Through our partnership with Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards, we had the pleasure of being introduced to Karine Lackner, editor of Horizon & Beyond, a glossy luxury travel magazine that speaks to the affluent traveler. The luxury travel market is always a popular topic of discussion at TheTopTier and we jumped at the change to find out Karine’s thoughts and opinions on the upper echelon of travel experiences:
TheTopTier: The luxury travel market is on of those categories that never seems to be affected by economic factors. Demand is always strong and seems to be growing steadily. Why do you think that is?
Karine Lackner: I think there might be several reasons combined. First there is a growing number of millionaires in certain parts of the world, then secondly the ones that always have been traveling to luxurious places are in search of new and different luxury experiences on constant basis. Third there might be a kind of need to escape from reality into a comfort zone, that is even if only for a few days reassuring the people that the world is still ok with all the misery & problems we see around us
TTT: Recent surveys by major luxury travel providers would suggest that affluent individuals prefer ‘experiences’ over services. In your experience, do you think that is the case? Do you think there are instances where an affluent traveler may give up luxury services and amenities for a unique experience (ie exploring the Arctic Circle or traveling to space etc).
KL: Yes, that is definitely true, but i am not sure to which extent people used to luxury would give up the comfort and who says that could not be combined? On the other hand, those who are looking for the “extraordinary” experience such as traveling to space must be real adventurers and those do not mind missing the luxury side. So after all, it depends on the person and what he is looking for, but for any kind of frequent traveler definitely new things to explore capture their attention more and more.
TTT: Speaking specifically to the Mid East region, what are you thoughts on the luxury travel market? Is there a strong demand for ‘experiences’ over luxury?
KL: I feel that the Middle East still has a lot to explore, as people in the GCC are used to go to places where their friends and family are used to go and where they know their way. A country where the religion and/or language are spoken is always on top of their list. But for the younger generation I feel that they would like to explore what the world has to offer in Ibiza, in Asia or elsewhere, not necessarily always linked to luxury only, but more to a different lifestyle
TTT: What destinations seem to be the most popular for Middle Eastern luxury travelers?
KL: Definitely London, Paris & Geneva, but also Lebanon & Turkey. Refined people would travel to the south of France, Monte Carlo, to Italy and some love to go to Asia, Thailand, Malaysia and nowadays Philippines
TTT: Our readers would love to know more about Horizon & Beyond (which is a fantastic title BTW). Can you give us some details on the magazine, where it is available etc?
KL: Horizon & beyond is based on the idea to give the reader the real insight of destinations and resorts. We believe that we can grab the attention of the people by showing beautiful images, that inspire them and make them dream, then give the right information about the place and what can be experienced there. Let readers know a bit of the history of the place, the culture and some facts related to the country or people. The magazine believes that readers today are interested in real content, less advertising and high quality of information and presentation. That is one of the reasons why we very carefully chose our distribution points, so the right target group of readers can be reached. You can find H&B in bookstores such as WH Smith in Doha, soon in Dubai and all over the UK as well. Some of the most prestigious and luxurious hotels & resorts have asked to get copies of H&B for their guests in the suites, spa & executive lounges, private jets carry H&B as well as the in-flight magazine for their costumers, and we do have a selected VIP list of readers that receive the magazine at their doorstep. Anybody interested who could not find the magazine in the stores has the possibility to download it from our website for 6 USD per issue or get the 4 yearly issues for 20 USD. We also offer a free newsletter sent out monthly for anyone who likes to be updated. In the future our distribution network will rapidly grow, as we plan to be available in most of the European capitals and from 2016 in Hong Kong and Singapore as well. At the moment our international distribution is concentrated on the South of France between Monte Carlo and St.Tropez for this summer 2015.
TTT: What are some of your favorite destinations and experiences? Any particular resort or property that stands out in your opinion?
KL: I love all places where you can feel the country’s culture, as this is an important part when you stay in a luxury resort, otherwise it would just feel like any other 5 star. I am very attracted to beautiful interior design, as this was my job for many years, and I believe, that to create a harmonious ambiance is not an easy job for every architect.. There are many things to take in consideration to make it 100% perfect.
As a favorite destination i could not mention a particular one, I am very open to experiencing new places and their story. Isn’t life all about this?
TTT: Looking forward, what are some of the trends we will see in the luxury travel market (this can be overall or specifically to the Mid East region).
KL: I want to say trends are one thing, your personal need and interest might be a different one. So I do not like to talk about trends because this lies in the eyes of the beholder. But I feel that many just follow what they have heard of .
Ibiza is for people that want to party, St. Tropez for people that want to be chic and enjoy the great beach of Pampelonne with its long stretch of sand, the amazing villas one could rent there for a lot of money and the shopping which is certainly different in style from many other places. Then you got Sardinia, legendary luxurious hotels and an amazing sea, you got Capri & Portofino, the jet-set spots in Italy which have been famous for decades with pure Italian style and delicious food. Greece is another country that is worth exploring, and Mykonos is definitely a very trendy place! Readers can check all this out in H&B’s summer 2015 issue!
TTT: Thank you so much for your time and thoughts. The luxury travel category has to be one of the most interesting in the entire luxury spectrum in our opinion. Karine can be reached on twitter at @Horizon_Beyond_ and the offical website for the magazine can be located here.
By Doron Levy Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media