Every so often, an invitation comes my way that is too good to refuse, and the one to attend the Traveller Made® Connection Forum in Montreux was definitely one of those. The Forum gathers together the best luxury travel designers, hotels, DMCs and tourism boards, together with 50 journalists from ten key markets. With a range of fascinating presentations from luxury brands and marketing specialists, it brings together the elite of the travel design industry.
WHAT IS TRAVELLER MADE® ?
So what exactly is Traveller Made® ? This community of skilled travel designers are dedicated to providing bespoke journeys to travellers looking for unique experiences, whether family journeys or corporate travel. An invitation only network, all members have been pre-selected by 2 steering committees presided by luxury hoteliers and incoming agencies. As part of their application, they provide in-depth information about their business and growth strategy. Those selected have detailed knowledge of different cultures and countries and are committed to meeting their clients’ needs. As Diana Banks, Vice President of Raffles Brand and Luxury Sales at FRHI says, “Traveller Made® is a wonderful tool for our hotels. It’s a seal of quality and connects the right people in agencies with the right people in our hotels”. Laura Cammarano, Head of European Sales for the Maybourne Hotel Group adds “for us it’s fantastic to be a part of Traveller Made® as we meet partners to support us worldwide and we feel that this network is exactly the right choice”.
After a welcome coffee in the spectacular Art Nouveau setting of the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, we headed into the Forum.
Quentin Desumont, President of Traveller Made® gave an inspiring welcome speech stressing the importance of working together to share best practice.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Forum is the presentations from renowned luxury experts. Jean-Noël Kapferer, co-author of The Luxury Strategy, gave a thought-provoking talk on defining the true essence of luxury.
— Luxury Columnist (@LuxuryColumnist) March 15, 2016
Madelaine Ollivier, Senior Luxury Analyst at Wealth-X, gave a detailed presentation on Ultra High Net Worth customers. Whilst there’s a clear shift from West to East, New York and London are still the most popular cities for UHNWs.
Nathalie Remy, Partner at McKinsey leading its Fashion, Beauty and Luxury EMEA practice, explored the rising importance of the millenials and suggested ways to win them over. They tend to value experiences over products, together with authenticity and sustainability. They may switch brands easily and favour convenient systems, accessible at one click of a mouse.
AWARDS CEREMONY AND GALA DINNER
The glittering Gala Dinner hosted by the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace and Montreux Vevey Tourisme was a delight. We were lucky to be seated next to some truly charming and knowledgeable luxury experts and the evening flew by. Although the dress code throughout was smart casual, most of the ladies took the opportunity to dress up!
During the evening, awards were given to member agencies and partners who have gone above and beyond, consistently exceeding customer expectations.
EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK AT CHAPLIN’S WORLD
One of the highlights of our trip was our exclusive tour of Chaplin’s World before the official launch on 17 April. Housed in his magnificent former residence in Corsier-sur-Vevey where Charlie Chaplin lived for the last 25 years of his life, it’s a must-see. We were doubly fortunate that the museum director, Yves Durand, showed us around. He’s passionate about Chaplin and I’ll be writing in more detail about the museum soon.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MONTREUX AND VEVEY
We then took a walk along the shores of Lake Geneva, admiring the inimitable Fork sculpture…
posing for photos with Mr Charlie Chaplin himself…
and admiring Freddie Mercury’s lifelike memorial statue.
LE MIRADOR RESORT & SPA
Perched in the midst of the Lavaux vineyards, Le Mirador Resort and Spa is accessible by this picturesque funicular as well as by road.
Boasting one of the best spas in Switzerland, it has panoramic views towards the mountains from the swimming pool, gym and relaxation areas. Switzerland’s only Givenchy spa left us feeling on top of the world.
And I think this couple enjoyed the views too ;-). They look so real yet they’re the work of renowned American sculptor Seward Johnson.
In fact his works are dotted all over the hotel. Methinks that handsome middle one is an interloper.
Our suite on the first floor had equally impressive views towards the mountain and Lake Geneva, together with every conceivable creature comfort. The walk-in closet, huge bathroom and terrace really gave a sense of space and the automatic blind would be very convenient in Summertime.
After such a wonderful stay, it was a wrench to leave…Thank you, Traveller Made® for such an insightful and enjoyable experience.