Cannes ILTM conference Dec 2010
We arrived Canned Dec 5 after long flights and connections from Tampa to JFK to Paris CDG and finally to Nice. All flights were on time despite weather problems in Europe two days ago. In CDG we had short connection and as always, it was a mess. Walking from one terminal to another and trying to get into long line security. There were people trying to get into two flights departing in 20-30 minutes. Tried to explain it to the security guy in line. French passengers joined to translate. Se curity guy did not have any authority to get us in front of the line but he talked to supervisor and within few minutes someone with more authority emerged with said in French flight 9:15 and 9:30 follow me. Someone translated for us and we rushed to follow. So they opened separate security counter just for people on these flights departing soon. Makes sense, very efficient. Not too much groping occurred as in US airports.
So far I was going through all customs without extra check. Same here. Went to the gate and to the plane so this was fast. Plane had enough empty seats so I got 3 to myself and caught up 1 hr on my sleep. On arrival Nice, ILTM people were waiting for arrivals and transfers. There was option of van transfer and helicopter. We opted for helicopter. I met my friend Lilian from NY but she went on van transfer. Later she told me it took 15 minutes. But in summer and other seasons it might take about 1 hr with traffic. I booked helicopter transfers before for my clients and now it was good to experience it and I got their business card and information. Flight took 10 minutes plus going through flight security check and taking car to and from helicopter field (included). Going through security, it was beeping all the time and they had to check me all over. That was ironically first time checked in, in all airports it was fast for me. I thought briefly that taking van would get me faster but it was worth the experience. It was very picturesque flight, even though the weather was cloudy.
I forgot to mention important part that our luggage did not arrive! I suspected it that it might be the case with short connection. We went to Air France luggage counter and filled paperwork. The agent assured me that luggage has been located and will be delivered to hotel today or tomorrow. We had 2 suitcases checked in. Usually I travel with one carryon but her on trade show I will have a lots of materials to bring back. Anyway not a big deal, minor annoyance and they issued a DL skymiles kit with necessities and one t-shirt and said if we need to buy something, it is covered under 100 eur per person. Not bad.
The helicopter took two us and another 2 people and our luggage (actually sans luggage since we only had carryons – other people on our flight did not have luggage too). The rest of conference arrival people already left.
We saw beautiful Riviera shoreline, yachts, beautiful houses and small islands and peninsulas of Cannes . On arrival, the van took us to hotel Palais Stephanie on Croisette seafront. It as Hilton years ago, then it was Sofitel , now independent hotel Palais Stephanie and in January it will be managed by Marriott. The lobby is nice modern decorated with pastel colors, contemporary furnishings. Many large paintings from film festival – stars – photos in black and white. We got a large Jr suite with bedroom, living room and 2 bathrooms. Very nice but too big for me. I kept looking for my things in different rooms. Good for families since it sleeps 4 people. Lots of closet spaces and 2 tvs, 2 safes, etc..
Monday Dec 6. Today is arrival day. We registered at the welcome desk at hotel and went for some shopping to compensate missing items. It was quite cold for us Floridians. The less expensive shops are located on Rue Antibes... Got cashmere sweater and hat at reasonable price. Went to waterfront, old town (Suquet). Nice views. There is restaurant Gavroche every time I take my photo in front of it when I go there, very pictureseque. We went to antiquemarket which takes place in old town every Monday. Interesting to browse. Got lunch at reasonable price in old town.
Back to hotel. Luggage arrived!
I went to next door hotel Carlton and using trheir free wi-fi in lobby with afternoon tea :-) . Really nice hotel, reminds me Peninsula. Beaituful architecture outside, Belle Epoque.
Evening we attended opening session at Film Festival Palace. First there was presentation by magazine Economist about world status and how it effects world travel. Unlike US luxury trade shows, this one is worldwide and caters to different suppliers and markets. For example, Miami convention and visitors bureau and other US suppliers were after Asian, South American Markets. So it was different perspective. The presenter said that emerging world affluent travelers are now Chinese, Brazilian and Russians. Then it was panel about how demands of luxury (again, worldwide) travelers has been changed. The discussion was moderated by Conde Nast traveler editor in chief and panelist were representative of BA, Ritz Carlton , and few travel agencies (Altour from USA, Black Tomato from Australia, Perez tours from Brasil, and Valerie Wilson travel from USA.). That was somewhat boring because most of them used regular corporate schpiel , nothing new. Then was another discussion with panelists from Emmar resorts, private jet charter Premiar CEO, Ted Teng – president of LHW, CEO of Virtuoso, and Chairman of Silversea cruises. Then it was question part. Some of the attendants including me were upset at luxury hotels charging travelers for internet. Really, for 1000 euro and up, they could have added internet into rates.
Afterwards was award presentation and one-to-one interview with International hotelier and tourism magnate Sol Kerzner from South Africa. He said he is 75 and not planning to retire. Interesting individual.
We went with Lilian and went for dinner. The food was very good and we talked to some ILTM attendees . It seems the convention took over the town. Otherwise not toom many tourists in Cannes.
Tuesday December 7. Started trade show appointments. We split evenly with Michael 60 appointments each and I took Europe and he took region his is familiar with – Africa and regions we want to expand – India, Indian Ocean and more Asia. I overslept and ran without breakfast to my first appointment .
