Terry Dale, president and CEO of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about the recent travel survey that is part of this week’s USTOA annual conference and marketplace, showing 50 percent of members are already generating income from sales of domestic tours before the end of 2020, an optimistic statistic from a survey that took place before three possible COVID-19 vaccines were even announced. He also discusses the possible effect of the incoming Biden administration, whether there will be federal COVID relief legislation before the end of the year, the importance of travel advisors and more. For more information, visit www.ustoa.com.
Vanessa McGovern, co-founder of Gifted Travel Network (GTN), talks with James Shillinglaw about her five-year-old Virtuoso-affiliated host travel agency, which had been experiencing tremendous growth until the pandemic hit. Now GTN is refocused on its primary mission to intensively train its travel advisor affiliates to get them ready for the expected boom in travel as we emerge from the crisis—and it’s even adding new travel advisors to its roster. And GTN does all this by focusing on the positives in its business. For more information, visit www.giftedtravelnetwork.com.
Angela Hughes, a veteran travel advisor and owner of Trips & Ships Travel in Orlando, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how she and her luxury agency are meeting the challenges of the travel downturn and getting ready for 2021 and beyond. Hughes details what her agency focuses on, how she has set up a business and social media consulting practice to help other agencies, how she continues to travel, what’s selling well for next year and what distinguishes her agency in other ways. For more information on her agency, visit www.tripsandships.com.
Bill Linehan, president of Premier Worldwide Marketing, representative for Karisma Hotels & Resorts, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about Karisma’s many all-inclusive brands—including Azul, El Dorado, Nickelodean, Generations, and Margaritaville, among others—with resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, a new branding scheme for Karisma itself, the new World Class Gourmet Inclusive program, and development plans in Mexico, Jamaica and beyond. For more information, visit www.karismahotels.com.
Richard Bussiere, managing director at the Langham New York Fifth Avenue, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how his luxury hotel remained open throughout the coronavirus crisis, how the pandemic has affected business, what new health and safety protocols the property has introduced, what’s open and what’s not at the hotel, and a new Urban Resort program to provide guests with local experiences. For more information, visit www.langhamhotels.com.
Becky Powell, chief strategy officer for Global Travel Collection (GTC), talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report, about how this group of luxury travel agencies is coming together under a new brand name. GTC, a unit of Internova Travel Group, includes the combined Protravel International/Tzell Travel Group, Colletts Travel, Andrew Harper, In the Know Experiences, All Star Travel Group and R. Crusoe & Son. GTC just staged its first virtual conference and is developing new synergies to become the largest collection of luxury travel agencies in the business today. For more information, visit www.internova.com.
Admiral Travel’s Malaka Hilton, founder and co-owner, and Ryan Hilton, co-owner, talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how they are organizing four large luxury air charters to safaris in Africa and a trip to the Galapagos for 2021 as we emerge from the pandemic. They also describe about how they formed Admiral Travel, what business it has focused on, and how they’ve gotten through the coronavirus crisis so far. For more information, visit www.admiraltravel.com.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about “Always Included,” her cruise line’s new program that aims to simplify what’s included in the cruise fare, such as Wi-Fi, tips, drinks and more. Lutoff-Perlo also talks about the prospects for the resumption of cruising by following the Centers for Disease Controls’ new framework, where Celebrity’s ships are now, how the pandemic has affected itinerary planning, and more. For more information, visit www.celebritycruises.com.
Debbie Fiorino, chief operating officer of World Travel Holdings' Dream Vacations, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about their successful annual conference held virtually, the increased turnout, their new investment in "Martech" or marketing and technology, as well as the latest very positive travel trends. For more information, visit www.DreamVacationsFranchise.com or www.SellCruises.com.
Dan Rowe, president and CEO of Visit Panama City Beach, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about the white sand beaches of this coastal Florida town, easy to find by air or car, located midway between Tallahassee and Pensacola, with a wide assortment of hotels, restaurants and major events, including the Seabreeze Jazz Festival and SandJam Music Festival. For more information, visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
Jean-Claude Messant, general manager of the Royal Mansour, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about his luxury resort in Marrakech, Morocco, which reopened recently after some major renovations with new restaurants, a new garden and revamped accommodations (the riads). Learn about Messant’s boss, the King of Morocco, who owns the property, and how he once officiated a wedding for a couple from the U.S. For more information, visit www.royalmansour.com.
Peter Vlitas, senior vice president of airline relations for Internova, formerly Travel Leaders Group, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about CommonPass, a digital health pass for travelers to securely document their certified COVID-19 test status while keeping their health data private. CommonPass’s first test between London and Newark was successful, but whether it will get global acceptance remains to be seen. For more information, visit www.internova.com.
Jaime Getto and Alexa Berube, two of the founders of Reposite, talk with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about their new travel technology product for the travel trade and travel suppliers offering a CRM database, proposal tracking, the ability to discover new suppliers, and new ways to invoice clients and pay suppliers. Getto and Berube also talk about how they pivoted away from Nowaday, a New York-based company offering tours of the city in antique cars, when the pandemic forced them to close the business, and how their technology backgrounds led them to develop Reposite. For more information, visit www.reposite.io.
Keith Waldon, founder and director of Texas-based Departure Lounge, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how his host agency, a Virtuoso member with physical locations in Austin and San Antonio, has survived and experienced minimal losses even during the coronavirus pandemic. By booking luxury homes and private accommodations, private jets and other high-end products, Departure Lounge has managed to position itself to emerge from the crisis and even grow into Europe. For more information, visit www.departurelounge.com.
Kevin Glass, resort general manager of Downtown Grand Las Vegas, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about his signature resort complex just a block away from Freemont Street, complete with a new Galaxy Tower, a casino (of course), a great pool and multiple dining outlets. It’s all part of the rebirth of Downtown Vegas. For more information, visit www.downtowngrand.com.
