The top Instagram influencer worldwide is Cristiano Ronaldo, at 583 million. By contrast, in the hotel/travel sector, top billing, at a paltry 2.5 million, goes to Jack Morris (WHO? Has anyone of importance heard of this 32-year old photographer from Bolton Lancs, in the North of England).
As far as real travel-hospitality influencers are concerned Lindsey Ueberroth, above, must surely be among the top of the list. Preferred Travel Group is owned by the Ueberroth family and fronted by Lindsey, the CEO. The global group meeting, at HALF MOON, a massive and sprawling 230-key plantation resort ten minutes from Jamaica’s Montego Bay airport.
After the second evening of dine-around, which was good for networking, Day 2 of business meetings opened with AI specialist Felix Leboy – who, as then-CEO of Wayblazer, had overseen Hilton’s computer concierge back in 2016 – showing how Bard computer figures played self-taught football on 60 Minutes. He forsees AI being integrated into day-to-day operations. When it comes to Generative Pre-trained Transformers, GPT, as in Chat GPT, he warned the decidedly-apprehensive audience to be aware that Expedia is already using it.
Next up was Jeremy Sampson, CEO of the Travel Foundation. Working with Breda University and others, the Foundation anticipates fewer but longer trips. It is possible to travel with thought. Low carbon options are increasingly available, and expect new adventures closer to home. Hotels should incentivise longer stays and improve communication. There is a definite need to understand and plan for tourism in a decarbonised world. The Travel Foundation is training Preferred at corporate level on the entire ESG scene.
The mood of the serious speeches was considerably lightened by panel discussions where participants could share thoughts. Turnkey Hospitality’s MD Jeremy Clayton, here in his capacity as Executive Director THE PRESIDENT Cape Town, for instance, likened running a hotel to playing 3-D chess (which could of course bring us full circle to Bard’s computer games players….). Anyway, after the second morning of meetings some went horseback riding, others golf, others disappeared, to whatever. But everyone would be back for the final dinner.