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Inspire Me

International Women’s Day 2021: Women Inspiring The Hospitality Industry

In honour of International Women’s Day, we’re spotlighting six phenomenal women in hospitality – including Mr & Mrs Smith CEO and Founder, Tamara Lohan, Judy Hutson, Designer of The Pig Hotels, and Pellicano Hotels CEO and Creative Director, Marie Louise Scio – who never fail to inspire.

Presenting their predictions vis-à-vis future travel trends and highlighting the initiatives they believe will help bolster them in this next phase of unfurling, hospitalities’ leading ladies share their candid responses to a year in flux.

Now, with a somewhat sunnier outlook for the year ahead, the collective also consider the destinations and hotels they can’t wait to visit (take note: further inspiration abounds).

With travel suggestions bookmarked, we’re heeding their sage advice and raising a glass of something sparkling to women the world over who continue to make our experiences of new places and spaces all the richer.


Carla Paravicini Sersale, CEO of Emporio Sirenuse

The most challenging part of the past year has been… and still is, managing the continuous uncertainty about tomorrow.

The silver lining was… that my boys came back to Italy and are now working with us, and that, despite all adversities, the future looks not so bad.

My predictions vis-à-vis future travel trends include: A return to normality. I still hope it can happen this summer as a sudden surprise.

Initiatives that will help boost travel and hospitality include: Massive vaccine distribution that will allow the lifting of local restrictions – and I have great hopes that in the next few months Italy and Europe may achieve both – the US and UK are showing us it’s actually possible.

The destination I’m most looking forward to visiting is… New York. I cannot wait to be back.

The hotel I’ll be checking in at: The Nomad Hotel, New York.

My first port of call will be… to their amazing bar and Michelin-starred restaurant.

I’ll be making memories with… Antonio Sersale, my husband and lifetime partner in all that matters to me.

Follow Carla here.

Dina De Luca Chartouni, Creative Director/ Co-Owner of The Lowell Hotel

The most challenging part of the past year has been… dealing with loss. The loss of our daily life, which we all took for granted. The loss of movement to travel and to seek new adventures. The loss of physical contact with others. And most significantly, the loss of human lives. I lost both my mother and my father during 2020, they did not die from COVID, but their losses coupled with the toll of human lives due to COVID, magnified the devastation and pain for me and my family. 

The silver lining was… I was forced to stop moving and stay in one place. It has been said that I am a person who tries to fit three lifetimes into one. Hence, I am always moving, doing, or going. As a person who practices yoga, I find the art of being still always challenging. As the pandemic began last March, I was in NYC and witnessed an international city find stillness for the first time in over 100 years. The streets were empty and the only noise was the piercing sirens of the ambulances going to the hospitals. The Lowell remained one of the few hotels opened in NYC, but my office was closed. My family had moved to the country and I remained in the city so that I could be close to my father and spend time with him, especially since my mother had just passed away. This concentrated time where I had little distractions and could focus on his needs and his care were truly a gift, since he passed five months later.  

My predictions vis-à-vis future travel trends: People will be seeking out travel that are adventurous and group related. Having had this time to think about one's life, I feel many will want to hit their bucket list in some fashion or another. The inability to gather with friends during the pandemic has left many desiring get-togethers. I myself have signed up to go with a group of friends on a very special trip to Antarctica this autumn.

Initiatives that will help boost travel and hospitality include: Flexibility with cancellation policies, security in cleanliness, and perhaps added bonuses of meals or vouchers to city museums.

The destination I’m most looking forward to visiting is… Italy. First stop is Rome, then the countryside of Naples, and onwards to the Amalfi Coast and Capri. Afterwards, I would like to head up to Sienna and bike through towns of Montepulciano and Pienza.

The hotel I’ll be checking in at: JK Capri. The hotel is my home away from home. Every time I depart the JK, I write jokingly into their book; "Please take care of my heart".

My first port of call will be… to sip a fresh white-peach Bellini on the JK terrace overlooking the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea.

I’ll be making memories with… my family and a few very special friends who join me every year for this special time in Capri. These moments are sacred.

Follow The Lowell Hotel here.

 

Judy Hutson, Designer at The Pig Hotels

The most challenging part of the past year has been… staying positive while working on projects whilst many suppliers and contacts were operating a reduced service working from home.

The silver lining was… working from home together with Robin rather than travelling around so much enabled us to focus on the projects in hand more easily.

My predictions vis-à-vis future travel trends: There appears to be huge pent up demand for staycations and in particular at hotel properties that are trusted to be safe.

Initiatives that will help boost travel and hospitality include: Reduction in VAT rate and the government putting focus behind our world-famous hospitality sector and shouting about it on the international stage.

The destination I’m most looking forward to visiting is… Kalkan, Turkey.

The hotel I’ll be checking in at: Hotel Villa Mahal, Kalkan.

My first port of call will be… getting a glass of local Lal rosé wine sitting on the terrace overlooking Kalkan Bay as the sun sets. Magical.

I’ll be making memories with… my husband, Robin.

Follow The Pig Hotels here.

 

Marie-Louise Sciò, CEO & Creative Director, Il Pellicano Hotels

The most challenging part of the past year has been… are you kidding me? You would need to scroll a long time to read!

