The Luxury of a Travel Agent

During SoCal ASTA’s recent luxury event, travel industry experts discussed how to create a luxury experience By: Mindy Poder
Luxury is not about money, advises Wido Schaefer (far right). // © 2013
Luxury is not about money, advises Wido Schaefer (far right). // © 2013

Luxury was the topic of conversation at SoCal ASTA’s Premium Luxury Showcase and Symposium, held at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Setting the mood was a tasting of wines from around the world — curated by the night’s sommelier Bell de Souza, vice president and COO at Mansour Travel Company and secretary of SoCal ASTA. The trade show included Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Insight Vacations, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Dorchester Collection, Sceptre Tours, Travel Impressions and more.

A series of panels followed, broadly covering the topic of luxury from the perspectives of cruise, hotel, land and travel insurance. Travel agents at the sold-out event left with many takeaways from the experts, who all agreed that luxury today is about enriching, customized experiences complemented with excellent service.

“Bling is no longer valid,” said panelist Wido Schaefer, chairman and CEO at TravelStore. “Don’t even use the term ‘luxury.’ It’s about emotion.”

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