Some travelers think of travel agents as relics. When websites make it possible to book plane tickets and hotel rooms around the world, why would anyone still use an agent? Ask someone who has booked a trip with an experienced travel advisor, however, and he or she will likely have many stories about the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that their advisor made possible—the visit to an orchard in Turkey for a truly farm-to-table meal or the early-hours access at dawn, before the crowds, to the ruins of an ancient temple. Perhaps what stands out was a custom private tour or class, tailored around their interests.
The best travel advisors are committed to their clients for the long term, and they know whether they’d be happiest in the trendy new hotel at the heart of a city or the hidden inn located in a quiet neighborhood off the beaten path. The relationships they have built over years—sometimes decades—can help assure that wherever you stay, you’ll be upgraded to the best room in the house. They also know your particular passions, and while guidebooks and websites might not steer you to a little known but fascinating museum or gallery, a good travel advisor knows the destinations he sells like his own backyard. (Travel advisors are also indispensable when something goes wrong. If you are in an airport in a remote outpost and have been told there’s no more room on the last flight of the week, you may regret having purchased your ticket through a website. An experienced advisor is available to help you out and ready to pull some strings to get you up in the air.)
If you already work with a travel advisor, you may wonder where they get all their knowledge about new hotels, restaurants, and even emerging destinations around the world. The secret of many of them is ILTM—the International Travel Luxury Market. These events which take place in some of the world’s most fascinating destinations—Cannes, Cape Town, Dubai, the Riviera Maya, São Paulo, Singapore, and Shanghai—are opportunities for new properties and leading brands to introduce themselves to top advisors. Over the three days of each event, advisors learn about unique travel experiences that would appeal to people like you, their clients.
Only the finest agents, travel planners, and trip designers in the luxury travel world are allowed to attend ILTM events. All are vetted by a dedicated team in London and then fully hosted, complete with flights and five-star accommodations, at the various events. For the leaders in the world of luxury travel, attending ILTM events is a must, if they are lucky enough to be selected.