When we think about luxury tourism, we generally imagine fine sand beaches, overflow swimming pools, gastronomic restaurants and meticulous service. That’s right, but that’s not all it is. Although luxury tourism is based on relatively stable pillars (service quality and attention, specifically), it evolves every year and is also affected by certain trends and fashions. Although these trends are more timeless and less volatile than in other types of tourism, you still need to know about them so that you can develop your services and guarantee a quality service to your precious visitors.
Genuinely unique personalisation
In marketing, personalisation means giving the right message to the right person at the right time. In luxury tourism, it’s more or less the same thing. The only difference is that the devil is in the detail, and that it’s important to know everything about your customers (virtually) without having to ask them. From the types of meals (preferences, allergies, special diets, etc.) to car rental models, via their favourite seats in the plane, the direction the rooms face or the style of bed, the more personalised a holiday is, the more you stand out.
This personalisation also extends to the activities offered by some hotel complexes. A spa might offer bespoke products and treatments according to the customers’ skin type or hair. The books and magazines offered to visitors in the hotel rooms might change according to the expressed or presumed interests. To offer this personalisation, digital and personal data management is more important than ever. When data management is combined with luxury tourism, personalised services can be taken a long way.
Lovers of luxury tourism also like beautiful photos and social media. In the Instagram era, the photogenic potential of a place is very important. There are even tourist routes organised and timed so that customers can take the best photos with their smartphones and share them online. In some cases, a professional photographer will accompany a tour, hike or nautical activity to capture the very best photos of the experience. Although not everyone necessarily appreciates this kind of focus, it appeals to customers who like to be connected.
A luxury hotel is a must-have. But there’s nothing to stop you going further, or even going out of your comfort zone (relatively speaking). To appeal to luxury travellers, you can offer unique, innovative, experience-based accommodation. Tree huts, underwater rooms, glass-roofed cabins, monasteries, igloos… all kinds of services are imaginable. 700 000 Heures offers a new concept: an itinerant hotel that explores new destinations every six months, in an exceptional setting. For luxury to stay luxury, it must be unique. And so, if your hotel disappears after you’ve been, your experience will definitely be unique and no one will be able to copy it.
Luxury can also be combined with sustainable development. Offering a “green” service will attract people who care about their carbon footprint while enjoying new experiences. Hotels are being built across the world that integrate various ecological considerations. For example, the Gennadi Grand Resort in Rhodes includes an innovative energy management technology, with sloping roofs that minimise the reflection of sunlight, low energy consumption and avant-garde recycling practices. You can also focus on the use of local or organic products, or offer activities and experiences close to nature.
Luxury tourism does not sit well with the crowds of mass tourism. Although some destinations are unmissable, such as the major world capitals, travellers who prefer luxury are looking for far-off, protected destinations. Offering routes or holidays in countries or regions that are less well known, forgotten, ignored or sparsely populated is another way of creating new experiences. How about Greenland, Mongolia or Oman for your next trip? You will need to reach out to trend seekers to unearth the future high-end destinations that will please your customers.
Luxury tourism must be continually readjusted, as it is based on a paradox: offering new experiences that will create and uncreate fashions and trends, while rapidly evolving as soon as the uniqueness of a place or experience becomes obsolete. Both avant-garde and traditional, luxury tourism is a cutting-edge sector in which you need to be aware of the codes and norms of the market, and in which emotional intelligence plays an important role. A good idea perhaps, for a future School of Tourism work placement?