Having just closed its 36th edition, the World Travel Market 2015 held in London last week once again magnificently showcased and portrayed everything that’s great about the hospitality industry and the travel world.
The Holiday Place was there again to be part of it all and take the opportunity to solidify our already strong relationships with some of our key partners, meet some potential new ones and generally engage with the travel industry while discovering all about the latest developments, the most up-and-coming destinations and what 2016 has in store for travellers and holidaymakers venturing out into this increasingly small, yet incredibly diverse planet.
The Holiday Place was busier than ever during this year’s WTM edition with many of our travel experts across all of our departments (Product, Marketing, Web, Reservations… you name it) attending the most globally famous (and big) of travel fairs to hold special meetings, attend seminars, gather brochures, CDs and all forms of visual paraphernalia in order to accumulate valuable information on what each of the destinations in this year’s edition had to offer for the coming 2016 holiday season.
I for one, in-between shooting sessions (which were more limited than last year as we had a longer list of participants this time) took every opportunity to stop and look at some stands in detail, stuff as many leaflets and booklets as I could in my bag, enjoy some of the tasting options on offer (digging into some local delicacies like Vietnamese snacks, South Korean teas, Japanese fortune cookies and Middle Eastern sweets – I was actually quite disappointed that the Ecuador stand didn’t have any chocolates like last year) and generally absorb the individual personality and unique attractions of each destination I stumbled upon.
In my case, I was back again with our filming team from Axxon Media and our expert in-house photographer, Jana Crowne, to document and capture the essence of WTM 2015 and create yet another promotional video, similar to the one we did last year, but even better (if I do say so myself).
Filming at WTM 2015 – bigger, brighter, better
This year the list of interviewees and partners agreeing to feature on our video grew to nearly twice as long, which makes it essential at this point that I extend our warmest Thank You to each and everyone of those who participated and generously contributed to creating our most special WTM film yet.
Last year we had 10 exceptional speakers giving us the down-low on all the latest developments across their brands and destinations as well as giving unique insight into their experience working with The Holiday Place. This year we’ve managed to nearly double that number with a total of 18 partners giving us some of their time to talk about their relationship with us and let us know about what’s coming up for their hotels and resort properties in 2016 and what new ventures or developments are in the pipeline for their different destinations.
Who we spoke to this year and what’s in store for 2016
Our first speaker of the day was Suzy Trott, Commercial Director at AMG Ltd who candidly let us into the world of the resorts they manage, like the ultra-luxurious and exclusive Calabash Cove in St Lucia or the Grand Lucayan in spectacular Bahamas. But that’s not all, her company is also responsible for representing the Nassau Paradise Island Tourist Board and Tobago Tourist Board, so this lady had plenty to say about some of our most amazing Caribbean destinations and resort properties.
We then had the lovely Lauren McKeever, Account Director UK & Europe at Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa in St Lucia, who briefed us about her property and told us all about their upcoming plans and predicted trends.
Up next, was Sales Manager at Elegant Hotels, Vicky Adderley who extensively talked to us about all the exciting additions across the different properties she represents and gave us a good overview of all that’s new, hot and happening at these beautiful beachside retreats, reflecting on each one with its their unique personality and character with something for everyone, from families to couples and groups.
Representing a deluxe collection of exclusive properties in Mauritius, Amy Wojdygowski, Sales & Marketing Executive at Veranda Resorts talked to us about their long partnership with The Holiday Place, and all that was great and exciting about the world of Veranda and their different properties.
Next and representing one of our strongest-growing airline partners was Colin Stewart, Director UK & Ireland at Air Europa. He spoke highly of The Holiday Place’s relationship with the Spain-based carrier and let us in some of their latest plans for expansion in 2016.
From Palace Resorts, Senior Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing, Juan Carlos Seminario took the time to enlighten us about their beautiful properties in Mexico’s most spectacular coastal regions and reinforced the level of excellence their brand stood for.
Gustavo Candelario, Assistant Director for the Dominican Republic Tourist Board cleared some space out of his busy schedule to talk to us about one of our biggest destinations and what new developments Dom Rep had in store for the coming year.
Meanwhile, Colin Pegler, Managing Director at Resort Marketing International (the company managing Elite Island Resorts in the Caribbean and whom we recently had a special Bond-tastic evening with) was there to speak about his company’s projects and development for the near-future and beyond.
Making a truly outstanding effort (deserving of a standing ovation) was Sarah Jackson from Anahita The Resort in Mauritius. She had lost most of her voice – by the fifth day of chatting away at WTM and holding endless meetings- but she still soldiered on and put on a brave face for the camera, straining her already overworked chords to speak about her beautiful property and what new developments had been recently carried out.
From Sita in India, one of our latest and strongest partners over the last two years or so, General UK Manager, Narendra Singh Rathore took to the mic to open up about Sita’s offerings in India, the many tours and ground-handling services they offered and how great it’s been for them to partner up with The Holiday Place in what has become an extremely successful bond.
Fadi A. Areish, CEO at Al-Thuraya Travel & Tours in Jordan was another of our most enthusiastic speakers, who warmly talked to us about the appeal of Jordan as an up-and-coming destination and even took the time to introduce us to their replacement of Matt Damon for the day – a guy dressed in an astronaut suit and evoking the recently screened Hollywood blockbuster, The Martian, which was filmed in Jordan.
On the Cuban side of things we had quite a selection of participants this year (Cuba is our biggest destination after all) and some of our oldest, most important partners braved the cameras (despite their initial shyness) to deliver us warm messages of support and speak about their properties.
First up we had the charming and eager, Eric Peyre from ACCOR Hotels in Cuba who kindly agreed to a last-minute impromptu appearance in front of our cameras to deliver a few words. He stopped his work on a laptop to come and say hello…so a big thanks for such display of generosity!
Likewise, Elizabeth Rivas, Contracting Maanger for UK & Europe at Melia Hotels Cuba jumped into the spotlight to talk about her company’s solid relationship with The Holiday Place while Anabel Bofill and Jorge Alberto Garcia Dominguez from Cubanacan took the opportunity to wish The Holiday Place a Happy 30th Birthday next year.
For Blau Hotels & Resorts, repeating their appearance on our WTM videos, we had a new fresh face speaking to us this year – Sales Director, Javier Vazquez, who seized the moment to talk about Blau, their offering and their relationship with The Holiday Place.
So once again, to all those who took time out of their busy agenda at WTM, an enormous Thank You from everyone at The Holiday Place.
See you again next year!