Luxury Institute News

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

August 23, 2013

Biggest risk of partnerships is brand dilution: Luxury Institute

By Erin Shea
Luxury Daily
August 22, 2013

Collaborations can sometimes be risky for luxury brands, and half of affluent shoppers say that the biggest risk for a luxury partnership is the potential damage to the brand’s image or reputation, according to the latest survey from the Luxury Institute.

Overall the study found that most affluent shoppers enjoy brand partnerships, even with the risk. However, luxury marketers should pair up with brands that have the same goals and mindset when seeking partnerships.

“Nearly half of wealthy consumers think that long-term collaborations are most effective for luxury brands,” said Meera Raja, director at the Luxury Institute, New York.

“Luxury brands should utilize partnerships not just to showcase their strengths, but also to create unique and innovative experience for consumers,” she said.

Luxury Institute surveyed consumers with a household income of at least $150,000 about the appeal and impact of brand partnerships.

Pairing up
The survey found that in addition to partnerships being the biggest risk for a brand, affluent consumers also thought that partnerships could be beneficial if done correctly.

Affluent consumers ranked joint advertising, products, events and sponsorships as the most effective types of brand collaborations.

Aston Martin partnered with Jaeger-LeCoultre to create a watch collection.

Also, consumers reported that partnerships with hotels, travel brands, fashion labels and airlines are the most fruitful.

Women are more likely to be interested in fashion, jewelry and beauty partnerships, while men seem to enjoy automotive partnerships more.

Shoppers who are older than 50 are interested in airline and cruise partnerships.

Affluent shoppers also said that they would like to see luxury collaborations between a number of brands including: Michael Kors and Apple, Chanel and Air France, and Lexus and The Ritz-Carlton.

Furthermore, affluent shoppers are not turned off by luxury brands partnering with mainstream brands. Those surveyed said they would like to see Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Bed Bath & Beyond, Gucci and Coca-Cola, and others.

Many luxury brands have engaged in partnerships with other luxury brands with similar statuses as to not hurt their brands.

For instance, spirits brand Johnnie Walker eyed affluent men through a partnership with Alfred Dunhill to create a limited-edition gift set that likely extended the reach of both brands.

The Johnnie Walker Blue Label limited edition collection by Alfred Dunhill is a collection of British-inspired gifts in addition to a designer bottle. The partnership helped both brands solidify their position in the luxury industry and as well as their reputation as men’s lifestyle brands.

Additionally, high-end smartphone manufacturer Vertu continues its six-year partnership with Italian automaker Ferrari with the release of a limited-edition Android smartphone inspired by the automaker’s design features.

The limited-edition Vertu Ti Ferrari smartphone is the latest in Vertu’s smartphone collaboration with Ferrari. By designing the smartphone to resemble the vehicle, the phone will likely appeal to a wider group of consumers (see story).

Luxury brands can gain additional exposure and attract new customers through partnerships with other luxury marketers.

“There are still many benefits of partnerships, but luxury brands must really focus on relevant opportunities with companies that share the same values,” Ms. Raja said.

http://www.luxurydaily.com/biggest-risk-of-partnerships-is-brand-dilution-luxury-institute/

August 20, 2013

Wealthy Shoppers Enjoy Brand Partnerships, But Brand Dilution Is A Risk

(NEW YORK) August 20, 2013 – The Luxury Institute surveyed consumers with a household income of $150,000 or more about the appeal and impact of brand partnerships. These wealthy consumers also shared brands that they would be excited to see partner in the future.

Half of all affluent shoppers surveyed agree that the biggest risk for a luxury firm partnering with another brand—luxury or mainstream—is damage to the brand’s image or reputation. Joint advertising, products, events and sponsorships are the most effective types of collaboration.

Among the industries where partnerships are seen as most fruitful are hotels and resorts, travel, fashion and airlines.  Women are far more likely than men to applaud fashion partnerships, as well as those involving jewelry and beauty.  Men, on the other hand, are most enthusiastic about partnerships involving automobile companies.  Affluent shoppers older than 50 are exceptionally 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.  Missoni offering its fashions at Target and Vera Wang selling at Kohl’s are two high-profile examples of luxury brands partnering with a non-luxury outfit.  Affluent shoppers would like to see additional partnerships of this ilk, including Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Bed Bath & Beyond, Gucci and Coca Cola, among others.

“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.”

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.

