Luxury Institute News

July 21, 2016

Global Tourism Takes Massive Hit After Spike in Terror Attacks

NBC News
By: Ben Popken
July 21, 2016

When a Tunisian truck driver launched an ISIS-inspired attack on July 14th in Nice on the French Riveria, he didn’t just mow down 84 people, he widened a wound in the global economy.

Now, no tourist destination appears safe after the attack on the boardwalk in Nice, a glamorous and family-friendly seaside city popular with tourists from all over the world. While full of “soft targets,” it broke from the recent pattern of terror attacks in Europe.

“It was a watershed moment,” said luxury consultant Milton Pedraza. “You thought it was just capitals and where those guys live and congregate, now it’s everywhere.”

As ISIS has lost its physical territory, there have been an uptick in attacks in Western Europe for which the group has later claimed responsibility said Alex Kassirer, a senior counterterrorism analyst at the global security firm Flashpoint Intelligence and an NBC News consultant.

“This is a strategy they’re honing, and one we’ll see more often, with little attention paid to city of attack, as long as it’s in the West,” said Kassirer. “No city is immune to attacks.”

The increased cadence in terror attacks targeting European tourist destinations both major and minor has dealt double-digit blows to travel, with global tourism spending down 14 percent in June, according to a recent report by UBS.

Image: Minute of silence the Promenade des Anglais
An aerial view of the Promenade des Anglais boulevard where thousands gathered to observe a minute of silence in tribute to the victims of the Nice truck attack, in Nice, France. VILLE DE NICE / HANDOUT / EPA

In the immediate aftermath of the Nice attack, cruise lines canceled trips and ports of call to the city. Rihanna canceled a concert scheduled for the day after the attack, and the prestigious annual Nice Jazz Festival canceled its four-day event.

A spokesman for the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regional council, which includes Nice, declined to comment.

“Economic consequences, though important, are meaningless compared to the tragedy many families and the nation are experiencing,” said spokesman Eric Lorrain. “The Regional Council is assessing the economic consequences and trying to figure out how to help the professionals that are to face losses in their activity.”

But it’s clear that in Nice, as seen in other targets of terror, tourism will suffer. Across the board, fearful tourists are canceling or changing travel plans to avoid attacked cities and countries.

Fearful Tourists Change Itineraries

Egypt, France, Tunisia, and Turkey have all seen drops in visitors from 11 to 20 percent following terror attacks, some of which specifically targeted tourists.

31-year-old travel entrepreneur Jared Kamrowski said that he initially stuck with his plans to visit Turkey following a terror bombing there in January 2016.

Image: People walk away from Istanbul Ataturk airport, Turkey
People walk away from Istanbul Ataturk airport, Turkey, following a blast June 28, 2016. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

“We told ourselves we weren’t going to let the terrorists win by canceling our plans,” he said. But, after another bombing there in March, he did cancel his plans, opting to visit Dubai and Spain instead.

“After the first bombing….we weren’t going to let the terrorists win…after the second bombing…we decided to cancel our plans”

Many travelers are avoiding mainland Western Europe entirely, switching to places seen as safe, like Scotland, or Latin America.

Esther Roskam, a 31-year-old law student from Baltimore, Maryland, was discussing with her friend whether to take a trip to Amsterdam because of terror concerns. Besides the general miasma overhanging Europe, there had been an attack on the Amsterdam to Paris high-speed train in August 2015.

“As we were debating, there was another attack,” said Roskam. Instead, they opted for Cancun. She couldn’t recall which attack specifically changed her mind. “Possibly France? It’s incredibly depressing that I’m having trouble keeping track.”

Some travelers even prefer what they say is the relative safety of Western Africa.

Valerie Bowden, a 28-year-old American who regularly backpacks and hitchhikes through Ethiopia said she was in the Istanbul airport shortly before the attack June 29 that killed 45 and injured more than 200.

Later, watching on TV screens the aftermath she avoided by only a few hours, “was eerie and scary,” she said.

She finds African countries to be safer than the U.S. and Europe. In fact her biggest concern is pickpockets.

“While Africa isn’t immune to terrorism, most violence occurs in small villages that a tourist would never visit. Thanks to ISIS, terrorism across Europe takes place exactly where tourists would end up,” said Bowden.

