AI and CSR key themes at annual Serandipians conference

The impact of AI and technology, the importance of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and creating a unique brand were key topics at Serandipians’ annual The Essence of Luxury conference.

Speakers at the event, held in Marbella on March 18, informed agents of the challenges impacting the industry and how to offer a better client experience. 

Serandipians’ founder and chief executive Quentin Desurmont said agents should take influence from the luxury goods industries to become “master designers and crafters”.

He said: “This year, we want to talk about the very beginning: before being an excellent designer or crafter, we need to know our DNA. We call it ‘singularity’.” 

Speaker Nathalie Rémy, partner at Bain & Company, identified two core strengths of luxury brands: “Uniqueness and excellence help luxury brands to build and develop their desirability which allows them to capture a bigger share value from a growing number of wealthy customers.”

To develop these attributes, Rémy emphasised the importance of innovation in today’s luxury travel industry, particularly regarding the use of generative AI and technology.

She said: “There is no other option than for the travel industry to get on ChatGPT and try to leverage it.”

As the platform becomes more advanced, she pointed to how it will allow travel advisors to understand their customer history and market trends to propose travel itineraries that perfectly suit clients’ needs. 

She added: “Alongside AI, there are lots of other technologies that should be leveraged especially for managing the relationships upstream with suppliers and downstream with customers.”

But Rémy stressed that human creativity is equally as important.

“Travel designers also need to continue to raise their creative game because the spark, the thing that generates emotions, will remain human,” she said.

Another speaker at the event, Philippe Montigny, advisor to boards and executive committees on CSR, focused on the importance of agencies building a strong reputation in part by demonstrating their commitment to sustainability.

“I believe that the luxury travel sector is going to be under growing attention, constraints and concerns due to CSR and sustainability issues,” he said.

Montigny cited a study by Bain & Company claiming 75% of luxury consumers are interested in sustainability, and 57% are willing to pay more to have a positive impact on social and environmental issues. 

“Not only do you have to do well, but you also must be able to demonstrate in a credible manner that you are doing well,” Montigny said. “This is going to be extremely important.”

In 2022, Serandipians launched its sustainability qualification programme, Pristine Mood. 

The initiative aims to educate agents and suppliers about sustainable best practices and act as a knowledge-sharing community to accelerate their implementation. 

It has identified 38 criteria for concrete actions for members to take to operate more sustainably. 

Currently, the network has 42 so-called ‘Pristineers’, which includes 34 member agencies and eight hotel partners

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