FEATURES AND ADVICE
IACE Travel | October 26, 2020
In light of international flight restrictions, IACE Travel is offering a different route for travelers missing out on trips to Japan. With the cooperation of Kotohira Bus Company, IACE Travel launches a series of virtual tours to the "Hidden Treasures in Japan." Broadcast live from Japan, this virtual tour series brings tourists to some of Japan's lesser known towns and villages. This is a new way of taking virtual tours than has ever been experienced. Get an idea of where to go and how to prepare for your next trip!
Global Travel Collection | October 19, 2021
As countries reopen their borders and international air travel resumes, pent-up demand for hard-earned vacations is driving new luxury travel trends. Travel advisors and experts from the Global Travel Collection (GTC) recently shared key insights from travel bookings at "Elevate," the international virtual conference and trade show that brought together luxury travel advisors with 300 of the industry's leading luxury travel suppliers.
Travel advisors from All Star Travel Group, Andrew Harper, Colletts Travel, In The Know Experiences, Protravel International, R. Crusoe & Son and Tzell Travel Group, along with advisors from ALTOUR, a sister company of GTC at Internova Travel Group, comprise the largest selling force for luxury travel.
Luxury Travel Planning
Luxury is being redefined. Luxury travel advisor Maya George of Tzell Travel Group notes luxury travel is now more than expensive five-star hotels and first-class flights. It's the total package from beginning to end, and the connections made through the travel experience.
Planning for travel is now done farther out. Tiffany Bowne of All Star Travel Group shares that she's already booking summer and fall 2022 trips for clients, many of whom are also using a travel advisor for the first time. They're also booking multiple luxury trips at a time.
Travelers are spending more. It's been almost two years since some clients have taken a trip, said Scott Davis of ALTOUR, so they're willing to pay more for their next vacation.
Brazil is trending worldwide, according to Wagner Barros of Colletts Travel. "Some places in Brazil remind travelers of the Maldives," he says.
Exotic, far-off destinations are still in demand. Travelers are traveling to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for sports fishing, said luxury travel advisor Paulette Darensburg of Protravel International. Maya George adds, there's also a huge buzz around Zanzibar and Roatan, Honduras.
Travelers still flock to the Caribbean and Mexico for privacy. Amy Blackenship of ALTOUR explains that private villas are plentiful here, and these destinations are reached easily by private air.
Safety and ease of entry are paramount. Luxury travel advisor Leslie Tillem of Tzell Travel Group says clients are constantly asking questions about travel requirements and health and safety protocols. This is expected to continue well into the next few years.
People want something different. Lily Szemplinski of In The Know Experiences shares clients want all the details of their trips taken care of so they can seek out new experiences that are inspiring and enlightening.
Luxury travel is evolving in ways that connect people with luxury products. Kamala Cummings of In The Know Experiences notes her clients are looking at travel as a means to rejuvenate their souls. They're seeking experiences and accommodations that are infused with gastronomy, art and fashion.
Luxury travelers are also seeking sustainability. Wagner Barros continues this is a trend that is going to stay as clients are increasingly asking for eco-friendly hotels and operators.
Luxury is not necessarily opulent hotels anymore. It is becoming more experiential and cultural, based within offerings at a property and within the destination itself, shares Stephen Scott, Protravel International.
Small boutique resorts and villas offer an ideal escape. Small boutique resorts and villas are the most sought-after accommodations, along with private yachts, notes Linda Seargent of Tzell Travel Group. Travelers want access to resort amenities but with the private space.
Domestically, luxury clients are looking for properties outside of major cities. What the pandemic has shown is we need more hotels in these areas, shares Ashley Les of Protravel International.
Space travel is piquing interest. Greg Kiep of Protravel International notes space travel is something that, though still new to the luxury travel space, will continue to gain interest over the next five years.
More are opting for trains over flights. Quality alone time is underestimated, says Maya George. Some travelers are preferring to take longer routes or different methods of travel, such as long, scenic train rides, to get away.
Cruising makes a big comeback. There is heightened interest in Luxury River cruising, particularly in Europe, for 2022 and 2023, comments Paulette Darensburg. World cruises are selling out in record time, notes Scott Davis.
"Our travel advisors are trusted counsellors with insider knowledge of emerging trends in the luxury travel space, and they know how to deliver these experiences to their clients seamlessly. They are becoming more of a concierge with their service levels. For the ultra-luxury clientele, these travel advisors travel with their clients to ensure everything is done correctly. They look after their travelers every step of the way, saving clients the time and hassle of having to make any necessary changes to their itinerary on their own."