Travel Industry Scrambles to Coax Back Customers

Sentiments like that have helped send down stock in companies that sell packaged vacations to major cities in Europe, with Thomas Cook down 47 percent and TUI down 32 percent since the beginning of the year.

The travel and lodging industries have been forced to make steep discounts in an attempt to coax back customers.

Experts note that the price wars started after a 14 percent drop in Chinese demand following stricter rules in the country on “gifting,” or bribing officials with foreign-bought luxury items. But tourists frightened by terrorism have exacerbated the downturn.

Image: French police officers at Charles de Gaulle Airport on May 19, 2016
French police officers stand guard at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris on Thursday, May 19. ETIENNE LAURENT / EPA

Across Europe, hotels are offering discounts of up to 20 percent. Airfare to Europe from the U.S. is near record lows for recent decades. The cost of a ticket to Paris is down 15 percent from a month ago compared to being up 10 percent last year, according to deals surveyed by

For some travelers, like company CTO Mike Catania, who is heading to the Bordeaux region of France next month, the savings are worth the risk.

“Fear isn’t a great enough motivator to deprive our families of cultural experience beyond our borders,” said Catania. “And the deals were too good to pass up.”

But nothing lasts forever, especially when it comes to airline ticket prices. Later this year some airfare deals will evaporate as airlines begin removing capacity after the start of their winter schedule on October 26.

History Repeats Itself, But the 70′s Were Worse

The recent spate of terror is a decided spike for events in recent memory. But it pales in comparison to the thousands of terror attacks seen in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s, which saw an average of 10 attacks per week.

Terror attacks Western Europe chart
Terror attacks in Western Europe from 1970 to 2015.

There have been over 16,000 attacks in Western Europe since 1971, according to the Global Terrorism Database. That’s an average of 350 per year. The highest number of deaths came in 1988, a total of 440, largely due to the Pan Am flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland. And 2004 saw the highest number of wounded, 1,853, after the attacks in Madrid, Spain.

So, if history is a guide, tourism will come back, said Yeganeh Morakabati, an associate professor at Bournemouth University in the U.K., who studies the relationship between tourism and terrorism.

Her data shows predictable dips in annual arrivals following attacks in years past in Egypt, the U.K., and Spain. Numbers there eventually recovered to what they were before, then surpassed them.

“Tourists have short memories and people tend to forget,” said Morakabati. “As long as there is no other attack.”


July 18, 2016

Why luxury retailers are losing their luster

USA Today
Hadley Malcolm and Chris Woodyard
July 18, 2016

NEW YORK — Bling appears to not be as much of a thing.

Luxury retailers, which were flying high as the wealthy thrived, are starting to look more like diamonds in a pretty rough spot.

Threats to global stability — including terrorism, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and China’s slowdown — are rattling international shoppers of high-end goods. At the same time, luxury retailers are losing share to online sellers, an issue bedeviling mainstream chains. They’re also suffering at the hands of discounters and fast-fashion luxury lookalikes.

Investors are taking note. The S&P Global Luxury Index, which tracks the value of the stock of dozens of companies that deal in luxury goods including automakers, has lost 15.06% in the past year, compared to a 2.58% rise in the S&P 500, an index of the 500 largest publicly traded companies.

“If you’re tied to international consumers, you really have not had any sense of relief in the past several quarters,” says Simeon Siegel, equity research analyst with Nomura Securities.

As second-quarter earnings reports unfold, purveyors of luxury goods who noted some stress, such as jeweler Tiffany and apparel sellers Ralph Lauren and Burberry, will be watched to see if the trouble they reported in the first quarter is continuing or worsening.

Brexit creates a whole new level of uncertainty for some of the world’s wealthier spenders. It’s another shock that, combined with terror attacks in France, the U.S., Bangladesh and elsewhere, adds up to trouble for luxury firms because it scares off tourists — and tourists are some of the best customers for luxury companies.

“A few years ago, tourists would come buy empty luggage and fill it up and send it back home,” says Arnold Aronson, partner and managing director of retail strategies at consultancy Kurt Salmon. That’s not necessarily happening anymore

The drop in tourism is the biggest reason luxury retail traffic is down 20% from a year ago, says Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, a consulting firm.

