IF ONE THING CAN BE SAID about the readers of Global Traveler, it is that they are a passionate bunch — passionate about travel, passionate about the industry, passionate about the publication. That enthusiasm was on full display in October 2016 when members of the Global Traveler Globility Board convened at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills for a day of meetings and presentations focused on one of their favorite topics — premium travel.
In 2012 Global Traveler introduced its Globility Board, a group of well-traveled, vetted subscribers formed to serve as a conduit for information for both ourselves and for our clients — the travel industry providers these readers utilize on a regular basis. Our third Globility Board meeting brought our in-the-know members to the City of Angels, where United Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Global Traveler were able to showcase various products and receive the valuable feedback of the group.
Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills proved the perfect host venue for the meetings, which kicked off with a welcome dinner at the hotel’s Le Jardin French outdoor patio and alfresco The Aviary, designed to host intimate dinners and receptions. With a combination of Hollywood glamour, European elegance and French sophistication, the property is known for executing first-rate events and meetings. The nine on-site meeting rooms offer natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows, 14-foot-high ceilings and soundproof walls — all characteristics greatly appreciated by our group as we set up for a jam-packed day in the Santa Monica Room. For lunch we made great use of the upper pool lounge space, soaking up the midday California sunshine. Our group also enjoyed the endless comforts of the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills’ guestrooms and took time to savor other on-site amenities, including the state-of-the-art fitness center and Estérel Restaurant.
Maria Walter, managing director, product and brand strategy, United Airlines, took the Globility Board through the vision and entire process — from conception to implementation — of the airline’s new and improved business-class concept, Polaris, which subsequently debuted Dec. 1, 2016. Many of our Globility Board members are devoted to United Airlines, making the excitement in the room for the new product palpable.
The 12 product concepts behind Polaris — sleep, productivity, wellness, epicurean, modern luxury, entertainment, connectivity, added service, private access, global connections, rich comforts and traditional service — resonated with the assembled group. Questions abounded about service standards, when Polaris would reach United’s p.s. service, other product details and the process; but in the end it was clear the room was full of world travelers eager for their first flight on United Polaris.
Next up, a team from Saudi Arabian Airlines, led by Jessica Arias, account executive, greeted the group with dates and tea, a sneak preview of the tasty delights served on board the flagship carrier. The Saudia team took a different approach, first showing videos of the airline’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliner and first-class cabin before asking our Globility Board members a series of questions to deduce their rationale in planning and booking travel.
Questions included: Have you flown the Dreamliner? Most answered with a resounding “Yes!” with feedback ranging from, “I flew a discount carrier just to experience the aircraft,” to “I noticed absolutely nothing different when flying the Dreamliner.” They asked: Who books your travel? How do you decide which airline to fly? What travel websites do you regularly visit? Do you use mobile boarding passes? What airlines do a good job at marketing themselves? What do you look for in an airline ad? Do alliances hold value? The question and answer session sparked a lively discussion among the group and even included photographs from GT publisher and CEO Francis X. Gallagher’s personal trip to Saudi Arabia. The presentation heightened the awareness of the airline and its premium offerings among our group of intrepid travelers and led many to state they would consider the airline as a transit option for a future trip.
Finally, we at Global Traveler took advantage of the benefits of having our readers in one room, asking them for feedback as we offered a first look at the 2017 magazine redesign we launched last month. As we usher in 2017, those of us at Global Traveler join our Globility Board members on flights and trips around the world, putting into practice our definition of “globility”: the openness to learning and understanding cultural differences.
JOIN THE GLOBILITY BOARD
We are always looking for new candidates interested in joining the Globility Board. To become a member of the Globility Board, reach out to Francis X. Gallagher at [email protected]. Interested parties will need to complete an application and vetting process.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
For all its cosmopolitan trappings, Singapore remains, at heart, a tropical island. The city planners determinedly preserved gennery and the high groves of concrete and glass, and for a complete escape from urban bustle there still remain patches of the jungle and mangroves that covered the island when Sir Stamford Raffles first established a trading outpost here in 1819.
In this era of 6,500-passenger mega-ships, any cruise vessel conveying fewer than a thousand voyagers is considered a small ship, including high-end luxury liners, deluxe expedition ships and the world’s riverboats. The focus on many small ships is the destination rather than the conveyance, the expert chat rather than the Broadway show, the watersport rather than the casino, the scenery and culture rather than the full-service spa and specialty restaurant. Passengers make a travel style choice, forgoing the options and pleasures of a resort-sized vessel for the deeper, more immersive experience of a yacht-scaled ship.
Air Tahiti Nui resumed service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT) last week. To welcome travelers back to French Polynesia, Air Tahiti Nui offers fares starting as low as $775 round-trip from Los Angeles, and $789 from San Francisco (SFO). The airline also allows a free date change on all of its tickets.
Turkish Airlines, already flying to more countries than any other airline, announced its 10th U.S. gateway: Newark Liberty International Airport. Service will launch May 21, with four flights per week between EWR and Istanbul (IST). Beginning June 1, the frequency increases to daily.
Magdalena, a Maryland Bistro in The Ivy Hotel partnered with Uncle Nearest premium whiskey to create a Preakness-inspired cocktail ahead of this weekend’s event. The Laws and Lilies libation honors the contributions of Black jockeys in the early days of American horse racing. Emmanuel S. West, Jr., director of food & beverage, The Ivy Hotel, crafted the cocktail using Uncle Nearest’s 1856 Premium Whiskey.