ILTM Day 3: News From Luxury Hotel Groups and More

Our London correspondent, Emily Goldfischer, is on site at ILTM in Cannes, France last week and has dispatched the following report from a very busy day, meeting with many luxury travel executives.

Day 3 of ILTM began with a beautiful breakfast hosted by Marriott International at the #MILUX pop-up on the beach in front of the JW Marriott in Cannes. Global Brand & Marketing Officer Tina Edmundson spoke about societal innovation forced by the pandemic, “The crisis created moments of opportunity, resulting in accelerating things like e-commerce, sustainability and other solutions.” Based on Marriott's research, two major culture shifts occurred for people who already have financial security. “Aspirations have changed. People want to lead more meaningful lives and invest in their personal relationships,” Edmundson noted.

Marriott has been working to make sure each of its luxury collection brands— The Ritz-Calrton, St. Regis, Edition, W, JW Marriott—is helping guests make more of their time, offering more authentic ways to explore each destination no matter the purpose of their trip. Chris Gabaldon, senior vice president, luxury brands at Marriott International, spoke about the global growth ranging from Melbourne to Riyadh, “Marriott is continuing to build on the momentum from 2022, which was an exceptional year.”  We were seated next to Alexandra Withers, vice president sales, marketing, and revenue for Edition Hotels, who shared that Edition will be opening five new hotels in 2023: Rome, Rivera Maya, Tokyo Ginza, Jeddah and Singapore. This year, Edition properties opened in Madrid and Tampa. 

Highlights from the press conferences:

Internova Travel Group

“In the post-pandemic world, the role of the travel advisor is more important than ever,” said Internova Travel Group Chief Executive Office J.D. O’Hara. He shared data from a 2022 Internova survey, finding that 79 percent of Americans would rather work with a human being over an online travel agency

With more than 100,000 travel advisors worldwide, Internova is the largest cruise, vacation, and luxury travel seller in North America and the United Kingdom. Looking ahead to 2023, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Israel are the top destinations booked by travel advisors with Global Travel Collection (GTC), Internova’s luxury leisure and premium corporate division. Japan, Greece, Spain, the Bahamas, and South Africa round out the top 10. When it comes to cruises, the top destinations for GTC clients in 2023 are Canada, Italy, Greece, Norway and France, followed by Spain, the Netherlands, Malta, Japan, and Singapore.

The Peninsula Hotels

Mark Kobayashi, senior vice president, sales and marketing, shared news about Peninsula openings in Istanbul and London in 2023. Set to open on February 14, 2023, the 180-room Istanbul property comprises four connected freestanding buildings on the Bosphorus waterfront in the historic district of Karaköy, the revitalization of a former ferry terminal. It will have a large swimming pool and terrace right on the water and a dock for arrival by private boat. Expect dramatic public spaces, a large ballroom, lots of marble and Turkish influences. Top digs: The Peninsula Suite' on the roof, the room is touted as the most opulent and palatial hotel accommodation in Istanbul. IT will have custom-made, inlaid-wood furnishings and Turkish textiles; a spacious living room with a baby grand piano; a lavish private hammam; fitness room and screening rooms; and extravagant Marmara marble bathroom and powder room, plus a 1,300-square-foot private terrace with unobstructed views over the Bosphorus with a private pool area and a glass-house solarium for dining and lounging.

The Peninsula London will open later in the year; most unique for the historic city, this hotel is a new-build. Overlooking Hyde Park Corner and the Wellington Arch, in the heart of Belgravia, the hotel will have a real sense of arrival with an internal courtyard, surrounded by 190 guestrooms—a third of which will be suites. The hotel will offer destination dining, including a rooftop restaurant; spa; a ballroom with ceilings that are 20 feet high; and nine retail shops.

Dorchester Collection

The Dorchester’s big news is the new look of the London flagship, the hotel’s first renovation in 30 years. London GM Luca Virgilio, shared that they are just putting the finishing touches on the lobby, which will be much brighter with new, enlarged windows at the front. At the other end of the long lobby will be the new Artists’ Bar featuring work from British artists, 80 percent of whom are female, while Liberace’s mirrored piano will take center stage. There will also be a James Bond-themed Vesper Bar, and a Cake & Flowers shop with a new European pastry chef. The new look of the guestrooms comes in six different color palettes, all very light and bright.