It’s a strange turn for luxury, which looked unstoppable when the world’s wealthy were riding high. Globally, the luxury market is growing. Personal luxury goods purchases have tripled in the past 20 years to more than $270 billion, according to a 2015 report from Bain & Co. North and South America combined have become the largest market for personal luxury goods purchases.

But that growth has slowed in recent years. Last year, sales in the Americas were flat on a constant exchange rate basis, according to Bain.

Besides global economic pressure, even the most tony retailers are feeling the same heat from discounters and online sellers as the mainstream retail industry.

A recession-era boom in outlet and off-price stores had everyone from Coach to Prada hawking their once-coveted goods at a discount, or department store offshoots such as Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off 5th doing it for them. Fast-fashion players such as H&M and Zara churn out luxury lookalikes at a fraction of the price.

When it comes to online, some shoppers are turning to luxury-for-less sites such as Gilt or The Real Real.

“The story with luxury is it’s just not as exclusive and it doesn’t justify the price like it used to,” Pedraza says. “Too many of them are discounting, and there’s not enough consumer demand.”


May 5, 2016

Denver’s Inspirato booming as interest in luxury destination clubs grow

Inspirato, a Denver-based luxury destination club, plans to hire its 500th employee by year’s end.
The Denver Post
By: Emilie Rusch
May 5, 2016

Inspirato, a Denver-based destination club that caters to luxury travelers, is in the midst of a major growth spurt, set to reach 500 employees by year’s end and more than double its office footprint in Lower Downtown.

Launched in 2011 by Exclusive Resorts co-founder Brent Handler, Inspirato now counts more than 12,000 members taking advantage of its private network of multimillion-dollar vacation homes, travel experiences and special relationships with upscale hotels worldwide. Initiation fees for the club start at $7,500, with monthly dues of $325. Members then pay per night for accommodations they book.

“The reason we came up with the company is because we knew there was a really large market of people who were looking for a better way to vacation in a safe manner, for options in homes, hotels and experiences, all with an adviser to help them put it all together,” Handler said. “We’re continuing to grow very aggressively in terms of selling memberships, revenue and employees.”

That growth has meant adding jobs and square footage to its Denver headquarters.

Since the beginning of the year, Inspirato has increased its workforce by 66 employees, bringing the total to 428. Plans call for the company to reach 500 workers by the end of 2016.

To house that growth, Inspirato has signed a lease for three floors of the  historic Sugar Building, located at 16th and Wazee streets.

Once renovations are complete later this year, the addition will bring the company’s total footprint to about 68,000 square feet, making the travel company one of the largest office tenants in LoDo.

The company will continue to occupy all 36,000 square feet of the historic  Peters Paper Co. Warehouse building at 1637 Wazee St., less than a block away.

Handler said while it might have been more efficient to move the entire operation into a larger, more traditional office building, the company never seriously considered leaving LoDo.

“We knew early on that would mean a campus. Frankly, this building won’t be enough for our growth plans, either,” Handler said. “We plan on being a long-term part of the community in this small sector of LoDo.”

Since the beginning of the year, Inspirato has increased its workforce by 66 employees, bringing the total to 428.

Since the beginning of the year, Inspirato has increased its workforce by 66 employees, bringing the total to 428.

Beyond any emotional attachment to the area, though, Inspirato is also betting on the recruiting advantage that being in LoDo provides, he said. Most of the new positions will be in tech, sales and what the company calls “travel advisers,” employees who work directly with club members to plan vacations.

“We’re hiring just out of college — or a few years out of college — smart, motivated employees, and they do not want to work in the Tech Center,” Handler said. “They want to work at the center of the action.”

Nationwide, the “shared economy model” has been experiencing a resurgence in recent years in the luxury travel world, said Milton Pedraza, CEO of New York-based research firm Luxury Institute.

“The idea is popular because who wouldn’t want multiple home availability at the right time, with a great concierge and pay a fraction of the cost?” Pedraza said. 

“But it’s how you actually deliver that promise that really matters,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of players go down. They think they’re in the business of selling memberships, but they’re really not.”

Inspirato’s model “really hits the sweet spot of where the consumer is going,” said Richard Ragatz, president of Ragatz Associates, an Oregon-based resort real estate industry consulting firm. “Inspirato is a very innovative, creative concept that’s doing very well.”