April 18, 2013

Resonance Consultancy Releases Key Findings about U.S. Affluent Travel and Leisure in its 2013 Resonance Report

(Miami, FL)  April 18, 2013 – The Resonance Report, a national study by leading global tourism consulting firm Resonance Consultancy, sheds new light on the travel and leisure habits of affluent American households.

The study, conducted in conjunction with the Luxury Institute in New York, surveyed more than 1,200 individuals from households with incomes of $150,000 and higher to measure their travel and leisure preferences and aspirations. These affluent households account for almost a third of all domestic spending on lodging and air travel, according to recent estimates in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditures Survey.

“The desirability of exotic vacations for the affluent remains virtually unchanged since 2008,” says Resonance Consultancy President, Chris Fair. “What’s changed is their growing interest in traveling with more family members and friends and their rising interest in once-in-lifetime experiences and classic journeys such as train travel, safaris and cruises that explore non-traditional destinations.”

Key Findings of the Resonance Report include:
•Affluent American households take an average of three vacations a year averaging six days in length.
•Ritz Carlton is the #1 hotel brand of choice for high net worth households ($1MM+) on vacation.
•Marriott is the most frequented hotel brand of affluent households.
•New York City is the most popular U.S. vacation destination, followed by Las Vegas and San Francisco.
•The Bahamas is the most visited island destination, followed by Puerto Rico and Jamaica while Turks & Caicos is the #1 destination affluent households aspire to visit.
•Italy is the #1 overseas vacation destination for affluent households, followed by the U.K. and France.
•Wine country tours and luxury cruises are the most desired type of vacation experiences.
•Affluent owners of vacation properties use them an average of 5 weeks per year.
•Affluent consumers are willing to spend an average of $650,000 on their next vacation property.

“This influential cohort uses its leisure time to explore what’s meaningful for them and for those closest to them,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “The affluent consumer is driven by extraordinary experiences, and this study shows clearly the importance of experience for this demanding demographic.”

To download a copy of the Resonance Report 2013 visit resonancereport.com.

About Resonance Consultancy (http://www.resonanceco.com)
Resonance Consultancy provides brand development, strategic marketing and planning services to leading travel & tourism companies and organizations around the world. The principals of Resonance have completed more than 100 travel & tourism studies, reports and plans in 65 different countries.

About Luxury Institute (http://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.

March 6, 2013

Why Care About Gen Y?

Aloft Hotels sees them, as well as Millennials, as the perfect target to build lifelong loyalty. Here’s how they are achieving that goal.

By Caryn Eve Murray
Hotel Interactive
March 05, 2013

The generation is celebrated for its youth, momentum, propensity for bold statements and for always going new places. That’s how Starwood describes Aloft, a relatively new generation of its hotels being welcomed into the hospitality world. A baby born in June 2008, Aloft Hotels could well be called the Millennials of the marketplace. This upstart is defined by loft-like interiors, dynamic public spaces for socializing without a loss of privacy, a bar scene showcasing up-and-coming music talent and guest rooms offering easy hookup to personal media.

So it comes as no surprise that Aloft Hotels are, in fact, something of an architectural counterpart to the very generation of guests they target: travelers born sometime in the early 1980s and beyond, now ripening into successful and peripatetic young adulthood. These Millennial Generation guests are gaining recognition as an enviable catch for anyone, and Aloft in particular.

“When Starwood thought of launching Aloft it was looking at the changing trends in the marketplace and understanding how travelers are traveling differently – the different demographics as well as the psychographics,” said Paige Francis, vice president of global brand management for Aloft. “The next generation of travelers would be the Millennials and those that share that mindset as well.”

In other words, said Francis, the brand recognizes that youthful thinking isn’t just found in the very young. “Who is actually coming to our door?” she said. “As you know, this appeals to a larger variety of the population, depending on their mindset. The self-driven early adopter, tech-savvy social person isn’t just limited to an actual age segment.”

Indeed, as Millennials come of age, suitcases in hand, they become a force the greater industry cannot ignore. Even the most traditional bed-and-breakfast segment has had to come to grips with the question of whether to shake the dust off its doilies, and strip its floral wallpaper, judiciously, to attract them.

“It’s not that baby boomers are exiting, they are still going to travel,” said Milton Pedraza, chief executive officer of the Luxury Institute, a ratings and research company that focuses on high-end branding. “But the emerging Gen X and Gen Y, the Millennials, are traveling too. Their world is so interconnected, they learn about new destinations and want to go sooner than we ever did as baby boomers…Global travel today is second nature, especially to these American consumers.”

