In search of the ungettable get

DUCO Boutique Travel Summit March 2018.
Meetings on Day 3 at Belmond’s Villa San Michele.

Why I find travel trade shows essential

I get such a buzz from discovering something new to offer my clients and this is what makes attending trade shows an invaluable asset. Luckily my thirst for knowledge is never satisfied, so attending trade shows is always accompanied by a pure rush of exhilaration as I (literally) run from one meeting to another.

I am using ‘trade shows’ as an all-encompassing term.  Within this genre there are also major events such as Pure Pursuits – which I participated in Norway earlier this year, the recent Virtuoso Strategic Working Group meeting in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand and the Four Seasons APAC Leader’s Summit which I have just attended in London during my recent trip to Europe.

Four Seasons APAC Leaders Summit, Thailand Dec 2017

I deal with very experienced and savvy travellers and it’s essential I never become complacent or slip behind the information curve. My clients continually want the ungettable get, the unforgettable experience, and it’s my goal and true joy to continually find these experiences for them.

Virtuoso Chairman’s Event Nov 2017.
One of the most exhilarating experiences available while in Marbella at the Ascari Race Track.

One way I stay ahead is to travel continuously, get immersed in a destination, understand it and feel it.  Another is to attend a trade show, a meeting or an event where new hoteliers and new experiences are on show in the one location. I have always wanted to set trends, not follow them, and I love the sense of collaboration at trade shows as everyone seeks to achieve their goals. 

New York State Tourism Advisory Board for Australia. Albany, New York State. May 2016.
Honoured to be on this panel representing the independent luxury retail Virtuoso Agencies in Australia.

While trade shows offer the opportunity to meet new suppliers, it also allows me to re-connect and further cement my relationships with the many hotel owners, general managers, directors of sales and marketing and the numerous suppliers that we use to curate unique itineraries for our clients. Networking, a key ingredient to success in a very competitive industry, takes on a whole new dimension. I value and love the relationships created and harnessed over the years and feel I have friends I totally trust all over the globe.

Virtuoso Travel Week, August 2018.
Cocktails at the Belmond Function

Trade shows can vary from 8 meetings a day up to a mind blowing 70.   They are all consuming days of networking, learning and as I’ve mentioned, running. I have just attended the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes where there were 1880 exhibitors present from over 100 countries. You can imagine the hours of preparation just to make sure I met with the right suppliers. Then there’s the follow up work post show to keep in touch with key stake holders and ensure I share all the new knowledge with the rest of the team.  Of course, every trade show has lots of glitz and glam around the lunches, cocktail parties and dinners, but all the socializing that takes place after the meetings is the best way to solidify both old and new relationships. Yes, it’s exhausting, but definitely worth every satisfying moment – I wouldn’t change the experience for the world.

Private Luxury Forum Trade Show. Zurich-St Moritz. June 2018

Travel is such an exciting industry and I’m very fortunate my vocation is one of my passions. However, it’s impossible to have a lasting career in travel if you don’t constantly work at being across the constant changes in our ever-evolving world.

At the moment I relish the chance to share my personal vision for a new dimension of luxury travel with the people who will help make it happen and these trade shows/meetings are a perfect medium to work with the right suppliers and collaborators.  

PURE Pursuits, Norway 2018.
Presenting my talk in a teepee overlooking the majestic Fjords.

In this day and age, when it’s much easier for clients to simply book on line, we have to set ourselves apart.  The information we take in and the contacts we make at events and trade shows create the potential for our clients to receive the ultimate travel experiences and special attention meaningful to them.

As trusted advisors, curators and designers of optimum travel journeys, we are expected to deliver all there is to know about each destination as well as offering the unique and magical experiences that create lifetime memories.

Virtuoso Travel Week, August 2015.
Award time with Michael Londregan (Virtuoso’s APAC Managing Director) and Cristina Magni (Virtuoso AUS). Most admired APAC Travel Advisor.