Small Luxuries can make a big difference

Ramy Salameh reports from ILTM 2016, Cannes

The International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) descended on Cannes during early December 2016. Celebrating the theme of ‘Love, loyalty and Luxury’ the industry’s leading global forum invited key speakers to propagate the notion that love connects the world and travel is an intrinsic and intricately entwined mechanism to help spread that love.

ILTM Cannes
ILTM Cannes

The exquisite light, blue skies and sunshine that inspired the great artists of the late 19th century was the perfect backdrop and platform for the Luxury community to cogitate and ultimately do business over the best and most expensive travel experiences from across the globe.

A plethora of incredible hotels, Champagne Houses, legendary sporting museums paying homage to moments of sporting history and many other key specialists in the sector, combined to create a positive vibe on the event floor and this correlated with a number of indicators showing the continued buoyancy and appetite for ‘luxury travel’ and the diverse nature of experiences that make up the ‘Luxury’ sector.

But one chance meeting at a networking event over a glass of ‘Moet & Chandon’ got me thinking about how small luxuries and ancillary luxury products can play an important part in the traveller experience. I got talking to the MD of a specialist mattress company providing a five-star chain of hotels. The one key element all accommodation providers must get right in the pursuit of providing their clients with a perfect night’s sleep, is a comfortable bed, hence a comfortable mattress.

Even with the amount of diverse products included in a stay, that the best hotels on the planet offer nowadays, it still remains the quality of sleep that will determine a client’s perception of the hotel. This ultimately comes down to the mattress. So, I return to this pivotal yet small cog in the whole luxury travel experience and journey, as I believe the sum of the smaller parts all goes to creating the whole.

Luxury is based around exclusivity, but there are ways in which these ‘small cogs’ can impact positively on everyone’s budgetary capabilities. On my travels to get to ILTM, I had consciously used ancillary travel products, that bookended my journey in both directions with what I would class as small affordable luxury products.

A very early departure from London Victoria meant it was worth spending a little extra to board the Gatwick Express Train, whilst many would claim this not to be a luxury, I beg to differ. It is direct, quick, comfortable, quiet, clean and well maintained, with solid WIFI strength. This is undoubtedly the best way to have started my journey and I would even select it above an expensive chauffeur driven car.

Arrival at the airport is a case of getting airside as soon as possible to negate any anxiety about missing one’s flight; but yet, the terminal building is usually busy and crowded. So within my wallet is my ‘Priority Pass’, as important as my E11 health card, certainly from a feel-good and wellness perspective. Being able to elevate oneself from the melee of your fellow travellers in the terminal is priceless, yet it comes at a very affordable cost when you spread that outlay over the period of a year’s membership. ‘Priority Pass’ is just one example of utilising a luxury ancillary travel benefit, to add value to the start and end of your journey, by encouraging a sense of relaxation in a stressful environment and adds that touch of luxury to your trip.

In fact research undertaken by ‘Priority Pass’ suggested that such benefits have a real impact on your appreciation of travelling. The research also found that the whole airport experience was an area that concerned most passengers and thus investing in small luxury products was a prudent and wise investment.

This is where the regular savvy traveller can think about their own ‘cost versus benefit’ comparison to see if it weighs in favour of such travel benefits like the airport lounge access. Maybe small changes and small rewards can be the part of the luxury industry within the grasp of most.

So the next time you lie on your hotel mattress, just remember how important that cog is in the overall revolving wheel of luxury travel and what you can do to make your own little bubble of luxury the next time you travel.





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