High-end experiential travel returns to Sydney later this year in the form of the Luxperience exhibition.
Brad Foster spoke to founder Helen Logas on the concept.
Q: Can you give readers a little background on yourself?
A: I have worked in the travel and events arena for over 20 years. Most of it involved establishing and growing my company, Travelcorp. It started as a one man operation in 1994 and was sold in 2010 with 65 staff and a $100 million turnover for close to $20 million. Travelcorp was a TMC with a dedicated events division called Eventscorp which managed accounts such as Coca Cola, ABB, and BNP Paribas to name a few.
Q: What was the impetus behind the creation of Luxperience?
A: Australia was lacking an established event company that promoted high-end experiential travel. We decided to fill the gap by establishing Luxperience. The region has developed significantly in its offering of luxury and high-end experiential product. We identified an opportunity to raise the region’s profile in the global travel market. The region has excellent product such as luxury lodges, unique tours and cultural activities that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world. We wanted to help these travel products and experiences compete with some of the more established players.
Also, the Australian market has developed into a significant source market of high net worth travellers for both established and up-and-coming tourism destinations. Australians are high spenders, long stayers and keen worldwide travellers. The MICE industry in Australia is also increasingly interested in developing bespoke itineraries for high-end incentives. Luxperience provides a great platform to source new luxury and experiential product to satisfy this growing demand.
Q: What are the dates and venue for this year’s event?
A: The event begins on Sunday, September 1 with our Thought Leaders program – a selection of inspiring business presentations. This is followed by the business exchange beginning on Monday which runs for three days. It will be held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal which overlooks Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House. It’s an ideal location to inspire high-end experiential travel.
Q: This will be the second Luxperience exhibition. What will change from the 2012 event?
A: We had a great formula in 2012. We’ve made some operational enhancements. The overall event will be close to double the size this year. We’re working with a range of new and highly enthusiastic partners such as Air New Zealand, Destination New South Wales, Sydney Town Hall, Decorative Events, The Star, along with our inaugural partners Virgin Australia, who are supporting us again in 2103. Tourism Australia is an active supporter. This year there will be even greater opportunities to write a lot of business.
Q: What was the feedback from the 2012 event?
A: Everyone loved the calibre of buyers, many of whom provided instant returns. At a survey conducted at the end of January 2013 around $20 million of new business had been written. This was highly successful for a first year. The location of the venue and the overall intimacy of the event were also hits. At the end of the inaugural show, surveys showed 100 per cent of buyers and 95 per cent of exhibitors were satisfied at Luxperience. Further:
94 per cent of buyers and 85 per cent of exhibitors said they were likely to attend Luxperience in 2013.
96 per cent of buyers and 90 per cent of exhibitors said they would recommend Luxperience to colleagues.
Q: Can you give a few examples of confirmed exhibitors for 2013?
A: Luxury Lodges of Australia, Blanket Bay in NZ, Kauri Cliffs, Berkeley River Lodge, Coco Collection Maldives, Great Walks of Australia, Mountain Landing NZ, Taj Resorts and Palaces, Viceroy Hotels Dubai, Tourism Fiji, and a suite of their experiential products, Trails of Indochina, the principality of Monaco… The list is long and growing quickly. We also have special venues exhibiting this year, such as the Sydney Town Hall, as well as catering companies.
Q: How does Luxperience differ from other travel-related exhibitions?
A: Only targeted and highly qualified exhibitors and buyers focused on the luxury and experiential travel industry are invited to attend Luxperience. We focus not only on leisure travel specialists but also corporate travel specialists who are looking for unique high-end meeting and incentive ideas. Our exhibitors are from around the world not just Australia. The range of networking events open to both buyers and exhibitor delegates takes place over the three days of Luxperience 2013 and allows for a larger number of business connections.
We are running exclusive famil programs in Australia and New Zealand with the support of our airline partners Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand. These allow buyers to experience the luxury products in this part of the world. In future years we hope to expand these opportunities to other areas in the Australasia and Pacific region.
Q: Who should attend and why?
A: Products wishing to have an impact and develop relationships in the high-end experiential market should definitely have a presence at Luxperience. We are targeting and attracting new and innovative buyers. Many exhibitors simply won’t have met them before. Meeting planners and incentive operators looking for new and unique ideas for exclusive itineraries should also attend.
Q: Would you like to make any further comment?
A: The travel and MICE industries in Australia have really put their support behind Luxperience this year. They have echoed our confidence in the region’s capacity to compete professionally with luxury products and destinations around the world. m