|I am shown here with Paige Koerbel (left), managing director of Turnberry Isle in Aventura, FL, where Ultra was held, and Ruthanne Terrero, vice president and editorial director of Travel Agent and Luxury Travel Advisor.|
I always say if you are not innovating you are dying. Words like established, traditional and mainstay make me nervous. I am just reading about Apple’s announcement of its updates to its operating platform and the press is screaming that Apple is losing its “cool.” Can you imagine that? My 16-year-old daughter just told me Facebook was uncool as well. What does it take in today’s society to stay on top? The answer is very simple—understanding the needs of your client and then predicting the future and how your business must evolve. Remember, if you are standing still you are dying. So how do you look into the crystal ball? How do you help not becoming “uncool.”
Travel Agent’s sister publication Luxury Travel Advisor set out to tackle this issue with our Ultra Luxury Exchange. We saw a huge void in the market. Most of you don’t have business plans and you are not thinking about the future. Your current partnerships are all about driving today’s business and are vital in your day-to-day setting, but can they look into the future and assure you that you are on the proper path?
These questions needed to be answered, so we stole a page from the financial community. In finance, it’s all about understanding the future so investments can be made wisely. Many financial institutions conduct think tanks, where the brightest minds come together to create a road map and a business plan for investing in an industry segment. Ultra has done the same.
We spent two days with the brightest luxury advisors in the industry and ambassador (supplier) partners. We listened, discussed and debated about the future. Interestingly enough, we didn’t end up defining one road to future prosperity but in fact several. This roadmap navigated customer acquisition, retention, servicing and anticipating needs. As Gary Davis, president of Acendas, one of our luxury travel advisors, put it: “Tuesday morning was like the last three laps at Indy...just kept getting much better and more exciting by the hour. I truly enjoyed meeting the Ambassadors and Advisors...getting to know each of them in a professional, friendly environment.
As stewards and the one common denominator that guides luxury travel advisors to excel in raising their expertise and professionalism, we look forward to sharing the future of our industry with you in the coming months.
Here’s to not standing still.