Registrations for a virtual version of Traveller Made‘s postponed 2020 Essence of Luxury Travel event have soared beyond expectations, LATTE can exclusively reveal.
The luxury travel community’s annual physical show was planned to kick off of Sunday 22 March in the seaside Spanish port of Marbella. More than 800 buyers and sellers initially confirmed to attend. Instead, as a result of the widening coronavirus pandemic gripping the world (that has included a surge in cases in Spain), Traveller Made Founder and President Quentin Desurmont made the recent call to cancel and postpone the event until 2021.
However, rather than fully abandoning the 2020 Essence of Luxury Travel show, a virtual solution was made available to registered participates who had paid in full.
“We decided let’s keep fighting,” Desurmont said. “We can’t sit here and wait for 2021. We need an immediate alternative for our partners, so we chose to switch the 2020 show to virtual.”
Speaking exclusively with LATTE on Friday evening from his office in Paris, Desurmont revealed that a whopping 420 members and partners had enrolled for the Virtual 1-to-1 meetings, a figure more than double his wildest expectations.
“I thought even half that number would be good and would benefit our members. With 200 to 250 we’d run it, but to be have more than 400 [register] is great news and reflects the level of interest and passion Traveller Made’s partners have for our show,” he said.
The Virtual 1-to-1 meetings will start from today [Monday 23 March]. Desurmont was hopeful Traveller Made could film other elements of the show, such as the conference component (speakers and presentations), this week in Paris, however a lockdown in France has made that impossible. Once filmed, the conference and other research that was going to be unveiled at the physical show will also be available to members.
Traveller Made has also designed an in-house algorithm that crunched down member- and partner-selected variables to ensure the Virtual One-to-one meeting schedules were a fitting match. Variables such as preferences, non-preferences, priorities, time schedules, and time zones were taken into consideration for the pre-scheduled appointments.
The Virtual 1-to-1 meetings will run throughout the week.
“It won’t be a replacement [for the Essence of Luxury Travel] but it can be an alternative solution. We’re already looking at a potential second virtual conference in a few months,” he said.
“These are very difficult moments for the world as well as for the travel industry. We are continually working on new ideas and solutions with the team so to be prepared for the economic rebound with all our members and partners,” the Traveller Made boss said.
Meanwhile, Desurmont told LATTE that the upcoming inaugural Traveller Made Eye on Privacy event in Los Cabos, Mexico will likely be shifted from June to October. The network’s other annual trade show, The Edge, is currently expected to maintain its place on the calendar in Phuket in September.