Luxury Institute News

April 12, 2016

Travel Professionals Identify 15 Luxury Travel Trends For 2016 And Beyond

Travel Market
By: Harvey Chipkin
April 12, 2017

Luxury travel buzzwords like authentic, local, curate, and, of course, experience may be overused, but they have become buzzwords because of their phenomenal staying power. While some trends fade with time, some just seem to resound with customers from one year into the next. Here’s how a group of luxury travel professionals and other experts see the trends shaping up at the high end of the market for the rest of this year and into the next.

1. Doubling down on local
“Travelers want to be with locals,” said Jack Ezon, president of Ovation Vacations in New York. “They want to be immersed in a destination. Instead of guides who know a lot of facts, they want insiders who can really give them the lowdown. Or they want a nightlife host who can take them to the coolest bars and nightspots and tell the story from their own perspective.”

At The Nines Hotel in Portland, OR, director of sales and marketing Laura Van Daal said, “Everyone in the hotel is a concierge and a local expert. They are trained to listen to the specifics of what a guest likes or is looking for, because everyone wants a different experience. We have contacts all over the city, so we can get to visit the rare books department of Powell’s Books, or we can get people into the Nike or Adidas employee store where they can get great discounts.”

Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, said, “It’s not just about getting a table at the best restaurant, but it might be getting the right table. There’s a popular restaurant in Paris where all the tourists are on the second floor and the locals are on the first floor. If an agent knows a concierge, he might be able to get the client to a first-floor table.”

2. Authentic, but maybe not too authentic
Authenticity can be taken too literally. Said Ezon, “You really have to be clear with clients about what they’re getting. When they say they want a ‘sense of place,’ that really means they want to be in a hotel they can use as a springboard from which to see their surroundings. If guests get to a ranch and there’s no air conditioning, they might not be happy.”

3. Personalization: It’s the little things that count
Personalization doesn’t have to be a big deal. Ezon said he had a couple going to Africa for a honeymoon. After a long week of travel, they arrived at their camp and entered their tent to find pictures of their family on the “walls” and their wedding song playing. “They couldn’t believe it,” said Ezon. “It’s the agent’s job to provide that kind of information to the people on the ground.”

Matteo Della Grazia, owner of tour operator Fuoritinerario — Discover Your Italy, said, “We are seeing increasing demand for local and authentic experiences that allow clients to create their own local product. For instance, they can work for a day at a top Tuscany vineyard with a wine- maker to create a personalized wine, which will then be aged, bottled, and shipped to them. We call it Adopt A Barrel. We have a similar program for perfume.”

4. Hip at the high end
Hotels brands like Ace prove that travelers will spend more to be around people and things they perceive as hip. Still, said Van Daal, while “hip and real luxury can go hand in hand, being hip is not enough. You still need great service to truly be luxury.”

5. Whimsical wandering
It may be a generational thing but there are travelers who like to arrive at their destination without any plans beyond their first hotel stay. Ezon, for example, has a couple spending $100,000 on their honeymoon and doing it day by day, consulting with him continuously about what to do next.

6. Speaking meaningfully
“Access is one thing,” said Susan Farewell of Farewell Travels, “but an experience that satisfies a greater sense of purpose is the ultimate luxury.” Farewell is putting together a trip for a family of five going to southeast Asia, for example, that will include an elephant encounter, though they are not interested in anything that exploits the animals for tourism. “They are interested in a non-profit ethical elephant experience, where they see the animals but are not riding them or enabling any exploitation of them.”

7. Unexpected pairings
Travelers are combining destinations and experiences that are very different from one another. Farewell is working on one trip where the couple is spending five days doing a cooking program in Tuscany and then moving up to Lake Garda for a few days of sailing lessons.

8. Fun with food
Everybody talks about cooking lessons or meeting the local chefs, but some want to go further. Farewell notes that in Ho Chi Minh City, you can take a Foodie Tour by Vespa, where a driver takes each traveler from one food venue to the next. It’s a high level of curated street food options, coffee houses, etc. The experience is off-the-charts fun but also informative and delicious.”

Della Grazia said some clients visit local homes where they cook and eat with the residents; sometimes those hosts act as local guides to explore the neighborhood.

