Mud Huts and Radical Tech

Travel trends of the future

Last week, AFAR Conversations paid a visit to the Peninsula Beverly Hills to discuss future travel trends. Our New York and San Francisco teams were happy to have a reason to meet up in Southern California for the panel, moderated by Editor in Chief Julia Cosgrove. The perfect spring evening provided an opportunity for the magazine’s partners and members of the AFAR community in LA to catch up over cocktails on the hotel’s terrace.

Everyone then moved inside for a lively and often hilarious discussion on the future of travel. Scott Wiseman, the president of Cox & Kings, The Americas, drew on his previous life as a stand-up comedian while also providing many interesting—and serious—reflections on the evening’s topic. Luxury, for example, now means spending a night in a mud hut rather than the presidential suite for many affluent travelers. This personalization of luxury is one of the most fundamental changes in travel trends that Scott has seen unfold, and it’s continuing to develop. Scott also predicts that much as interest in culinary travel has increased, we will likely see similar growth in spiritual travel in the years ahead.

Luxury now means spending a night in a mud hut rather than the presidential suite

It is impossible to talk about the future of travel trends without addressing technology. Alex Wilcox, the CEO of JetSuite, spoke about tech and travel in some of its many different contexts. Having played a central role in the development of JetBlue’s seatback entertainment, Alex explained how the aviation world is finally learning to adopt new technologies. The changes for consumers will be radical, from how they book tickets (or a private jet) to their in-flight experiences.

Our third panelist, Clare Vivier, provided surprising insights into travel trends from a different perspective. As the founder of Clare V., an accessories line, she reflected on how social media was central to her success and how every company must make it a priority today. She also shared some thoughts relevant beyond the world of travel on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. There was talk—in jest, but we’re optimistic—of a Clare V. and JetSuite collaboration. It seems likely some other collaborations might also have been floated in the cocktail hour before the discussion itself.

As much as everyone enjoyed our AFAR Conversations in LA, in July the event will be returning to New York. Watch for more details on the date, topic, and panelists soon. We hope to see you there!

John Newton is a writer, editor, and translator who splits his time between Méridia, Mexico, and Brooklyn, New York.