5 Disruptive Luxury Travel Trends Shattering The Status Quo

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.
Group Courtesy TheLuxeList.com.jpgTravelers 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.

Courtesy Casa Dos Cisnes.jpgAccording 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.
Jet Courtesy TheLuxeList.com.jpgAccording 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.
Smartphone Courtesy TheLuxeList.com.jpgArtificial 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.

Courtesy Diego Cespedes.Bluesmart.jpgTravel 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.

MAIN-RT-LO-Tight-2.jpgAbout 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

Gentlemen’s Expo Returns To Metro Toronto Convention Centre In November

Supplemental- Chivalry in Excalibur: Lancelot champions the Queen

The Gentlemen’s Expo is back! It’s the premium event for both emerging and established men’s lifestyle products, integrated consumer experiences and on-stage programming with a focus on educating and entertaining men. Returning to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building, Nov. 10-12, tickets are now on sale.

Gentlemen and gentlewomen may take notice of the #BeBetter movement kicking off this month. It’s an idea fostered by The Gentlemen’s Expo: to encourage men simply to be better men and revitalize chivalry, through gestures big and small. The campaign ties in the educational aspect of the event through which audiences gain tips and information geared toward self-improvement, as part of the overall #TGE2016 experience.

This year, The Gentlemen’s Expo is offering even more relevant and engaging content to it’s attendees and it all starts with the Culinary Programme. The event will bring top Chefs like: Chef Ted Reader, Chef Rob Rainford, Chef Tonia Williams, and more, alongside a hand-curated roster of food purveyors. True to tradition, the event will bring back a wide variety of popular cocktails and alcohol brands for attendees to pair with these food options.

Tickets to The Gentlemen’s Expo are on sale now, and start at $35, which include five sampling tokens that are good for any combination of beer, wine, spirits or food. VIP passes to the event are also going on-sale which cost $50 and include five additional sampling tokens (10 tokens in total), a complimentary gift bag, and express access in to the event. Additional tokens can be purchased on the show floor.

Headlining talent and attractions will be announced over the coming weeks and will continue leading up to November. To stay on top of the event’s on-going announcements, patrons are encouraged to join The Gentlemen’s Expo Mailing List. Tickets can be purchased at: www.gentlemensexpo.com or by contacting- mailto:marketingdirector@thesilo.ca

Facebook:The Gentlemen’s Expo

About The Gentlemen’s Expo

The Gentlemen’s Expo is an annual event that entertains and educates men and women in topics related to men’s lifestyle through brand experience areas and interesting products while encouraging men to #BeBetter. It is the re-invention of the consumer show, putting experience, content and entertainment at the forefront.

This year, The Gentlemen’s Expo 2016 is happening on November 10 to 12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building (222 Bremner Blvd). For the Silo, Davide De Laurentiis.



Portable LED Bluetooth Projector Is Game Changer- Has Short Throw Lens

BenQ America Corp., the No.1 DLP® projector brand worldwide, today introduced the Colorific™ i500, a completely new way to enjoy immersive entertainment in small spaces. A compact device that combines wireless streaming, short-throw LED projection and rich integrated audio, BenQ’s i500 instantly delivers big-screen entertainment designed for today’s modern, tech-friendly lifestyles. With access to the most popular apps, the i500 opens unlimited possibilities for thousands of movies, shows, apps, games and even live broadcast — all without cables, set-top boxes or streaming dongles.

Cute as a button right? It's only about 20cm x 9cm or 8" x 3"
Cute as a button right? It’s only about 20cm x 9cm or 8″ x 3″

“The i500 smart projector is an entertainment game-changer,” said J.Y. Hu, vice president at BenQ America Corp. “At just 3.3 pounds and 3 inches tall just about the size of today’s tablets, the i500 is a powerful and versatile device for even the tightest spaces. Simply turn on the i500 and you’re ready to stream videos and music wirelessly for the ultimate big-screen experience anywhere.”

