Chances are that you’ve already had a taste of ‘new luxury.’ Hoteliers are working hard to meet the increasingly complex needs of the 2013 traveler and for many brands this means a significant overhaul in their approach to the guest experience. What is new luxury anyway? This very subject was the big topic at this year’s International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) show in Cannes.
Nicholas Coleridge, the President of Condé Nast International and Managing Director of Condé Nast Britain, gave a brilliant presentation defining ‘new luxury.’ Luxury family travel is our specialty on Ciao Bambino. It’s fascinating to stay at different hotels and experience the vastly different interpretations of luxury travel. It all boils down to a few key drivers that are shared by all luxury travelers, with and without children-in-tow. Mr. Coleridge articulated these beautifully.
Here are key points from his presentation followed by my commentary on how and why they are relevant for families.
Driving Forces Behind ‘New Luxury’ “Time is the greatest luxury of all. People are working even longer hours — permanently plugged into either their iPhone or Blackberry.” We all relate to this as parents. We are plugged into our electronics round-the-clock and it is increasing difficult to experience true quiet time. Vacation is the opportunity to disconnect (we may choose not to take it, but that’s a different conversation) and is more precious than ever for families. We want access to excitement, but we also want a place to decompress.
Take Nira Alpina, for example, a boutique luxury hotel just outside of St. Moritz. The property is designed to ensure guests feel deeply connected – not separated from – the glorious mountain scenery. Peace and quiet is accessible; when/if guests want the glitz and St. Moritz they can go there, or skip it all together. The point is that guests have options.
“But of course, it’s not just time — it’s time spent well.” Families want more meaning out of their travels now. Sitting on a beach is always enjoyable but they increasingly want to learn something while on vacation too. This accounts for the growing popularity of family walking tours and active lessons like cooking and art classes at a destination.
“Really going off the beaten track. More and more of our readers are looking for the new, and relatively undiscovered destinations.” Families are willing to travel further than ever to access unique and interesting experiences. When I first started Ciao Bambino our clients were worried about how to travel with young kids in Europe. Now, they are asking us for tips on travel to Africa and Asia.
“Living in an age of conscious consumption.” Families have unprecedented access to information thanks to the Internet and are using data to thoughtfully analyze where and how to experience a destination. They are increasingly value-oriented; families want nice things, but they don’t want to be wasteful and reckless with time and money.
“There’s a desire for the holiday to provide some kind of narrative beyond the comfort of the hotel room, or the food in the hotel restaurant.” This is one of the most interesting development for families. It doesn’t matter how nice a hotel is or how many amenities it offers, families want deeper experiences and are no longer content to vacation on a hotel island; they want to explore and understand the people and places around accommodations.
“Luxury means different things to different nations, and different people within those nations. We may all have less time, we may all seek value, but we all have a different view.” Globalization and prosperity in new markets means hotels must please clientele from around the world, not just from a few markets. Not an easy task as different cultures have vastly different preferences.
Offering customization to every guest cost-effectively is the ‘new luxury’ challenge. Stay tuned for a look at ten examples of brands who are mastering ‘new luxury’ in 2013 …
Ciao Bambino’s hand-selected list of kid-friendly luxury hotels around the world