9. Long-term trip planning
“I work with clients long term,” said Farewell, “seeing their travel needs in terms of five-year chunks. We develop a five-year travel plan for them, which we revisit every year. So I get questions like, ‘Where are we going this summer?’ They assume I have already thought it through for them based on their past trips, their kids’ ages, and the five-year plan we designed.”
 
10. Destination roulette
While everybody tries to figure out the “hot destinations,” sometimes it’s just random or based on a magazine article or news event, or even a shift in currency. Douglas Easton, managing partner at Celestielle Travel, said, “Maybe a new hotel will open or there’ll be an article in a travel magazine and suddenly bookings will come in. We had not a single Namibia booking last year and suddenly had four separate ones. That’s why you just have to be prepared for what comes up.”

Also, it’s long been known that even the wealthy like to get the best possible value in their vacations, and one way to do that is by staying on top of exchange rates with the dollar. Said Ezon, “If your client is going to spend $40,000 on a trip and there’s a big swing in the currency, they could save a third or more on that. That is why Europe has remained popular.”

11. Exotic emerges
Pedraza noted that younger travelers are heading for more exotic places, like Cambodia and Bali. “They have already been to the more traditional destinations so there is a real opportunity here.”

And Scott Wiseman, president of Cox & Kings, said, “Whether it’s requesting tickets to a sold-out baseball game in Japan, taking a motorcycle journey through Patagonia, textile shopping in remote India, or taking a private polo lesson in Argentina, today’s travelers are limited only by their imagination.”

12. Convenience is king
Luxury clients are flocking to buy ancillary services that make their travel experience easier. He Ezon said that over the past three years Ovation has had a 37.4% increase in ancillary travel products including: luggage shipping, airport greeters (to assist with connections, arrivals, and departures), and park guides (VIP guides in amusement parks to help deal with lines, logistics, etc.)

13. The human touch
“Even young people don’t just want to be digital beings,” said Pedraza. “They want to engage with other people—whether it’s tour guides, people on the street, or other travelers. It’s like when electricity was invented. You would flick the switch on and off because of the novelty. Now the novelty of digital has faded and people want emotional connections.”

14. It’s nice to share
The quality of sharing accommodations—whether it be Airbnb or sharing options introduced by hotel companies—is improving, said Pedraza. “This might lend itself to the local trend, as well, “because your sharing host might for a small fee become your local guide.”

15. Art is the new cuisine
While food has taken a central place in luxury travel, said Ezon, so too has art. “So many properties are recruiting an artist-in-residence and turning their public spaces into evolving galleries from local artists,” he noted, with revolving art exhibits. The new Faena Hotel in Miami Beach kicks up the art theme with a whole art district, art programs for guests, and a children’s art immersion experience where local artists inspire kids to create their own masterpieces. The Ritz-Carlton Toronto has an in-house artist who designs plates for the hotel’s restaurant and works with guests to design their own.

Source: http://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Travel-Professionals-Identify-15-Luxury-Travel-Trends-For-2016-And-Beyond

December 18, 2015

Luxury travellers have dim view of Trump brand: survey

Marketing experts weigh in on how to do a hotel rebranding properly
Business Vancover
By: Glen Korstrom
December 17, 2015

The Trump brand is weak among luxury travellers, according to a new survey – a finding likely to fuel more controversy over whether Vancouver’s Holborn Group made a wise decision by contracting with Trump International to put the Trump brand on its under-construction hotel.

Trump ranked 40th out of 40 luxury hotel brands when wealthy travellers who were familiar with the brand were asked whether they would recommend the brand to family or friends, according to the 2016 Global Hotels Luxury Brand Status Index, which the Luxury Institute released December 17.

Strict privacy laws in Canada meant none of the survey respondents were Canadian, CEO Milton Pedraza told Business in Vancouver in an interview.

Instead, the New York-based Luxury Institute found its 3,900 respondents by buying lists from reputable companies that were able to determine income for those who live in the U.S., U.K., Japan, China, France, Germany and Italy.

Luxury brand Maybourne Hotels ranked No. 1 in each of four metrics, for which respondents were asked to grade hotels on a scale of 0 to 10:

•delivering consistent superior quality;

•being unique and exclusive;

•being visited by people who are admired and respected; and

•making guests feel special.

