Taking the world by virtual storm

Engaging the global community in full force, ILTM goes one step farther this year with the ILTM World Tour, an international meet-and-greet spanning three weeks. Alison Gilmore, its portfolio director, gives a teaser of the event

What was the inspiration for merging ILTM’s many events into a single World Tour? How will the new show aim to target different markets?
ILTM World Tour – access all areas will compensate for the postponed ILTM events in 2020 and provide an environment for international luxury travel brands and regional buyer communities to virtually meet to connect and build their businesses.

While we know that virtual events will never replace our love to meet and share stories in person, we know that right now, what counts the most is getting business lined up for 2021. We cannot predict the timing of when growth will come back, but we can be ready for whenever it happens.

What details can you reveal about the format and content of this event?
We have created something very different – a world tour that will take place for four hours a day, for three days over three weeks, (covering) three buyer source regions. It all starts with the sunrise in Asia Pacific; follows the sun north to Europe, Middle East and Africa; then finally crosses the Atlantic to both North and South America.

With some 2,000 participants, each event is a refined version of the annual ILTM in that region so we have given suppliers the opportunity to pick one, two or all three weeks. The ILTM World Tour is representative of the world of ILTM’s portfolio of events, so the content will reflect that. It will also be available to all participants, so they can choose when they want to watch it during the three days of each week across three weeks.

There will be content included with keynote sessions announced each day. We want them to be a surprise to those registered so I’m not going to give away too much right now.

As much of international travel is still difficult at this time, what lessons are you learning about the ILTM and luxury travel community through the past months?
2020 has been a tough year for everyone. The luxury travel industry has suffered as a result of the unprecedented events, and it has meant adapting their business strategies. With target markets shifting as some borders remain closed, we want the ILTM World Tour to open up opportunities for all participants, as well as to bring people together, uniting through shared experiences and business, whilst we plan for our return.

The ILTM World Tour is about offering all of the regions of the world – (places) where we would have had an ILTM event this year – an alternative opportunity to meet together. It doesn’t replace (attending) an ILTM in any of these countries, but we know by the response to it that the world’s luxury travel industry needed an event to happen this year, and this is the biggest we could create virtually.

But we don’t expect anyone to sit in front of a screen for hours on end. With short days and regular breaks, this is as much about self-care as it is business. It cannot replace face-to-face, but it can pave the way for a stronger 2021.

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