The international renowned hotelier was given the award during the Ultratravel Forum held on the eve of the world's exclusive ‘invitation only' event for the Asia-Pacific luxury travel community, ILTM Asia.
Amanresorts comprises 23 properties with 6 under construction and with fewer than a thousand rooms worldwide; the first property, Amanpuri (Place of Peace) was founded in 1987 in Thailand by Indonesian born Zecha, at a time when the concept of small boutique resorts was still in its infancy.
Now in its fifth year, ILTM Asia (www.iltm.net/asia) invites the world's definitive collection of luxury experiences and prestigious luxury travel products to meet with 370 of the most discerning buyers of luxury travel from the Asia Pacific region. The rapid growth in Asian travel markets has created a real need for the global industry to understand the region's many cultures and specific luxury travel trends at this pioneering event.
Speaking after receiving his award, Zecha said he regarded himself as being in the lifestyle business and not the hospitality industry and that he knew all his guests and their personal likes and dislikes.
"There are some 250,000 Aman “junkies” and we communicate with all of them personally and directly. They are the key to selecting and finding new properties as well,” he said.
On how he chose property locations he said, “I listen to my gut."
"I know within five minutes whether a site will be good for Aman or not as my gut tells me,” he said.
Last night's Ultratravel Forum comprised a panel of Asia-Pacific industry thought leaders representing some of the world's top luxury travel brands addressing the theme ‘Is the Asian Luxury Traveller dictated by culture, wealth or both?' hosted by journalist and former CNN Asia anchor Michelle Han.
The ILTM Asia Ultratravel Forum Panel featured:
• Steve Odell, Senior Vice President, Silversea
• Paul Dickinson, Sales & Marketing Director, Virgin Atlantic
• Peng Loh, Hotelier & Restaurateur
• Fiona Watson, Director Travel Benefits Marketing, American Express
Panelist's felt that Asian luxury travellers wanted the same things as their counterparts in the west but with adjustments to match cultural sensitivities and needs.
Luxury property owners need to be more attentive and intuitive and not treat Asian travellers as one homogenous group, as travellers from different countries in the region have different expectations of treatment and deliverables.
The Asian luxury traveller is also somewhat younger and looking to visit more unique destinations and participate in more adventurous programmes. This means that specifically tailored programmes and offerings which meet the requirements of travellers in Asia would have to be tailored and packaged.
The ILTM Asia event continues from 14 - 16 June inclusively at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre.
For further information on ILTM Asia and the Ultratravel Forum, visit www.iltm.net/asia.