Our mission is to keep raising the bar on travel experiences, so that WOW trips just keep getting better. One way we do this is by gathering together every few years with the Trusted Travel Experts on The WOW List for brainstorming, problem solving, and innovating. That’s what our WOW Travel Summits are all about.
Our 4th WOW Travel Summit happened earlier this month, when Wendy, Kristine, Florie, Hannah, and I gathered with our WOW Listers in Oslo, Norway. These experts carved out time in their busy calendars and flew to our chilly but beautiful Summit headquarters, the Scandic Holmenkollen Park hotel, from as far away as Thailand, New Zealand, and Mauritius.
The unique brain trust in our meeting room combined expertise in travel across all seven continents with a collective mission to continue making WOW trips more and more wow—“pushing the limits of extraordinary,” in Wendy’s words.
This year’s Summit was a particularly special one, as our last gathering took place just on the cusp of Covid, in January 2020. The trip planners in the room this time around were the ones who had survived—and thrived—in spite of a worldwide pandemic, the subsequent head-spinning return to travel, and the inflation and conflicts that have since affected many parts of the globe. So there was time for celebration, from our opening-night cocktail party to toasts of aquavit after a festive dinner of reindeer with beets and root vegetables—and even a lucky glimpse of the northern lights, a rarity in Oslo.
During the Summit, the WendyPerrin.com team shared recent trends we’ve discerned from the trip requests we receive every day. A sampling:
As a number of Trusted Travel Experts shared how they’ve continued to raise the bar for WOW trips, a theme crystallized: While A.I. and other technology can streamline certain simple tasks, nothing will replace the human touch essential to designing one-of-a-kind, custom-tailored trips:
World-renowned explorer Børge Ousland regaled the group with stories of his impressive exploits: He’s the first person to have completed solo, unsupported journeys across Antarctica and to the North Pole, but his latest achievement is thoughtfully designing and building (sometimes as a one-man construction crew) Manshausen, a remarkable resort on a remote private island in northern Norway, with glass-fronted cabins that let in sweeping views of the sea—and sometimes the northern lights.
Kevin Roberts, from flight-booking service Cranky Concierge, joined us to share a host of new routes; you’ll find these new nonstops to smaller European cities, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia in Nonstop Flights to Make Your Travels Easier. He also shared his perspective on when to book flights—the upside in holding out for a lower price is usually smaller than the potential downside of higher fares and fewer seats—and a strategy to fend off the inevitable airline delays and cancellations these days: Get as close to your destination as you can, as quickly as you can. In other words, if you’re flying to Poland and have to connect somewhere, do it in Europe rather than in the U.S.
We are deeply grateful to WOW Lister Torunn Tronsvang, who tirelessly worked her connections in Norway to make this Summit happen. I lost count of the number of WOW List trip-planning experts who told me how energized they were by the knowledge shared at the Summit, and how many new ideas they’d be bringing back to their offices. Here’s to even more extraordinary trips in 2024 and beyond!
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