Condé Nast Traveler Magazine invited its annual list of specialists – of which Mollie and Jill are honored to be a part – to join them for a summit meeting at their ultra-cool corporate headquarters at One World Trade Center in New York on October 7th.
Titled “Points of View,” the day was comprised of several themed panel discussions and round table discussions on the following touch-point topics:
Aligning your travels with your values – This was all about sustainability, conservation/preservation of important resources, creative ways to offset your carbon footprint; our take away was that the best way to learn about sustainability is to travel – engage in local communities, seek knowledge and understanding and to help make a difference. Plastic water bottles are definitely taboo, and even taking little steps can help.
Jill Jergel at Condé Nast Traveler Magazine’s “Points of View” Summit.
The Shifting Roles of Hotels – Interesting trends discussed the evolution of “lifestyle hotels” and how, according to Ace Hotels’ Chief Brand Officer, Kelly Sawdon, “the lobby has become the living room of the neighborhood – an extension of the community.” We loved this! Hotels should showcase the destination in which they are located, but also not lose sight of their core value proposition: the assurance of a good night’s sleep – to which the importance of a comfy bed and great shower were spot-lighted. The definition of “hospitality” is taking care of people and that equates to great service.
Mollie Fitzgerald at Condé Nast Traveler Magazine’s “Points of View” Summit.
Why Wellness is Still the Biggest Trend in Travel – There was lively dialog about destination spas versus hotels that offer a spa or wellness component. It seems everyone is buying into the wellness space including cruises. Oceania announced a new multi-faceted “vitality” program in partnership with Aquamer for those wanting a deeper dive into fitness, nutrition and well-being regimes. A big focus was on the importance of setting realistic goals for the spa visit, and how to incorporate what you learn into your everyday routine.
The penultimate treat of the day was a “fireside conversation” (sans fireplace…) between CNT’s stylish UK-based Editor-in-Chief, Melinda Stevens, with Francis Ford Coppola, Filmmaker, Hotelier, and Visionary. Looking extremely spry at 80 years of age, Francis delighted us, and captivated the audience, with his anecdotes, insights and tender moments covering the span of his achievements. He spoke from his heart about the genesis of his first hotel project, Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize, his love of Guatemala, the jewel in his crown, Palazzo Margherita (a favorite among Frontiers’ clients) and of his future plans for Rockford, IL, New Orleans, and San Francisco. When asked what his one unfinished project is: “to film a love story…” watch this space!
The Summit was followed by the magazine’s annual “Reader’s Choice Awards,” the longest-running recognition of excellence in the travel industry. Now in its first year as one global brand, Condé Nast Traveler has combined the annual surveys in both the U.S. and UK into one Reader’s Choice List. Amazingly over 600,000 readers weighed in to cast a vote.