Red carpets, champagne fountains, sunny walks along La Croisette, late nights on revolving dancefloors – and, of course, a lot of steps and meetings were all usually part of ILTM, but this year, things are going to look a lot different. April Hutchinson asks Alison Gilmore what to expect from the virtual ILTM World Tour
It’s obviously not been possible to put on any physical ILTM events this year because of the global circumstances, and the luxury sector would usually be gearing up for Cannes in December right about now. And right up until September, ILTM’s portfolio director, Alison Gilmore says she “was still really optimistic about delivering our ILTM Cannes event”.
“I was hanging on and hanging on, but it got to the point where we had to make a decision,” she says. “And honestly, that’s probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my life, to say ‘we’re not going to do it’. So we came up with the idea for the ILTM World Tour and pivoted very quickly to that.”
ILTM World Tour will operate in three online editions, starting in the Asia Pacific timezone running over 17-19 November, then moving to Europe, Middle East and Africa (23-25 November) and finally in North and South America (1-3 December).
“All the buyers get to have a virtual event in their time zone with exhibitors from around the world meeting with them,” Gilmore says, “it will be the same philosophy as usual – but for this year, buyers will have to get their own champagne!”
All buyers are pre-qualified, as they would usually be at any other ILTM event, and each of the three regional days will see buyers and suppliers take part in pre-arranged 15-minute meetings for four hours a day, meaning there is potential to have 42 appointments – with some breaks – on any leg of the tour. “It’s a bit of a military operation within three weeks,” Gilmore says.