News & Reviews News Do Not Disturb travel event 2023

Whilst nothing beats first-hand experience, it turns out I cannot be all places, everywhere, all at once.  That movie lied to me.

Nonetheless, even if omnipresence were possible, I tend to do a bit of this thing the kids like to call research.  I spend countless hours researching new properties before deciding to visit them myself, and one of the best ways to achieve this, contrary to popular opinion, is not loitering in Trafalgar Square and listening to the ramblings of a lunatic.  It’s not even going on TripAdvisor and reading one of the millions of fake reviews.  It’s via tradeshows.  Luckily for me, in a few short weeks, I will be heading to Borgo Egnazia in Italy, where one of the world’s best and most exclusive travel expos is taking place, Do Not Disturb.

Travel trade shows follow a formula not too dissimilar to speed dating, just with free pens instead of awkward silences.  The suppliers (the properties) select who they want to meet, we travel agents do the same, and then some algorithm and magic match everyone up.  The problem with other events we have attended is that you often end up with meetings that benefit no one, and everyone knows it, but just like speed dating, you have to politely suffer.  You sit there for twenty minutes pretending everything is fine, like when one of you farted, and you both know it, but no one wants to say anything.

Everyone thinks their property is the best, but there is a massive range between what five-star luxury means to different people.  We’re only interested in the top end, so getting paired with someone whose properties’ USP is the percentage drop in recent shark attacks doesn’t quite cut it.  We rarely have clients enquiring about South America or Australasia; I still keep an eye on new openings, but it’s not our focus.  So you can bet that means 20% of the meetings will somehow end up with some four-star hotels in Australia with a sales rep that looks remarkably like the bad guy from Wolf Creek.

That does not happen at Do Not Disturb – it’s focused entirely on the ultra-luxury market: private jets, yachts, villas, exclusive-use properties and private islands.  That is precisely the market we’re in.  Every meeting I have been allocated is someone worth chatting to, from private lodges for winter sports in Finland and Aspen to exclusive use safari lodges in South Africa to islands in the Indian Ocean to villas in Greece.

Take a look at the list of attendees.  The big boys are there, like Aman, Airelles, Mandarin Oriental Exclusive Homes, Four Seasons Private Retreats, Singita and Cheval Blanc.  But where it’s exciting, and what I’m interested in, are the boutique, ultra-luxury properties, like Thanda, Ol Jogi, Octola, and White Desert, plus a lot of private islands like North Island, Miavana, Elang and Ithaafushi – and a whole host of properties I will pretend I already knew of.  It’s going to be great.


If there are any properties you’re interested in or think I should talk to, comment away.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 3rd Nov '23

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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