Trump ranked No. 34 for quality, No. 30 for exclusivity, No. 31 for having admired and respected guests, and No. 37 for making guests feel special.

“The survey was in the late summer,” Pedraza said. “This was before [company owner and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump] started making all of the super-vile statements.”

In fairness, the sample size for those who graded Trump hotels was lower than those who graded much larger brands, such as Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and JW Marriott, because participants were only allowed to grade brands that they were familiar with or had experienced.

This was the first year that the Luxury Institute included the Trump brand because, in previous years, the nine-hotel brand was considered too small. Trump representatives then lobbied the Luxury Institute to be included, Pedraza said.

Trump is expected to open hotels in Baku, Azerbaijan in early 2016 and then one in Rio de Janeiro before Vancouver opens in July to make the chain a complete dozen.

Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver general manager Philipp Posch told BIV that he would not comment on the survey because he was not familiar with it.

Marketing for his hotel has not yet started.

“We’ll wait out the holidays and probably by January or so, we’ll reach out to clients and start the marketing process and machine,” Posch said December 17.

Click here to read a profile of Phillip Posch

How to do a rebranding properly

Branding experts say Holborn likely wishes that it never hitched its horse to the Trump cavalcade and that the situation underscores the need to have an escape clause in contracts.

“People who do these masthead deals for hotels might want to look at sports sponsorships,” said Brandever principal and branding expert Bernie Hadley Beauregard.

Those deals often end the day after a sponsored, star athlete does something objectionable.

A recent spate of hotel rebrandings in B.C. has experts pointing out both how to do a rebranding properly and what to avoid.

(Victoria’s Hotel Zed has won awards for its rebranding of what was previously known as the Blueridge Inn | Crazyintherain.com)

Branding experts’ biggest lessons are to keep the name short and catchy while making sure that the brand is consistent across the chain so guests will know what to expect.

Keeping a brand consistent across properties is a lesson regardless of the sector.

“The art form of branding is to bring the name down to be something that is usable and memorable to the consumer,” Hadley Beauregard said.

He pointed to Portland, Oregon-based Ace Hotels, which has seven hotels around the world in cities as varied as London, Panama City and Seattle.

“Always artistic, eclectic and hip, Ace Hotels often redefine their host city’s magnetic centre,” he said. “Their brand aura is such that you want to make a pilgrimage to see their properties, even if you aren’t staying there.”

Victoria-based Accent Inns’ rebranding of its secondary, economy hotel to Hotel Zed from Blueridge Inn, in 2014, similarly aimed for a hipper image and a short succinct name.

Rooms at Hotel Zed in Victoria have modern elements such as flat-screen TVs, which have media hubs to project iPhone screens onto the TV monitor.

Basically, however, the hotel’s shtick is that it is made to look retro – complete with rotary-dial telephones and furniture and lamps that appear to be out of the 1970s. A multicoloured 1967 Volkswagen van is parked outside and typewriters in the lobby are for guests to use.

“Because Accent Inns starts with an ‘A,’ we can also say that we’ve got brands that go from A to Zed,” Accent Inns marketing director John Espley told BIV.

The rebranding was such a success that Accent Inns plans to open a second Hotel Zed, in Kelowna, next summer. Accent Inns won recognition for the rebranding at the Victoria Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards in the hotel category. Destination British Columbia then highlighted the hotel when it unveiled its new $2.6M marketing strategy late last year.

Beauregard, however, is less enthusiastic about Vancouver-based Pinnacle International’s rebranding of its longtime Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel as the Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront.

“Too many words,” Hadley Beauregard said. “My head hurts.”

Making the rebranding more puzzling, he said, is that the new Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront is virtually across the street from a second hotel that also has “Pinnacle” in an even wordier name: the Vancouver Mariott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel.

(Kyle Matheson is director of hospitality marketing at Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront | Rob Kruyt)

What’s worse than simply having two hotels extremely close together, with both carrying the distinctive word “Pinnacle” somewhere in the brand, is the fact that the two hotels are managed by two different companies – Marriott International and Pinnacle International – even though they are both owned by Pinnacle International.

