Picture 2007. Where were you? Who were you working for?
The team here was busy creating a new magazine that complemented TTG but spoke to a selection of agents who were focused on the top end of travel. We saw more and more operators launching luxury programmes with ever more exciting product, and we were witnessing a boom in luxury hotel openings. Everyone was getting an iPhone.
Then came the global economic crisis. It shook the world off its axis and grabbed hold of everyone in different ways. Not something anyone would want to share a 10th anniversary with; but we do. And actually, because of it, irreversible trends emerged that have been of benefit to agents.
In luxury travel, the crisis sparked the creation of a completely new way of looking at the world. When faced with such doom, people started to think about what was really important to them. They started wanting to spend more time with their families. They wanted to see the world in new and more innovative ways. They sought more philanthropic ways of spending their holiday. “Multi-gen travel” took off and more villas popped up everywhere. Treehouses, glamping, remote huts – new and different types of accommodation emerged that went beyond the traditional four walls of a hotel and allowed a more fun and exploratory form of travel. And of course, “experiential travel” boomed.
All of these things lend themselves to the careful planning and expert advice of a savvy agent and at Caribtours' recent awards event, I looked around the room and felt proud to be among so many of them. These days, clients book via Whatsapp, get inspired by Instagram posts and share their thoughts about everything via social media. We have some way to go to grasp the potential of all of these, and they are constantly evolving. But there are two things that never change – the value of an expert and people’s lust for travel. Combine those two, and we should all still be here in another 10 years.