Thanks to its short-throw lens, the i500 projects images up to 80 inches from as close as 3 feet from the wall or screen, enabling supersized movies, shows, apps and games in WXGA (1280 x 800) native resolution. Supporting a variety of streaming content, the i500’s Colorific technology features a long-life LED light source rated for 20,000 hours without lamp replacement and is capable of projecting high-definition videos with supreme clarity and sharpness. Its vertical keystone correction means the projector can be placed at an indirect angle without any distortion — perfect for placement on a coffee table. With its contemporary gold finish, it blends in seamlessly with existing décor.

On the other side of the dual-sided device users will find a pair of 5W fine-mesh-covered chambered speakers specially tuned to produce clear voices and rich sound quality without external audio connections. When the i500 is not projecting, it can double as a powerful, portable Bluetooth® speaker system.

The i500 comes out-of-box-ready and maintains its flawless performance with the latest software and streaming apps via over-the-air live updates to provide years of unlimited hassle-free entertainment. It is preloaded with popular streaming services and apps such as YouTube, Spotify, Vimeo, Netflix, Hulu and many others. Also, with available game pad and controllers, the i500 unleashes a universe of heart-pounding games including action/adventure, strategy, role-playing and even first-person shooter games.

The i500 does all of this via wireless LAN with no other connections required, and it can play video or music content from a USB stick or display Excel, Word, or PowerPoint documents without a PC. For even more convenience and versatility, the projector offers a selection of the latest inputs, including HDMI x 1, USB 2.0 x1, USB 3.0 x 1, audio I/O as well as a mic in.

The BenQ i500 is now shipping in North America at a retail price of U.S. $749.

Supplemental: Did we mention this beauty is also 3-D compatible?


Virtual Reality – The Fast Track to the Future

Occulus Rift Xray ImageThe implications of what Virtual Reality can achieve are vast, and it is predicted that VR will seep into every area of our lives in the very near future. VR is not just a concept that excites the entertainment business, but has a very real presence in some of the world’s most essential industries. However, many people remain skeptical about the impact virtual reality will actually have and suggest that it is only an attractive concept for gamers. Although it is true that VR is a fantastic way to improve online gaming, it has already been used in the medical and manufacturing industries, proving that virtual reality is not just a tool for play. Others fear VR could replace physical social interaction and they are therefore reluctant to consider the many benefits it actually presents. By taking a selection of real-life situations in which virtual reality is already used, we can assess its impact and perhaps decide whether it is to be embraced or discarded.


It may not surprise you to know that the health sector is one of the biggest users and advocates of virtual reality. VR is of exceptional benefit in surgical training, improving student skills whilst minimizing risk to potential patients. This type of training can improve confidence and allow students to explore surgical procedures and options that would otherwise be inaccessible to them during the initial stages of their training. Virtual reality is already used by surgical staff, trainee nurses, dentists, and in numerous other health settings, world wide, allowing students to quickly gain skills without putting themselves or other individuals at risk.


The authentic nature of VR allows therapists to assist patients with certain phobias. VR promotes controlled environments which can quickly be changed or eradicated during a course of therapy. For example, a person suffering from arachnophobia would perhaps find it more helpful and less daunting to experience holding a spider via VR rather than in a real life situation, and of course, a virtual reality headset can be turned off immediately should the situation require it. Other phobias and aversions could be tackled through the use of VR, including water aversion, acrophobia (fear of extreme heights) or aviophobia (fear of flying).

Occulus Rift Hot Babe VR PornEntertainment

For some people, the online world is their only connection to society and if virtual reality gaming can help them continue to connect, then this can only be perceived as a positive thing. There is no denying that virtual reality is an amazingly entertaining concept and, when done well, is an excellent way to experience online gaming. Being fully immersed in a game is a highly attractive idea: whether it be one that takes you to a battlefield, or a game that allows you to feel as if you are actually being dealt cards at a plush casino in Vegas. Currently, gamers can connect with people from all over the world, or play slots in the comfort of their own home by visiting a site such as  www.luckynuggetcasino.com yet imagine the thrill of full immersion through the power of virtual reality.

