IN MY PREVIOUS BUSINESSES, I went to conventions fairly often: manufacturing, automotive, finance. My memories are primarily of people trying to sell each other things. Since I started AFAR, I have avoided conventions. I figured I didn’t have to do that anymore.
But recently I found myself on a rotating dance floor, looking around at people actually enjoying themselves. At a convention.
I thought to myself, I’m so lucky to be in the travel industry.
I was at the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes, France. The attendees were primarily hoteliers and travel advisors (the term travel agent doesn’t do justice to the expertise they offer) from around the globe.
The hoteliers are some of the world’s greatest hosts. They cater to the most demanding guests’ needs and desires, ensuring that everyone’s stay goes perfectly. I have come to know many of these hoteliers personally, such as Rainy Chan, general manager of the Peninsula in Hong Kong. Rainy helped make a recent trip so much better by pointing me to a classic Hong Kong dinner at the China Club and suggesting a beautiful morning hike along the Dragon’s Back trail that culminated with pizza and wine at Black Sheep in the charming village of Shek O.
The travel advisors may have an even more difficult job. Yes, they get to put together dream trips, but they also are on call to deal with any issues that might come up, even when their clients are half a world away. Last fall, I turned to Shelby Donley, a member of the AFAR Travel Advisory Council, when some friends and I had a last-minute problem on our way home from Africa. With no notice, she was able to turn our mishap into a fun-filled weekend in Lisbon.
That is why these travel professionals get together at conventions. They build relationships to make sure that travelers stay in the places best suited to them and have the personal care and meaningful experiences we all seek when we travel.
AFAR is doing our part to help facilitate your travels, including introducing you to excellent lodgings through our AFAR Collection of hotels and resorts and to expert travel advisors through the AFAR Travel Advisory Council. And, of course, we hope to inspire you with stimulating stories and essential information on the pages of AFAR and online.
I feel fortunate to have joined this industry and to be able to play a role in making travel more rewarding and enjoyable. There are so many wonderful people who have chosen to make this their life’s work. We hope that you are connecting with them, and we are happy to help.
Cofounder & CEO
What else can AFAR do to make your travels better? Email me at email@example.com.
This appeared in the March/April 2015 issue