The two hotels therefore have different offerings for guests.

The Marriott Pinnacle, for example, requires guests to join a loyalty program to get free Wi-Fi whereas the Pinnacle Harbourfront provides guests free Wi-Fi with no need to join any program.

“This creates confusion in consumers’ minds,” Hadley Beauregard said.

“Brand consistency is key.”

Rationale for recent Pinnacle’s rebranding

Pinnacle International has contracted Marriott to manage the Marriott Pinnacle for the past decade.

Paying a management company a fee up to about 5% of revenue to be able to use a global brand such as Marriott is called “flagging” a property.

The common practice is exactly what happened when Holborn Group agreed to pay Trump International to be able to use the Trump brand on Holborn’s hotel.

The point of this strategy is to coast on the brand recognition of a well-known manager such as Marriott or Trump.

Pinnacle International, which is best known as a real estate developer, ended its management contract with Marriott’s Renaissance Hotels earlier this year. That meant that it had to come up with a new name for the property.

Its director of hospitality marketing, Kyle Matheson, told BIV that the new Pinnacle Harbourfront name makes it clear that the hotel is near Vancouver’s harbour.

Using Pinnacle in the name was done because Pinnacle International both owns and manages two other B.C. hotels: Pinnacle at the Pier in North Vancouver and Pinnacle Hotel Whistler.

“The goal with rebranding the [former Renaissance] property as Pinnacle Harbourfront was to broaden our hospitality and hotels and restaurants portfolio under our own Pinnacle name,” he said.

 Source: https://www.biv.com/article/2015/12/luxury-travellers-have-dim-view-trump-brand-survey/

 

August 28, 2015

A Place to Lay Your Bread

The Way That the Rich Travel is Changing
The Economist
August 29, 2015 (Print Edition)

At the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, one of the world’s most luxurious (pictured), guests can avail themselves of 24-carat gold iPads and caviar facials. The cheapest rooms cost $1,000 a night; those interested in the royal suite can expect to pay nearer $25,000. Such ostentation is not to everyone’s taste. But it illustrates a trend: the way that the rich spend their money is changing.

Once, the well-heeled bought fancy stuff. Nowadays they spend more on things to do and see. A report last year by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that of the $1.8 trillion spent on luxury goods and services worldwide in 2012, nearly $1 trillion went on “luxury experiences”. Travel and hotels accounted for around half that figure.

This partly reflects the growing weight of rich folk from developing countries. Wealthy Chinese spend 20 days a year travelling for leisure, according to ILMT, a travel agency. The most popular destination was Australia, and nearly half made it as far as Europe. On average, affluent Americans went on holiday 3.9 times in 2014, says Resonance, a consultancy, up from 3 times in 2012. Around half travelled more than 1,000 miles (1,600km) for their most recent trip. They favoured Europe, especially Italy, Britain and France.

Antonio Achille of BCG says luxury consumers have distinct spending styles, depending on how old they are and whether they were born rich or became so later. The young and the recently affluent tend to buy visibly costly items that will impress their peers. Soft Living Places, an Italian luxury hotelier, recently filmed an advert to educate newly rich Russian tourists. It offered such advice as “don’t show off by ordering the most expensive bottle of wine on the list.” By contrast, the longer someone has been rich, the more likely he is to value quality over ostentation.

When they travel, rich 20-somethings are drawn toward gregarious pleasures that can be shared on social media to make their friends jealous. But plenty also view holidays as a time to learn something and broaden their cultural horizons, says Chris Fair of Resonance. Though older travellers to India still frequent the Taj or Oberoi hotels, younger ones are more likely to plump for a homeshare—albeit a posh one. The established wealthy spend relatively more on travelling to five-star hotels.

Tapping into this more traditional market is not easy: in some respects, the luxury-hotel business has become commoditised. As the standard at the best establishments has risen, high-paying guests have come to expect a level of service that is ever harder to exceed. “There is only so much caviar and champagne you can throw at them,” says Milton Pedraza of the Luxury Institute, a consultancy. Opulent bathrooms, world-renowned chefs and state-of-the-art technology are now the norm at the poshest hotels.