Transport and Training

Again, we touch upon the benefits virtual reality provides to many aspects of training and, in this particular situation, to the world of transport. For years the aviation industry has been using simulations to help train pilots and virtual reality is a welcome advance in such training. VR flight training presents minimal risk to both the pilot and passengers whilst allowing pilots to experience the difficulties that may arise whilst being in control of the aircraft. The most spectacular example of virtual reality based vehicle training is perhaps that used by NASA to train its astronauts. The training includes various simulations including that of an astronaut having to perform repairs during zero-gravity conditions, as well as a simulated detachment from the shuttle with the astronaut having to use a powered backpack to return. NASA has even managed to use VR in space, keeping astronauts up to date with training whilst on a mission and it has been suggested that VR will be used to entertain astronauts in space in the future. Just imagine, you could soon be sharing your virtual poker table with the astronauts of tomorrow!

Supplemental- Gamers are talking about the Oculus Rift and the Playstation VR but the HTC Vive looks pretty sweet too!

A Musical Journey for Robots and their masters~ CLICK ME
A Musical Journey for Robots and their masters~ CLICK ME

Toronto Martinis Are All About The Garnish

TORONTO, Ont. — In a quiet, backlit corner, cozied up to a bar or amid the flashing lights on the dance floor, the distinctive silhouette is striking.Ahhhh martinis.

1969's 007- George Lazenby
1969’s 007- George Lazenby

Slender where it needs to be, but flared in the right spots, the martini has an iconic image that exemplifies class and sophistication, which is perhaps why it is the drink of choice for the fictional British spy James Bond. And as the tuxedo is central to the image of 007, how you dress your martini is key to its image — a skewer of olives resting along the angle of the chilled cocktail glass, submerged in the clear mixture of vermouth and gin (or vodka, as your personal taste may dictate).

“The martini is drink for the refined, elegant individual, not unlike the fictional British spy James Bond,” says Desiree Sardo, head of communications and public relations at Sardo Foods. “Vodka or gin. Shaken or stirred. The beauty of the drink is its versatility, and that applies to the olives as well. The question that must be asked is, what’s in your martini?”

With the DVD and Blu-Ray release of the latest Bond film Spectre last week, Desiree suggests shaking up a few martinis and settling in for a James Bond marathon.

[Here’s Radiohead’s superior and unused theme song for the opening of Spectre]

For a classic martini like Bond would enjoy, pour ½ oz. vermouth and 3 oz. of gin over ice in a mixing glass. Stir well, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with several green olives (martini enthusiasts insist on a minimum of three olives) and enjoy.

Up the Martini ante with Sardo Gourmet stuffed Olives.
Up the Martini ante with Sardo Gourmet stuffed Olives.

Most people like a traditional pimento stuffed olive in their martini, but experimenting with garlic and red pepper stuffed olives, or jalapeno and red pepper, will add a little zest to your drink.

To complete the martini experience — and give you a healthy snack while watching a Bond film — pair it with an incredibly easy-to-make but classy antipasto skewer.

Start with a cured, salted meat — prosciutto is a good choice — as the base, then add on an artichoke heart, cherry tomato, a leaf of basil or mint and a bocconcini. The presentation is beautiful and the skewer makes it easy to eat while still holding your martini glass.

“Everybody has their favourite Bond actor and their favourite Bond film, but to get a true taste of the character I recommend a marathon that includes a good variety of Bond movies with a different Bond in each,” says Desiree. “Your James Bond martini and a viewing of Spectre with Daniel Craig would go well with GoldFinger starring Sean Connery, For Your Eyes Only with Roger Moore and Die Another Day with Pierce Brosnan. A martini or two with your marathon is a great way to spend a James Bond day.”

For more information, email contentproducer@thesilo.ca or visit sardofoods.ca.  Join the conversation on Instagram @sardofoods and Like on Facebook.

Toronto Martini CN Tower BackgroundAbout Sardo Foods:

Family owned and operated in Canada, Sardo Foods is world renowned for bringing all the unique flavours of the Mediterranean to your family’s table. Specializing in olives, antipasti, pesto, spreads, bruschetta and more, Sardo Foods aims to make gourmet cooking and entertaining easy. Based in Bolton, Ont., Sardo Foods employs 150 people and boasts more than 200 product lines.