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Are consumers bored with big luxury brands?

Big luxury hotel brands face a big new challenge in attracting high-end travelers: boredom. That's according to hospitality industry veteran Filip Boyen.

Are consumers bored with big luxury brands?

"Luxury is evolving all the time, I think what is important to us is to understand what the customer feels luxury is," says Boyen, CEO of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH).

Now, those travelers have become "a little bit bored with the predictability of big brands and standards, so what they're looking for now is a more personalized, unique, boutique style experience.” Luxury has become less about frills -- many of which have become standardized across the industry -- and more about an experience of simplicity where "people feel incredibly connected with the destination and the local way of life," says Boyen

Smaller luxury hotels can offer a more varied experience for high-end travellers.

Indeed, Boyen's own experiences as a seasoned traveler have made him very sensitive to quality issues in "refined hospitality." He says one of his major pet peeves is bad service. It's not the champagne, view from the room, or the fruit displays that luxury travelers want, but the personal service from the hotel's general manager, he says.

Boyen emphasizes the need for general managers to be great hosts, leading by example to inspire their staff to build relationships with guests. But he adds another pet peeve with hotels is making it too complicated to connect to the internet.

"I've been to hotels where connecting to the Internet is harder than launching a nuclear weapon," he says jokingly.

As a web agency firmly in the best hotel design space and from my personal experience, luxury is also defined in the detail. Attention to detail in every aspect plays a huge roll in delivering a luxury experience. Also remembering that luxury can simply equate to a genuine smile and caring helping hand in a guests time of need.

People are more and more on high alert when it comes to ‘fake’ service and this does stem form the top down. The management really do set the culture of an organisation as to how every staff member conducts their day to day jobs and the attitude in which this is done. I have also stayed in and worked with many of the big chains over the years and I can count on one hand where I have ‘felt' this culture to be on course as opposed to being run straight out of the HR manual.

This is a huge plus for small boutique properties and it is no wonder that the big chains and creating more brands that mimic this, even if they haven’t quite got it right yet. There is just no replacing a fantastic experience with genuine, heartfelt service.

We too strive to deliver this in our business because at the end of the day we are all here to serve others coming from our own place of truth and integrity.


Original article - http://www.cnbc.com/

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