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.

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.

June 11, 2013

Wealthy to spend less on luxury items they don’t need

By Angela Johnson
CNN Money
June 10, 2013

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The improving economy isn’t going to spur a mad dash to luxury stores among the U.S.’s wealthiest shoppers, a new survey shows.

Wealthy consumers are expected to cut back on spending on non-essential items during the second half of the year; seeking products and experiences that hold more value instead, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Luxury Institute.

Of the more than 500 “pentamillionaires” — those with a net worth of $5 million or more — surveyed, more than 80% say luxury goods, such as jewelry, watches, and handbags, have declined in significance.

“Even among the wealthiest customers, luxury goods and services are considered less important in today’s economy,” said Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza in a statement.

Click the link to read the entire article which includes multiple quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute: http://wtkr.com/2013/06/10/wealthy-to-spend-less-on-luxury-items-they-dont-need/

Wealthy to cut back on pricey stuff, spend more on experiences

By Shan Li
Los Angeles Times
June 10, 2013

Wealthy shoppers will refrain from scooping up expensive handbags, shoes and other discretionary items even as the economy recovers and the stock market soars, a study found.

In the second half of 2013, the rich will rein in their spending on material things and seek out experiences that may garner more satisfaction, according to a Luxury Institute survey.

“People are less interested in watches and more interested in building lasting memories,” said Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute. “Even among the wealthiest customers, luxury goods and services are considered less important in today’s economy.”

Click the link to read the entire article which includes several quotes from Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute:
http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-wealthy-spending-20130610,0,5516627.story

June 4, 2013

Better Economy Spurs Ultra-Wealthy To Spend More On Travel, Dining And Wine, But Appetite Cools For Jewelry And Handbags

(NEW YORK) June 4, 2013 – For its 2013 State Of The Luxury Industry report, the Luxury Institute surveyed pentamillionaire consumers with net worth of at least $5 million and minimum annual household income of $200,000 to learn about current preferences and future spending on luxury goods and services for the remainder of 2013. Respondents also shared evaluations of the overall luxury market.

One-third of pentamillionaires plan to step up spending on leisure travel in the second half of 2013, making hotels, airlines and cruise operators big beneficiaries of additional spending by America’s wealthiest shoppers. Restaurants are poised for a pick-up, too, with 20% of ultra-wealthy consumers planning to spend “more” or “much more” on dining out in the final six months of the year, and 19% also pouring more dollars into wine.

Additional categories seeing significant upcoming spending interest are health & fitness (17%) and vacation real estate (17%).

Rebounding home values and the surging stock market are not spreading cheer or riches universally. More than 80% of pentamillionaires say luxury goods are less important in the current economic environment. Jewelry sales especially may be under some pressure, with 25% of the ultra-wealthy saying they will spend less or much less through the remainder of 2013. Handbags are the focus of planned spending cutbacks by 20% of those surveyed.

“Even among the wealthiest consumers, luxury goods and services are considered less important in today’s economy,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Luxury brands can capture these increasingly discerning ultra-wealthy consumers by providing unrivaled quality, craftsmanship and service.”

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.

October 17, 2012

High-Income Shoppers Talk Openly About Luxury Salespeople; Relationships With Wealthy Customers Blossom When Staff Shows Knowledge, Professionalism and Courtesy

(NEW YORK) October 17, 2012 – Wealthy shoppers with minimum annual income of $150,000 rank attributes they find important among people selling them high-end goods and services in the new Experiences With Luxury Salespeople WealthSurvey from the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute.

The most important attribute is knowledge, cited by 72% of respondents. Being professional (68%), and polite and courteous (65%), are also of high importance, followed by being honest (57%), helpful (56%), trustworthy (52%) and experienced (52%).

Relationships with individual salespersons are common, with 40% of shoppers reporting a primary point of contact for at least one luxury provider. Relationships are most prevalent in personal finance (11%) and jewelry (10%). Perhaps surprisingly, individual relationships are just as common in fashion (8%), as they are in autos, travel and beauty.

Respondents provided ratings of specific brands in ten categories with exceptional levels of sales service. Some of the standout performers are Lexus, Mercedes and BMW in automobiles, Marriott, Hilton and Ritz-Carlton in hospitality, Coach in handbags, Nordstrom in fashion apparel and Rolex in watches. Categories in which the highest proportions of wealthy customers cite exceptional service are jewelry and watches (31%), leisure travel (24%), and fashion apparel (24%).

“A strong Customer Culture has a halo effect on companies,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. ”More than 75% of high-end shoppers recommend brands to family and friends based on outstanding experiences that they’ve had with a salesperson.”

Respondents reported average income of $310,000 and average net worth of $3.6 million.

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 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 14, 2012

In China, Bikes Shed Their Working-Class Roots

By Debra Bruno
Wall Street Journal
September 13th, 2012

BEIJING — Yu Yiqun sees the bicycle as the ideal form of transformation — and not because he can’t afford a car.

In fact, the 40-year-old, who works as a creative director at Geogrum Advertising, owns 21 bikes, including high-end brands like Moulton, Cervélo and Colnago. “You need different kinds of bicycles to ride in different kinds of environments,” he says.

Mr. Yu has spent as much as 110,000 yuan (more than $17,000) on a bike and considers their versatility an advantage over cars. “People in Beijing should update their ideas,” he says.

