Last night I attended my first AFAR Conversations event held at the Andaz Fifth Avenue hotel, which is part of a series that brings together media, travel industry professionals and marketing execs to explore the influence of travel on culture, style and design.
The panel was moderated by AFAR Media’s Co-founder Joe Diaz and included a diverse and good-humored panel: Fran Della Badia, President of North America Retail for Coach; Designer and Creative Consultant Gordon Thompson; and Matthias Schmid, the VP of US Sales for Emirates Airline.
Staying relevant was a big topic, which of course spans to all industries.
“Consumers want solutions, not just a product,” said Schmid. And you need to experience the lifestyle of your customer to know what those solutions are. Many times that involves traveling to international destinations to see how people are using your product.
When Thompson worked as a designer at Nike, his team studied cheetahs in Africa and butterflies in Paraguay, which led to the development of the Nike Free sneaker.
Thompson believes that travel inspires innovation and created a Nike Design Camp to do just that. He would take his team abroad to give them a fresh perspective, which fueled out-of-the-box creative thinking and greater synergy.
Interestingly enough, the more dependent we become on technology, the more valued the human touch is becoming. Personalization and empathy make experiences stand out, especially as it relates to travel. “I keep going back to the same guesthouse in Kyoto because they’ve learned what I like, not from a form I filled out, but by paying attention,” shared Thompson.
Schmid added, “In an era of mass customization, it’s paramount to recognize our consumers individually, because that is what they respond to.”
“At AFAR we’ve found that people want to touch and own things that artisans have made with their hands,” Diaz chimed in.
Staying nimble and quickly integrating learnings from research and development to a product line is challenge for large companies and Della Badia thinks there should be more room to make mistakes because that’s when some of the greatest innovations and unexpected findings happen.
Once Coach designed an iPhone case that was defective for making calls. They thought it was going to be an absolute bust, but it became a best-selling item among millennials who text more than they talk.
They text and they love pictures. “To get a millennial’s attention it’s all about visual storytelling. They want to watch the backstory unfold,” Thomspon added.
Which makes me wonder if this blog post is irrelevant since 80 million millennials are not likely to read it. You can bet I’ll be paying close attention to the demographic section of my analytics this week.
The largest food festival in Latin America kicks off today in Lima, Peru. Mistura, which translates to mixture, is an appropriate name for the food fair which blends the country’s regional flavors in a ten-day gastronomic extravaganza.
Over 200 restaurants will be serving iconic dishes and famous street-snacks like ceviche, tamales, anticuchos, picarones and chicharrones with a plenitude of Pisco to wash it all down. Native and international celebrity chefs will be firing up their signature dishes and hosting master classes, as well as Q&A forums.
The heart of the fair is Mistura’s colorful market, whose producers travel from all over Peru to exhibit their regional ingredients.
Half a million foodies are expected to attend, which means long lines, but the mouthwatering dishes are fairly priced and well worth the wait.
Food isn’t the only attraction at the festival—there are folkloric dancers to be seen, traditional music to be heard, parades to be enjoyed, and celebrities to spot.
Where: Magdalena’s Costa Verde, Lima, Peru
When: September 5-14, 2014. The fair is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Cost: Entrance fee for adults $8.00 USD, children $4.00 USD. Dishes are sold separately.
Posada Salentein is Bodega Saletein's intimate 16-room estancia on Finca La Pampa. With iconic Valle de Uco views overlooking the winery's vineyards at the foothills of the majestic Andes, guests enjoy exclusive access to winery tours, private tastings, and restaurant and wine bar reservations.
Dine fireside at the cozy restaurant on gourmet cuisine that’s prepared in a distinctively Argentine style: empanadas and bread loaves baked in a terracotta oven, meals smoked on wood, juicy cuts of beef grilled on a hot coal barbecue, and succulent ribs fired on a vertical spit.
After dinner, mingle with other guests over a glass of wine on comfortable couches at the Wine Bar where art is the main attraction. The bar also hosts Wine Flights, special tasting events where you can sample Salentein’s wines by the glass or bottle.
During the day relax poolside or horseback ride through the vineyards. Don’t miss a guided tour through the stunning winery.
Or spend the afternoon in silence at Bodega Salentein’s peaceful Gratitude Chapel or peruse Killka Gallery and Argentina’s contemporary artists whose work is available for purchase.
Address: Ruta 89 S/N, Km 14, Los Árboles, Tunuyán, Mendoza; firstname.lastname@example.org; +54 0262 242 9090
Mendoza, one of the ten great wine capitals of the world, has evolved into a world-class tourism destination. A desert oasis resting in the Argentinean foothills of the Andes mountain range, Mendoza has earned the moniker “the land of sunshine and good wine.”
The region is bursting with over a thousand picturesque wineries growing Mendoza’s famous malbec grape. You’ll also find internationally acclaimed chefs pairing top-quality wines with unmatched gastronomic experiences.
For adventure-seekers eager to explore the Andes, the province is replete with adrenaline-pumping outdoor pursuits including hiking America’s highest peak—Aconcagua.
Culminating on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, tango fans can enjoy free shows at various locations throughout the city, open-air milongas (tango clubs), complimentary classes and concerts. You can search events by day or venue here.
You’d rather watch then get your feet wet on the dance floor? Check out the city’s most celebrated tango show at El Cabaret: Rojo Tango.
Faena Hotel Buenos Aires also offers tango classes year round with Rojo Tango’s professional dancers. The hour-long instruction blends the history of tango with dance lessons to develop a comprehensive appreciation for the art of the tango.
Images courtesy of Bodegas de Argentina and Faena Hotel
World Cup 2014 is on fire in Rio de Janeiro and Belmond Copacabana Palace has added its own spice to the mix. The iconic hotel’s new pan-Asian restaurant MEE, fronted by celebrity chef Ken Hom, has created a beguiling concoction that’s casting a spell on World Cup fans.
The “Mandinga” cocktail is a seductive blend of Cachaça (a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice) and cashew juice with a dash of hazelnut and mandarin liqueurs.
MEE hopes this touch of Afro-Brazilian magic will carry the Seleção squad to their sixth World Cup trophy. Brazil may not have invented soccer, but they are known for perfecting it. Saúde!
Here’s the Mandinga Cocktail Recipe to mix up wherever you are in the world:
- 1.5 fl. oz. Leblon Cachaça - ¼ fl. oz. Frangelico liqueur - ¼ fl. oz. Mandarinetto liqueur - 1 fl. oz. cashew juice - ¼ fl. oz. lemon juice - ¼ fl. oz. sugar syrup