As part of our US Luxury Trade Mission in New York City last week, Walpole hosted a thought leadership summit at The Whitby hotel for key high-end travel advisors, agents and media to promote the UK as the world’s number one luxury destination. Supported by VisitBritain, the summit’s agenda took in new qualitative research from Notable, which looked at two macro themes – Fragility and Fluidity – that are influencing our expectations of travel and luxury right now.
> Download The Art of British Luxury Hospitality report here.
The report quotes Times Luxx magazine’s Lisa Grainger and her view that "Britain excels at history. There is no other place where you get the same fairytale history." This was underlined by many of the panellists and speakers at the summit: the allure of British heritage, made especially front-of-mind by the recent funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the forthcoming coronation of His Majesty King Charles, has never had a greater pull.
In addition, Visit Britain’s CEO Patricia Yates told us in her keynote that US visitors were driving recovery, with value up 40% on pre-pandemic levels, and shared how Visit Britain’s witty, creative ad campaigns were designed to offer a new and thought-provoking perspective on the whole of the British Isles.
Other panels looked at the UK as a brand, and explored the role of art, creativity and experience, as well as retail, in building a multi-faceted and compelling destination. We heard from royal biographer, Robert Hardman, in conversation with US Harper’s Bazaar’s Avril Graham, about the coronation, and learned some insider secrets.
Britain’s extraordinary range of high end hotels and unique places to stay was discussed by Cowdray, The Dorchester Collection, The Londoner, Cunard and the Mandarin Oriental, and Gleneagles, The Macallan and Harris Tweed Hebrides made everyone in the room determined to book themselves a long stay in Scotland.
A final panel with Indagare, Pelorus, J Public Relations, David Collins Studio and Iconic Luxury Hotels shared insights into tourism trends and how UK companies deliver an experience like no other.
> See all the photos from the summit below in our gallery
"The uniqueness and breadth of the high-end visitor experience on offer in the UK came across loud and clear," said Helen Brocklebank, Walpole CEO. "There’s no other country in the world that has such a distinctive and varied offer throughout the whole country. It was particularly interesting to see how powerfully Britain’s heritage was resonating with the post-pandemic US luxury traveller and to also hear about the very positive perceptions of the service culture in British high-end hospitality.
"I’ve no doubt that UK luxury can look forward to a strong US visitor presence over the next twelve months and beyond.”
Photographer: Collis Torrington