The crew at Channel 4 FM in Dubai responded when the marketing team thought it might be fun to do a live 5-10 minute broadcast segment from the Ambassador’s Lagoon outside the iconic Atlantis the Palm Resort, more or less as a publicity stunt to promote this exotic location. We’re not talking poolside, mind you, but broadcasting from within the pool – an underwater broadcast from a pool that hosts a variety of sea life!
This might have been interesting enough, though such an aquatic broadcast had been done before, but the plan soon evolved into something more when Station Producer Lucas Poole (ironic, right?) suggested that Stu Tolan, host of the Celebrate Mornings breakfast show, attempt to break the record for longest underwater broadcast.
Mobile Rack featuring Telos Z/IP ONE used for underwater broadcastChannel 4 learned that this would mean staying on air and underwater for nearly five hours – no small amount of time to broadcast live while wearing scuba gear! The team was up for it, and preparations began to break the record. But would the tech hold up for such a stunt? Channel 4 IT and Broadcast Manager Muhammed Rafeeque says there were a number of challenges, and the engineering team initially didn’t feel prepared for the record-breaking broadcast.
“We were informed that one of the requirements to set the record was that the broadcast crew could not disconnect from the studio for more than two minutes, so we would need to ensure a stable link from the site of the broadcast to the main broadcast studio at all times,” Muhammed explains. In addition, the broadcast hosts would need to remain in communication with a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records, outside the pool, at all times. Muhammed continues, “These requirements presented some challenges for the technical crew to ensure these lines of communication would remain stable throughout the broadcast, and that any delays in communications or getting callers on the air would be minimal.”
Complicating things further, the resort could not provide a stable internet connection because it is reserved for guests, so the only access would be via cables. As such, a good bit of equipment would need to be hauled to the broadcast site so everything would be at the ready.
As a solution, Muhammed says the team used a router, which connected to a Telos Z/IP ONE, and then to the main broadcast studio. The studio features 100% Livewire infrastructure, so getting the audio feed into the studio would be easy using the Z/IP ONE, especially with sufficient backups. Muhammed assigned two Z/IP ONEs to the studio, so if one failed, the second one would take over and the broadcast could remain live. “For this broadcast it was all about convenience, quality, and low latency,” he points out.
“For this broadcast it was all about convenience, quality, and low latency.”
—Muhammed Rafeeque, IT and Broadcast Manager, Channel 4 FM
All the coordination paid off, and on May 13th, Stu and the Channel 4 Celebrate Mornings went live from underwater! Everything went smoothly, and presenters Saif, Vicky, Helen, and Kolter, Program Director Tom Ferguson, and news reporters on hand to interview the team, joined Stu underwater at various intervals during the show, while co-presenter Eve presented poolside.
With the help of the engineering staff—Ramesh, Chandana, Chaminda, Ibrahim, Mannan, and Shahid Kazmi—and the marketing team of CEO / Group Program Director and AlMurad Group CBO Talal Murad, and assistants Neeil and Yogesh, the broadcast came off without a hitch.
In the end, the record was not only broken, but shattered, as the broadcast went well beyond the five hour mark, giving future underwater broadcast hopefuls a high bar to shoot for. Check out the video highlights and the photo album.
Mr. Abdullah Murad, Chairman Al Murad group, parent company to Channel 4, phoned Stu to congratulate him once the record was officially broken, and the Guinness Book of World Records representative on hand certified the record presented Stu with the honor at the end of the broadcast.
It certainly wasn’t your everyday broadcast, but at a place like Atlantis the Palm, “A World Away from the Everyday” is the norm. The Telos Alliance is proud to have played a small part in this unique event, and help the Channel 4 team achieve a slice of radio broadcast history. For the Silo, Dave Sarkies.
With the global luxury market collectively growing at 4 percent to an estimated $1.15USD (€1.08) trillion in 2016, according to a recent “Bain & Company Luxury Study,” coupled with optimistic forecasts that the luxury goods market will pick up this year, the hospitality industry is gearing up for elevated demand among both leisure and business travelers. This amid evidence that, despite widespread geopolitical uncertainties, luxury consumers are redirecting their spending toward new and more personalized high-end experiences like luxury travel, food and wine.
“The luxury market has reached a maturation point,” said Claudia D’Arpizio, lead author of the study. “Brands can no longer rely on low-hanging fruit. Instead, they really need to implement differentiating strategies to succeed going forward. We are already starting to see clear polarization when it comes to performance with winners and losers emerging across product categories and segments.”
D’Arpizio also underscored that personal luxury market brands that “take an omni-channel, customer-centric approach will rise to the top.” Such is the prevailing wisdom for both the B2C and B2B luxury travel sector, specifically, with personalized experiences, quality of service and private booking options serving as primary distinguishing factors for luxe brand positioning throughout 2017 and beyond.