In 2015, the shared-ownership industry — which includes timeshare properties and destination clubs — booked $505 million in sales. Sixty-two percent of that came from destination clubs, such as Inspirato, according to a  report from Ragatz Associates.

Inspirato has distinguished itself from other timeshare and destination-club players with its lower cost of entry and no long-term commitment, he said. Younger travelers, in particular, like the variety, convenience and flexibility the clubs can offer.

“Millennials are much less enthusiastic about purchasing real estate with a deed in perpetuity, and they don’t want all the burdens that go along with ownership,” Ragatz said. “They don’t want to put all their discretionary income into one home.”

Unlike many of its competitors, Inspirato operates the vacation residences through long-term lease arrangements, instead of purchasing them. This allows the company to avoid the six-figure initiation fees that some other clubs charge.

“We essentially tried to take the best parts of renting a vacation home, which was becoming popular with  Airbnb and HomeAway and VRBO,” Handler said. “We came up with a concept where we could have a club structure — people pay a fee to join, but then they get these homes taken care of as if you were in a hotel. They’re fully serviced, there’s housekeeping, there’s a concierge.”

As far as their new offices in the Sugar Building, plans call for exposing as much of the original 1906 structure as possible, said Mark Sheldon, Inspirato’s vice president of asset operations.

Work on the three floors will be done in phases and be completed by the end of the year.

“The first thing I did was tear out the walls,” Sheldon said. “Now, when you walk up into the space, instead of seeing hallways, you see every window.”

In a separate project, the design details of which were approved by the Lower Downtown Design Review Board late last year, the property owner plans to build a four-story addition with a glass facade where now a narrow parking lot sits behind the building on Wazee.

Inspirato will take three of the floors, with the ground floor serving as the travel company’s main entrance. The addition, expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2017, will increase Inspirato’s footprint by another 12,000 square feet.

“These commitments to the people and the places we occupy are all part and parcel to what we’re building here,” Sheldon said.


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.


February 1, 2016

Analysis: + Mobile Internet Trend, from the Following Aspects of Tourism Enterprises to Build Brands

Research Papers Center
By: Hui Wen and Xu Liyang
January 31, 2016

REVIEW: After entering APP era, the development of service interactions between tourism brand and customer communication and service must keep pace with changes in the nature of, the traditional means of communication with customers and business relations to do to maintain the cold, in mobile Internet era, companies can solve the information service again reshape the strong association with customers.

Now the ‘Internet + wave’ has swept all walks of life, the focus of enterprise development are inclined to the mobile terminal, after entering APP era, the development of service interactions between tourism brand and customer communication and service must keep pace with changes in the nature. Although tourism brand want to speak with one voice, but the challenge in practice the flow of information so that each employee interaction with customers need to re-start. For consumers, the same requirements to be transferred back and forth between different departments, but also with a number of service personnel to communicate is unreasonable. For a long time, the industry’s customer service representative sounds like automated robots, reading scripted answers and impersonal.

Now people authenticity and demand for personalized, interactive model that is very problematic. Fortunately, the messaging service App era become the travel company to provide true and effective personalized communication tool.

What values will resonate with today’s consumers?

With the development of consumer preferences, service brands are increasingly based on the need to strengthen the values of customer contact. In some iconic brand service, authenticity and one on one personalized recognition emerged as the leading brand attributes.


According to their geographical location, local ingredients from a farm to table moved from the hotel the moment, ‘authenticity’ has become today’s traveler compass. Quote a travel writer David Sze’s words, ‘for the 21st century traveler, its authenticity has become a journey of objectives and measures.’ The traditional hotel brand based local culinary experience to realize the promise of authenticity.

However, although tourism brand and strive to create ‘real’ feeling, but to become more than just buy one of the new consumer brand needs convincing. Authenticity is difficult to define, but it can not be fake. As more hotel brands want to pursue the truth, it is difficult to ignore its existence. Airbnb’s CMO Jonathan Mildenhall believes that the brand experience is based on different approaches to millions of user generated. So how can we establish a set of standardized practices the traditional brands to revitalize it?

One relationship

Remember, each greeted by name, each a unique individual for the brand consolidate the relationship between them and the passengers are influential. Although the interaction between people has been a sign of good service, but consumers now see that these interactions will be an important cornerstone of the brand consolidation. In the luxury summit last October, CEO Milton Pedraza, the Luxury Institute, said, ‘As consumers become increasingly sophisticated, increasingly commoditized product, cross-channel interactive experiences and people will be to distinguish between brands key. ‘and recognized by customers and guests personalized communication brand will stand out. 

