VISIT CUBA NOW, OR DIE.

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The ¨El Pais¨ newspaper announces today the new project that is coming in Cuba for the Year 2022 (there´s not any info in english about this issue yet). A new 5* luxury tower hotel that totally breaks the traditional architecture in the Island. It seems as¨vanguard¨ finally reaches Cuba too.

This initiative is the first one announced by the new Cuban Government after the recent nomination of Mr. Miguel Diaz-Canel as President in Cuba, after Castro´s Regime. And a short while after as well, the Kempinski Resorts chain opened the first 5* luxury hotel in Cuba, just one year ago.

This new growing context will build a huge renovation in what is currently considered as ¨the last communist stronghold in Human History¨. In this sense, my personal opinion is that Cuba probably will try to rescue once the old and almost forgotten atmospheres of the casinos, the Cabaret Tropicana Club, the smoked atmospheres full of cigars and cocktails… the ¨famous Cuba¨ that we all have in mind.

 

BUT WHY WILL EVERYTHING BE ¨DIFFERENT¨ NOW??.

After 60 years of real ¨survival¨, the recent cuban generations are not prepared to not even guess what the concept of ¨real luxury¨ means. Just hardly the 5% of the population in the Island can speak fluent english for instance, and the teenagers love now wearing luxury clothing brands, without taking any consideration for the authentic or fake clothes. They are not used to take care of their traditions eather, and the Reggaeton music is killing today the old salsa and the guajira traditional tendencies.

In this way, the cuban ¨mystical soul¨ is in a current danger of extinction, and involving this context, I´m pretty sure the next luxury tourists that arrive the Island in the future, will get a total ¨shock¨ for what they were supposed to be expecting to find in the Island, versus what their eyes will really see in front of them. ..What I lived for three years there, definitely no ¨luxury visitor¨ will be able to experience it again.

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WHAT WILL THE FUTURE VISITORS ¨NOT SEE¨ IN CUBA??.

They will not be able to pay in a double national-foreign currency, and you can´t imagine how BIG! this change is. The Cuban soul has traditionally emerged from a complex ¨deal¨, where the locals developed their intelligence to survive buying in the local markets, to later resell everything in the foreign environments. This was the strategic beginning of a human interaction between cubans and foreigners, to obtain for instance real exclusive cigars from the Partagas Company, or amazing white rum bottles from the Havana Club Factory. Both of each parts were earning their owns interests in these kind of relations, and all this originated later a beautiful relation of real ¨friendship¨ among them. In the end, and according to their hospitality (cubans are very thankful and they really appreciate your interest for them), you finished visiting their homes, attending their private familiar parties, knowing the real cuban ¨idiosyncrasy¨, and in that moment you began to become a ¨one more cuban¨.

This is how I met Mr. Alberto Granados ( the man who rode with Che Guevara on an idealistic motorcycle odyssey through South America in the early 1950s), or such local famous artists as Tania from ¨Bamboleo¨ and Pablo Menendez from ¨Mezcla¨, the Otero family from the ¨Cojo Otero¨ personal helicopter pilot of Fidel Castro in the Cuban Revolution, relevant politics in their private parties at the Hemingway Marina as Isidro Leal, the Havana City Historian, or recognized pioneer celebrities in the Island as Mongo P, the founder of the mythical ¨Bodeguita del Medio¨. You can even find in the way, shocking surprises never imagined as a german motorbike from the World War II.

All these amazing people and unforgettable anecdotes, all these real human friends gained in the life path, appeared in my life thanks to a first beer with whoever any unknown local person found in any cuban street, and from a necessary humble predisposition from the tourist to reach the principles of other cultures such different to theirs as cuban culture is. In this sense, it is obligatory to leave the arrogance at home first. This is a good advice trust me.

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IN CONCLUSION:

I´m afraid we are currently living the last moments of a real ¨golden era¨ of Humanity, for a place where you can still find real ¨human beings¨ even today. If you are considering the idea of visiting Cuba in a ¨real luxury way¨, that goes beyond the just 5* caves and prioritizes other ¨5* experiences¨, then please don´t hesitate to contact me. Together we will explore all the facilities that the Island already offers as luxury villas, yachts, classic sedans and amazing restaurants according to a luxury concept, but going deeper as well in the field of emotions through the ¨unique experiences¨, that just a few privileged people can reach worldwide.

