The applause at the closing dinner of Connections Luxury Argentina is still ringing in my ears.
I was so mesmerised by the dancing couples at El Viejo Almacén, the oldest tango house in Buenos Aires, it was like being under their spell. And when they struck their final poses, the cheers and whistles from our buyers and suppliers told me that we all felt the same. It was the perfect way to conclude yet another fantastic event.
During Connections Luxury Argentina, Connections celebrated its third anniversary – I cannot tell you how proud this makes me! And I honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to host our first ever destination-led event that was all about showcasing one country – incredible Argentina.
We brought buyers from all over the world to Buenos Aires to find out more about Argentina’s luxury travel product. It was important for us to empower the local suppliers at this event, so that they were in the driving seat – showing global buyers what Argentina is really all about.
For example, for the first time, we had our Connections Lunch experience. During one-to-one lunch meetings, our Argentinian suppliers each took a buyer somewhere to grab a bite to eat in Buenos Aires – no five-course gourmet meals, but somewhere authentic, local and tasty. It went down so well with our buyers, we’ll definitely be doing it again!
And there was the bus experience, provided by Central de Pasajes, where our Argentinian suppliers each acted as tour guide for the buyer they were meeting with, and showed them the sights as we drove through the city to our “secret location” for the afternoon. When we arrived at the beautiful El Rosedal rose garden, the sun was shining, and meetings took place on benches amid the flowers, or while strolling the grounds of this immaculate park in the city’s Palermo district.
Finally, for the first time, we also invited suppliers to provide their own experiences to accompany the one-to-one meetings. We had everything: tango lessons, walking tours of Buenos Aires, empanada making, wine tasting, a giant board game, and wine tasting with bottles branded with Connections’ logo, made specially for us – thank you, Designer Trips! On this note, I wanted to thank the Alvear Palace and Alvear Icon for giving the space for these fantastic experiences, provided by Deluxe Argentina, Esencia Travel, Eurotur, Designer Trips, Alchemy and Arakur Hotel & Spa.
These were in addition to the wonderful experiences provided by Palacio Duhau- Park Hyatt Buenos Aires– I loved the flower arranging and the gaucho experience!
We want to do more. For Connections, country-focused events are absolutely the right way to go – I received so much positive feedback about how targeted the programme felt, and this is because we brought a small network of international buyers to Buenos Aires all with the same aim – to seek out the best Argentinian business partners in the luxury travel realm.
I cannot thank all of our sponsors and partners enough for making this event happen: Argentina Tourism Board, INPROTUR, Buenos Aires Ciudad, Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Alvear Icon, Alvear Palace,Central de Pasajes, Hotel Madero, Mai 10, Signature DMC, El Viejo Almacen, Euromonitor, Holster Films, our first ever ConnecTalk speaker, Marc Mekki.
A big thanks to Maita from Mai 10 for hosting the pre- and post-fam trips, which I know many buyers thoroughly enjoyed!
Three aspects of Connections Luxury Argentina’s have really stuck with me.
First of all, our wonderful evenings – the glittering cocktail reception at Hotel Madero, where crowds of teenage girls screamed outside for us! My tango lesson, provided by Alchemy and Arakur hotel, hosted at the Alvear Palace. And the unforgettable dinner at Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Hotel (the three types of steak were exceptional).
Thanks to the insightful speakers at the event, Paula Goni from Euromonitor International, and Marc Mekki, our first ConnecTalk speaker, who created a chat bot especially for us. Before his talk, Marc shared something really interesting with me. He told me that due to the pace of change, at least one member of our delegation – so, one in 80 – will experience travel to the moon within the next decade.
I say we go one better! Let’s get the entire delegation up there – how about a Connections Galaxy series? Next stop, the moon!
We’re working hard to find dates to come back to Buenos Aires next year, so please stay tuned, and we hope to see many of you again soon.
Do keep in touch with me, let me and my team know if we can tell you more about any of our upcoming events.
Thank you to our video sponsor, Holster Films, who have a created a stunning video,- which I hope whets your appetite for more of the Connections Way! It will be released soon, watch this space!