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Panel of leading experts unveiled for the world’s first exclusive luxury hospitality think tank

Luxury Hospitality 2013 has appointed travel journalist and TV presenter Varun Sharma to chair a panel of leading experts from a broad range of disciplines. Organised by the International Herald Tribune (IHT) with the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), Luxury Hospitality 2013 is the first exclusive global think tank designed for leaders in this field. Taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland on 6th June 2013, the summit will see around 100 senior figures and over 20 guest speakers gather to discuss the evolving interpretations of “luxury” and share case studies to help drive their businesses forward.

Set around a series of inspirational talks and thought-provoking interviews, the one-day conference will provide insider’s expertise, findings and insightful opinions from around the world. Introducing panellists and moderating Q&A’s throughout the day, luxury globetrotter Varun Sharma and Sophie Doran, Editor in Chief at session content partner Luxury Society, will chair five interactive discussions.

The first session, focused on the luxury consumer, will set the scene for the conference, with Chairman of Swiss watch brand Hublot divulging similarities in customer behaviour across the retail and hospitality industries. Co-founder and CEO at Onefinestay, the so-called “unhotel”, and Soho House’s creative director and managing director of Brand Your World will continue with an analysis of the next generation of travellers and their increasing desire for authentic experiences.

This will be followed by a discussion on emerging markets, wealth centres, and new hotspots for luxury development, whereby Samad Laaroussi, Holder of the Chair of Luxury Hospitality at the Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne, and CEO at Digital Luxury Group will present the first World Luxury Index Hotels, a report measuring the presence of luxury hotel brands in the world’s most important search engines, with a focus on selected markets. In response to the data released, representatives of Tablet Hotels and Starwood will share their reactions.

With a closer eye on premium travel, members of yoo hotels, Compagnie Vinicole Baron Edmond de Rothschild, and IXO Aviation will lead a debate on ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) and how to reach these highly mobile consumers effectively.

Turning towards the delivery of the luxury hospitality experience, citizenM Hotels and Kempinski will offer different views on a critical element and the key topic of session two – service, by discussing innovation, technology, and traditional approaches vs digital.

The conversation will then continue with session three, focusing on “people” and which skills are most important in today’s luxury hospitality team. Led by head of Lausanne Hospitality Consulting SA and the GM at one of the world’s leading eco-luxury destinations, Wogan Valley Resort & Spa, the discussion will reveal which qualities should be sought when assembling a successful team.

Over session four, leaders in luxury hospitality interior design, RPW Design, and multidisciplinary design studio, Serrano Brothers, will define how physical surroundings can contribute to an overall sense of luxury and wellbeing, as well as changing design aesthetics and functionality.

Finally, flourishing business models and the financial aspects of luxury hospitality will form the basis of the penultimate session, to be discussed with the MD at Soneva Private Office, a resort chain encompassing several private residences, including Six Senses Laamu. Here, delegates will be invited to talk about the trend towards combining real estate with resorts, how compatible environmentalism and commercialism are, and the popularity of celebrity chef-operated F&B outlets.

Closing the event, International Head at Christie’s will culminate the exchange of luxury intelligence by explaining how senses can be united to achieve the ultimate luxury experience.

Luxury Hospitality 2013 will take place on 6th June at the world-renowned Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL). During the opening gala dinner on 5th June, an inspiring individual will be recognised to celebrate leadership and excellence in luxury hospitality through the first Luxury Hospitality Leader Award, sponsored by Reuge.

The first edition of this summit has received widespread interest within the luxury sphere, with sponsors, exhibitors and partners ranging from the Greek National Tourism Organisation to Laurent-Perrier, among other high-profile contributors.

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