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Luxury Travel Collection Business Owners Soirée begins on Hayman Island

Flight Centre Travel Group's (FCTG) Luxury Travel Collection (LTC) has begun its first-ever Luxury Business Owners Island Soirée on Hayman Island Resort in Queensland's Whitsundays. MATT LEEDHAM reports from the event.

Flight Centre Travel Group’s (FCTG) Luxury Travel Collection (LTC) has begun its first-ever Luxury Business Owners Island Soirée on Hayman Island Resort in Queensland’s Whitsundays. MATT LEEDHAM reports from the event.

Around one hundred Luxury Travel Collection business owners, managers, and supplier partners from Australia, New Zealand and The UK, along with senior LTC executives, have journeyed to Intercontinental Hayman Island, one of Queensland’s most iconic jewels, for three days of connection, creative thinking, and learning.

The innovative leaders’ gathering, themed Luxury Unlocked and happening from 14 – 17 May 2024, focuses on the network’s key objective of unlocking opportunities to ‘create the next generation of luxury travel’.

Referencing lessons from the world’s most famous luxury retail brands and the group’s Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) House of Brands inspiration, the Luxury Unlocked theme was brought to life with presentations on trending topics and opportunities such as redefining luxury, creating businesses as lovemarks, utilising and embracing AI, finding a creative edge, and unlocking personal wellness.

Setting the scene on day one, Global MD of Luxury & Independent Leisure, Danielle Galloway and Travel Associates’ General Manager, Rachel Kingswell, presented four key lessons from the world’s most-revered luxury retail brands.

Global MD of Luxury & Independent Leisure, Danielle Galloway, and James Kavanagh, FCTG’s Global CEO of Leisure

Addressing the much-discussed ‘Devaluation of Luxury,’ Galloway and Kingswell referenced a noteworthy cross-section of examples and solutions from brands, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Hermes, that could be adapted for the luxury travel industry to drive business growth.

A curated selection of presenters shared their insights, including James Kavanagh, FCTG’s Global CEO of Leisure; Wendie Lee, FCTG Luxury & Independent Leisure’s global product leader (technology); Sonia Davies, CEO of Scott Dunn; Kirsten Galliott, Editor of Qantas Magazine; Lisa Manser, Director of Wellness at COMO Resorts & Hotels; and Alexandra Smart, from Smart Alex Studio.

Sonia Davies, CEO of Scott Dunn, who travelled to Hayman from the UK, provided her insights on the ‘Expectations on the HNW (High net worth) Luxury Client’, conveying the message that leaders need to understand both the subjective motivations for luxury travel today and the basic expectations of the HNW client.

Ms Davies also spoke of sustainability in the luxury space and the need for travel businesses to take a leadership approach, baking sustainable practices into their businesses and leaning on accredited travel suppliers in the space to showcase travel for good to their clients.

LTC’s Global Product Director, Shannon Fogarty, provided an update on LTC’s Galeries de Luxe, the ultra-luxe product department store available only to members of the Luxury Travel Collection.

Modelled on a high-end department store, Galeries de Luxe offers LTC Members a curated selection of luxury travel suppliers that deliver exclusive experiences from seven distinctive product pillars for clients as a standard feature of each booking.

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Supplier partners with Lisa Wright, LTC’s National Event Manager (2nd right)

An added ‘Surprise & Delight’ feature saw every Business Owner presented with an exclusive travel gift on day one from a hand-picked selection of LTC’s Galeries de Luxe Product Department Store. Some of these incredible experiences given away included Scenic Eclipse, Tauck and Uniworld cruises, and stays on Lizard Island.

Highlighting the importance of attending Soirée, Phil Smethurst of Bicton Travel said, “By staying across evolving trends, gaining market insights and cultivating innovative strategies, our boutique travel agency will achieve our goal of staying ahead of the luxury landscape.”

Meanwhile, Travel Associates Advisory Board Member Joanne (Jo) Kennedy summed up her take on the event, saying the conference is “Just the start of this exciting journey to challenge us, inspire us and allow us to collaborate with the finest business owners and leaders in their field in an amazing industry.”

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Nikki Glading, GM of LTC Members, and Askin Erkec, Travel Associates Head of Operations, emceed day one, while Gillian Woodley, Business Leader & Advisory Board Member, Travel Associates Hobart, closed the day.

On day two, Business Owners and managers will also participate in a range of creative 30-minute Partner Immersions around Hayman Island, including wine tasting, yoga, weaving, golf, tea and scones, and more.

Outdoor evening events feature a long table dinner under the stars of the Whitsundays with a tropical flair sponsored by Oceania Cruises and a French Riviera-themed evening of French elegance to close the event thanks to Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Ms Galloway said LTC’s inaugural soiree is an exceptional and exciting opportunity to connect with a celebrated group of industry professionals.

“The Luxury Travel Collection is the leading global house of luxury travel brands across Australia and NZ. Our hand-selected members have built their brands and reputations by elevating travel to the highest standard imaginable, consistently placing discerning clients at the core of their business strategy,” Galloway said.

Ahoy! LTC Soirée delegates transfer from Hamilton Island to Hayman

“This incredibly strong member cohort is now the backbone of Australia and NZ’s luxury travel industry. Our role at LTC is to create the opportunity to deliver unbreakable bonds between every business owner and leader and provide professional insight and support that will drive further growth in each business.” 

“We are incredibly passionate about the strength of the partnerships we are establishing as we build this incomparable house of luxury travel products, unparalleled experiences and services,” Galloway concluded.

The LTC invite-only member portfolio of independent luxury leisure travel specialists currently includes the Travel Associates network in Australia and New Zealand, Scott Dunn in the UK, Home Travel Company, Emma Whiting Travel & Cruise, Bicton Travel, Claremont Travel & Cruise, Ramsgate Travel Service, Destination HQ, Travel Experts, and Dream Maker Travel.

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