Affordable Luxury Q&A: Cindy Hoddeson, Visit Monaco

We spoke with Cindy Hoddeson, director meeting & incentive sales for Visit Monaco to learn her thoughts on affordable luxury.

Q: How does the name Monaco deliver high ROI for the luxury market?

A: Monaco and its famed Monte Carlo district conjure up images of royalty, Formula I racing, James Bond and lifestyles of the rich and famous. Many have seen Monaco on the silver screen in films such as Monte Carlo Baby, To Catch a Thief, Iron Man II and Golden Eye to name a few.  The perceived value far exceeds the actual cost. From the announcement of a trip to Monaco, goals are set, the excitement builds. Prospective participants work toward the dream of the trip by achieving their business goals.

Q: What are the primary requests coming from planners to help them lower spend at luxury hotels/destinations?

A: One of the top trends we see to help reduce spend is a request to give participants more free time. Qualifiers may welcome the freedom and perceive the unstructured time as an added luxury. One definition of luxury is things or experiences that cost relatively little but provide immense satisfaction: an independent stroll or a visit at leisure to a museum. For the cost of a coffee, one can sit at the Café de Paris on the Casino Square, people watch and view an extraordinary collection of Bugattis, Ferraris and Aston Martins. A display of mega yachts awaits those who mosey down to the harbor. For those discovering Monaco for the first time, The Monaco Government Tourist Office can provide maps of the “Princess Grace Trail,” a walking tour including 25 locations with display boards depicting key events in the life of Princess Grace. The Tourist Office can also provide copies of our “Enchanted Holiday Planner” which has themed itineraries, such as Art & Architecture to inspire individuals to pursue their own interests.

Q: How can planners use cultural venues and events to create a heightened luxury experience?

A: Luxury has been defined as great experiences so rare and sensually orchestrated, the experience and memories of them are so precious that they are luxury products. Monaco has very rich event calendar of one of a kind experiences. The Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra performs in the Cours d’Honneur (Palace Courtyard) during the summer season. Group blocks can be secured.  Dine all’aperto in summer during the International Fireworks Festival. One can organize a cocktail reception in the atrium of the iconic Casino de Monte Carlo now celebrating its 150th anniversary. One can hire private terraces for F1 race viewing. And during April, the Monte Carlo Rolex Tennis Masters at the Monte Carlo Tennis Club is a showcase for top players like Nadal and Djokovic, with spectacular views of the Mediterranean in the background. Possibilities abound.