You will not regret, this is a last call for demanding travellers. History lives.

For further info visit   www.jmaspain.com/cubaincentivetravel

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Luxury is the opposite of vulgarity.

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Well, I think it is time to speak clearly about some things.

What exactly should be the concept of ¨Luxury¨?. The extraordinaire founder of all these things Ms. Coco Chanel used to say: ¨Luxury is the opposite of vulgarity¨.

According to this, I guess we should all thoroughly review this concept that is worryingly beginning to get ¨diluted¨ (into I do not ¨what¨), step by step in this 21st. Century. You just have to check in Instagram for the hashtag ¨#Luxury¨, and I guess you will realize what I am trying to mean now.

 

THE GOOSE THAT LAYS THE GOLDEN EGGS.

I mean we should necessary begin to make a stop and think about all these things carefully, before we kill ¨that goose¨. Specially now when the Luxury Industry presents its best global perspectives ever for the near future, with a 9%/year growth up to the year 2025, driven by a growing Chinese middle class and a recovery in more mature worldwide markets, such as the new Millenials era; that ¨tech-savy¨ generation that will represent 45 percent of overall luxury consumption, with Asian consumers accounting for more than half.

The biggest reference worldwide in the Luxury Market, the Jumeirah Group, is about to expand its hotel offer with at least five new resorts and the launch of a new lifestyle brand. The other ¨giant¨ in this context, the Marriot Group, is planning to open 40 Luxury Hotels in 2018, which demonstrates we are already IN a new golden era of Luxury.

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THE MOMENT TO LAY THE FOUNDATIONS.

However, I guess we are doing something wrong when experts need to incise the concepts of ¨real Luxury¨, or ¨true Luxury¨, as if they were forced to make a difference for what might be currently happening.

..Can we conceive as ¨Luxury¨ the first tourist trip around the Moon planned for the end of 2018??.

..Is ¨that¨ what Ms. Coco Chanel was referring as ¨Luxury¨ in the 20th. Century??.

..Or on the other hand, are we changing the rules now??. Are we considering ¨Luxury¨ as for instance the beach club parties where attendants spray 1,000eu. bottles of champagne??.

Because this is really happening today, and I guess these numbers are also included in all the ¨analysis¨ related to the future of the Luxury Industry. In this sense, I am afraid we might be unconsciously creating a new market bubble where the concept of ¨Luxury¨ is just becoming a powerful tool for the client attraction.

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WE NEED TO RESCUE THE ¨HIGH CLASS¨ CONCEPT.

In the current moment when plenty of ¨outsiders¨ are entering the market of Luxury, I guess ¨exclusivity¨ is something that begins to lose its essence. Now, everybody with ¨simply money¨ can afford what before was just reserved for the privileged. This is a process with no apparent limit, that probably began with the gestation of the new generation of rich sportsmen who raised from non-privileged environments. People that began to behave like most of the current ¨Millenials¨ do today.

In this way, it would be really opportune to make an exhaustive balance for what the National Basketball Association (NBA) was in the USA thirty years ago, and what it has really become these days. Make a proper comparison for what players like Julius Erving, Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan behaved in their golden days, and the current celebrities that surpass this sport today. I do not just mean tattoos or mega cars (probably everything began through the forward Dennis Rodman). I mean getting out of jail to play the games.

..And I guess this is sadly and worryingly detrimental for the current concept of ¨Luxury¨. In the end, we all have to be aware of how Millenials behave today as their heroes do. The ¨monster¨ is already being fed.

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EXCLUSIVE SOLUTIONS FOR VULGAR CHALLENGES.

The ¨real¨ luxury traveler already knows about all these things, and the industry must now adjust its strategies to the new ¨tsunami¨ that it will face in the next few years. I think it is time for the ¨unique experiences¨ conceived as ¨high class actions¨, not based in tangible resources but inapproachable and educated live enjoyments.

In this sense, CREATIVITY will be the next powerful tool to satisfy the high expectations for ¨exclusivity¨, that Luxury consumers will demand from now on. Luxury providers will be forced to create authentic ¨lifestyles¨, more than just fleeting moments.

