And so, it was, yesterday, Tuesday 6th December 2022, the first day of back-to-back computer-scheduled meetings. Over 1800 exhibitors will meet with over 1800 buyers from 77 countries at ILTM 2022. 73 media from valuable source markets also wandered the three floors of exhibition stands in between, that is, a hectic schedule of press presentations arranged by ILTM’s communication partners, SpotLight, led by Nina Gardiner and Lucy Clifton.
Girlahead tried walking the three exhibition floors at a lively pace but that was impossible because of the crowds. Four Seasons’ two stands, for instance, were one big buzz: the company’s distribution doctor, Ben Trodd, said he had 68 properties. This is the only global show as far as his company is concerned. First-time visitor Cornelia Samara, RVP and GM FOUR SEASONS HOTEL PHILADELPHIA – the tallest hotel in the USA – was one of many with big smiles generated by the return to travel. Four Seasons takes over HOTEL DANIELI VENICE on 10th January 2023: it will close for a month for de-branding and then one of its three buildings will be managed by Four Seasons while the rest begins extensive renovations before the historic establishment will achieve Four Seasons branding.
Up on the third, conservatory-like, floor, Relais & Chateaux, led by CEO Anthony Torkington, complemented its 63 exhibiting hotels’ individual desks by a wine tasting bar. Also up there was Small Luxury Hotels of the World, with new Executive Director Martin Rinck, had 67 hotels at stands topped by outsized floral displays. The third conservatory space went to the Leading Hotels of the World, with 140 exhibiting hotels. Boss Shannon Knapp beamed throughout: future bookings for 2023 are 26% higher than for the same period a year ago. People are travelling again, and more hotels are joining the consortium. Story-telling is essential as experiences and entertainment become increasingly important, especially to younger travellers (and talking of experiences, she was ecstatic about the Champagne and pizza tasting she recently had in Naples).
Of course there were off-site happenings, too. Trump Hotels’ Suzie Mills held lunchtime court in the sun on one of the beaches decked in full Christmas finery (the beach, that is). Kempinski’s Bernold Schroeder took over a hotel’s indoor-out rooftop for magnificent finger food and bubbles – Kempinski will not, by the way, be exhibiting at ITB, preferring to host its own invitation-only event at HOTEL ADLON KEMPINSKI BERLIN. Come the cocktail hour proper, a host of happenings coincided. Aman stylishly partnered with the two-floor Dior establishment, Jumeirah – see image above – flew in Dubai-based chefs to rustle up sushi looking down at the Palais, Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s Martin Rinck presided at one of the fabulously-trendy rue Florian restaurants: 100 metres away, THE DOLDER GRAND ZURICH; ALPINA GRAND GSTAAD; FLEMINGS MAYFAIR and Turks & Caicos’ WYMARA cleverly joined forces to take over an entire room at top-of-the-trend list La Mome. That was more than enough for one day.