by Peter J. Bates

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Reinvention of Scotland

When you think of Scotland, world-class golf, tartan kilts and Sir Sean Connery might immediately come to mind – and they rightfully should! The fabric of Scottish culture is rich and dynamic, and the country has certainly made a name for itself on the world stage. What you might not realize, though, is that Scotland is actually a very ‘young country’ – its Parliament is only 10 years old following devolution in 1999 (when the Government of Scotland was given power to handle most of the country’s day-to-day issues including health, education, justice, rural affairs and transport).

With its newfound youth comes the opportunity for re-invention. This doesn’t mean that what has come to represent Scotland on so many levels gets dismissed. Instead, the new country that is emerging gets to embrace its distinguishing characteristics and showcase new aspects that celebrate not only the present, but the future of Scotland.

The strength of Scotland’s youth has generated a more powerful cooperative spirit, particularly among its tourism partners. This is particularly evidenced by the very successful Virtuoso Chairman’s Recognition Event, which was held in October 2009 at The Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. Government officials, hotel and tourism executives, and various other partners worked for two years to put this event together. Their collaborative efforts demonstrated how triumphant the results can be when partners work together toward a singular goal of driving tourism to Scotland. Tourism yields tremendous benefits, including the generation of jobs and revenue as well as allows those who call Scotland ‘home’ to share a wealth of culture and sightseeing with travelers from around the world.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Luxury Summit for Insight & Inspiration

The luxury travel segment is not the only luxe segment that has suffered. One thing we’ve surely learned during this difficult time is the importance of sharing ideas among colleagues and formulating strategies that will lead us to success. Sometimes that inspiration and insight can be found by looking at what companies are doing in other industries such as retail and leisure goods. Staying ‘in the know’ will remain paramount in 2010, which is why I draw tremendous value from the annual American Express Publishing Luxury Summit, to take place at the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas on April 25-27, 2010 (

During the Summit, experts and authorities on culture and economics will illuminate the trends, tastes and attitudes that are forming on the horizon and will shape luxury marketplaces and appetites. Speakers include:

· Steve Sadove, Chairman & CEO, Saks, Inc.
· Daniel Lalonde, President & CEO, Louis Vuitton NA
· Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos
· Michael J. Kowalski, Chairman and CEO, Tiffany & Co
· Baba Shiv, Professor, Stanford University
· Mary Baglivo, CEO NY and Chairman & CEO Americas, Saatchi & Saatchi
· Henrik Fisker, CEO, Fisker Automotive Inc.
· William Taubman, COO, Taubman Centers Inc.
· Marian Salzman, President North America, EuroRSCG Worldwide PR
· Vineet Nayar, CEO, HCL Technologies
· Ted Teng, President & CEO, The Leading Hotels of the World
· Geoff Vuleta, CEO, Fahrenheit 212
· Fred Dust, Partner, Ideo
· Christopher Cowdray, CEO, Dorchester Collection
· Irwin Gottlieb, CEO, GroupM

There will also be two terrific overviews by four senior executives from the global offices of McKinsey & Co. from Shanghai, London and Paris, New York and Washington, as well as the annual Survey of Affluence & Wealth in America presented by Dr. Jim Taylor, Vice Chairman, The Harrison Group.

This “must attend” event will be jam packed with data and information to help you better understand today’s luxury consumer and the trends within the marketplace. For more information or to register, visit

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snow Bliss at Snowmass & Aspen

It appears that Aspen and Snowmass ( are weathering the economic downturn fairly well. After ending last year about 7% down, the Aspen Ski Company reported it is 5.5% ahead of last year at the end of January with all indications that if March is a good month, they will have had a good season. While these statistics are encouraging, the economic downturn is certainly having an effect in Aspen. Some retailers and restaurants are going out of business, and there is vacant retail space in prime locations. Even, the best book shop in Aspen (at Little Nell), has disappeared after more than 20 years of providing a fine selection of books, DVD’s and newspapers.

Snowmass continues to develop although the much talked about Little Nell development is shuttered. The foundations have been laid but work has stopped while the developers try to renegotiate loans.

The good news for all Snowmass devotees is that the new Viceroy Hotel is open (, and it is a wonderful addition to the selection of accommodations in the area.