8 questions with … Alison Gilmore, ILTM

LATTE chats with ILTM's Portfolio Director in the lead up to ILTM Asia Pacific

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In the lead up to next week’s ILTM Asia Pacific in Singapore, LATTE chats with ILTM Portfolio Director, Alison Gilmore to get her feedback on the event’s debut in the ‘Lion City’ in 2018, find out what delegates can expect at this year’s event and to quiz her about the potential for other International Luxury Travel Market locations.

Alison, last year was the first time ILTM Asia Pacific was hosted in Singapore. Can you tell us how the event shaped up?

Our aims and objectives last year were to bring the world to Asia at a time when luxury travel was growing exponentially both outbound and regionally.

The industry was asking for two separate events to support powerhouses and we answered them with ILTM China in Shanghai and ILTM Asia Pacific. The success of every ILTM event is judged by those who are there to do business, network, learn and keep up to date, plus reconnect and also meet new contacts. The value of this region for high-net-worth luxury travel is growing exponentially and the first event was exactly what the industry wanted.

To quote Simon T Ang of Celebrate Life Travel & Leisure in the Philippines who attended, “Most of my ‘go-to’ luxury suppliers are those I have met at ILTM events through the years and ILTM Asia Pacific last year was a particular highlight with some really fabulous introductions. Very much looking forward to the second edition in May!”

And you’re back in Singapore next week for the second consecutive year. Are there any changes in the program in 2019?

With 560 exhibitors, we are delighted to welcome so many first-time participants eager to be part of this community and focused on business from this dynamic region. Others are returning following the success of 2018, with more partners on their stands, so you will see some products and destinations that have expanded on the show floor to accommodate more brands.

For example, Kerzner have tripled in size this year, Kempinski is 40% bigger due to demand from their hotels, Seabourn will make their first appearance, as will Radisson Hotels. There is more Africa product than ever before and Rwanda is a new face too. Korea Tourism has grown and XO Private has doubled in size. Visit Florida, Melia Hotels and Resort Worlds Sentosa, plus Singapore Tourism, are all new for 2019.

We also have changes relating to the growth in buyers. Hitting 560 has a 1-1 ratio with suppliers and nearly 50% are new to the ILTM Portfolio, with 61% new to ILTM Asia Pacific. Eight of the top 10 fastest growing wealth populations are forecast to be in Asia over the next five years. Buyers attending this event will be coming from the countries represented in these forecasts.

Significant increases have been seen in New Zealand, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia over 2018 plus buyers from Bangladesh, Moldova, Armenia and Belarus will be there for the first time.

What can delegates expect from this year’s ILTM Asia Pacific?

It’s not all about business on the show floor. So much of what ILTM represents is embedded in the industry itself, the trends, the voices of its thought leaders, the focus on issues that affect the luxury traveller both now and in the future; we have to be the community that represents all of it so that all our participants can keep up to date.

With the theme across the ILTM portfolio dedicated to Wellness Tourism this year, the Opening Forum in Singapore kicks off with a presentation entitled Healthy, Wealthy and Asian. It poses the question: Is Wellness Tourism the biggest opportunity for luxury travel brands and what does Asia have to teach the rest of the world?

This will then be followed by a former French National Barefoot Water Ski Champion who speaks about how to stay in great shape in body and mind. Then FutureMap will discuss mapping the future of global civilisation.

ILTM has commissioned a significant piece of research on Global Wellness trends focused on the dynamics of the Asia Pacific region and highlights from this research shows just how massive the sector is.

Finally, but with a big bang, we have Bill Bensley, the world-renowned designer of iconic hotels, resorts and spas, homes and sometimes even palaces. His take on Health and Wellness is not to be missed.

Following on with the theme of thinking about the mind and body, this year the show has an expanded area for The Retreat dedicated to experiences from the region’s wellness brands and leading practitioners. We want as many of our guests to take a moment to escape the hustle and bustle of meetings to experience some down time too.

When LATTE last spoke with you in October 2017 you highlighted “transformational travel” as the biggest change in luxury travel in the past 10 years. Do you still believe that’s the case, or have you noticed an emergence of other trends, such as personalisation?

Personalisation is not new, but it is now trending in this industry because the luxury traveller is looking to find moments that matter (hence our latest hashtag #momentsthatmatter).

It is really about bespoke, hand-picked and curated travel, designed by agents who mix and match services to suit the objectives and requests of their clients. All of the buyers at an ILTM event are looking after their own high-net-worth individual client’s personalised itineraries, so every supplier wants to win the business that is personalised to that agent and their client. It’s all about gaining loyalty from customers too, by enhancing experiences and listening to and answering their needs.

Think sustainability, connecting to culture, health and wellness, guided experiences and personal adventures, learning new skills and the list goes on.

ILTM now has a vast collection of events in North America, Latin America, China, Africa, Cannes and Arabia. Are there other parts of the planet on the radar, such as India and the subcontinent?

ILTM is constantly evolving and as part of Reed Travel Exhibitions, the international team is adept at seeking new opportunities and areas where they can lead the industry. PROUD Experiences was launched by RTE last year in the UK to support the need for a travel event focused on the LGBTQ+ sector. In just 12 months and with its new home of NYC in 2019, it has already doubled in size. So yes, just keep an eye on ILTM’s website.

Are Australia and New Zealand in line to host ILTM Asia Pacific in the future?

We are delighted to be in Singapore and for the moment, this will be the home for the event.

What are the qualification criteria for travel buyers and sellers participating in ILTM events?

Every buyer has to be pre-qualified and the individual is only accepted if they meet strict criteria. The buyer has to prove that they place regular outbound business for high-net-worth individuals. They will also be qualified for purchasing authority, client base and future business potential. All the details about how to qualify for ILTM Asia Pacific can be found on www.iltm.com within the buyer section.

Are there a range of packages for buyers, and if so, how do they differ?

We have three different options:

Buyer – Where the individual manages their own appointments via the pre-scheduled appointment system, which is compulsory. They receive travel and up to 4 nights of accommodation.

Appointment Only Buyer – Here, while they manage their own appointments as a buyer, they take care of their own expenses relating to travel and accommodation.

Finally, there is an Executive Buyer. Here, the individual manages their appointments via a self-scheduled appointment tool (SSA) and they too are responsible for all their own expenses to cover travel and accommodation. There is also a fee for this buyer of $900.

For more details on ILTM Asia Pacific, see iltm.com/en/asiapacific/

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