Angie Licea, President of Global Travel Collection
Internova Travel Group recently launched its "Go Human. Book Human." advertising campaign to promote the value of a travel advisor as the complexity of travel continues in the wake of the pandemic. At the heart of the campaign is an immersive web experience on BookHuman.Travel that connects consumers directly with travel advisors from Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group and Andrew Harper Travel, travel brands of Global Travel Collection, the luxury and premium division of Internova.
About Global Travel Collection:
Global Travel Collection (GTC), a division of Internova Travel Group, is the world's largest collection of international luxury travel agencies, including the well-established networks of Protravel International, Tzell Travel Group, and Colletts Travel, as well as Andrew Harper, In the Know Experiences, All Star Travel Group and R. Crusoe & Son. GTC advisors and agencies are industry leaders in providing premium travel services to leisure travelers, corporate executives and the entertainment industry. The combined global reach and leverage translates into value, recognition, and preferential treatment for its world travelers.
About Internova Travel Group:
Internova Travel Group is one of the largest travel services companies in the world with a collection of leading brands delivering high-touch, personal travel expertise to leisure and corporate clients. Internova manages leisure, business and franchise firms through a portfolio of distinctive divisions. Internova represents more than 62,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations predominantly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a presence in more than 80 countries.
Holiday Inn | April 23, 2021
Ken Hamlet, the former CEO of Holiday Inn, intends to use a $500 million war chest to acquire limited-service hotels (those without facilities such as a restaurant or spa) and reposition them as properties with a more upscale customer experience.
Consider it adding more of the Four Seasons experience to roadside hotels, as Hamlet put it.
He was CEO of Holiday Inn for nine years in the 1980s and early 1990s, and during that time the business was purchased by IHG and introduced or acquired brands such as Embassy Suites, Crowne Plaza, Hampton Inn, and Harrah's. Rather than starting his fund, Hamlet joined Olive Tree Hotels & Resorts, a hotel investment group where he now serves as CEO, to pursue deals.
“I began to think of maybe now is a very good time to take advantage of getting back into the hotel industry and purchasing distressed assets or buying assets that were well-located, well-branded, relatively well-managed, and that were being distressed and only needed additional capital to get them up to 2021 standards,” he said this week.
The only thing is that there is a litany of hotel investors drooling about hotel investment prospects that did not come true before the pandemic.
Investment firms such as CGI Merchant Group, in collaboration with New York Yankees baseball legend Alex Rodriguez, and Bainbridge DXS are also scouring the market for hotel acquisitions of hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. Dreamscape Cos., owner of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, has more than $1 billion in cash to purchase hotels, including troubled business-transient and convention-focused properties.
Olive Tree's capital distinguishes itself by concentrating on limited-service hotels in a mix of the 75 major U.S. cities as well as some secondary and tertiary markets such as Las Cruces, New Mexico. As long as there is a nearby demand driver, such as a hospital, university, or office park, the company can seek a deal. The majority of buyers are looking for troubled hotels in metropolitan markets or resorts in drive-to and leisure destinations.
Olive Tree intends to upgrade its guest rooms with more innovative features, such as automated check-ins and co-working-inspired workspaces in public areas. But, in addition to the technology, Hamlet desires enhanced client support, such as staffers adding personal touches to the guest experience, such as a bottle of wine or glass of champagne delivered to a room or hors d'oeuvres and chocolate bars in the lobby.
The move is reminiscent of how Holiday Inn became a brand. Kemmons Wilson established the roadside motel business in the early 1950s after becoming dissatisfied with the choices offered on a road trip between Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.
He set out to fix it because there was no consistency or quality in the accommodation experience. Olive Tree intends to replicate the success of existing limited-service hotels that are underperforming.
Many of Olive Tree's acquisitions would be branded by major companies such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, and IHG. However, the company is not opposed to maintaining property independence or even launching its brand.
It is unclear when any of those acquisition goals will become available. Olive Tree reportedly has one hotel under contract and another "in the works."
Due to a mix of bank forbearance on mortgages and several rounds of federal stimulus by offerings such as the Paycheck Protection Program of forgivable small business loans, there haven't been as many distressed hotel properties exchanged throughout the last year. The Olive Tree team does not anticipate having to wait much longer.