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How’s your 2014?

 

As the festive memories fade we ask the luxury sector about its outlook and plans for 2014. Here, Quintessentially, Keith Prowse, Taj Group, Ibiza Angels and Wonderland Events fast-forward into ’14. Abigail Parkin (22 Jan’14)

 

Quintessentially  Clementine Churchward, Quintessentially Communications:

We’re excited this year to continue to develop and grow our brand partnerships and the many fantastic Quintessentially luxury concierge benefits for our members around the world.

Our event highlights in London in 2014 will include Quintessentially Lifestyle as the official concierge partner for Art14 London, the global art fair taking place at Olympia Grand Hall (Friday 28 Feb - Sunday 2 March).

The Quintessentially Foundation will also be hosting three important events – the Quintessentially Foundation Bike Ride, this time from Venice to Rome; the Quintessentially Foundation Poker evening, and the much heralded Quintessentially Fayre of St. James Carol service, which last year raised over £200,000.00 for the Rays of Sunshine charity. 

Our global reach will continue to grow too, with a number of new offices set to open including Quintessentially Oman in February and Quintessentially Hungary in April 2014, with more to be announced. 

In 2013 there was a huge change to the economy of luxury goods when the government in mainland China stopped luxury spending (or overspending) to tackle wastage in the public and private sector. This resulted in many luxury companies such as LVMH (LVMH Moet Hennessy) reporting significant sales drops. However, we are now seeing the number of overseas travellers from mainland China increase since the UK government relaxed its Chinese visa policy, and several EU countries are widening doors for investment immigration.

 So in recent months we have seen positive and optimistic economic growth within the UK. The international mobility of wealthy individuals and families will have a strong impact at an industry level.

 

Ibiza Angels    Joe Wise, Owner & Co-Founder:

2014 is a very special year for us as, this summer, we’ll be celebrating the 10th season of Ibiza Angels.  

Born in Ibiza in summer 2005 (literally from a light-bulb moment at a beach party!) I never imagined that, 10 seasons later, we’d be the largest  ‘on-site’ massage company in Europe with a fantastic team of 150 certified therapists operating all year round across the UK and, of course, in Ibiza, in the summer months.

 A highly-skilled team, dressed head to toe in dazzling pure white, Ibiza Angels are renowned not only for the outstanding quality of their ‘over-the-clothes’ energising, head, neck and shoulder massages, but also for beaming smiles and genuine positive energy – and, importantly, the service appeals equally to women and men.

 2014 will see the Angels everywhere from Ibiza’s KM5, Ocean Beach Ibiza and Es Vive to London’s Gilgamesh and Cirque de Soir. They’ll also be delivering massages at some very exclusive weddings, world-class live music events and festivals such as Creamfields, Lovebox and SW4, in addition to being a fixture at spectacular venues such as The Casino at the Empire and poker tournaments UK-wide. And then there’s the once-in-a-lifetime parties thrown by names from the worlds of music, celebrity and aristocracy.

 Therapists from our sister brand, Massage Angels deliver revitalising head, neck and shoulder massages to time-pressed shoppers from our distinctive ‘Pods’ situated at the UK’s leading retail destinations including Westfield London, Westfield Stratford City and Brent Cross. Massage Angels continue to work closely with HR teams to promote well-being and combat stress at a range of offices and agencies all over London, Manchester and Birmingham.  

 Ten seasons on and I’m so proud that Ibiza Angels and Massage Angels continue to be trusted brands with great reputations. For me, it’s a real honour to work with a fantastic team with natural charisma, positive energy and  integrity – that love what they do. We’re big believers in the ‘feel-good’ power of touch – and there’s nothing better than bringing a bit of Ibiza magic to the UK during the long winter months of 2014!

 

Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces Raymond Bickson, MD, CEO (Taj Group):

For January 2014, the Taj Group is delighted to introduce its two newly rebranded London hotels - St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel and Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences. This important re- branding comes at an exciting time for the increasing strategic links between India and UK.

At St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel, guests will have access to an extensive fleet of exclusive vintage and classic vehicles, including the Queen Mother's favourite Jaguar DS420 Daimler limousine 'Grand Princess’ and Lord Mountbatten's vintage Daimler 'Silver Baroness'. Other experiences include unique dining experiences like the 24 Karat Gold Afternoon Tea and a customised Kids @ Taj program.

Meanwhile, Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, Suites and Residences offers bespoke experiences such as the Taj Royal Attache butler service, optional Jaguar airport transfers and exclusive horse and carriage rides. In addition to the two signature suites - the world’s first Jaguar Suite and the uniquely designed Cinema Suite - the hotel is remodelling other suites. In 2014, it will welcome a new lobby and reception lounge, a new restaurant, tea and library lounges and an exclusive private dining area.

