I recently flew to the Maya Riviera, Mexico to attend an exclusive invitation-only International Luxury Travel Mart. Zoom Vacations was specifically invited to meet with the owners, general managers, and directors of some of the leading properties and players in the luxury universe. This was a great opportunity to develop relationships and make sure that our Zoom guests are treated like VIPs around the world. I knew things were going to be good when I boarded my American Airlines flight and it was a new configuration 767 with amenity kits and was served a 2007 Simard St. Emilion in First Class. Well, it turns out the flight had just landed from Paris and they decided to keep the international catering onboard for the domestic leg. I scored!
Anyway, during the symposium I met some great contacts and discussed first-hand a few things about the current state of luxury travel, for instance: what people want in luxury travel is "experiences" not just the labels. We have known this at Zoom Vacations from the beginning and it was great to receive the validation.
Interestingly, Cuba was all the buzz at the travel mart, and I think it is because Cuba is about experiences. The entire world wants to go there before things change irreversibly. All the hotels are sold out until at least April 2016. Regarding pricing, it was clear that what you see online in terms of pricing rarely has anything to do with reality. Prices keep climbing due to the demand and to complicate matters there is multi-tiered pricing where Americans, Canadians and Europeans are charged different prices for the same service.
However, while prices keep climbing in Cuba and while it will be sometime before services reach an international standard of luxury there is no denying that Cuba is caliente! What I love about Cuba is that it isn't like the rest of the world. Cuba's people, architecture, charm and sites deliver experiences that are hard to put a price on but that travelers are obviously willing to pay.