The silver lining was… spending time with my son – who still has to find the silver lining in this! – but spending time with him was very enriching for my life.

My predictions vis-à-vis future travel trends: People will travel slower and better.

Initiatives that will help boost travel and hospitality include: Be human and genuine, providing personalised services. We have the opportunity to reinvent travel, to make it better, not just safer.

The destination I’m most looking forward to visiting is… all of Italy.

The hotel I’ll be checking in at: Hotel Il Pellicano!

My first port of call will be… the bar with our barman at Il Pellicano, Federico Morosi.

I’ll be making memories with… my closest friends.

Follow Marie-Louise here.

 

Sam de Teran, Creative Director, Cobbler’s Cove Barbados

The most challenging part of the past year has been… the uncertainty, the constant changes in travel protocol and the absence of any global leadership in efforts to contain the virus.

The silver lining was… the general pause has increased levels of thoughtfulness. I think we all have a better understanding now on the one hand of what we can do without moving from one place to another and on the other hand of how much we do really love to travel.

My predictions vis-à-vis future travel trends: Less trips abroad but longer, with deeper engagement in the cultures and communities we visit.

Initiatives that will help boost travel and hospitality include: I think that some form of vaccine passport will be welcome by everyone in the hospitality industry and I also feel that we need a fundamental re-think from the airline industry in terms of first, fuel consumption and second, ease and flexibility of booking. Those would be the changes most important to the consumer.

The destination I’m most looking forward to visiting is… Cuba and the wider Caribbean.

The hotel I’ll be checking in at: The Eclectico/ Paseo 206, Havana.

My first port of call will be… Downtown Havana.

I’ll be making memories with… I’d really like to travel with my dog, Cedric and I’d like to find all my friends at the other end. My family can stay behind. We’ve all seen quite enough of each other over lockdown. 

Follow Cobblers Cove Hotel here.

 

Tamara Lohan, CEO and Founder of Mr & Mrs Smith

The most challenging part of the past year has been… Our industry as a whole has been hit so hard by the pandemic. Although the outlook is brightening – we’re moving towards the positive easing of measures and we’re seeing bookings start to come flooding back – we’re all still battling through an ongoing lockdown with the vast majority of hospitality still closed here in the UK. It’s been an extraordinarily tough year navigating last-minute government mandates, global restrictions, closed borders, cancelled flight routes, and shuttered hotels – the entire world effectively grinding to a halt. Seeing the devastating effect it is having on communities who rely on hotels has been heart-breaking. So often our boutique hotels are the epicentre of a community – they will be vital in getting these communities back up and running and we need to support them in doing so.

The silver lining was… It's made us rethink what’s important to the company. Why do we exist? What should we be moving forward? We’ve divested ourselves of stuff we were doing that we didn’t need to do and focussed our efforts where we are really valued by our members. This time has certainly helped accelerate our thinking around sustainability for our business and how we can play our part in a more meaningful way – we’ve used this time to implement tangible schemes to reduce our carbon impact and we’re now donating to genuine long-term protection projects on land, with the World Land Trust, and at sea, with the Blue Marine Foundation. On reflection, there is probably some truth to the old adage of ‘never letting a good crisis go to waste’ and hopefully we can emerge better off for it. 

My predictions vis-à-vis future travel trends: Hopefully those shifts we’ve seen elsewhere – away from fast food and fast fashion, for example, towards more considered choices – will be echoed in the travel industry. I’m certainly not the first to hope that truly transformative travel is one of the positive outcomes of all of this. We’re seeing at a local level how people want to be more conscious of where and how they spend their money; that they want to help the businesses they care about. That same mindset when applied to travel – choosing to stay somewhere where you get a real sense of giving something back – can make those much-craved trips even more meaningful when we finally go on them. Related to that, I think we’ll see more people looking at alternatives to flying or doubling up on destinations to make the most of a flight and spend a bit more quality time in fresh surroundings, especially now we’re all so good at remote working. 

Initiatives that will help boost travel and hospitality include: Unsurprisingly, flexibility is the number one thing that our members want when considering travel right now. Having that something special to look forward to is really important, but so is that peace of mind of knowing that if things don’t go as well as hoped over the next few months, you won’t be losing out. I think a move away from the traditional ‘seasons’ will help the industry make up for lost time, too. With people desperate for a change of scenery, it won’t just be sunshine that’s sought, so the idea of Tuscany in winter, for example, with its hearty food, brilliant wine, amazing scenery, and better availability, is now really something to consider. 

The destination I’m most looking forward to visiting is… I’m really excited about seeing the new Six Senses Shaharut out in Israel’s Negev desert.

The hotel I’ll be checking in at: Six Senses Shaharut.

My first port of call will be… the Six Senses spa, there’s nothing like it to ease out the stresses, especially after a year like the one we’ve just had. But I think what most excites me is the thought – after staring at my own back garden for so long – of looking out over something as different as a desert! 

I’ll be making memories with… my husband James and our kids Tom and Ally – they are excellent travellers and have been missing our adventures too.

Follow Tamara Lohan here.

 

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