Here how these key drivers will converge with evolving luxury travel trends to greatly influence various vertical sectors—and, in doing so, the marketplace at large—in the months ahead:
1. Small group cultural immersions loom large.
Travelers are increasingly seeking exclusive and regionally-authentic itineraries that cater to small groups. Tour companies like Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based Gate 1 Travel are capitalizing on this trend with offerings that provide the convenience of an escorted tour with the intimate view of local cultures that large groups just can’t provide. “Our small group tours option has seen, by far, the most significant increase in booking volume–up 50% in 2016,” the company reports.
A City Lodge Hotel Group report concurs that the trend of being “connoisseurs of local culture” will boom this year. It emphasizes that indigenous tourism experiences and cultural immersion will remain a big factor whether traveling within your own home country or jaunting to faraway lands. “We’ll see more people wanting to visit more than the big landmarks and monuments of their destination,” it says. “Rather people are more likely to be interested in knowing about the locals–those that call that place home. Trips to the rural communities will become popular, and travelers are likely to be more interested in private guides that teach them about the traditional ways of life.”
2. Private villa travel surpassing leading luxe resorts.
Today’s breed of private villa rentals have become the ultimate in luxury travel lodging for vacationers and business travelers, alike. This is due to the vast array of benefits and creature comforts it proffers for couples, families and small groups. While maximized privacy and security, uber-tailored guest service and 5-star accommodations and amenities are chief reasons the trend toward private villa lodging is exploding, an elite few have offerings far beyond that don’t just rival, but far exceed, those offered by high-end resorts, including their elite Penthouse suit options.
According to luxury travel agent Sandy Webb who books elite vacations all over the world “private villa residences offering first class, one-of-a-kind services are ushering in an entirely new era of bespoke hospitality around the globe. They are, in fact, single handedly setting a new and decidedly elevated standard for luxe travel worldwide.”
One private villa exemplifying this new standard is Casa Dos Cisnes–Puerto Vallarta’s foremost premier private oceanfront villa vacation experience. This 10,000 square foot Casa Dos Cisnes property, a five-bedroom colonial style home with breathtaking views of the Pacific that can accommodate up to 10 adults, goes well over-and-above to ensure each guest’s needs, desires, hopes and expectations for an extraordinary private villa vacation are fulfilled.
According to owner Cathryn Arnell, this includes proffering a bevy of premium benefits, including an authentic and stylishly-appointed residential setting, custom-prepared gourmet meals from an on-site private chef, 24/7 bilingual butler service and multiple staff, monitored security, housecleaning services, private infinity-edge ocean view pool, fully equipped state-of-the-art gym, large media-entertainment room, concierge and spa service, musicians for hire, sports and boating excursions, VIP treatment at the city’s leading beach club and most renowned restaurants, and more. “Given that guests enjoy complete privacy and security in the most exclusive area in Puerto Vallarta, commandeering the entire 10,000 square foot space with all of the relaxation, solitude and discretion that affords, the result is a one-of-a-kind holiday providing an unparalleled culinary and luxury living experience.”
3. Higher caliber private jet jaunts.
According to Sergey Petrossov, founder and CEO of JetSmarter—an industry-leading private jet company based in Dubai, people are increasingly growing accustomed to personalized experiences, so much so, that it isn’t a demand anymore; it is now an expectation that needs to be met.
In order for brands to be memorable, they need to remember their customers and offer unique customized experiences. For its part, this JetSmarter achieves by placing a heavy emphasis on member relationships, with each assigned a relationship manager who is responsible for creating personalized and customizable private travel experiences.
JetSmarter also cites that there’s a very thin line between high-end and luxury, with the difference barely noticeable. “The travel industry is inundated with both high-end and luxury brands, however the distinction is relatively minor,” Petrossov said. “People often confuse high-end brands for luxury ones. Luxury brands essentially need to heighten their levels of service to be able to distinguish themselves from their high-end counterparts.”
4. Next-gen travel tech eases and expedites.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another tech trend that will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. According to Advito’s 2017 Industry Forecast, AI has already enabled a range of apps, bots and software that makes it easier for industry purveyors to interact with travelers at every step of a trip to expedite, ease and enhance. AI automates computer processes to work in the same way as the human brain. Natural language processing (NLP) helps computers understand human speech or typing, and AI then applies machine learning to provide a useful response.
Advito reveals that the travel industry is “well-positioned to embrace AI,” and also that the wider travel industry is adopting AI as, for example, KLM passengers are now able to use Facebook Messenger to confirm bookings, get boarding passes and flight status updates. “AI is still in its infancy, but it is in our immediate future,” the report asserts. “As it develops, it will help simplify complex travel decisions, shorten the buying process and deliver a more personalized offering.”