This is the best supplier representation I ever had. I met some companies which I never though about services. For example, a company from Italy brought Rolls Royces and Ferraris into the show. What they do is provide travelers with experience of driving Ferrari in Italy (or any other luxury vehicle). There are traditional choices of being driven or driver yourself. However if some travelers do not want to navigate in infamiliar areas and do not want to bother of filling car with gas, etc… they provide 2 cars – one is Ferrari with a guide /driver wgho is leading the driving. Another car is with client who is following the guide. So you travel in two cars. They clean car for you overnight, fill in with gas, take care of parking , sightsee with client and take care of needs. Therefore you have a private tour and you drive Ferrari! Interesting concept.
I also got interesting contacts which I never thought about – Russian speaking tour operators in UK who serve Russians. I said my clientele is American and they said would be delighted working with me – either luxury or budget clients. Their prices were reasonable and seemed we understood each other.
I visited Russian 5* hotels and they were interested to host my travel agent group in 2011 for fam trip.
I also ventured out of comfort destination zone and had meetings with Seychelles Destination company and they said would be happy to host me to get familiar with destination. It is about 4 hr flight from Middle East with connection in Dubai on Emirates air. Michael got good suppliers in South Africa who said can arrange anything from safari to wine experience and meetings at the homes of local artists.
My former supplier friends from France “Atout France” had a big area and I visited some old suppliers, hotels, and they introduced me to new ones. I also got a new destination management company in Paris who can do most of France destination including Jewish clients and the rep was delightful young Russian woman who said will personally handle my requests.
Other hotel chains were well represent (LHW, SLH, Exclusive hotels, Starwood, Ritz Carlton). I got some conversations about securing FIT preferred wholesalers rates. I visited hotel Burdigala in Bordeaux where I already booked some clients and to my delight, it is a privately owned hotel and owner wants to work with me direct rather than through impersonal hotel wholesale systems. She introduced me to local wine tour operator so Bordeaux is better covered now! I have clients waiting for quote at home.
We had one hour session on Tourism Barcelona with tasty tapas.
In Spanish area, I got info from Paradores and few other Spanish Hotels.
In Italy, I met with representatives of young company in Tuscany who provides villas and unique experience in Florence and Tuscany, including Jewish Heritage tours, cooking classes, private art showing (for example, rent a museum), etc.. Very enthusiastic young people who can make anything happen in Florence and area. Including trips for cruise passengers.
I took well deserved break in the VIP buyers lounge where they had snacks and internet. I talked to a lady next to me and we really hit off. She took my Jewish ageny card and was asking how what exactly do I do for Jewish travelers .
I finished my appointments by 4pm , checked my emails, got few more contacts from other suppliers and went to hotel to refresh before 2 receptions.
One reception was at our hotel Palais Stephanie in Royal suite. I inspected it night before so we stayed on terrace talking to people. We’ve met a young fellow UK citizen living in Dubai who is working for a magazine I am not familiar with – travel magazine in Middle East which distributed in lounges of business/first class passengers . He told us about experience of living in Dubai and their strange restrictions – you cannot live with a person are not married to. The police checks randomly. He also said unmarried bachelors are not allowed to live together. You can go to jail for breaking law or being deported. Strange attractions like skiing in Dubai, restrictions on drinking… The most which affected me was that Jews are not welcomed there and if you have Israeli stamp in your passport you will not be permitted. So that will influence me on what airline/city I will connect to fly to Asia through middle East – NO DUBAI AND Emirates airlines for me! Thank you very much! I do not assume there synagogues anyway and no Jewish history unlike let’s say Egypt and Morocco. So Dubai is scratched from my list .. Michael is meeting with Dubai people – show appointment and he’s been delegated to relay my statement to their tourism reps.
Later or we went to hotel Martinez party which had Indian theme. The food was cocktail appetizers, a lot’s of it – incredible variety and very tasteful. They had different rooms for different food . Besides Indian food, there was also area with raw oysters and seafood and separate dessert area. One had that tasty fruit selection (yum) and chocolate fountain (tacky!). Separate miniature desserts, crepe suzette section. As for drinks, besides regular alcohol and soft drinks, there was a separate station with various fresh squeezed juices. I enjoyed looking at well dressed people and we concluded that leather pants look well on European women but not on American. And , why French and Italian women do not get fat? They seem to eat a lot’s of food. Also, I noticed that Russian women are very beautiful and well dressed and I guess they select them carefully for such PR work. Probably no equal opportunity there anymore…
Thursday Dec 9.
Last day at tradeshow. Now I am navigating better. Had productive meeting with 5* Hyatt Churchill in London rep who knows Jewish Travelers. We can book them still with my favorite UK supplier, ASA and he said works with them as well. They understand Jewish traveler and can provide kosher food. Hotel has kosher kitchen. They have unfortunately electric key BUT have guest relations who will work with me on clients schedule to help them to come out and in and open doors for them. They will also will attempt their best to put them in lower floors on shabbat. Hotel is with wlaking distance to Marble Arch synagogue.
I had very good meeting with a very well establisher 30 years Greek tour operator and we were talking on hosting my travel agent group with 3 days cruise for next year. They also do Jewish Heritage tours.
Talked to more Russians re: their hotels for ma Russia agents trip. Corinthia hotel is fully renovated. There was a new cruise line, Volga cruises. Something different from Viking and UNoworld (same old names). Will check them out.
We had a warm reception at stand of hotel Gamirasu in Cappadochia where we stayed last April. It is always nice to meet old friends. World is getting closer..
Tonight visiting Lilian at her hotel Martinez and looking at rooms. Afternoon dinner with her and some friends at some restaurant (forgot name).