As we end the year, a lot of change is in store for us in 2017. We have a new president of the United States. We have so many new hotels and ships that it is hard to keep up. Old is becoming new and travel advisors are in vogue. As an industry, we have adapted and adjusted our business model for today’s traveler. We determined how to be relevant and how to craft travel experiences paired with such a high level of customer service that a computer could never piece together something similar.
The most important caveat for 2017 is not to become complacent with our success. I see many businesses being taken down by what I call disruptors. These are new, edgy companies you’re hearing buzz about; many won’t make it, but many will. It’s like that edgy restaurant down the street that everyone wants to try. We see this in New York City with many new independent luxury hotels stealing market share from the traditional brands. My advice is that you have to act like a disruptor as well. Be edgy, develop a personal brand and create unique travel experiences that have your thumbprint on them, not someone else’s. Be a true travel curator, not a travel agent selling the obvious. Pushing the obvious to a consumer makes you a commodity and that makes you disposable.
By the way, our own Ruthanne Terrero is a bit of a disrupter this month as well. Many don’t know, but Ruthanne in her spare time loves to draw. Her style is clean, sophisticated, current and yes, edgy. It’s part of Ruthanne’s brand that many don’t get to see. So Luxury Travel Advisor asked Ruthanne to be a trendsetter herself and bring this month’s cover story to life with her illustration skills, as well as her literary prowess. I know you will enjoy it.
I recently had dinner with Simon Hurst, general manager of Raffles Singapore (shown here with me). It’s a traditional, iconic brand whose true Singapore style never disappoints. I was thrilled to hear about the transformation that will keep this iconic hospitality institution current well into this century. We’ll keep you posted on its progress in future issues.