Donovan White, director of tourism for the Jamaica Tourist Board, talks with James Shillinglaw about this week’s very first virtual JAPEX, the annual conference matching travel advisors and tour operators with top suppliers from Jamaica. White talks about how Jamaica developed the event in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the show’s content. He also reveals some of the new marketing messages Jamaica has developed to promote tourism next year. For more information or to register for the show, visit www.japex.org or www.visitjamaica.com.
Geoffrey Kent, founder and co-chairman of Abercrombie & Kent, is interviewed by James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how Kent founded his famed luxury tour company, how he grew it from a small operation in Kenya and how it evolved over the years, how he regained control of A&K just a few years ago. He also talks about how A&K has been tested by the coronavirus crisis, how luxury travel has evolved over the years, how travel advisors have played a key role in A&K’s development, and how he still leads many of the tours himself. For more information, visit www.abercrombiekent.com.
Virginia Irurita, founder of Made for Spain & Portugal, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about her bespoke luxury tour operation specializing in Spain and Portugal. She details how her company has dealt with the coronavirus, how it’s been working with travel advisors, and previews a new webinar training series for advisors on the Andalucia region of Spain debuting on Nov. 10. To register for the webinar series visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8656515929037586447. For more information, visit www.madeforspainandportugal.com.
Donald Contursi, president of Lip Smacking Foodie Tours in Las Vegas, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how his company is expanding its offerings with new programs beyond downtown Vegas to Vegas’ Chinatown and other fine dining experiences on the Vegas Strip. He’s also introduced a new line of independent programs called Finger Licking Foodie Tours, a self-guided tour for couples or very small groups, allows guests to explore multiple fine dining outlets in Las Vegas on their own with an app. For more information, visit www.lipsmackingfoodietours.com or www.fingerlickingfoodietours.com.
Chris Wink, director of content and cool stuff (that’s the family version of his title) for AREA15, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about this brand new entertainment, art and experiential complex located just off the Las Vegas Strip. Featuring the wild and the wacky, plus unique art, out-of-this-world experiences, virtual and “live” rides, offbeat shows, one-of-a-kind shopping and Todd English dining, AREA15 (not AREA51) should attract a new generation to Vegas—and should be a great venue for group experiences. It’s also probably the only time we’re going to be able to interview someone dressed in fluorescent green with green hair. For more information, visit www.area15.com.
Lorenzo Giannuzzi, managing director of Forte Village resort on the island of Sardinia, one of Insider’s favorite properties, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about how his resort fared this past year as Italy emerged from the COVID-19 crisis. Giannuzzi details recent renovations to the property, major events that took place there, and his hope to welcome American guests back next year. Plus he gives a preview of a brand new sister property being developed near Rome. For more information, visit www.fortevillageresort.com.
Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the newest mega-resort on the Strip, complete with three different Hilton branded hotels (from Hilton to Conrad to LXR), new dining concepts, a major theater, spa, pool complex, nightclub and much more—it’s all coming next summer 2021. For more information, visit www.rwlasvegas.com.
Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism for Jamaica, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about the new Jamaica Cares traveler protection and emergency services program, which offers international and on-island coverage including COVID-19 coverage for a mandatory $40 fee per visitor. The goal is to get travelers to be more confident in visiting Jamaica. For more information on Jamaica Cares, visit www.gtrcmc.org.
Amanda Arling, president of the Whaler’s Inn. talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report, about how her quintessential coastal inn provides a luxury experience in accommodations, dining and proximity to downtown Mystic, Ct., one of the most famed destinations in New England. With a gourmet seafood restaurant, Shipwright’s Daughter, modern yet classic accommodations, and a great location just steps away from Mystic’s famed drawbridge and picturesque main street, Whaler’s Inn provides the ultimate getaway. For more information, visit www.whalersinnmystic.com.
Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, president of Collette, talks with Alan Fine of Insider Travel Report about her company's Advanced Commission Program designed to help travel advisors get compensated sooner, how Collette has resumed domestic tours this year, even during the pandemic, and what destinations are hot for 2021. For more information, visit www.collette.com.
Peter Vlitas, senior vice president of airline relations for Internova, formerly Travel Leaders Group, talks with Alan Fine about the state of the airline industry, the lack of coordination between the federal government and states, as well as between the states themselves, and how all that shapes what travel advisors need to tell their clients. For more information, visit www.internova.com.
Nancy White, managing director of Cliff House Maine, talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report about her Cape Neddick resort, which hugs the cliff overlooking the Atlantic waves. With outdoor and indoor pools, a full spa, two great seafood restaurants, 226 oceanview rooms and a history dating from 1872, Cliff House is the perfect Maine seaside resort. For more information, visit www.cliffhousemaine.com.
Andy Ross, managing director of the Brenton Hotel in Newport, R.I., talks with James Shillinglaw about his brand new 57-room boutique property right on the harbor. With a unique living room concept that doubles as a restaurant, bar, lounge and registration; comfortable designer rooms using locally sourced products; a rooftop bar with great views and much more, the Brenton offers a very different experience for visitors to this iconic New England coastal destination. For more information, visit www.brentonhotel.com.
Alison Gilmore, portfolio director for the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM), talks with James Shillinglaw of Insider Travel Report, about the new ILTM World Tour, a series of three virtual events focused on Asia Pacific, Nov. 17-19; Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Nov. 23-25; and North and South America, Dec. 1-3. Gilmore reveals how these events will effectively replace all “live” ILTM events this year, how they are structured, what programming they have, and how luxury buyers (travel advisors) can make appointments with luxury sellers. For more information, visit www.iltm.com.