One size doesn’t fit all. Today, true luxury in incentive programs is all about customization.
By: Andrea Doyle
May 22, 2014
“Luxury continues to grow,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a New York-based independent and objective luxury research company and boutique consulting firm. “It’s growing at a rate of about 10 percent in the U.S. Plus, the luxury market will continue to grow as more people become affluent.” Pedraza references a recent prediction made by Bill Gates who surmises that, by 2035 there will be almost no poor countries left in the world.
Luxury means different things to different people. Pedraza defines it as, “the best of design, the best of quality, the best of craftsmanship, and the best of service. In other words, it’s the best of whatever is being offered in any category.”
Luxury and premium-level brands are natural motivators, he adds. “When a company wants to show its employees they are valued there is nothing that works better than a first-class travel reward or top-of-the-line products. When someone does something special, the reward ought to be special. You want that person to feel incentivized, empowered, and inspired to go on and achieve the next target, goal, or objective. You must reward the best with the best.”
Although luxury goods and travel took a hit in 2009 when the AIG fiasco erupted, that is no longer the case. “The luxury goods market has grown significantly and will continue to grow. The stigma attached to it by some in 2009 is gone,” explains Pedraza.
When a group has the opportunity to personalize a luxury product, it adds to its uniqueness and exclusivity, creating the feeling that you’re having an extraordinary experience, and eliciting the emotion of feeling special.
Customized experiences created for a certain destination or activity have added impact. Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, edging the Colorado/Utah border and billed as the world’s first and only discovery resort, offers an option for custom cowboy boot or hat fittings during horseback rides, or dinners at Red Cliff Camp. “We have Native American artists who offer beading classes where the spouses have taken home the jewelry that they made,” explains Erik Dombroski the director of sales and marketing. “We also offer a program where a photographer will document a group’s entire event, then edit it, and present a photo montage on the last night of their stay. Companies will then send a customized memory stick or digital picture frame to their attendees with the photos to remember their trip.” Gateway Canyons, created by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks, features 58 guest rooms and suites, 14 Palisade Casitas and more than 12,000 square feet of event space.