The 2016 edition of ILTM Cannes kicked off with a packed Global Forum on Monday 5th December at the Palais Des Festivals in the city of the stars.
The Global Forum was hosted by Chris Hollins, English Journalist and presenter for the BBC. His work includes BBC Breakfast, Watchdog and BBC News. He presided over a session of high-level presentations from two of the world’s most inspiring authors when it comes to attaining near-perfection, travel and tourism.
Opening the evening, Hollins stated, “The scale of this event is amazing. Everyone is here. Every major luxury company is here in the room right now. Its’ a truly global forum – 80 different nationalities are represented here. This is where the new trends are announced… Many ideas to be used over the next year will have been picked up right here.”
He underlined the key theme of this year’s event – the “Three L’s: love, loyalty and luxury.
ILTM Exhibition Director Alison Gilmore addressed the attendees “tongue in cheek”, saying 2016 could “possibly be a year to forget”. She asked a leading question: “Why do we all come back?” – Answering in the same breath: “Because we all love this industry. Many have tried to leave, but it’s in our blood!”
Gilmore went on to underline the fact that “Luxury is no longer about money… It’s about anticipating wants and needs of clients.”
Indeed, as the new generations arrive into adulthood and bring with them new technology, the luxury travel industry finds itself facing a strange new world. Travellers have become adventurers. Smarter, more demanding and more empowered – brand loyalty has been thrown unceremoniously from the window of a refurbished 1950s Pullman, and in its place, the rise of the anti-brand mentality, characterised by an endless desire to find new ways to travel and more meaningful relationships with hosts.
Where loyalty points and programs once ruled the roost, modern affluent consumers are less concerned with rewards, and increasingly focused on independence. Personal growth, a cerebral work out and lasting social impact rank high on the modern affluent traveller’s agenda, and luxury operators are racing to create exceptional experiences that speak to personal passions, help customers explore the things they love more deeply, and provide real-world experience of the global issues we care about.
The ILTM Global Forum explored the role of love in the modern luxury landscape. From our exhilarating new seat at the table of global politics, empathy and culture, to the emotional connections that we as an industry rely upon each and every day of our working lives, join the movers and shakers of today’s high-end travel industry for three interpretations on the theme of Love, Loyalty and Luxury. This is where an understanding of the new breed of luxury travellers takes shape, and where the World’s most exciting travel itineraries are born.
James Kerr – On Creating a Truly World Class Team – and Staying at the Top
New Zealand based motivational writer and speaker James Kerr addressed the audience about just what makes a world-class organisation. Kerr is a bestselling author, speaker and business consultant specialising in defining, designing and delivering change for leaders of world-class teams and organisations.
He gave insights into how the best in the world – from the All Blacks to the navy SEALs, the Red Arrows to the SAS – harness the power of genuine human connection to create loyalty, purpose, connection, cohesion and contribution to achieve outstanding results.
Focussing on storytelling taken from his bestselling book on the New Zealand All Blacks, James Kerr delivered an insightful, inspiring and surprising take on how the world’s most successful teams really work, with lessons to be learned for leading a business – and leading a life.
He has come up with a simple formula for success, stating “Performance = Capability x behaviour”. In other words, by creating the right environment you can cerate the right behaviour.
“It begins with an understanding of values”, says Kerr. “The All Blacks – when they come in after a game – don’t throw their jersey onto the floor. They hang it up – with love. It’s a question of values.”
He went on to reveal another key phrase for the team – “Stab me in the belly, not the back – tell me what I need to know to get better.”
The All Blacks core values, he says, are humility, excellence and respect, adding, “Never be too big to do the small stuff that needs to be done. Even if you are number one, train as if you were number two.”
The New Zealand writer went on to cite other greats, such as Napoleon, who once said the mental to the physical is three to one, and in recent times, Wayne Smith, who once said “People will rise to a challenge if it’s their challenge”. It comes down to three things – mastery, autonomy and connection.
“In any company, these qualities should be the same,” adds Kerr. “Do something you like, and hopefully that you love. It’s not what is left on stone monuments, but how you have impacted peoples’ lives. It’s about legacy – being a good ancestor.”
He concluded, saying, “Champions Do Extra. Leaders Create Leaders. They Stay Humble. They Embrace Expectations. They Reach for the Highest Cloud. They Follow the Spearhead. They Play with Purpose. They Leave a Legacy. They Live with Love. They are inspiring, entertaining, accessible, and remarkable…”
Far and Away
Writer Andrew Solomon’s appearance drew upon his latest work, Far and Away, where he explores the unfolding of history, largely through the people who are creating and being shaped by it.
Solomon is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology, a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Medical Center, and President of PEN American Center.
In his latest publication he reveals what he has learned from former political prisoners, transgender bartenders, shamans, and dogsled-drivers. He gets punched in the jaw in Taiwan, kidnapped in Ecuador, and left adrift in the Great Barrier Reef. He contemplates Antarctica from a dysfunctional ice-breaker and Mongolia from the back of a reindeer. He describes staring down tanks on the barricades in Moscow during the putsch that ended the Soviet Union, carousing all night in Kabul with local musicians free to play their instruments immediately after the US invasion of Afghanistan, and being brought in for questioning in Gaddafi’s Libya.
Solomon chronicles a life’s journey to the nexus of hope, courage, and uncertainty of lived experience, all while illuminating the development of the singular insight afforded to the life well-travelled and it’s growing political power and importance. His insights are rooted in intimate, deeply moving stories that reveal our common humanity.
We can all learn from his experiences as we seek to understand the differences that make us all unique, the principles which guide us and the motivations that lead us to travel.
“People have many identities”, Solomon told the Cannes audience. “There are so many lines among which people come together. We hear about travel as a luxury, which is different from luxury travel. I think travel is not only a luxury – it’s also a mean of self-entertainment and of communication. Communication is absolutely key. In a global world, travel should be a right, not a luxury.”
He went on to say that “Travel is a window and also a mirror. It allows you to see another place, but in seeing other places, you see yourself anew… Our societies decay when they get cut off from one another.”
Solomon told the story of his presence in the former Soviet Union, at the time of the Putsch in 1991 following which the union fell apart: “I felt I was witnessing the world, and that witnessing the world was a way of participating in it.”
“Much is made of the distinction between tourism and travel”, he says. “There is no such thing as someone just being a tourist or a traveller. Some people think luxury cuts people off from travel. To the contrary it gives people enough comfort to experience some surprises.”
He went on to say, “Tourism is a language; but it is also a liberation and it can also be a safety measure. You can love your country and be a citizen of the world. It’s by travelling and by welcoming travellers that we make a just world.”
Finally, Solomon concluded saying, “The greatest luxury there is – is to be open to the world.”
Special Prize for Mary Gostelow
To finish off the opening evening, Alison Gilmore presented the “luxury travel guru” Mary Gostelow with a special prize for her contribution to the industry. In receiving the award, Gostelow said, “Every day is something new. I’ve had all kinds of VIP gifts before but never something like this.”