Work with a trust travel provider and professional — we are your best friend as we advocate and work on your behalf. We are a true resource and have a lot of experience as well as connections to help you get the most from your trip
As part of my series about “How To Create A Travel Experience That Keeps People Coming Back For More”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Duncan Greenfield-Turk.
Duncan is a multi-award winning travel designer helping to curate moments that matter, by providing worry and hassle free travel planning and advice, Duncan believes that everyone no matter their sexuality or gender expression deserves the same opportunity to experience the world and enjoy moments that matter.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Originally from Cape Town South Africa where he studied hospitality, Duncan has over two decades of global luxury hospitality experience. Duncan discovered his love of sales and marketing in Ireland while working for what was then the leading hotel group in the country JurysDoyle.
During his career Duncan was a member of the pre-opening and opening team at the now famed Corinthia Hotel London where he held multiple roles. Duncan has also held roles with Jumeirah and St. Pancras Renaissance and in 2017 he played a key role in the rebrand, repositioning and launch of the highly successful luxury lifestyle boutique hotel The Trafalgar St. James.
Throughout his career Duncan has been privileged to work alongside some of the most exceptional hoteliers and has developed long-standing, close relationships with clients and partners across multiple sectors.
Duncan believes that by leveraging past experience and continuing to build on existing relationships, he is perfectly positioned to provide tailored and individual support to each of our clients.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Several stories spring to mind but I suppose the most interesting to date has been assisting clients to travel safely from abroad throughout the covid pandemic. At the start it was very much about getting them home safely and then as travel became possible it has been ensuring they have access to the relevant rules and regs about what has been and continues to be possible. The last two years while tough have been the most interesting for me as its allowed me to further develop my own crisis management tools first hand.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t think any mistake is funny — however one that springs to mind was when I booked my own flight and forgot to double check the date/day and arrived at the airport a day late. It is funny now that I look back on it as it taught me that checking the details at every stage and reconfirming times, dates and responsibilities is the most important thing in setting up success.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?
Travel is about connecting people to communities and culture, its about experience and I believe that we as travel professionals and providers have an obligation to help people experience moments that matter when they travel irrespective of how they present and who they love. By focusing on suppliers, destinations and operators that have this at their core I am focused at changing the industry from within one step at a time through education and by only working with suppliers that are advocates and allies
Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation and how do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?
As I touched on earlier, I strongly believe that everyone no matter their sexuality or gender expression truly deserves the opportunity to discover and experience the world and enjoy moments that matter. I see my role as being one of educating and working with trusted partners who are willing to support changing the industry to be more inclusive for all
As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share a few examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?
This is an interesting question as I am already seeing changes in how my clients are travelling.
The take away is as follows
- Long term planning 12–18 months for trips more than 1 week
- Short term planning 3–9 months for trips 3–6 days
- Willing to spend more for security of cancellation
- Not willing to commit until at least 3–6 months out but want the guarantee of the reservations being held
- Last minute travel is happening but not as frequently
- For my UK clients they are all waiting to see what happens in 2022 with many considering trips in Q3 and beyond
- For my US clients they are eager to travel and are willing to inside of the next 6 months
- The top destinations clients have enquired about are the Maldives, Africa and Thailand
- Open spaces and being in the middle of nowhere are the new luxury for clients
You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?
Such a great question, for me the perfect holiday really depends on who is going. My advice to clients is always to aim for balance so if one person loves the beach and ocean and the other loves to explore cities choose the destination that can incorporate both. But be adventurous and don’t be afraid to go somewhere off the beaten path.
My top 5 tips are
- Book with a travel professional to protect your travel plans
- Choose a destination based on what you enjoy most
- Mix relaxation with adventure to keep you stimulated- leave the phone at home
- If you are a foodie make sure you have options available
- Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path
Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.
Wellness is so much more than just focusing on having a massage it’s about nature, its about food, its about down time and shutting off. For me I look at suppliers as partners in this journey and so understanding what a client needs to relax and unwind plays a huge role in which partners I work with and put forward. Through the pandemic. I have been focused on connecting with existing and new suppliers through trade events and shows.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience that keeps bringing people back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.
For me the 5 most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience are
- Work with a trust travel provider and professional — we are your best friend as we advocate and work on your behalf. We are a true resource and have a lot of experience as well as connections to help you get the most from your trip.
- Price is not the focus of travel — you should be looking at value and experience as well as what you are getting for your money. Remember that an algorithm will never understand you the way a human being does
- Expect to pay for the services of a professional travel planner — you pay to have your car serviced, your taxes filed, etc — travel professionals charge because they understand the value of your time
- Not all holidays are equal — some travel providers have access to exclusive perks, privileges and more. They have stronger relationships with suppliers which enable them to exceed expectations
- Always plan where you are going to stay before you book your flights. I have had clients book flights then arrange a villa and the villa was twice the price as they arrived and departed mid-week
Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I like to believe that I give back at every opportunity, through mentoring, conversation and by being a trusted resource. I am an advocate for inclusivity and promote this at every opportunity too.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Tom Daley the British diver recently said that countries who still hold LGBTQIA+ individuals as lesser citizens and have criminalized them should not be able to host international sports tournaments such as the Olympics — I believe that these countries should not be able to promote tourism until they decriminalize and change the way they view everyone to be more inclusive
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Yes if they search @luxurylondonguy on instagram, facebook and twitter
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
About The Interviewer: Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and to cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified wellness coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), stage 3 cancer survivor, podcaster, writer, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC.
Savio pens a weekly newsletter at thehumanresolve.com where he delves into secrets from living smarter to feeding your “three brains” — head 🧠, heart 💓, and gut 🤰 — in hopes of connecting the dots to those sticky parts in our nature that matter.
He has been featured on Fox News, and has collaborated with Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, Food Network, WW, and Bloomberg. His mission is to offer clients, listeners, and viewers alike tangible takeaways in living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.
Savio lives in the suburbs of Westchester County, New York and continues to follow his boundless curiosity. He hopes to one day live out a childhood fantasy and explore outer space.