The developments at the Taj Group in London are particularly significant in the context of the importance and legacy of the Tata Group in the UK. This initiative by the Taj Group adds to the portfolio of iconic brands in the UK like Jaguar, Land Rover, Tata Steel Europe (formerly Corus Group) and Tetley Tea with Taj, one of Asia’s largest and finest hospitality brands, renowned for its heritage, legacy, and warm service.

To celebrate the launch, St. James' Court, A Taj Hotel is launching a photo competition on its Facebook page, where there is a selection of prizes to be won. Visit  : facebook.com/sjctaj

 

 

Wonderland Events    Lora Lutostanska, MD:

Wonderland Events is a creative event management and production agency with bases in London, New York and Dubai. We are so excited about 2014 and in particular the launch of a series of new international offices at the end of January including Amsterdam, Rio and Beijing.

Our client list ranges from corporate giants to quirky media agencies and private clients. We work with everyone from UBS, Telegraph, Fox, Havas, Mother, BBH, Desperados to Whistles, Swatch and Kurt Geiger.

Without a doubt one of the highlights of 2013 for us was the ‘Fox House Party – If these walls could talk’ at one of our favourite undiscovered warehouse venues in London Bridge. The guest list consisted of media agencies and high-flyers and overall the event was a huge success for Fox Network resulting in a fantastic new working relationship for both Wonderland and Fox.

With so many big projects on the horizon it is difficult to single one out that we are most excited about for 2014. If we had to pick it would probably be the ongoing venture with a very high profile client to create something spectacular in Rio during the 2014 Fifa World Cup. Sshhh -we can’t say another word…

 

 

Amplify      Sally Walder, GM:

Amplify is the premium hospitality provider for the NIA and LG Arena, offering great food prepared by some of the UK’ s leading chefs, amazing seats and ultimate live event experiences. 

2014 is set to be a bumper year for Amplify with a great variety of acts already lined up and ready to entertain the visitors of the prestigious Birmingham venues.

Some of the top acts gracing the stage this year include Beyoncé, American rockers The Eagles and the legendary cast of Riverdance.  At these events, plus many more from the worlds of music, comedy and sport, we offer a first-class experience that will give an evening to remember.

With three hospitality levels to choose from; Freestyle, Club and Air, the evening can be tailored to guests’ exact specifications whether the show is at the NIA or LG Arena.

For over 20 years both arenas have delivered great hospitality, allowing members to relax and enjoy their evening in style.  Constantly striving to improve its customer experience, last year the brand re-launched its amplify air members’ restaurant, located on the ground floor of the LG Arena.  The refurbishment significantly enhanced the interior of the facility, benefiting from a premium feel and a contemporary and luxurious dining area.  This features a brand new bar area where guests are able to enjoy a canapé and a glass of champagne before their show.

The NIA offers exclusive surroundings for amplify customers, with the opportunity for them to reserve seats in its luxury Showcubes, that are complete with private bars. 

  

Keith Prowse   Neil MacLaurin, MD:

Corporate hospitality is definitely seeing a return to its pre-2008 level. However, there is a marked move for clients to show a return on such investments. The advent of compliance programmes, relating specifically to corporate entertaining, has brought hospitality in front of board level decision makers, not just within the FTSE 100s but SMEs too. Consequently, there now exists a better understanding of entertaining and its importance within the wider marketing mix. 

We are definitely seeing that entertaining is considered more strategically when budgets are set, be it for brand engagement, relationship building or employee and client incentives. While demand is being driven with a more strategic approach to budgeting, it cannot be dismissed that our home-grown sporting talent is spawning interest too.  

Andy Murray's triumph at The Championships, Wimbledon last year saw enquiry levels soar the following day for 2014’s packages.

Cricket at Edgbaston has been of huge interest too; the first-phase of ticket sales for the NatWest International T20 Match ( 7th September) sold out in record time. At the Kia Oval the Corinthian Roof Terrace is fast becoming a hot spot of post-match action with its stunning views over the capital, BBQ menus and DJ beats.  

Twickenham, the home of England rugby, has been a perennial favorite for guests and is a fitting entertaining option to round off the winter months. England will take on Ireland this February and defending RBS 6 Nations Champions Wales in March. Talent on the field is complemented with the talent of Michelin starred British chef Jason Atherton, owner of Pollen Street Social and noted TV chef, who is responsible for creating menus for hospitality packages in the St George’s Suite. 

New for 2014 are our redefined hospitality areas at the Aegon Championships; the first of the season’s grass court tennis tournaments will see the launch our new ‘hybrid hospitality’ on The Roof Garden. The concept encourages a laid back day;  roaming canapés and bites, theatrical chefs grazing tables, a moreish surf ‘n’ turf centerpiece along with matching wines and beers throughout the day.

The palate of today’s hosts and guests is particularly sophisticated. Hence we work with a roster of some of the world’s best chefs, including Albert Roux OBE and Jason Atherton, to create menus and experiences that reflect a savvy palate and a once-in-a-lifetime day.  

Without doubt our heritage, business focused approach and high-profile appointments are setting us in good stead for a positive outlook in 2014.

 

 

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