There is good news for the globe-trotter who often finds himself in one exotic city after another, with nary an acquaintance there to fill in the post business hours. Recently, with much fanfare, the once social network ASmallWorld (ASW) has re-launched itself as an exclusive lifestyle and travel community for members only, who pay an annual subscription of US$105 to experience the ASW’s philosophy of “feeling at home anywhere in the world”.
For those of you who came in late, ASmallWorld is one of the first social networking sites, set up even before Facebook and a little after Friendster, way back in 2004 as ‘Myspace for Millionaires’ a ‘by invitation-only’ network for the rich and famous. Subsequently, in 2009, Patrick Liotard-Vogt acquired the majority stake in the company from former shareholder Harvey Weinstein. Vogt is now the Chairman of ASW, with Sabine Heller as its CEO and President. Heller, who has spearheaded the development of the new concept since 2011 to make ASW a travel community, clarified some of the queries that The Luxury Chronicle (TLC) posed to her to really understand what ASW was about.
Firstly, ASW is no more a ‘millionaire’s club’. That is so cheesy. It is now an international travel and lifestyle club for its card-holding members only; giving them instant access to ASW’s many social networking tools, besides other perks. The new ASW will offer a new, easy to navigate website, with in-depth authenticated member profiles, customized to each individual user according to his or her interests. A newly established, highly curated privileges program offering special access, deals and discounts with hundreds of global partners across three verticals: travel (hotels, airlines), lifestyle (beauty salons, spas, gyms) and luxury goods (fashion and designer brands). This program will kick off with more than 500 global and local partners and will continue to grow daily. ASW also offers its members a complimentary membership to the ASW-owned night life concierge company called World’s Finest Clubs, providing access to 120 premier nightclubs across five continents. The membership for the World’s Finest Clubs is otherwise available for a fee of €2000.
ASW organizes and curates more than 50 global events for its members around the world every month, from intimate parties to weekend getaways (Marrakech, Gstaad) to special access at concerts, shows and festivals.
The list of the sundry perks is long. To name a few – there is a geo-location-based mobile app and trip planner, to facilitate members to meet and tap into local communities when travelling. The groups are organized for members by members, and are based around common interests, such as art, music, literature etc. There are ASW City Guides from members for members, updated daily by the ASW editorial team for the most current travel advice. The online magazine ASW Globalist offers road diaries and interviews with members. The business traveller gets complimentary work spaces in New York and Berlin; and a complimentary airport pick up car service in Milan, London, New York and Paris. The ASW member is offered a complimentary one week stay with a guest at Kittitian Hill in the Caribbean.
The membership card of ASW is designed by Waris Ahluwalia