, whilst we have the format down to a fine art, we like to add new details to delight our guests each year.

Gilmore…88 exhibitors from the Middle East this year

Our first engagement is the ‘ILTM Global Forum’ on Monday December 1. The order of the day is ‘Luxury Horizons’ and our international line-up of speakers will focus on the cultural, technological and economic changes transforming our working lives.

We will also introduce The Future Luxury Lounge by Brand Karma: with monumental shifts occurring in technology industry at present. Technologies like virtual reality, drones, wearable technology, the measurable self, and the mobile transmission of scent are rapidly becoming mainstream. These shifts will change the way we live and work, and the Future Luxury Lounge on the ILTM show has been put together by Brand Karma to showcase the latest technologies impacting how we will sell and experience travel in the future. Try on an Oculus Rift virtual reality device and experience a destination remotely, smell a cup of Brazilian coffee from thousands of miles away, and see what an eTravelAdvisor inside a smartwatch looks like.

What kind of response have you received from exhibitors?

We are blessed with a very loyal and very significant number of fans in the global luxury travel industry. ILTM has a well-deserved reputation as the hub for creating business in the world of luxury travel and as a result we are welcoming not only the established brands from across the world but new products to the market – from private islands in the Pacific to stunning haciendas in Costa Rica to boutique hotels on stilts in Panama to new contemporary hotels in New York, ski resorts, culinary courses and yachts.

How much interest have you received from the Middle East region?

We have a total of 88 exhibitors from across the Middle East including a significant number from the UAE as well as Bahrain, Oman and Jordan. The region continues to be growing destination for the global luxury traveller – the region is revered for its levels of luxury service from all four corners of the world.

How many new exhibitors will be present at the show this year?

ILTM continues to develop a unique, coherent voice for contemporary luxury travel. In so doing, we have expanded our feature area for new hotels and individual travel experiences – ILTM Debutants – planning on launches and openings through to December 2015. Last year, ILTM broke The Brando and this year we have the fabulous Sweet Bocas in Panama among a significant group of new and exciting brands. The breadth of destinations continues to expand each year – 95 countries are represented this year including new properties in new growing regions – Myanmar, Cambodia, Bhutan, Slovenia, Estonia and many more. Follow the ILTM twitter (@ILTM_events) to find out details of all the launches and new products as they are rolled out at ILTM.

What are the latest trends you have observed in the luxury segment and what are your predictions for the coming year?

Both the demands of luxury travellers and the way they book their travel have changed significantly in recent years.

Luxury travellers continue to look to explore the world – its cultures, beaches, spas and its cuisine – in complete style! However, the juxtaposition is that they also don’t just want to stay in their hotels, but have a desire to get out and discover the landscape, local arts, crafts and cuisine and therefore support local communities.

The way these travellers book their travel is also changing – the numbers of bespoke and concierge travel companies continues to grow to reflect the tailored approach demanded by the high net worth traveller in the UK today.

At ILTM, we welcome not just high-end travel agents, tour operators and private travel designers, but elite concierge services, incentive agencies, event management companies and online agencies.

By Rashi Sen