Pioneering Luxury Camps in Remote Wildernesses with Luca Franco. TSHS-060

In the world of adventure travel, there are individuals who have transformed their passion into a thriving business. One such trailblazer is Luca Franco, a true connoisseur of experiential travel, and the founder of Luxury Frontiers. In this episode, we will delve into Luca’s remarkable journey and the evolution of luxury travel. We will also explore the importance of sustainability in this industry, the challenges and opportunities it presents, and the strategic partnerships that have propelled Luxury Frontiers to success.

The Birth of Luxury Frontiers: From Passion to Business

Luca Franco has been an adventurer at heart since childhood, always seeking unique and immersive experiences. However, it was the global economic crisis of 2008-2010 that triggered a shift in consumer behavior. People began valuing memories over material possessions, giving rise to the experiential travel trend. Luca noticed the success of experiential travel concepts in Africa and decided to bring these unique experiences to North America.

Initially met with skepticism, Luka persevered and embarked on a journey to establish Luxury Frontiers. The concept of luxury tented camps in remote wildernesses, a model already successful in Africa, was met with doubt in North America. However, ten years later, Luxury Frontiers has forged partnerships with some of the biggest players in the industry and stands as a pioneer in the luxury outdoor hospitality sector.

The Evolution of Luxury Travel: From Transformational to Sustainable

Over the last two decades, luxury travel has seen a significant shift in consumer behavior. Two key events, the 2008 economic crisis and the wake-up call of the COVID-19 pandemic, have led to transformational changes in the industry. Experiential travel, sustainable practices, regenerative tourism, and a growing focus on impact awareness have become central themes.

Travelers now seek not just to accumulate experiences but also to connect with the natural world, local communities, and host properties in a more empathetic way. Luka aptly describes this transition as “empathetic travel,” where travelers want to engage in more meaningful and sensitive ways during their journeys.

Sustainability as a Guiding Principle

Sustainability is a fundamental aspect of Luxury Frontiers. It is not just a marketing buzzword but a deeply ingrained principle. The company’s approach is based on biophilic design principles and mimicking nature, creating a harmonious relationship with the environment. They respect and collaborate with landowners, ensuring that their projects are not just sustainable but regenerative, giving back to nature and local communities.

Luka emphasizes the need to move beyond superficial “greenwashing” and adopt a holistic approach that addresses every aspect of a project, from sourcing materials to food production. Nature, which has sustained itself for billions of years, holds valuable lessons for how we can ensure our practices are truly sustainable.

Michael Haddad: From Paralysed to World Record Breaker. TSHS – 048

Michael Haddad: From Paralysed to World Record Breaker
Discussion with endurance athlete Michael Haddad about his Awake Walk Svalbard
Michael Haddad is a UNDP Arab States Goodwill Ambassador for Climate Action, an endurance athlete holding four record-breaking athletic feats, who overcame his disability and believes nothing is impossible.

In April 2023 he will be mustering all his willpower to perform a 100km Arctic walk to address the climate emergency, and to bring attention to the melting Arctic ice, which provides important evidence of the urgent need for concerted and scaled-up climate action.
*   As far as we know no one has accomplished and Michael is a rare case. He has no control over his lower body.  He is the source of discoveries that will benefit medical, science, engineering, and technology fields in discovering massive potentials and major capabilities in the service of humanity.
* Endurance athlete able to walk and balance himself using his shoulders and hands, and achieve records as an endurance athlete.

The Good, Bad and Ugly Hospitality Aggregators, now what?TSHS – 010

We talked about the evolution of the travel aggregators aka. OTA that is a way of hotels t become ever so more visible online.

Travellers find the websites useful as they can compare rates, reviews and availability of many different accommodation options at one glance, and book them quickly and easily in just a few clicks.

The hotel can be usually listed free of charge, and add nice pictures, description, room rates etc. You can choose how many rooms you want to sell online.

Many newly opened hotels like to use this as a way to kick start the business. It is not uncommon that OTA represent 60-80 % of the bookings.

The down side are the commissions which are becoming a major expense for the hotel, restaurant.

Sam-Erik is sharing some practical tips on how to be more creative and entrepreneurial minded.

Jayanth Kolla is sharing some data from India about Oyo Rooms and other restaurant and buss ticket aggregators.

For the episodes of Jayanth Kolla report from Bulgaria Sustainable Turism Conference, Follow this  link



Ever Googled your name and what did you find? TSHS_005

Whether you know it or not, you have a personal brand.  Admit it you have at least once Googled your name, I confess, I  check my google presence regularly. Reason is to see how my different online blog posts, podcasts, videos are found in the all mighty Google. I also check out my prospective business contacts to see how they present themselves and their personal brand on Linkedin and Google. The results are always interesting and tells something about the person.

This podcast episode ¨Why your personal brand is important ¨, shares important tips for students, job seekers, entrepreneurs and people past their corporate career keen to make an impact.  

Someone once said: ̈If you lose your brand and integrity you lose everything. ¨

Chances are someone is going to Google you to learn more about who you are. The question is, do you want to allow your online reputation to take on a life of its own or control the narrative? With the proliferation of social media and the gig economy, it has become essential for everyone to embrace personal branding.

