I walked through the front door of the Sydney Town Hall for my first taste of Luxperience, but it did not start out smoothly. I had arrived in Australia at 6AM after a fourteen-hour flight. It was now 7PM without a nap and I was fading fast, but the event marched forward into its second year with me bleary-eyed but enthusiastic.
I pried my eyes open and appreciated the décor and displays of gourmet food to come. It was clear that a huge amount of work was put into to the project. The conference room was full. As I sat down, I did not understand what Luxperience was and not sure I had the brainpower to figure it out. The event started anyway in the form of the “Thought Leaders program.”
The Travel Conversation Begins
Smart people and sleep deprived is a difficult combination. There were opening remarks by Helen Logas, CEO of Luxperience. Then the intelligent speeches came one after another, concept speeches, speeches about ideas. These speeches attempted to answer questions and challenge its audience. What is luxury? Is luxury about expense or experience? What are the emerging markets that the travel industry should pay attention? How to work with luxury brands and why is it important? How does China fit into all this?
Some of the speakers contradicted each other. The commentaries started to sound like gobbledygook and I felt increasing weight of my eyelids starting to close. And then the room went dark. I forced myself to stand and walk around. The worst part was that it was clear to me that Luxperience was in fact asking me to think about travel as a product worth discussing, beyond a way to earn a buck — a sentiment after my own heart. Luxperience was trying to make travel more meaningful. This was not the usual trade event with dialed in hyperbole. It asked questions that looked to the future. Dead tired or not, I was inspired.
Luxury Has Many Flavors
When all the talking was over, the night completed with Green abalone, grilled black truffle sandwiches, paper-thin duck, Russian caviar, and champagne. The travel dialogue had begun and I love that Luxperience is putting its best foot forward.
I know that for many the behind the scenes look at the travel industry is not for everyone, but the next time you take a trip, just remember some folks are working hard to make sure you have a great time and even trying to change the face of travel.