by Susie Ellis
Just returned from Las Vegas where I attended Virtuoso Travel Mart. Each year Sallie and I teach a Spa Specialist training class there where we help the very savvy Virtuoso travel agents understand the nuances of selling spa vacations. This is our third year of training and it is always a pleasure to be part of Virtuoso’s big annual meeting. It gives us a chance to learn about the state of travel worldwide (still quite robust) as well as what people are doing in terms of spa travel (more popular than ever). A few things stood out for me this year – professionally and personally.
1. Peter Greenberg
, Travel Editor for the Today Show
, was one of the kick-off speakers. He talked about luxury being about time and options (I agree); that staycations are bunk (I disagree); and that while there may be some changes in travel due to the economic climate, for the most part, the U.S. culture is such that it is in our DNA to travel (I agree and would take it even further). His last point was interesting.
I recall after 9/11, here in New York, that travel did seem to halt – at least for a while. However, after
the initial inertia, eventually people started traveling again. Greenberg gave the following example: People are not going to Starbucks as often these days; however it doesn’t mean they have given up drinking coffee. Rather, they have adjusted and many are now going to Dunkin Donuts. His prediction is that this same “adjustment” happens with travel…people do not stop traveling, rather they will make adjustments – such as going by rail rather than flying, or going to South America rather than Europe where it is currently so expensive, etc. It is an interesting point to ponder. If, as he suggests, it is in our DNA to travel, I wonder if it isn’t in everyone’s DNA to travel. Why just the U.S.?
2. Another speaker, Carl Honore
gave a fascinating talk (or at least the one I probably needed to hear the most). He is the author of a book called In Praise of Slowness
. Apparently it was when he found himself wanting to speed-read bedtime stories to his children, that he realized the fast track he was on was not healthy for him or his family. Gulp – I could relate.
In the past month I have flown to Mexico, to Australia (where I took flights from Hobart, to Melbourne, to the Gold Coast, and to Sydney), flew back to New York, then flew to Aspen for our Spa Experience event, then flew back to New York again and then almost immediately flew west to Las Vegas for the Travel Mart. By the third day of the event, I was not feeling well and decided to do something I rarely do. Cry “Uncle” – and head home a few days early to get well. Truth be told, I sort of collapsed and just needed to rest. I was so tired, that I ended up taking naps three to four times a day and am still catching up.
Needless to say I have ordered In Praise of Slowness for my weekend reading. By the way, it wasn’t available on my Kindle. How appropriate.
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