According to this, 1. influence at the time of attending events will gain prominence to the detriment of the affluence. 2. Wellness will beat the eccentricity. 3. Authenticity will end up with vulgarity. 4. Education will delimit the class.  5. Segmentation will prevail over the crowds. 6. Limited editions will become the real trend. 7. Ethical offers will be a must. 8. Long term exclusive  attention will make the difference. 9. Engagement will build customer fidelity. 10. Higher prices will make ¨Luxury¨ just affordable for the real luxury consumers. These are my personal trends for the next years.

Definitely, ¨once in a lifetime experiences¨ will give rise to the next ¨Real Luxury¨ providers. In this way, I would say the Luxury Market will get into a new era of ¨Status¨. We are in the moment of determining the differences for the ¨High Class Luxury¨ versus the ¨Low Class Luxury¨.

The first ones leading this challenge, will place their brands in the new coming market. The same one that probably will rescue the essence of what Ms. Coco Chanel spoke about once.

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Merry Christmas to you all (the making-of).

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In this current World where everything is getting ¨globalized¨, it is wonderful to see there are still cultural differences that make us ¨authentic¨. This is something that we always need to take in consideration, specially in the events management market.

In my case for the context of Spain, it is really different handling groups of people coming from England, Germany, India, Mexico or the USA. Jews, Christians or Muslims, they all have their own ¨specifications¨; habits, tastes, concepts and social rules that make all of them different one to each other. For instance, in China brides dress in red, but in the other hand this color is used for funerals in South Africa. In Europe the black color is associated to elegance and power (even still mourning), but in India this color represents the concept of the devil. I was once in a Jewish wedding where no waiter was able to touch the food or serve the wine; just the ¨kohen¨ was allowed to. That would be an ¨offence¨ in Spain, and this fortunately makes me think we are still ¨culturally rich¨. This is wonderful.

Something similar happened to me in these days, at the moment of designing my Christmas card that I sent to my people. I initially made two different ¨drafts¨, that finally both work as different messages according to their different targets. The ¨SANTA¨ option is for the Anglo market, and the ¨THREE WISE MEN¨ option is for the Latin world.

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To be honest I like both, but before taking the final decision, I made the opportune market research checking the impressions from my friends abroad. I asked people from England, the USA, Germany and New Zealand. You know in the Anglo world they do not celebrate the ¨Three Wise Men Day¨, and they saw this option as an invitation for a cool travel to Saudi Arabia or Morocco. ..LOL that was hilarious, I could not believe it when I noticed about it.

At the same time, some of them thought it was weird to them seeing Santa Claus flying close to the sun, when they always believed he was traveling in the night. Even some of them automatically thought that that ¨sphere¨ originally was the moon. I had to explain the concept to them, about the ¨hook metaphor¨ of this Christmas card: I am supposed to be in SPAIN, the country where the sun never sets, and ¨winter¨ is just an empty word. This is why Spain can never be associated to the ¨moon¨, and the reason for ¨Santa¨ to finally decide to fly close to the Paradise. He enjoys life too..

(Anyway!),.. I wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a PRODUCTIVE NEW YEAR. May all your dreams and wishes come true, and I will be really happy if that happens.

You are all invited to enjoy a ¨magical craving¨ experience here.

Event trends for 2018. The Year for the ¨exclusive interaction¨.

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This is the moment when you can read lots of ¨Year 2017´s annual balances¨ and ¨2018´s trends¨. Among all these last ones, I found a 22 trend selection article from Eventbrite which I think ¨rocks¨. Everything what you can read there is really opportune (..well, I do not agree with trend #14 but the rest is wicked, you can draw plenty of conclusions. Congrats Ms. Bel Booker, the author).

According to all this, I decided to brief what I consider the ¨tendencies¨ for the Year 2018 in the industry of events as following now.

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I need to warn the reader first:

Everything contained in this post is written under an estimation of ¨normal market conditions¨ for the Year 2018. This means: Mr. Donald Trump´s assertion of Jerusalem will not affect the global market of events, neither a possible war with North Korea, or a hypothetical global recession according to whichever convulsing news.

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THE YEAR FOR THE SELECTIVE AND INTERACTING EVENTS.

