It was a total delight to welcome you to the Rocco Forte Verdura Resort last week – and it was an extra special pleasure to welcome you to my home country.
Thank you for taking the time to participate. I hope you found it a valuable experience.
My emotions were all over the place for the first few days whilst we setup everything for the event. So many of the activities brought back so many vivid memories of my childhood spent with my parents and grandparents. It’s been so long since I experienced the simple joy of the sights, smells and sensations of Italy (and Sicily itself). The combination of rosemary, oregano, basil, the scent from the Olive trees, the Lemon trees, the fabulous cuisine at the Verdura… All of it combined to remind me of the importance of relationships. Wasn’t Sicily fantastic?
I thought the hotel team did a superb job. Once again I must thank them for their continual attention to detail and support at every stage of the event.
It was wonderful to see you all participating with energy and enthusiasm at every stage.
It’s always exciting to see so many new faces join us on the Sunday evening for our informal drinks and leave on the Tuesday evening having created a series of business relationships that I hope will last a lifetime.
Quite a few people commented on the anticipation that was infusing the ballroom on Monday morning. I had to take a breath and steady myself as you all assembled for my first address. I remember thinking about the combined industry experience in the room — it must have numbered hundreds if not thousands of years!
Then watching Peppe Mendola from Essence of Sicily arrive into the ballroom in that tiny red Fiat 500… I’m still smiling about that now. Congratulations on delivering one of the most memorable moments of the three days Peppe… If anyone at all is planning a trip to Sicily, you must look up Peppe to guarantee a phenomenal set of memories.
Watching Irene Forte stand before everyone radiating confidence, poise and experience was true highlight. I was so pleased she was able to attend, not least to represent the Rocco Forte brand and our host hotel, but also to highlight the growing influence of the millennials on the luxury marketplace. She represents a customer segment with totally different expectations from the standard view — and to hear (and challenge) her views on the industry was superb. Thank you so much Irene.
I have to thank the series of new friends I made trying to complete a single hole during the golf activity. It took me thirty minutes to reach the green, I’m sorry to say. But It was a phenomenal bonding experience for us all, if not slightly frustrating for me… And our golf pro who was very, very patient!
To our keynote speakers Ewan and Claudia, can I say thank you for the stimulation! I really enjoyed the atmosphere and message of Claudia’s authentic amphitheatre experience. Thank you for the edge-of-the-seat ride with your presentation Ewan… You were particularly robust and that’s exactly what I asked for — and that really helped us all evaluate your message in a helpful manner I think.
It was a delight to see Rob Sinclair-Barnes from our global technology partner Amadeus striding the stage and helping manage our debates. Thank you Rob. I think the output that he presented was fascinating and I cannot wait to read the finished report. Thank you all for taking the time to participate so wholeheartedly. I think the end product will be really valuable. I’ll make sure we get a copy to you all.
I must make a nod to our official groundhandler, Autoservizi Raia. They kept us all on schedule and make sure we were delivered to the right points and the right time. Thank you!
Once again thank you to Peppe Mendola from our experience provider, Essence of Sicily. Peppe, I still can’t get the image of the Fiat driving into the ballroom out of my mind!
To the team from The Telegraph — our favourite global publication! — thank you for making the time to network with everyone.
To our videographers Travizeo, thank you Carole and Giancarlo. I cannot wait to see the final event video! The photos from our photographer Jack are simply brilliant and you can see them all here: Official Image Gallery Connections Luxury Sicily
Finally — and once again — thank you to the Rocco Forte team at Verdura Resort. What a wonderful, wonderful set of memories we all have thanks to your considerable efforts. It was an absolute joy. Thank you to Ivan, Daniele, Irene and everyone at the resort.
Right then… I’m off to start work on our next events… Next up is our Connections Meetings event in Malaga and then our next Connections Luxury is in Phuket in June. Peter, Evangeline, Greg, David, Alex and I hope to see you all soon!