How will these consumption values associated with the mobile Internet era?

As we said, ‘Welcome to the mobile Internet (after APP) era’, consumers increasingly want to interact with companies through the information platform, while commercial traffic is also growing rapidly. However, the information platform is not just a communication channel, the interaction of information makes us totally different customer experience, it shows that consumers desire is real, one to one relationship, the following instructions to do so three a bonus:

It helps create intelligent brand. In a voice or face to face interactive virtual world, or cross-sectoral team to share information is very difficult, especially in Transition. Adverse exchange of information so that consumers just keep repeating, it makes them feel worthless and not taken seriously. In contrast, information platform to create a communication path between each employee and each customer, with the historical data of these interactions, as referred to work when employees will no longer need to take over from scratch to talk with customers.

Treat each consumer as a unique individual. When customer-facing employees about customer information or interaction history, customer will be able to as a unique individual treatment was 11. Staff know the customer’s name, you can refer to past experiences have occurred, rather than to allow customers to repeat the same question. They do not need to be rebuilt from scratch every customer interaction. In order to prove to the customer’s perception, brands need to establish one to one relationship and long-term loyalty.

Human interactions with employees and achieve real butt. In their personal lives, consumers have learned how to use social media and the use of carefully chosen profile picture to express their identity. Facebook and LinkedIn allows people to meet in the absence of knowledge of each other. Information platform for employees and the brand provides a canvas to express their identity. Behind the tourism brand, the real understanding of the customer is to establish a true relationship with customers more powerful ways.

In short, the information platform enables brands to offer a unique experience of large-scale, resonate with today’s consumers.


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.


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 and contact us with any questions or for more information.

June 20, 2014

Real Estate In a Global Consumer Landscape

By: Ginette WrightHomes & Estates
Luxury Living Worldwide Edition 2
A Special Supplement for the Wall Street Journal
June 20, 2014

It is no secret that fine property today trades among an increasingly international circle of clients who appreciate the multi-faceted value of real estate. These world citizens have a truly global perspective and see country boundaries as less meaningful in the search for their desired home experience. After all, one can just as easily enjoy an evening sunset from a balcony in Paris or Miami.

What this means is that clients demand that the reach in the marketing of their home be international in scope. One could argue that all borders are crossed in connecting to buyers online; to an extent that is true. Yet there is an important distinction: trust. Am I more likely to click on a property associated with a company I recognize, whether I consciously acknowledge it or not? Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, notes: “Luxury brands that offer both expertise and trust and are also recognized for delivering the ultimate in global reach in an extremely relevant and personal category such as real estate have a definite advantage in today’s marketplace.” With a heritage that spans over a century and locations in 48 countries and territories, the Coldwell Banker® brand and the Coldwell Banker Previews International® luxury marketing program are familiar to a vast audience that is interested and engaged in acquiring real estate. Our international marketing, whether online or off, enjoys the halo of our global reputation. In the United States alone, we close over $100 million dollars in luxury real estate each day.*

We also believe in the strength of partnerships with brands that have longevity and heritage similar to our own. To that end, the Wall Street journal is a world-class organization with sophisticated readership in all corners of the world. The Homes & estates publication you are holding will land in the hands of Wall Street journal subscribers in major cities on three continents. It’s an investment we make because we want our clients to have access to every potential buyer anywhere in the world.

There is so much more I’d like to share about the value of the Previews® program and the expertise of our fine associates, but I am limited by the space on this page. Instead, I invite you to enjoy a fine read on Robert A.M. Stern Architects (buying his firm’s new book “designs for living” is also a must) and consider the housing possibilities we’ve included in this magazine. do you see a property that fits your view of living? Since summer is upon many of us throughout the world, we chose to look at the luxury lifestyle from the view of the coastline. After all, few moments are more prized in luxury real estate than the moment when you catch that first glimpse of water from your residence and feel a sense of serenity, knowing that you own this experience—the experience of home.

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 and Contact Us with any questions or for more information about specific brand rankings.

About the Luxury Institute (
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, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

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)


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


  • 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 (
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, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

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