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TRAVEL + LEISURE International Luxury Travel Market 2012 | www.iltm.net The value of craftmanship


One thing is for sure: for every attention-grabbing new direction in travel, there is always a counter trend. At the same time that my Editors and I at Travel + Leisure are hearing more and more each day about the rise of social media as a travel tool - as yet another digital opportunity for do-it-yourself-oriented consumers to research and fi nd their way in the world - we’re also seeing evidence that social networks may in fact offer interesting new outlets for classic travel brands to expand and engage their customer base. Last July, when T+L presented it’s fi rst annual Social Media in Travel and Tourism, or SMITTY, Awards, classic companies like Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and Hilton were among the hotel winners, with innovative programs drawing on social media infl uencers, guest tweeters, and treasure hunts.


As a growing population of people worldwide are communicating in 140 characters or less, and more and more of our friends are becoming people we’ve never actually met, the value placed on the personal touch has never been greater. According to Jim Taylor of the Harrison Group, American Express Publishing’s partner in creating our annual Survey of Affl uence and Wealth in America: “For affl uent and wealthy consumers, the question is increasingly ‘What is a particular level of craftsmanship worth to me?’ rather than ‘What kind of craftsmanship, quality, and service can I get at a price I want to pay?’” In the travel world, the notion of craftsmanship has its own set of meanings, encompassing superior service, distinctive destinations, and vivid memories. Hotels, cruise lines, airlines, and outfi tters are essential to the delivery of ‘worth’, but, despite all our digital resources, there is growing recognition of the value of travel agents to organize these excursions into the lesser known places that so many of today’s travelers favor. In fact, Taylor points out that reliance on expert advisors is on the rise among young affl uent consumers - the millenniums - who are so much in the sweet spot for luxury purveyors, the major clients of tomorrow.


Further contradictions abound: staying connected to tweet and to post travel images and observations through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and a myriad of other apps and sites has become ever more essential to travelers worldwide. Yet the demand for off-the-grid vacations is skyrocketing, with top quality lodges and resorts laying down stakes in remote corners of the world, from the Indian Ocean to Australia’s Northern Territory, from Chiloe Island in Chile to Yunnan Province in China, in ever larger numbers to welcome these adventurous travelers. With all this connectedness, going off the grid to experience something handcrafted and distinct has never looked better.


Nancy Novogrod Editor in Chief, Travel + Leisure


19


‘For every


attention-grabbing new direction in travel, there is always a counter trend.’


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