Leaders of by

CONFERENCE REPO Leaders of Luxury 2020: Senior figures in luxury travel assessed the pandemic’s

A&K’s Kent reveals plan for ‘many acquisitions’


uxury operator Abercrombie & Kent intends to make several acquisitions over the next

year, according to founder and co-chairman Geoffrey Kent. Speaking during the Leaders of

Luxury conference, Kent said there were many opportunities in the market, and confirmed his brand was “definitely” on the acquisition trail. He said the longer the pandemic

went on, the more mergers and consolidation the industry would see. “Ironically, this may give us an

opportunity for things we haven’t thought of, or not,” he said. “But yes, we will be acquiring

many companies over the next year – so watch this space.” Abercrombie & Kent’s most

recent acquisition was Cox & Kings, in December 2019. Kent’s comments came as former

Yes, we will be

acquiring many companies over the next year – so watch this space

Kerzner chief Michael Wale started as A&K’s new group president and chief executive. Kent said Wale would be

responsible for whether “we buy [a] company or not” and would also spearhead growth of the Sanctuary Retreats brand, which he revealed was likely to expand into South America. “He (Wale) understands an area

we wish to expand, which is our Sanctuary properties and lodges and ships for expedition cruising. “Michael will add a lot to what

we’re doing and we’re very excited. “We will expand, in South America

especially – I think that would be a natural fit for us – and Michael comes with all the knowledge and talent to do just that for us.” Sanctuary Retreats currently

operates 13 safari lodges in Africa, plus river vessels in Egypt, China and Myanmar. Kent said he would expand

the Sanctuary brand alongside the opening of new Abercrombie & Kent-owned destination management companies (DMCs). Currently, the brand operates 55 DMC offices. “If you can expand with a DMC

and a Sanctuary product like a ship or a lodge, and roll it out, it’s very easy,” he said. “It means you can move into places where people want to go. It means our guests get the same standard wherever they go – so that’s why we have to own our own DMCs.”

Kerzner prepares to unveil dedicated wellness brand The well-off ‘will travel

Kerzner International is poised to launch a dedicated wellness brand. Kerzner, the parent company of

One&Only, Atlantis The Palm and Mazagan, has been “incubating” a new proposition. Speaking during a panel debate

on the future of the luxury travel sector, Kerzner International chief commercial officer Brett Armitage revealed the new offering while discussing expansion plans for Kerzner’s existing portfolio. He said: “We’ve actually been

incubating a new brand. There’s a new brand in the Kerzner stable

which will be announced shortly – it’s a wellness brand that is very different to One&Only.” He was unable to share further

details on the project; however, he insisted there had been “no slowdown” in the company’s “vision and strategy for growth”. Armitage said Kerzner’s

hotels portfolio would expand further. Two yet-to-be-announced One&Only-managed properties were due to open in 2022, he said, and the group planned to acquire “distressed assets and portfolios of hotels” in light of the pandemic.

Geoffrey Kent

less but for longer’ Luxury travellers are tipped to travel less but for longer. Numerous speakers at the conference, including architect and designer Bill Bensley and Six Senses chief executive Neil Jacobs, said they expected affluent holidaymakers to invest in fewer long trips, rather than one or two-week holidays. Bensley said he expected to see a rise in demand for “remote destinations with a sense of community”.

Brett Armitage Bill Bensley 12 22 OCTOBER 2020

PICTURES: Justin Weller; Capital D Studio; Quavondo

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48