In exactly five words, how would you describe what you do to someone you’re meeting for the first time?
Ambassador of exceptional travel journeys.
How would you define luxury travel today?
We have seen the change in quality over quantity, ensuring the time spent, effort, and money are well worth it and translated into travel experiences and the memories forged along the way. It is no longer the case of adding many countries to your list and ticking off “where I travelled on the world map” but rather more of a laser focus on how these experiences will enrich the traveller’s knowledge and fulfil their thirst for deep discovery.
How does Heavens Portfolio integrate sustainability practices and responsible travel initiatives into its services?
It is indeed at the forefront of our industry, and no one can ignore it. As a service provider, we support our hotel clients in sharing their best practices and explaining to all actors in the market how important these sustainability modalities are for perennial tourism.
The duty goes beyond newsletters and other nicely designed EDM. At Heavens Portfolio we understood very quickly that supporting foundations that have such practices in mind and educating and informing the next generation about such practices are not left behind. That’s why, amid the pandemic, our main focus remained on conservation and education. We actively backed six foundations in Asia and built up campaigns for them to ensure their words and efforts would also be recognised by our community.
What emerging trends do you see shaping the future of luxury travel?
Converting the time and money spent travelling so that it can bring value not just for the travellers but also the community they visit. In our strategic planning, we prioritise end-consumer events to help them understand our brand’s true proposition. These events take various forms, such as bringing specialists to share knowledge and experiences, or hosting wellness-driven events with experts in ageing and healthy living recommendations.
We’re also seeking properties in off-the-beaten-track locations, reflecting the growing interest among luxury travelers in exploring authentic and remote areas rather than just city hubs.
Are there any unique or quirky travel trends you’ve noticed recently that you find fascinating or unexpected?
Travellers are increasingly embracing a new way of travelling. Forget cruising and think expeditions, solo adventures, relishing authentic cuisine, and embarking on off-the-beaten-track journeys. Travel with a lighter footprint, discover new wines, and indulge in glamping experiences off the grid.
The allure of train travel is also making a comeback, offering romantic overnight sleeper services. At the same time, we witness a rise in automated bookings, unsurprisingly reflecting our growing reliance on technology. Automated bookings are predicted to be one of the major travel trends for 2024.
Medical Tourism and Wellness Travel are also growing segments in Asia, with popular destinations like Thailand, Singapore, and India offering medical procedures such as cosmetic surgery, dental work, and fertility treatments alongside wellness activities like cleansing therapies.
Music can be a great companion during travel. If Heavens Portfolio had a curated “wanderlust playlist,” what five songs or artists do you think would be on it?
A bit cliché, but What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong would be at the top of the list, followed by a tie between Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars and Speed of Sound. The third would be Robin Shulz’s Wave. I would then play some One Republic (I Ain’t Worried or Counting Stars) and finally, Just Like Heaven by The Cure!
When you look at the state of the world today, what is the one thing that gives you hope?
The younger generation and the way they see the world give me a lot of hope. Looking at my 10-year-old and what she has already identified as being most important in our travels is comforting. It really shows her mind is already thinking about combining new technology, platforms, and tools available, as well as how these can be applied to formulate solutions to some of our immediate issues.