So differentiation must come from more personalised service. Value is added by “being generous in small ways”, says Frank Marrenbach, the chief executive of the Oetker Collection, a luxury-hotel group. Attentive service means remembering customers’ every preference, either because they have visited before or because the hotel has gathered data from previous trips elsewhere. Equally important is knowing when to step back, says Mr Marrenbach, because for rich guests downtime is also a luxury. At Villa Stephanie, a spa the group runs in Germany, guests can flick a switch in their rooms that blocks all wireless signals to their phones and computers. (Fortunately for paupers who stay in cheaper joints, many of these devices already come with a handy off-switch.)

The established rich, because they own so much stuff, place a high value on doing or feeling something new. According to BCG, they claim to gain three times the emotional reward from an experience, compared with owning something with the same price tag. For luxury-travel retailers, this means that selling fancy add-ons to trips is one of the most lucrative parts of the trade.

Abercrombie & Kent, an upmarket travel agency, for example, arranged for its guests in Egypt to view Queen Nefertari’s tomb, even though its doors had been sealed to the public for decades. In Moscow its clients can attend a private opening of the Kremlin grounds and have lunch with an ex-KGB agent who worked as a spy in London during the cold war. Even when shopping, the experience can matter as much as the acquisition. For some it is important not just to own a Burberry raincoat but also to have bought it from the brand’s flagship London store.

The biggest concern of rich travellers, according to Resonance, is safety. As crime levels have fallen in cities such as London and New York, they have become more appealing to affluent visitors. Metropolitan travel is now as popular as traditional “drop-and-flop” resorts with well-off Americans, says Resonance. Hotels and tour operators catering to the rich must be able to prove their security credentials. Abercrombie & Kent owns its own “destination management companies” in many African and Asian countries, which can respond quickly to problems, including by evacuating guests caught up in Nepal’s recent earthquake.

For the very richest travellers, there is another consideration. Many will go to extraordinary lengths to make far-flung destinations feel like home. Kevin Johnson has worked as a chief-of-staff and palace manager for several billionaires. Some of his employers would even take their favourite bed on their travels, he says. When arranging a holiday on a remote island, his bosses also insisted on their own IT infrastructure, often sending someone ahead to install it. This was partly to ensure security, he says, but also to be sure they could watch their favourite television channels. For the traveller who has everything, the familiar can be the biggest luxury of all.

Source: http://www.economist.com/news/international/21662558-way-rich-travel-changing-place-lay-your-bread?fsrc=rss

September 23, 2014

Luxury Institute Survey Of High-Income Travelers from Europe, China and Japan Reveals Brand Status Ranking Of World’s Top Luxury Hotels

NEW YORK) September 23, 2014 – The New York-based Luxury Institute has released findings of its 2014 Luxury Hotels Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey of affluent overseas travelers who shared detailed impressions and evaluations of 37 global luxury hotel brands.

LBSI scores (1-10) are based on each brand’s perceived quality, exclusivity, social status and overall guest experience. In addition, affluent consumers weigh in on whether a hotel deserves premium pricing, if they would recommend it to people close to them and how likely they are to stay at a brand’s property on their next trip.

Here are the top five brands as rated by wealthy consumers from each region, with Europe including the U.K., Germany, France and Italy.

Europe:Small Luxury Hotels of the World (7.96), The Ritz-Carlton (7.95),Armani Hotels (7.88), Mandarin Oriental (7.86), Leading Hotels of the World (7.77)

China: Leading Hotels of the World (8.62), Oberoi (8.57), The Luxury Collection (8.54), Firmdale Hotels (8.53), Raffles Hotels and Resorts (8.50)

Japan:Aman Resorts (8.19), Oberoi (7.83), Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts (7.80), The Ritz-Carlton (7.73), Orient-Express Hotels (7.68)

“The luxury hotel industry is growing in potential, but also in the dramatic number of brands that have top tier offerings,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “The winners are those who can consistently provide remarkable guest experiences, as rated by the clients.”

