SmartFlyer Gathers Advisors in London for Annual CORE Conference

SmartFlyer, the New York-based full-service luxury travel agency, held its seventh annual agency-wide summit, CORE, in London in January, bringing together 160 SmartFlyer travel advisors and 90 partners across 64 brands, including owners and C-suite executives from brands like Four Seasons, Rosewood Hotels, Dorchester Collection, Maybourne Hotels, The Peninsula Hotels and Singita, to name a few. It was the first time SmartFlyer picked an international destination for the event.

“With all the new luxury hotels and the increase in airlift to London from so many feeder markets, it made perfect sense to gather here,” SmartFlyer CEO Michael Holtz shared.

In London, the gathering was hosted across three properties: The Berkeley, The Peninsula London and The Dorchester. “The biggest surprise is how many advisors had not been to London in a long time,” said Erina Pindar, COO and managing partner, at SmartFlyer. 

“This annual event pays homage to the pillars on which the agency was built upon. "CORE" stands for the ideals of Collaboration, Originality, Relationships and Education," explains Pindar. "SmartFlyer's annual agency-wide gathering serves a singular purpose: bringing together our advisors and partners in the pursuit of shared growth, knowledge and relationships to collectively strengthen our global community.”  

When it came to putting CORE together, SmartFlyer made it a point to collaborate with local brands and small businesses. As a testament to the many ways that travel and tourism can have a positive impact on destinations, SmartFlyer highlighted a handful of producers and artisans, among many others, who played a vital role in showcasing London—including, providing all delegates with SmartFlyer’s Insider’s Guide to London, presented by local tastemaker Kelly Eastwood of “The London Chatter."

The commitment to the pursuit of shared knowledge and growth was evident throughout SmartFlyer’s three days of programming. In addition to providing peer-facilitated advisor roundtables, it also organized express site inspections. In the evenings, advisors chose from dinners across over 30 restaurants, including some of London’s hottest tables—Park Chinois, Bacchanalia, Pavyllon, Maison Estelle, privatizing the Food Studio at Fortnum & Mason’s and an exclusive Chef’s Table in the Kitchen of The Dorchester. An intimate dinner was hosted at Annabel’s in honor of SmartFlyer ONE, the agency's top producers.

Commitment to Education: Advisor as Curator

SmartFlyer CORE

Continued learning is essential for high-end advisors to stay ahead of their savvy and well-traveled base. As information is becoming more ubiquitous, the role of the advisor as a curator is key. Delegates had the opportunity to pick the sessions that resonated most with them, including:

  • Embrace AI as a Tool and Level-Up Your Prompt Skills: An impressive presentation by former hotelier and current managing director from Silicon Valley-based World Wide Technologies Tim Brooks. He demonstrated how AI can be used for research and more. The tip we loved the most: Create different "personas" in ChatGPT; he sited examples of an SEO expert, skeptical investor, etc., and how these "experts" save time when researching topics and build upon their own expertise based on your queries. 
  • Wellness for Working Mothers: A scientific-based approach to well-being for working mothers led by Amy Brann, who uses scientifically underpinned insights from the world of neuroscience to educate upon and explore the genetic and environmental factors that can be influenced to remain as well as possible. This session was so over-subscribed, they had to add extras.
  • In-Depth Tutorial on Instagram Reels: In a session dedicated to social content creation, Kelsey Heinrichs, a seasoned travel blogger and photographer, unveiled the secrets to crafting scroll-stopping content, with an in-depth overview of how to utilize Instagram for growth and reach an audience of millions.

Record Revenues

Dame Kelly Holmes
Dame Kelly Holmes (Photo by Emily Goldfischer)

On the closing day, the group came together to hear SmartFlyer’s annual "365" presentation given by Pindar. SmartFlyer’s 2023 results spoke for themselves of the power of their host agency, with the average advisor’s annual revenue production reaching $2.2 million. The top 50 producers averaged $6.1 million in revenue production, while most elite recognition tier, SmartFlyer ONE, included several host agencies and affiliate companies with productions of over $17 million.

The morning closed with a thought-provoking conversation with journalist and sustainability expert Juliet Kinsman that touched on how the luxury travel industry can have a positive and purposeful impact on economies around the world, quoting fictional soccer coach Ted Lasso: “Every choice is a chance” to make a difference for people and the planet. Further inspiration came from a keynote speech by Dame Kelly Holmes, a two-time Olympic champion and British Icon, who shared her experiences overcoming obstacles and turning her dreams into reality.

The afternoon of the final day was spent exploring London, with over 30 tours held in conjunction with local partners Celebrated Experiences, NoteWorthy and Queen of Clubs. Attendees had options that included The House of Parliament, Churchill War Rooms, Tate Modern Museum, the London Underground, London’s notable fashion houses and more. CORE came to an end with a closing soiree held at The Dorchester where the property put together a culinary journey in its ballroom, recreating the property’s full suite of restaurant offerings.

Next year’s SmartFlyer CORE will be hosted in partnership with Accor at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, held January 22-26, 2025.  Look for SmartFlyer to once again "reimagine" its event in 2025, focusing on a more intimate, retreat-style gathering filled with outdoor activities while staying true to its core principles of collaboration and relationships.

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