ILTM North America 2021 creates new beginnings for luxury travel

Connections, reconnections and face-to-face luxury travel business is back

Last week’s ILTM North America 2021 marked ILTM’s successful return to in-person luxury travel events. Held from 20-23 September, it was the first ‘live’ ILTM for 21 months, brought to life in a covid-safe paradise within the luxury resort of Mayakoba, Mexico.

Over 250 luxury travel advisors from Canada, Mexico and the US met with 250 selected suppliers in 13,500 dedicated one-to-one meetings as well as an extensive program of outdoor networking events. The opportunity to reconnect defined the event with participants delighted to be back together to meet with old friends and build new business opportunities, all in a dedicated ‘bubble’ to allow the event to take place in safety and confidence.

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Danilo Cerqueira, Tempo VIP, Portugal was one of many suppliers overjoyed to be present: “ILTM North America allowed us to realise the ‘new normal’ will be the good old normal; nothing replaces human connections and having the opportunity to be here meeting so many new buyers from North America is a huge boost to our 2022 expectations.”

Also from Europe, Sven Flory, Director of Sales and Marketing for The Bürgenstock Selection, Switzerland who added: “ILTM North America 2021 has been a huge success for The Bürgenstock Selection, a vital platform to meet new contacts and re-reconnect with agencies in the US and Mexico planning new leisure itineraries for their HNWI clients in safety and confidence. As the world opens and new opportunities unlock, this event has restored boundless optimism in the return of travel.”

And Kevin Triboulet, Director of Sales & Marketing for Airelles: “The atmosphere at this year’s ILTM North America has been charged with a new energy and excitement, with attendees appearing genuinely grateful for being able to reconnect with industry colleagues in person. This has been an incredibly productive ILTM for Airelles with so many interesting meetings and connections made with both travel advisors and the media.”

Michael Nagy from Hotel Fairmont Rio de Janeiro Copacabana also commented: “ILTM North America has simply been better than any other event that I have participated in over the last 35 years. From the organisation to the timing and the quality of meetings to the health and safety precautions taken, the event has been second to none.”

Ricky Grunden, of Pendry Manhattan West added: “ILTM has orchestrated a wonderful event – it is my first ILTM North America and it will not be my last. It has been incredibly valuable for meeting and connecting with the individuals that book and produce for our hotels on a daily basis – the quality has simply been exceptional. We are grateful for this opportunity and appreciate such a successful, safe show.”

“We are so pleased to have been at ILTM North America again this year to meet business partners, colleagues, media and friends in person,” said Diana Plazas-Trowbridge, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Marriott International for the Caribbean and Latin America. “To reconnect after a two-year pause was exciting and productive, especially to showcase Marriott’s expansion in the region. Coming together to do business is what our industry thrives on and to be able to do it again is fantastic.”

The hosted luxury travel advisors – 50% of whom were new to the event – also had much to say to extol ILTM North America. Barrett Hollo, Product and Partnerships Manager at SmartFlyer summarised the feelings of many: “With ILTM North America being my first in-person tradeshow since ILTM Cannes 2019, I’m overwhelmed by the resiliency and pervasive sense of community at the heart of this show. We’ve all been hungry to reunite and share our ideas, so there is a real thread of joy running through each appointment, working lunch and dinner! We are incredibly grateful to the entire ILTM team for putting on such an extraordinary event with safety protocols in place where we can finally collaborate in person. I’ve never been more sure that the travel industry is the most forward-thinking and creative bunch out there.”

Albert Herrera of InterNova Travel Group said: “To rebuild and reimagine what our ‘new’ travel world is like, ILTM North America was the perfect event to jumpstart that awareness and importance of this industry that we all love. We are reconnecting with the world – one region at a time and kudos to ILTM on the planning and logistics to ensure that everyone felt safe and secure.”

Samantha Jervis, Founding Associate, Wells Luxury Travel added: “I am thrilled to be at ILTM North America and able to reconnect safely, in person, with so many wonderful suppliers here at the Fairmont Mayakoba. Ours is a relationship-based industry and after almost two years of virtual meetings, being able to meet as a community and support one another in person, has been incredible, emotional and irreplaceable. I will leave with so much to share with clients, so that they feel safe, secure and confident about their travel ahead.”

And Anahi Solis Sanchez of Mexico’s Corporate Travel Services concluded: “This week, I feel the travel industry adrenaline in my blood… it has been beyond exciting to learn about new luxury suppliers, hotels, DMCs and reconnect with old friends. I am deeply grateful to ILTM for this wonderful, safely-organised, face-to-face ILTM North America.”

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