And unlike the backpack-toting, hostel-focused youngsters of their predecessor generations, said Pedraza, “they are not into roughing it. They want to experience luxury and at least a minimum level of quality in the premises and amenities. They are not willing to compromise on that and they shouldn’t. The world has much higher standards now for travel and hospitality and a lot of options.”

The rapid expansion of Aloft bears this out. Some 63 hotels have been launched so far, with another five to open this month, said Francis. “Clearly this is a product that has been answering a need,” she said. That is as true in the U.S. as it is overseas, where Aloft is making advances into China, India, Malaysia, Latin America and Thailand.

“Generation Y is poised to become the largest consumer buying group,” Francis said. “They are a very quickly growing group defining the present and will continue to define our future.”

But inns and bed-and-breakfast establishments, which grew popular by serving up tidy slices of the past, have been rethinking their Millennial strategies too. In the spirit of last year’s concurrent presidential campaign season, innkeepers launched “Doily Decision 2012,” a tongue-in-cheek social media debate that tackled the importance of adherence to old-time traditions in the face of a youthful, text- and WiFi-driven world of travel.

“A lot of B&Bs have transcended the doily,” said Jay Karens, chief executive officers of the Professional Association of Innkeepers. But, he said, appealing to the Millennials is not just about tossing out the old – or keeping it – or necessarily being gadget-friendly.

“That’s a fallacy,” he said, referring to the notion that if you capture cutting-edge tech, you capture the Millennials’ hearts and wallets too.

“Where B&Bs are hitting the sweet spot is a more contemporary experience.” He said B&Bs appeal to Millennials now by offering an antidote to what he called “the typical corporate experience.” That often means a slightly more modern environment and a strong desire to build relationships, one-on-one.

The most successful hoteliers build their Millennial business on relationships, not transactions, said Pedraza. “For follow-ups, they don’t just send a generic email, they make a phone call. They suggest something for next year’s vacation. This is authentic human interaction as opposed to commercial gobbledygook speech.”

Millennials are being courted along the whole spectrum of inn styles, he said. “They run from the old-fashioned Victorian to the super modern and super elegant with everything in between,” Pedraza said. “There are plenty of innkeepers on that bell curve, offering the modern sophisticated experience. It might be a 200-year-old home but they have updated their interiors so it looks more like Pottery Barn than Laura Ashley.”

In Vermont’s Mad River Valley, Janice Hurley Hollis opted to mix allegiance to tradition with an advance into the bold and new. Hollis, operations manager of The Round Barn in Waitsfield, Vt., took stock of the 12-room inventory at the 19th century property and charted a varied course.

“Our travelers are changing,” she said “and we were thinking of what we can do at the property to make sure we attract all kinds of guests. We looked at our rooms and asked, ‘are there one or two rooms we could change the style in so we could have broader appeal?’ In our property we have a lot of traditional rooms done in the style you would expect. We went in one of the rooms, the Wait Room, and we did it over as a more modern style that doesn’t have wallpaper. We painted it a nice relaxing bluish tone with chocolate browns. It is not as busy as some of our other rooms.”

Much of the accommodations do, however, remain intact. “There are people who want to come and feel like they are staying in an older farmhouse and they want the wallpaper and that feeling,” she said. “We would never change the whole style of the property.”

Still, with the Wait Room as the inn’s first of a handful of Millennial-driven changes, the Round Barn also ramped up its digital welcome mat, updating its website and strengthening its Facebook presence. Online marketing means bold and beautiful imagery, she said. “We use lots of visuals,” she said. “And we stick to the three rules of marketing: People don’t read, people don’t read, people don’t read.”

She believes the inn and B&B segment is the market’s most Millennial-friendly because of its easy flexibility. “You always have to be conscious of who is the next traveler, and how do we maintain the balance of appealing to our current guests while appealing to our future guests. Finding something that appeals to everyone. B&Bs can do that. You are not coming to a hotel where the whole hotel appeals to one type of traveler.”

But whether the property is an inn, a major hotel or even a cruise line or tour, the ingredients for appeal are the same. “You need to have a bold customer culture, something that differentiates you and the way you deliver your experience,” said Pedraza. “The way people greet you, check you in…the people you interact with have to create a fabulous human experience.”

In the end, he said, it comes down to living up to the Millennials’ own expectations. “They think: ‘You have collected data on me, you know my needs and my desires and you had better deliver them, or I will consider your kind a dinosaur in the digital age.’….So don’t neglect the Millennials, they are the future.”

http://www.hotelinteractive.com/article.aspx?articleid=28468

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