5. Game changing smart suitcases solve perennial problems.
Travel is tough enough in the best of circumstances and is all-too-often replete with challenges. From crowded freeways, overbooked flights, Wi-Fi downtime and generally not having necessary items at hand, getting from point A to point B can be fraught with more than its fair share of frustrations. Not surprisingly, technologists have responded with problem-solving gadgets and gear that exemplify tremendous innovation and ingenuity both in concept and execution. One glowing example of this is the Bluesmart Suitcase. Billed as “the world’s first smart suitcase,” this carry-on keeps traveler’s belongings tracked, devices charged, bag secure and trips hassle-free thanks to integrated technology that syncs to an associated mobile app that’s compatible with both iPhone and Android.
The suitcase features a built-in battery/charger with 2 USB ports. The substantial 10.000 mAh battery can charge your phone up to six times, juicing up this and any other USB-connectable device from the USB port on the back or the inside. The bag also boasts a 3G+GPS tracker with global coverage to track the suitcase anywhere in the world; a scale built right into the handle that interfaces with the app to tell you the approximate weight of your suitcase; and a remote digital lock that can be set up to lock itself when you step away and to unlock when you return. The TSA- approved smart lock provides distance alerts, notifying you if you leave it behind. Of course, the bag needs to carry you belongings, so the main compartment does provide large space for clothes, shoes, and coats, while a secondary TSA-friendly compartment is able to accommodate up to a 15″ laptop.
Despite the fact that luxury sales fell flat in 2016 as consumers shunned traditional products, it’s experiences—namely travel and entertainment—that are predicted to drive sector sales growth up ahead. “There is a progressive shift from physical products to experiences, especially in the last year,” Federica Levato, partner at Bain & Company and co-author of the study, told Reuters, predicting that trend would continue. With the world economy poised to regain momentum this year and the penchant among wealthy consumers to spend on travel and gourmet food and wine rather than clothes and accessories, the future is bright for high-end hospitality. For the Silo, Merilee Kern.
About the author: Branding, business and entrepreneurship success pundit, Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and lauded communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered consumer product trends expert and travel industry voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.
Spotlight image- centraljetcharter.com
Although we live in the richest and most advanced society the world has ever known, many of us say we need more money in order to be happy, notes best-selling business book author Doug Vermeeren.
“Even some of those in the top percentile of earners often feel like they don’t have enough money,” says Vermeeren, (www.DouglasVermeeren.com), an international speaker who consults with celebrities, business executives and professional athletes.
“The math is simple: More money does not equal more happiness. It’s our attitude toward money, not the amount, that influences our happiness the most.”
Happiness researchers Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton, professors at the Harvard Business School, recently published research indicating that it’s not money that makes people happy, nor the things people buy with it. Rather, it’s the experiences one has that ultimately account for happiness.
“How you experience your money on a day-to-day basis is what matters,” Vermeeren says. “If the software running in your brain is constantly reinforcing the message, ‘it’s not enough,’ then that is likely how you will see yourself and experience your life – as ‘not enough.’ ”
The world’s richest city- is it Tokyo or Dubai? The top ranking seems up for grabs and changes from year to year.
Vermeeren reviews the three fallacies of abundance as it relates to happiness:
• We are all entitled to a certain amount of wealth: The feeling that we deserve or are owed a certain amount of wealth will always make us unhappy with whatever we have. While we are entitled to certain human rights, those do not include a winning lottery ticket. In reality, we are not owed any amount of abundance and, in fact, should count ourselves lucky if we’re able to meet our basic needs; many in the world are not. More of us, however, would be happier simply appreciating what we have.
• The result of our labors is money: Money is a means to an end, not an end in itself. This can be a challenge to keep in mind since so much of our lives are spent in the pursuit of money. We work and go to school to support ourselves and our families. We see things we want, and we know we need more money for them. Study after study shows, however, that what really makes us happy is what we do and who we do it with, and not how much money we spend.
• We’ll be happiest when we finally reach our goal: We are happiest when we are progressing toward a goal. When we lose sight of our goal, veer off the path toward our goal, and even achieve our goal, we’re less happy. Rather than setting one goal and deciding you will be happy when you meet it, you’ll be most happy if you continually set goals and relish your journey toward them.
Doug Vermeeren is an internationally renowned public speaker, author, movie producer and director. His life coaching strategies help those from all walks of life, with clients including business executives, celebrities, professional athletes and more. Throughout the last decade, Vermeeren has conducted extensive first hand research into the lives of more than 400 of the world’s top contemporary achievers, making him a sought-after commentator on news outlets including ABC, FOX, CNN and more. He has written three titles contributing to Guerilla Marketing, the best-selling business series in publishing, which is included reading in the Harvard Business School.
His documentaries include the award-winning film, The Opus, which has been published by Random House as a book in 23 countries. Vermeeren’s latest film, The Gratitude Experiment http://youtu.be/yImx_xMys60 , has received critical acclaim. GG