Diane Mulcahy, the author of The Gig Economy, says,

 ¨We’re seeing only one trend here, which is that the gig economy is big and getting bigger. Companies will do just about anything to avoid hiring full-time employees. Add to that the fact that there is no job security anymore, and workers are increasingly aware that they need to work differently if they want to create any sort of stability for themselves.”

As a result, workers need to be able to clearly communicate who they are and what they do to stand out to prospective clients and employers. If you aren’t effectively managing your online reputation, then you run the risk of losing out on business.

  • Gary Vaynerchuk, aka Gary Vee, known for his work in digital marketing and social media,  chairman of New York-based communications company once said  ̈Your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation in perpetuity is the foundation of your career.¨

Whether you’re looking for a better job or more sales for your company, personal branding is more important than ever. You don’t need to be Richard Branson to have a great personal brand. It’s just a matter of continually crafting and curating your digital presence and most importantly, keep it real! Your honesty, transparency and authenticity are what will differentiate you in the long-run. You never get a second chance to make a first impression—make it one that will set you apart, build trust and reflect who you are.


How can a technology play role in sustainable tourism? TSHS_003

In the early fifties Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary where the first confirmed summiting of Mount Everest. 66 years later the peak has become so popular that there are lines of climbers waiting to reach the same peak. Climbers are taking risks while waiting, and this has not been without casualties even this year, during the wait to reach the famous peak.

In 2018 a TV series ¨Memories of Al Hambra ¨ was produced for the Korean TV, and it became a hit worldwide. With the popularity of the TV series Granada and Al Hambra has become a very popular destination for Asians to visit, a destination originally popular for historical tourism. Al Hambra Palace and Fortress in Granada, Andalusia was a place where artists and intellectuals had taken refuge as the Reconquista by Spanish Christians won victories over Al Andalus. The Alhambra integrates natural site qualities with constructed structures and gardens, and is a testament to Moorish culture in Spain and the skills of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian artisans, craftsmen, and builders of their era. Why am I highlighting this?

Tourism arrivals to Europe has grown from 391M in 2000 to 619M in 2018. There are several factors that are contributing to this growth of arrivals. People have more time and money to spend on travel, enjoying to tick off their travel bucket list. Of course the impressive growth of Chinese travel has had a positive impact on the overall growth. We can even feel it here in the Northern Europe, as first stop to Europe from Asia.

It is easier to book flights, hotels and tours via internet and especially mobile generated bookings are taking over. It is easy to find places with Google Map and get a wealth of information about the place we like to visit.

There is a downside of travel visiting world heritage sites and popular destinations are feeling the impact congestion externalities, an expression popularised by economists. You arrive with high exceptions and enthusiasm what was used to be known as a ¨hidden gem ¨. However when you arrive it is overcrowded, and not how you thought it would be.

There are several pieces in this puzzle missing, which begs the question. When is the best time to visit so I do not arrive to an overcrowded place? The question is also how can Emerging Technology support responsible tourism? What role can emerging technologies play in shaping the tourism and travel patterns?

In my chat with Jayanth Kolla my go to expert in emerging technologies, we talk about three key strategies that partly could be the answer to this burning question.

How an hotelier found renewed inspiration in podcasting!-TSHS_001

Sharing my experience how I renewed inspiration to podcast. Sharing tips and tricks on developing content, podcast apps, and suggested app to promote your podcast in social media.

EP.37 What Irritates Hotel Guest Most

One of the hotel travel industry buzzwords was personalisation. I am sharing my experience and observations as an hotelier and hotel guest, where the great tech is taking over and replace the purpose they all exist to serve. 

Fly shame or #flygskam is the buzzword and a growing trend of traveling by rail. Has the climate activist Greta Thunberg made us feel guilty of flying or are we ready with our action combat climate change, Airlines in Sweden have felt the pinch with reduced bookings on domestic flights. The major tour operators like Thomas Cook is promoting chartered rail trips between Stockholm and Davos.

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Episode 36. How to use mobile as a channel to personalise the customer experience.(feat. Praveen Kanyadi)

Interview with Praveen Kanyadi, Co- Founder and VP of Products, SpotCues. 

Their mobile communication platform help industries like retail and hospitality to leverage mobile as a channel to engage the guest and personalise their experience. We are 8000km apart and have a blast of a conversation in this show.

Praveen shares his views on hospitality trends for mobile.  He also shares, what is true but almost no one agree with him on.

Also a revelation about  Gourmet food vs Street food.

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Episode 35. How could hotels create the best guest experience for the luxury traveler?

Interview with Deniz Tekerek, Co-Founder, Portier Technologies. He explains ways how hotels are able to create the best guest experience for the luxury traveler. 

Their service puts the  luxury service in the palms of hotel customer hand.

Why is personalisation an over used word in hotels. 

I asked Deniz to tell me something that is true that almost nobody agrees with him on.

What does the future look like say 10 years from now in his industry?

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Episode 34. Why care about your Personal Brand!

Are you conceited or smart if you care about your personal brand? Consider your personal brand is your most important asset. In this episode I share some practical tips how to get started and how nurture your brand.

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