I think 2018 will be the year for ¨live interactive events¨. From now on, nothing will be useful unless you do not make your real target interact with your product, with your network or with your environment. In this way, this will be the year of ¨Family Events¨, understood as people with deep affinities meeting and joining all together, like a kind of ¨family¨ around your objectives pursued. Now massive business concentrations will get more and more selective at the precise moment of making their calls, in order to find the ¨affinity and reciprocity¨ between the attendants.  It will be not more valid just generating ¨irrelevant cold leads¨ for a huge database, just because you missed the opportunity of making people live ¨AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCES¨ with you first.

From now on, big trade fairs will be forced to make ¨selective atmospheres¨ for their real potential targets. This thing called the ¨professional days¨ is currently becoming a joke (..I guess I am not the only one saying this). And now the real professional targets demand ¨real professional workshops¨, in order to obtain the ¨real professional interaction ¨ for their network interests. This is what commonly is known as ¨separate the chaff from the wheat¨.

There will be smaller incentives, smaller presentations, smaller conventions and even smaller weddings too. Everything will get more ¨exclusive¨ from now on, and this will mean everything will get more ¨accurate¨ too. In this sense, the proposals from all of us the event planners,  will must offer the professional level as expected by the clients, according to their real potential targets; the direct ¨shot¨ towards the affinity of their key audiences. Everything conceived as a search for the ¨excellence¨ and the budget optimization, delivering end to end selective live experiences, according to the objectives previously marked.

A kind of ¨delicacy events¨ gathering ¨key people¨. I guess that will be great for everybody.

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HUMAN INTERACTIVITY WILL BE THE REVOLUTION.

We will see new methods of real human interaction (beyond technology interaction) among the attendants. Probably many of the new experiences will be based on the traditional team building techniques, applied now to this new kind of ¨Family events¨.

I guess we will see as well an advance for new technologies specifically generated for the ¨live emplacement interaction¨, more effective than the ¨distant social networks¨, via mobile apps or video games working at the place. This will make the attendants of an event, real ¨influencers¨ in their social networks later, when they share their experiences as ¨leading agents¨ of an action. From now on, the corporate brands will get ¨desirable¨ by the human role evidenced by their audiences at their experiences offered.

This will be as well the year for the internet big influencers and masters of ceremonies with REAL PR SKILLS, such as all the secondary participating agents of an event as hostesses, chefs, assistants, coaches and entertainers, who will have necessarily to play a new more ¨human¨ role on behalf of the ¨interaction¨. They will become an strategic active part of the new events generation.

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The cyborg anthropologist Amber Case (USA, 1987) said it clearly just four days ago in Madrid: ¨Technology is not bad, but its use is disconnecting us. We will solve it giving space to think and live real experiences¨.

Innovation vs. Improvement in events.

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-I am deeply mindful of this.-

What is an ¨innovation¨?.  Where are the ¨innovations¨ at the whole IPhone´s history?. Probably, as global speaker Gijs van Wulfen says in his wise article (highly recommended), the only real innovation comes with the first IPhone´s version, when nothing existed before. After this, everything becomes an ¨improvement¨ in the whole process, even tough everybody finally perceives the IPhone as a ¨constant innovation¨ process. Here we would enter now the field of the ¨commercial strategies¨.

And this an appropriate example for what I want to mean in these lines today.

¨Innovating¨ is, for instance, generating a first worldwide hotel in Japan managed by robots. Technology supplies the human relations, and destiny lies in the artificial intelligence´s hands. That is today a complete revolution that might get successful in the future, or in the other hand, it could be a total failure. This is the risk that ¨innovators¨ assume when they are pioneering. In this case, this hotel was created ten months ago in Tokyo, and probably we will know the final balance of the action in minimum two years .

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SHOULD AN EVENT BE ¨INNOVATIVE¨ THEN?.

 

In the events industry, time frames are regularly associated to the ¨present results¨, so I guess it is really impossible to ¨real innovate¨ as we know the concept, without waiting for a minimum 2-year long process of analysis and monitoring before we decide if that ¨real innovation¨ worked. In this sense, innovation is not ¨magic¨, just lottery is if you are really lucky. This means, you do not have literally the chance for ¨experimenting¨, unless money is not a first priority.

As I said above, ¨innovation¨ gets into a ¨commercial perception¨ for all the communication strategies. Everything gets ¨desirable¨ when it is conceived as ¨innovative¨, and all the current markets for whichever field you want to imagine now, work like this (who did not ever read anything about an ¨innovative¨ product, idea, person or place?). Andrew Weinreich was a real innovator with his first social network (SixDegrees), and later Mark Mark Zuckerberg became the real ¨developer¨ who reached the success through the improvement. That is ¨Facebook¨.

