With about 1,500 travel buyers in attendance, the dozens of hotel companies represented among the 1,500 exhibitors appeared to be playing a game of “can you top this?” to set themselves apart within the ever-more-crowded luxury accommodations sector. Wealthy travelers have been rescuing the travel industry from the ongoing global economic malaise, but their tastes and demands are clearly evolving. Many exhibitors and presenters at the conference downplayed features such as exotic locales, in-room iPads and 24-hour butler service as now representing the bare minimum in luxury accommodations. To differentiate their products, they stressed the concept of one-of-a-kind experiences that are nearly impossible to replicate. Hotels that occupy centuries-old palaces. Resorts that arose out of ancient villages. Private islands. Employing social media to gather intelligence on a guest’s cultural or sports preferences. Get the full story at Travel Weekly