Respondents reviewed the following hotel brands: Aman Resorts, Armani Hotels, Banyan Tree, Club Med, Como Hotels and Resorts, Conrad Hotels and Resorts, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Firmdale Hotels, Four Seasons, Grand Hyatt, InterContinental, Jumeirah, JW Marriott, Kempinski Hotels, Le Meridien, Langham, Leading Hotels of the World, Loews Hotels, The Luxury Collection, Mandarin Oriental, Oberoi, Orient-Express Hotels, Pan Pacific, Park Hyatt, The Peninsula Hotels, Raffles Hotels and Resorts, Regent, The Ritz-Carlton, The Rocco Forte Collection, Rosewood, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Sofitel, St. Regis, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, W Hotels and Resorts, and Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts.

Contact the Luxury Institute for more details and complete rankings.

Visit us at www.LuxuryInstitute.com and contact us with any questions or for more information.

March 10, 2014

Luxury Institute Reveals Wealthy Gamblers’ Rankings And Specific Critiques Of Casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City And Connecticut

(NEW YORK) March 10, 2014 – For the past two decades, casinos at top gambling resort destinations in the United States have expanded on a grand scale and competed aggressively to attract high-end travelers. To find out how these casinos are currently perceived by wealthy consumers, the New York-based Luxury Institute surveyed men and women 21 and older with a minimum household income of $150,000 to gather detailed opinions and ratings of top casino resorts in three major U.S. gambling destinations:

Las Vegas: ARIA, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Cosmopolitan, Encore, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Palazzo, Venetian, and Wynn Las Vegas

Atlantic City: Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Caesars Atlantic City, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s Resort, Revel Casino Hotel, and Trump Taj Mahal

Connecticut: Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun

Results from this 2014 Luxury Brands Status Index (LBSI) include an overall ranking of each property given eight attributes of status related specifically to casinos: luxurious guest rooms, superior service staff, unique dining options, attractive gaming floors, lavish pool areas, clubs, appealing entertainment, and desirable retail stores.

Wealthy travelers also assess each property’s worthiness of a significant price premium, and whether or not they would recommend it to family, friends and business associates.

Results show significantly higher LBSI scores for Las Vegas casinos compared to East Coast properties. One notable exception is the Borgata in Atlantic City.

“Even as more cities in the United States start to open casinos, Las Vegas is clearly still the leading destination for luxury properties, especially for affluent travelers,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “All elements of the casino, not just the gaming floors, are now crucial to create unique customer experiences.”

Respondents have average income of $370,000 and average net worth of $3.1 million.

Please visit us at www.LuxuryInstitute.com and Contact Us with any questions or for more information about specific brand rankings.

About the Luxury Institute (www.luxuryinstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers globally about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Customer Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

February 28, 2014

Buying into bling

By Daina Lawrence
Special to The Globe and Mail
February 27, 2014

Affluent individuals around the world bucked the depressed market norms of the last few years and managed to keep the luxury goods market bustling by investing in alternatives such as art, wine and supercars.

Companies such as Hermès SA, Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA are gaining new customers daily, with 10 million new buyers wading into the market each year.

Many of these companies have given good news to shareholders recently, including luxury goods dynamo Michael Kors – known for its footwear, watches and clothing – whose shares soared 17.3 per cent to $89.91 (U.S.) in early February, after the company’s report of higher-than-expected profits.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/buying-into-bling/article17132730/

January 6, 2014

But It Doesn’t Look Like a Marriott: Marriott International Aims to Draw a Younger Crowd

By Brooks Barnes
New York Times
January 4, 2014

J.W. Marriott Jr., the 81-year-old chairman of Marriott International, flew to London in September to inspect his company’s new jewel: Edition, a sumptuous boutique hotel intended to anchor a new 100-city chain — the next W, if Marriott has its way. But Mr. Marriott did not stay overnight at the London Edition, as the new property is known, with its laser-lighted nightclub and guest-room paintings of women wearing toilet-paper turbans. He bedded down at Grosvenor House, one of the company’s more traditional luxury hotels.

“This is what I know, but I’m the past,” he said, sitting in the old-fashioned floral splendor of a Grosvenor corner suite. Edition, conceived in partnership with the boutique hotelier Ian Schrager, is about the Marriott company’s future. “We’re trying to get some flash,” Mr. Marriott said. He rose wearily from his chair. “I’m off to see the flash.”

