Interview

Beat Bopp: Every trip is unique

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March 3, 2020

Founded in October 2006, Signature Travels prides itself on creating fully personalised, tailor-made and unique experiences for their clients, incorporating the concept of ‘simple luxury’ and exploring the roads less travelled.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m native Swiss, born in Zurich. I’ve lived in Switzerland, England, Canada, the US and Scandinavia and worked in the financial industry for more than 25 years.

Around 12 years ago, when I was running a Family Office in Sweden, I decided to change my life completely. Inspired by the travel work I did for members of the Family Office; I founded a start-up company with the vision of changing the way wealthier people should travel.

I’m a people person, love to interact wherever I am in the world, a big foodie and wine lover, always very curious, searching for the uncommon, and I enjoy great design and architecture.

Tell us a bit about your company

Signature Travels (formerly Seventheaven) was created by myself with the idea of offering something completely different and new for sophisticated travellers.

Travel on the main road is fine, but there are so many side streets and great things to see and explore that it’s obvious to put both worlds together.

We create Travel Stories for our clients, with passion and from scratch, handmade with an emphasis on fascinating cultural, culinary and lifestyle experiences. Each Story is tailored to the exact needs of the customer and each trip is unique.

Cambria Winery, California, Unites States

Describe a typical working day for you

I am not an early morning person. My senses and motions become most effective once the day is a few hours in.  

At home base, it’s a good mixture of talking and meeting with clients, creating ideas and doing things that help us become even better.

Whilst travelling, the emphasis is on getting good inspiration, learning about the world and meeting new people.

What new themes, trends or changes are you seeing in luxury travel?

A definite trend to more simple luxury, experiences with meaning, maybe very rough. Interaction with local people is key.

Also, leaving the comfort zone more often and more physical engagement in combination with local experiences in remote places.

Li River, China

How have you adapted your offering to suit changing demands?

Since we have always been working in a tailor-made manner, no real adapting was necessary. We listen to the world and the clients.

What does luxury mean to you these days? Has this changed?

It definitely has. In the past, luxury was typically defined by 5-star hotels, highly decorated restaurants etc.

Nowadays our clients are fond of new ideas, like spending time on a pepper farm and working, staying, cooking and eating with a local family in Cambodia. For our clients, this is wonderful simple luxury.

Bayon Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

How have your clients’ needs changed in the last few years?

Clients have many more opportunities to inform themselves and they can book travel services on the net or directly.

However, what they really need is somebody who is able to guide them through the jungle, with very good knowledge, able to deliver these special moments and experiences, connected to the right people and places that not everybody is talking about.

How has technology changed your business?

Technology helps in many ways, particularly in communication with clients (e.g. WhatsApp) but also for inspiration (e.g. Instagram).

Erg Lihoudi Dunes & Bivouac, Mhamid el Rhozlane, Morocco

What are you looking forward to at TFest?

To see and experience your idea of how a travel show can be a boost and inspiration for the work of travel suppliers and travel designers.

What excites you about the travel industry?

There is so much to it; it’s not only booking a hotel or a flight. Creating experiences for our clients in every corner of the world with no boundaries is really a fascinating job.

Auto rickshaws in Sri Lanka

What is one thing you want people to know about you?

I guess I have a very good sense of humour.

What do you value most when you travel?

Good service, friendly and open-minded people and the chance to make new friends.

How do you make sustainable choices in your work/life?

This is a process I have already been in for a long time (in business and in my private life).

I admit that I have become more conscious with my choices nowadays, which is good. I do not want to deal with people (clients as well as partners) who don’t care.

All our partners worldwide are carefully chosen, and sustainability is always an important factor.

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