The news came just as ULTRA Summit 2021 was wrapping up at La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas, where luxury travel advisors and suppliers met in an intimate setting for one-to-one meetings and networking.
This was one of the first live events for the luxury travel industry in 2021 and advisors and suppliers were excited to be back together.
Alexi Khajavi, group president, Questex Travel & Hospitality, said, “With luxury leisure travel leading the industry’s return to profitability, there is truly no better time than now to bring together some of the greatest minds in luxury travel to understand the shifts in customer expectations coming out of this pandemic. As an industry that is deeply rooted in experiences, it is our duty to come together to strategize and reset, not only to provide new opportunities for travelers to get back to exploring the world safely, but more importantly for us as an industry to showcase our resilience. We’re back in business, and it feels good.”
MMGY Myriad''s Julie Cuesta presenting "How Research and Data Can Help Navigate the New Luxury Landscape"
ULTRA Summit is known for its exceptional programming curated to arm attendees with the data and information they need to make strategic business decisions that will ultimately impact their bottom line. The event began with a welcome reception, followed by two days of one-to-one meetings and insightful presentations, including a keynote, “How Research & Data Can Help Us Navigate the New Luxury Landscape,” in which Julie Cuesta, EVP, Managing Director, MMGY Myriad, shared insights from MMGY’s Travel Intelligence’s most recent edition of Portrait of the American Traveler, highlighting how travel planning behaviors have changed and what destinations are now of most interest to travelers. Her presentation was followed by a keynote featuring Betsy Allen-Manning, founder and CEO, Motiv8u Enterprises who captivated the audience by giving them six core strategies for developing a game plan that works and building a resilient mindset.
“After dealing with COVID over the past year, this summit has lifted my spirits and energized my outlook going forward,” says Krista Betts, manager, senior luxury travel advisor at Balboa Travel, Inc. “Learning and listening to my industry colleagues over the past two days has equipped me with actionable tools that can be implemented right away. The keynote speaker reiterated much needed daily practices—daily affirmations, gratitude, ‘to do’ lists etc. I would highly recommend this conference to new and seasoned advisors—a wealth of information.”
The unique insights and varying opinions of the summit’s attendees delivered a broad range of perspectives on the ever-evolving luxury niche. Top consortia were well-represented at ULTRA, including Virtuoso, Signature Travel Network, Travel Leaders Group, Ensemble Travel Group and American Express; those who drive hundreds of millions of dollars in luxury travel revenue annually.
Krista Betts of Balboa Travel, Inc. (second from left), participating in a panel titled "Moving Forward: Where Do We Go From Here?"
Leading luxury suppliers with targeted offerings for the luxury leisure traveler once again were invited to participate in this limited capacity event. Through the event’s signature matchmaking tool, suppliers were able to meet with advisors one-on-one resulting in transactions that generate revenue for both parties.
“This has been a very valuable experience,” says Karina Gaughran, director of leisure sales at Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club. “I’ve met a lot of people who I had not met before—excellent advisors who I will do business with and who represent the clientele we are looking for. The matchmaking system worked out perfectly for me. One hundred percent, I will be back.”
For those interested in becoming a supplier at a future Ultra Summit, please contact our team. For those interested in applying to become a hosted advisor, please reach out to Andrea Hutchinson, senior manager, marketing and buyer acquisition, at [email protected].