Marriott is big. The company, based in Bethesda, Md., operates 660,000 rooms under 16 brands, including Courtyard, Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton; more than 800 new Marriott-operated properties are in the works worldwide.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/business/marriott-international-aims-to-draw-a-younger-crowd.html?pagewanted=print

 

October 10, 2013

Wealthy Travelers From China, Japan and Europe Rank Quality And Experience At Global Luxury Hotel Brands

(NEW YORK) October 10, 2013 – Wealthy travelers from Europe and Asia revealed their top luxury hotel picks in recent research conducted by the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute. Three new Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) reports examine the attitudes and preferences of affluent Chinese, Japanese, and European consumers as they relate to leading hotel brands.

On a 1-10 scale, wealthy respondents rated hotels on quality, exclusivity, social status, and self-enhancement. They also shared which brands are worth a luxury price tag, the hotels they would recommend, and their preferred brand for an upcoming stay.

New this year, the Luxury Institute asked consumers who recently visited a luxury hotel if their stay was for work, vacation, or both.

“Luxury hotels serve a dual purpose as destinations for both business and pleasure,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Brands have an opportunity to deliver personalized experiences so guests will return for their next trip, regardless of the occasion.”

Affluent respondents ranked the following number of luxury hotel brands in the regions below:

Europe (U.K., Germany, France and Italy)

  • Brands rated: 31
  • Consumers surveyed: 1,516
  • Median annual HHI: £79,000 (U.K.), €69,000 (Germany), €63,000 (France), and €71,000 (Italy)
  • Median age: 47 (U.K.), 43 (Germany), 46 (France), and 42 (Italy)

China

  • Brands rated: 31
  • Consumers surveyed: 717
  • Median annual HHI: 2.5 million CNY
  • Median age: 32

Japan

  • Brands rated: 23
  • Consumers surveyed: 602
  • Median annual HHI: 20 million JPY
  • Median age: 51

To learn about the specific brands rated in each region, please contact Luxury Institute directly.

About Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

September 3, 2013

Luxury Institute Survey Reveals Risk of Brand Dilution

By Danielle Max
September 2, 2013
International Diamond Exchange (IDEX)

A recent survey by the Luxury Institute discovered that while many affluent shoppers – those with a household income of $150,000 or more – welcome brand partnerships, half of these affluent consumers believe that partnering with another brand – luxury or mainstream – could damage the brand’s image or reputation.

According to the survey, the industries where partnerships are seen as most fruitful are hotels and resorts, travel, fashion and airlines.

The survey revealed that women are far more likely than men to applaud fashion partnerships, as well as those involving jewelry and beauty.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, men are most enthusiastic about partnerships involving automobile companies while affluent shoppers older than 50 are especially interested in airline and cruise collaborations.

Luxury brand collaborations wealthy shoppers would like to see include Michael Kors and Apple, Chanel and Air France, and Lexus and The Ritz-Carlton.

However, brands need to be careful about the sort of partnerships they create. “Brands should partner with companies with similar values and service standards to avoid potential risks of collaboration,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “This maintains credibility and helps to ensure a consistently positive customer experience.”

http://www.idexonline.com/portal_FullNews.asp?id=38556

August 29, 2013

Retail loyalty programs add tiers to reward big spenders

By Kelli Grant
CNBC
August 28, 2013

Taking a page from airline programs, more retailers are adding elite levels with extra perks to their loyalty packages. But shoppers may find membership nearly as pricey as a first-class airline ticket.

In July, Sephora relaunched its Beauty Insider program, adding a reward level with free shipping, early access to new products and sales as well as VIP event invites for shoppers who spend $1,000 or more in a year. Around the same time, flash-sale site Gilt.com introduced its Gilt Insider Program, awarding shoppers five points per dollar spent and weekly bonuses for interacting with the brand. Tiers with extra benefits such as exclusive sales and a VIP customer service line kick in at the 5,000-, 10,000- and 25,000-point thresholds.

“To make it fair we crafted a program that rewarded engagement, i.e. site visitation and social interaction, in addition to purchasing, so that members could advance up tiers as they earned points,” said Elizabeth Francis, Gilt.com’s chief marketing officer.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes a quote from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100991902

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