This artificial-commercial status about ¨innovators¨ is usually not a real fact about ¨innovation¨ (in my opinion), when many times it just becomes a kind of ¨experimental laboratory¨ for new experiencers, that just sell their products from their buyers´ trust. Sometimes ¨innovative¨ actions do not improve results, they just create intangible concepts (..the IPhone´s detractors know this very well). It is well known for instance, that computer programmers do not like to use the latest versions of the operating systems, and they prefer using their current ones while they work, until the new versions in the market are completely established against failures. So the question for all of us in this moment is: ¨Why innovate?¨.

 

IMPROVEMENT IS THE BEST INNOVATION.

 

The concept of ¨innovation¨ should always be shared with a real perception about what your actions contribute for your target; ¨how¨ you optimize your strategy according to your tools. Otherwise, ¨innovation¨ might get the risk of becoming just a ¨disappointment¨ for your audience, according to the expectations generated before executing an action. An innovation should not go further than ¨what I can do my best for my audience to feel their best¨. In this way, I always say to my clients ¨improve yourself making everybody perceive you are innovating. But just improve, forget the risk¨. All the most successful cases worldwide do not risk in ¨innovative ideas¨, when their processes still work perfectly. Politicians, celebrities, multinational corporations… they are all in a constant ¨improvement¨ in search of the optimization, making their strategies adequate to the real needs. ¨Innovation¨ is for scientifics, and ¨vanguard¨ is for artists. A good event planner should battle for the ¨EXCELLENCE¨.

 

HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY EVENT THEN?.

 

I guess this is something that today is not being considered as relevant as should be. In fact, now you can see relevant ¨event gurus¨ that are repositioning their strategies as new ¨event consultants¨ for big companies. There is currently a huge new niche for them. They advise their clients about what is innovative and what is not, where should they invest and where should not, who they should work with and who not… They ¨optimize¨ the sector according to the new rules, the new tools and the future potential (…and that is great, we really need them). But they will never try to ¨experiment¨ when they are forced to demonstrate results.

In this way, I know very well Mr. Fermin Perez -ex CEO from ¨Global Events¨ agency, one of the biggest references in the events industry worldwide- for his new reference ¨Event Maker¨ in Spain, and I know for sure he would never put a penny in risk from his clients, when he is speaking about ¨innovative ideas¨. His most powerful resource is ¨CREATIVITY¨ in the artistic direction; when a group of mermaids can be more powerful than the latest app.

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Then, WHO NEEDS TO RISK WHEN YOU JUST CAN BE ¨CREATIVE¨?.

 

Lots of companies pursue the ¨surprise¨ for their targets within technological/conceptual ¨innovations¨ that can make them different from their competition. This is understandable, but I think they are mistaking when they are ignoring that the final balance of every event, is more related to the human perception for the network relations perceived in the action, than just ¨technology¨.  ..And today lots of event planners sadly fall in similar mistakes.

You can make a presentation of a new car in the market that comes flying from the sky, dress the venue with a last generation´s led lighting effects, make everybody interact with a huge screen through their mobiles,.. you can ¨innovate¨ with all these things, but if people do not how to use the interacting system, or if they forget ¨who¨ they have surrounding them, if the attendants just enjoy the event as ¨individual automatons¨, if you definitely do not make the whole context behave ¨HUMANLY¨, definitely you will be wasting your money.

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In this case, innovation will never get into the improvement but the ¨instant impact¨. That is no bad (..who does not like special effects?, I love them!), but I guess you should never base your event just on ¨innovation¨. Relevant worldwide references like ¨Cirque du Soleil¨ (Canada) or ¨La Fura del Baus¨ (Spain) are famous for that other powerful tool which, beyond technological innovation, it is simply called ¨IMAGINATION¨.

 

This rule is completely applicable to many other environments, and this is why my professional claim will always be ¨IDEAS THAT WORK¨. Forget ¨experimenting¨, and let´s go for the improvement. Do not jeopardize results; there is no better invention that what never failed before. IPhone knows it too, and its batteries never exploded. Samsung was in the forced moment to ¨innovate¨.

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