Other planned openings for the Dorchester Collection in 2023: in Dubai, the 225-room The Lana, designed by the famed Foster + Partners, will be situated on the marina in the Business District with views of the Burj Khalifa. The hotel will have three different Michelin-star chefs, a rooftop infinity pool, a spa, and a large fitness center. In 2028, the group will open a Dorchester in Tokyo. The 110-room hotel is being built in partnership with Mitsubishi as part of their new development of the tallest building in Japan, which will be nearly 1,300 ft. high, on seven acres in the middle of the city. 

InterContinental Hotels Group

Jane Mackie IHG
Jane Mackie, senior vice president, global marketing for luxury and premium brands, IHG (Photo by Emily Goldfischer)

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is in growth mode according to Jane Mackie, senior vice president, global marketing for luxury and premium brands. IHG currently has 450 luxury hotels with 297 in the pipeline. Topline luxury news:

  • Last year IHG announced the new Vignette brand. Properties in Brisbane, Porto and Bangkok have already opened, and 11 more are set to come on board soon.
  • IHG has partnered with Iberostar, bringing 70 beachfront resorts into the luxury portfolio.
  • InterContinental Hotels celebrated its 75th anniversary this year and they continue to refresh the brand. For example, a cool InterContinental opening to note is in Thailand at Khao Yai, the UNESCO-listed national park, which has 19 suites and villas made from repurposed heritage train cars.
  • Big plans are afoot for the Regent brand with renovations happening in the Hong Kong property, and four new hotels opening in Jakarta, Indonesia; Harbin, China; Phu Quoc, Vietnam; and in Cannes (announced last week).

Tom Rowntree, IHG’s vice president of global luxury brands, noted that by 2025, 61 percent of luxury consumers will comprise Millennials and Generation Z. “What we're seeing is a democratization in buying behavior within families, parents are consulting with their children, who are an influencing factor on parent’s purchasing behavior,” said Rowntree. With data showing younger generations focused on sustainability, IHG is even more committed to its “Journey to Tomorrow,” a series of ambitious new programs to make a positive difference for people, communities and planet over the next decade. It has been piloting programs in the U.K. to roll out worldwide, with plans to be carbon-neutral by 2030. 

Rocco Forte Hotels

Rocco Forte and his son Charles provided an update on the eponymous brand which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The company now has 14 hotels in Europe and the U.K. “We are a niche brand in the luxury market, one of the few families still in the business.” His sister Olga Polizzi, handles the design and just redid the suites at the London property, Brown’s in Mayfair. “We are coming off of a record year in profit thanks to the return of the American market,” said Rocco Forte. Son Charles who heads up development, added, “We have opened five hotels in the last five years and aim to open two hotels per year going forward.” They are also adding to existing hotels, 20 villas opened at the Verdura golf resort in Sicily, offering three and four bedrooms, well suited for families. As for what else is to come, Charles hinted, “we are close to signing deals in Sardinia, Mykonos, and Athens and looking to grow into U.S. markets.”

Preferred Hotels & Resorts + Beyond Green

Last but not least, Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO, of Preferred Hotels and Resorts, shared that the company has grown to more than 650 independent hotels in 80 countries, within five collections from ultra to local luxury. The big selling point for Preferred is the two-part quality assurance program and the benefits of the iPrefer rewards program. For the sustainability-minded, Beyond Green continues to add properties since launching in 2020. Now with 30 members in 19 countries, Ueberroth said six new properties will come online next year.

There are a few Preferred hotels opening in 2023 to get excited about. After COVID delays, the long-awaited Amrit Ocean in Singer Island, Florida will open with a 100,000 square-foot spa and wellness center, and four restaurants including a vegan option by famed chef Matthew Kenny. In Mallorca, Son Net, a 17th-century palace in the UNESCO World Heritage Tramuntana mountains, with original architecture is soon to open as a boutique retreat with 35 romantic guestrooms and suites that maintain the original features surrounding an interior courtyard with a spring-fed well and a private chapel.  In London, the new BoTree Hotel will be at the edge of Marylebone and Mayfair with a rooftop restaurant and bar, and a screening room.

To cap off a very busy day, Four Seasons hosted an Italian-themed cocktail event in a villa overlooking Cannes. Look for one more recap from ILTM where we hear from travel advisor, Marybeth Hiller of Travel Edge, and spotlight smaller hotels from the show!

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