Traditionally, luxury denotes exclusivity, social status, and wealth. Today, it’s viewed in a far broader context. Over these past few years, there’s been a shift in people’s values, affecting our behavior as consumers. This too applies to luxury travel. In order to stay relevant, luxury hotels employ new strategies to appeal to the changed needs of modern travelers.
Modern luxury travelers strive for unique experiences. They want to share stories with their audience, garnished with images of their trip that make others feel inspired and frankly, a little jealous. Other than having more sophisticated tastes, guests are also more selective regarding where and how they spend time and money. There is a growing desire to travel more responsibly and to give back to the destination.
In this article, we will explore what makes luxury travelers tick in this day and age.
Creating experiences in a luxury hotel is all about catering to the personal preferences of the guests. One size doesn’t fit all, the needs and interests of every single guest have to be considered. A study by Virtuoso for YouGov shows that 80% of travelers are willing to spend more on brands that tailor products to them. [Source:]
Luxury hotels deliver tailor-made experiences through personalization and customization of their products and services. Personalization and customization are two different approaches sharing the same goal of better addressing guests’ needs.
Customization is controlled by the user or guest, allowing them to orchestrate their unique travel experiences. Hotels can start building relationships with the guests even before they arrive. A good practice is sending out a short survey asking about the guests’ preferences on matters such as celebrating a special occasion and what the date is or attaching a link to insider tips from the hotel concierge published on your hotel website.
Personalization on the other hand is controlled by the hotel. It is an act of creating or modifying a product or service based on customer data to meet an individual’s needs. Personalization solely relies on customer data and doesn’t involve any effort from the guests. [Source:]
The right technology can help luxury hotels connect data sources, and data-driven insights to understand more about their customers. Big Data, in particular, can provide the necessary information for hotel marketers to engage in a meaningful and personalized way with their most valuable guests. (Luxe Digital)
‘We really want to spend our products and resources with our guests, with the engagement the personal touches that we can do to make that experience memorable and in that sense technology, like AI can really help us to engage with guests.’ Robbert Manussen, IHG Area General Manager for Taiwan.
InterContinental Kaohsiung uses a voice AI concierge, AVA to derive insights about their guests. In this piece, we go into more detail on how data help hotels optimize services to guests’ preferences.
According to Luxe Digital, social media and mobile, in particular, have a significant influence on where and how modern travelers spend their money. It is essential for Luxury hotels to learn how they shape their customer’s decision process and how to leverage their potential.
Mobile and social media are great tools for luxury travel and hospitality marketers to engage with their guests in real-time and on-property in new innovative ways. Seamless and shareable experiences are must-have amenities for today’s tech-savvy travelers.
In 2017 The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort took ‘shareable experiences’ one step further with Instagram Butlers, described as knowledgeable team members who bring the guests to the most photogenic spots, including of course the hotel’s famous undersea restaurant Ithaa.
Luxury hotels have to be able to deliver on the most difficult requests and give guests access to something special. Concierges are the ultimate experience experts. The Ritz-Carlton app is a good example of utilizing the expertise of their best concierges to help guide memorable experiences for their guests.
According to YouGov one in two travelers seek out authentic experiences that are representative of the local culture (50%) with 53% of respondents saying they are willing to pay more for a sustainable holiday.
There is a growing group of socially-conscious affluent travelers seeking an authentic connection to local culture, heritage, and food. These guests want hotel brands to show a natural understanding of their surroundings. Small details like bathroom amenities are already a great opportunity to tell a story of your locale. Molton Brown, a British fragrance maker designed sustainable luxury amenities for hotels with Botanical Hair Care Collection.
“For this new release in the hotel channel, the Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner are enriched with sustainably sourced Camomile. As an homage to the brand’s London home, the herbs used are grown in once-abandoned London Underground tunnels, using remarkable hydroponic systems and LED technology.” [Source:]
Overall, a more quiet idea of luxury has begun to emerge. After the pandemic, guests have realized the importance of slow travel and giving back to the destination. An increasing number of luxury travelers have a more eco-conscious mindset with an increased desire to travel responsibly.
Affluent travelers are finding luxury in unique experiences, that go beyond lavish displays of wealth. Today’s guests want to be enticed and excited by the possibility of new adventures appealing to their personal interests. There is a growing group of affluent travelers that favor responsible travel rather than the traditional notion of luxury. Luxury hotel brands are expected to show local knowledge and a thorough understanding of their surroundings while engaging in planet-conscious behavior.
To stay relevant to the expectations of modern guests’, hotels start embracing this new luxury standard with new ways of communication with your guests through digital and new technologies, where social media play a major role, and leverage data to personalize products and services to what matters to their guests.
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