Buyers at this year’s International Luxury Travel Market are taking the show “much more seriously”, according to the suppliers.
The impact of the recession on luxury travel habits means that buyers need to show a definite return on investment and are much more open to negotiation than in previous years.
The quality of the buyers is also “more robust” and is reflected in the fact that no one is missing one-to-one meetings.
Day Three of the four-day event consisted of pre-scheduled appointments, speed networking and focus forums.
Trevor Owen, vice-president sales IHG, said: “Attendance seems better than before. It is more robust.”
Lore Koenig, sales and marketing director at Chedi Resorts, said:
“The buyers are very positive. There are no bargain hunters here. All are very professional.”
A spokesperson for ILTM said the shift in travel patterns meant the buyers were just as keen to do business as the suppliers:
“There are two lots of people who need the business. No longer can buyers say take it or leave it.”
The show is taking place at the same time as the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, and green issues also took centre stage in Cannes with sustainability being the key aim of most luxury hoteliers.
Earlier in the week, Paul Jones, chief operating officer at One&Only Resorts said the key to retaining luxury customers was “personalisation”.
“Personalisation is the key, and this needs to be complemented by genuine delivery.
“Now more than ever, travellers are looking for a bespoke, personal experience from start to finish.”
Jones cited idyllic locations, highly personalised service, spas and world-renowned chefs such as Vineet
Bhatia, Nobu Matsuhisa, Gordon Ramsay, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Alain Ducasse, as examples of his hotels continued appeal to the luxury sector.