There is a deep hunger for reliable luxury travel advice in China. Pierre Gervois tapped into a shockingly underserved market when he launched Shanghai Travelersʼ Club magazine in 2008.
“I remember,” Gervois mused, “we published a story about a yachting event in 2010, and one hour after the release of the newsletter, we receive a phone call from the executive secretary of one of our readers – a Chinese private entrepreneur from Beijing – who told us that her boss would love to have a VIP invitation for this very exclusive event, because he wanted to buy a $60 million yacht. We managed to send him an invitation for this event, and we learned a few weeks after that he actually bought the yacht, paid cash for it.”
That’s the kind of service that commands the elite’s attention and Gervois has been working harder than ever to make it happen.
Early years in Paris
Born in Paris, Gervois studied philosophy at the Paris-Nanterre University. It’s an unlikely beginning for a captain of Chinese media, but there is a great deal more to Gervois than meets the eye. After he completed a Master’s Degree in the Philosophy of Art, Gervois pivoted 90 degrees and collected degrees in political science and public law from the prestigious Institut dʼétudes Politiques de Paris.
Now he’s combining his artistic aesthetics with his hard-nosed legal training in order to manage the world’s number one media communications company for wealthy Chinese travelers.
Birth of the Shanghai Travelers’ Club (Now called the STC magazine)
From 2007 to 2013, Gervois lived in Shanghai where observed first hand how many affluent and successful people in China were searching for great travel advice and coming up empty-handed. “I had many discussions with Chinese friends who complained to me about the absence of a trustworthy, independent, source of information in Chinese language about luxury travel experiences all over the world, and in particular the U.S,” Gervois said.
“I wanted to do something about this and give them the best possible quality of independent information about the worldʼs best hotels, resorts and exclusive shopping experiences. The same kind of information normally reserved to a small elite of international frequent travelers, but not yet available in China at this time.”
His hunch paid off in a big way. In 2008, Gervois founded China Elite Focus Limited, incorporated in Hong Kong, as a company to oversee his media productions. The same year he assembled the resources to launch the Shanghai Travelersʼ Club magazine – Chinaʼs very first informational newsletter entirely devoted to international luxury travel and writen entirely in Mandarin Chinese. This publication became an overwhelming success virtually overnight. As the periodical grew in circulation and reputation, it garnered high praise from subscribers for the quality of the articles and relevance of the topics covered, each carefully curated by Gervois himself. To this day, the Shanghai Travelersʼ Club content continues to be written by a dedicated team of extremely talented, hand-picked Chinese travel editors.
First in Class travel advice
The Shanghai Travelersʼ Club magazine has introduced the Chinese-speaking public to many of the most exclusive properties and events hosted all over the world. Often, the subjects featured represent the very first time that this information has been published in China.
Just to name a few of the best-known exclusive hotels and experience brokers that the magazine has featured: The legendary Ritz hotel in Paris, the Waldorf Astoria in New York, private islands in the Maldives, private jet & helicopter experiences in New Zealand, polar expeditions, a one-of-a-kind private viewing of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry at the legendary Place Vendôme store in Paris, and authentic horseback riding experiences at Mustang Monument, a brand new, stunning luxury eco-resort and spa covering 900 square miles of untouched ranch land in Nevada.
Graduation to glossy
Following a subscriber survey in 2011 about what they would most like to see, Gervois re-invented the magazine’s look and feel from an email newsletter to an image rich magazine full of gorgeous images with a great deal more content and an enhanced experience for the readers. Gervois detailed how much was involved in the massive makeover: “Our team accomplished a tremendous amount of work on this project. Within one year of development, we created our own proprietary digital publishing platform delivering a superior reading experience for the iPad, Chinaʼs most popular tablet, and Chinese outbound travelersʼ #1 device.”
Looking back he is still amazed at what his team was able to accomplish, “Iʼm incredibly proud of the result that makes the Shanghai Travelersʼ Club magazine the most trusted and beautiful luxury outbound travel magazine for the Chinese elite travelers.”
The next generation of magazines
The runaway success of his first venture made it possible to launch two more segmented periodicals in 2012. In recognition of the surge of affluent Chinese leisure travelers visiting or staying in the United States, Gervois sought out these untapped markets with Luxury Hotels of America and Niuyue Mag.
“The new generation of Chinese leisure tourists deserve the best information about the best travel and tourism experiences the United States has to offer,” Gervois explained. “No existing travel publication in China was able to provide this kind of information with in-depth knowledge and understanding of the true nature of luxury travel. So we launched simultaneously two new publications, focused on the needs of sophisticated independent Chinese travelers to the US.”
Like their predecessor, these two publications focused on US luxury travel have been acclaimed by subscribers as well as advertisers for deliveringan unprecedented value for both of them
Moving to New York
In late 2013, Pierre Gervois relocated to New York City for the opening of the US subsidiary of China Elite Focus.
Today, throughout Asia and North America, Pierre Gervois is seen by many Chinese travelers as a major luxury travel influencer. His opinions about destinations, hotels and luxury brands have a substantial impact on the travel decisions and travel trends of Chinaʼs high end outbound travelers.
In 2016, Pierre Gervois has founded Gervois Hotel Rating, a new hotel rating system for U.S. luxury hotels.