Click the link to read the entire article including quotes from Luxury Institute’s CEO Milton Pedraza:
http://blogs.wsj.com/scene/2012/09/13/in-china-luxury-cycles-help-bikes-shed-their-working-class-roots/

September 12, 2012

In Asian Luxury Hotels, Wealthy Chinese Love Lodging With Hyatt And Marriot, But Japan Prefers Putting On the Ritz

(NEW YORK) September 12, 2012 – U.S. hotel operators prove popular among wealthy travelers in Asia’s two biggest markets, according to two new Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) surveys of affluent Chinese and Japanese by the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute. Japanese travelers earning at least 15 million yen per year ($190,000) evaluated 20 luxury hotel brands, and Chinese consumers with minimum annual income of one million yuan ($157,000) considered 26 luxury-lodging names.

Wealthy respondents rated hotels 1-10 on criteria including quality of accommodations, exclusivity, degree of status enhancement and ability to deliver special guest experiences.  They also indicated which hotel brands they planned to stay with this year, and whether they’re willing to pay premium prices or to recommend a brand to people close to them.

In China, St. Regis (8.41) earns the highest LBSI score, but the JW Marriott (36%) and Grand Hyatt (34%) were most frequently visited in the past year by wealthy Chinese travelers and are the two hotels where they plan to stay next. Along with InterContinental, Marriott and Hyatt are also the two most likely brands to receive favorable recommendations from wealthy Chinese travelers.

In Japan, Ritz-Carlton ranks at the top for both popularity and prestige. Ritz earns the second-highest (7.62) LBSI score, just behind Peninsula Hotels (7.66), but it is deemed the hotel most worthy of a price premium.  Ritz-Carlton is also the most popular choice for the next hotel visit.

“Luxury hotels don’t achieve consistently superior ratings by accident,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Standards, systems and training underpin excellence in any service business, especially luxury.”

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 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 8, 2012

Accepting Chinese debit cards pays dividends

Upmarket US retailers cash in on influx of tourists from the far east
By Yu Wei
China Daily
September 7, 2012

Hoping to attract the business of Chinese travelers, luxury retail chains Saks and Neiman Marcus will soon start accepting debit cards issued by China UnionPay Co at select US stores.

Saks Inc is installing point-of-sale keypads that accept UnionPay cards’ personal identification numbers at its Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York. The company plans to add other stores over the next few months, spokeswoman Julia Bentley said.

China UnionPay is China’s only provider of domestic bank-services cards, credit and debit. Both Saks and Neiman Marcus already accept China UnionPay credit cards.

Efforts to capture the lucrative market of Chinese tourists are not new. The French jewelers Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, the Swiss watch makers Piaget and Omega and the duty-free chain DFS Galleria, owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, have been taking China UnionPay cards for some time, as have mid-range retailers such as Macy’s, Apple and Best Buy.

“Macy’s has accepted (China UnionPay’s debit) card since 2004,” says Jim Sluzew-ski, a spokesman for the department-store operator based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“The card is accepted in all Macy’s stores and is popular among our customers who visit from China.”

China UnionPay says its debit card is the most popular mode of payment among China’s richest consumers because purchases are linked to a bank account rather than a limited credit line.

Other benefits: No fees are applied to purchases and the buyer has the option of getting cash back at the store checkout.

“Our goal is to make it easier for our Chinese customers to pay however they wish to pay,” Bentley says.

Like Saks, Neiman Marcus of Dallas will begin accepting China UnionPay debit cards at some stores beginning this month. These include the Neiman Marcus store in Honolulu and the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York.

The company plans to follow suit at Neiman Marcus stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Boston.

“We like to accommodate as many Chinese customers as we can, and most of them prefer debit cards to credit cards,” says Ginger Reeder, a spokeswoman for the privately held Neiman Marcus Group.

“We have seen more Chinese customers in our stores over the years, and the most popular items among Chinese travelers are handbags and other accessories.”

To enhance its service to shoppers from China, the company has begun hiring Mandarin-speaking sales assistants.

“Every store has at least two or three and we’ll continue to hire more,” Reeder says.

Not so long ago the upmarket retailer only accepted its store credit card, cash and American Express.

“The funny thing is, two years ago Neiman Marcus didn’t accept Visa, MasterCard or checks at its stores,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the market-research firm Luxury Institute LLC.

“Now they allow all kinds of payment because they realized they were losing sales by their card policy. When I was in Miami I had to go to a cash machine before buying something in Neiman Marcus because I didn’t have a Neiman Marcus credit card, which was very inconvenient.”

Pedraza considers Neiman Marcus’ revised card policy a “must decision” that proves that retailers need to adapt to customers’ changing preferences. “Smart companies will do it because they’re customer-centric,” he says.

US retailers still have work to do in better serving Chinese shoppers, consumers, Pedraza says.

“We are not friendly enough to Chinese customers compared to Europeans (visiting the US). That’s a lot of opportunities because today the Chinese consumer is a very important global consumer and will be more important in the future.”

A record 1.1 million Chinese visited the US last year, up 36 percent from the previous year, the US Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration says.

The country’s economic growth has boosted the buying power of Chinese who travel abroad, and some savvy US businesses have taken steps to draw in these shoppers.

An example is the prominent placement of UnionPay’s logo at the checkout counters of some upmarket retailers, along with the installation of the PIN-enabled keypads.

Wu Miaoqing, visiting New York from Hangzhou, a coastal city in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, applauded the decision by Saks and Neiman Marcus to start taking China UnionPay debit cards.

“Being able to use the card abroad not only makes my purchase convenient, it also makes me feel good. It shows the businesses care about us.”

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/weekly/2012-09/07/content_15741171.htm

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