The definition of luxury is never static. It’s a constantly changing description.
There was a time when having indoor toilets in your hotel rooms was the height of indulgence a luxury hotel could offer guests. Now, no one can imagine any hotel brand selling their luxury credentials on the back of that facility.
We’ve seen luxe hotels incorporate cocktail bars, spas and even their own nightclubs. So what exactly makes a luxury hotel… well, a luxury hotel?
• Is it the number of stars the hotel
can lay claim to?
• A resident celebrity chef?
• An exclusive location off the beaten
The answer is all of these. And something more too. Because, of course, the moveable feast that luxury consists of includes the experience that your hotel offers too.
The pandemic and luxury
While the pandemic was raging, the last thing any of us was likely to be thinking about was luxury. But notwithstanding the many challenges and costs Covid-19 brought, the opportunity to reimagine luxury is also part and parcel of the recent experience we have all been through.
For the hotel industry, the forecast is looking promising. After two incredibly stressful years, where hotels across the world had to wait out lockdown and travel restrictions,
But the pent up demand to travel has now got an avenue to release itself as most countries around the world have lifted – or completely removed restrictions. That said, we need to acknowledge that travel has changed. and that travellers themselves have changed.
The pandemic has impacted on what people are looking for in a luxury experience. Therein lies the challenge, but also the opportunity, for high-end hotels.
And for hoteliers who get it right, there is a whole new legion of fans ready for you to attract and turn into superfans for your business.
Go green and go clean
The pandemic has brought to the forefront, in a way nothing else has, the real connection between the environment and human life. Furthermore, the last two years have also placed a microscopic lens on the power of cleanliness.
These are the two factors to consider as the foundational piece for any luxury experience you want to offer your clientele.
Of course, maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness in your luxury hotel was essential before 2020. But that requirement has only been turned up to an even higher level.In addition, your clientele are now aware of the need for your hotel to be spotlessly clean and environmentally friendly.
They possibly were before too, but make no mistake, they are now actively looking for evidence that you are taking these two factors seriously. And doing everything to meet them.
This means that housekeeping and cleaning procedures need to come out of the discreet closet a bit and be more proudly on display.
Ensure that your air purifiers are clearly visible. Incorporate smart design principles to make sure that your establishment maintains its luxury air, and ensure that your clientele is aware of everything you are doing to prioritise their health.
Use your new cleaning and eco-friendly policy to build your relationship with your clients. Again, do this as elegantly as possible. But definitely do this; your clients want to know.
Outside is the new luxury
There is little we’ll look back on with affection when it comes to the pandemic. But there was one outcome of the pandemic that is cause for celebration. And that is our newfound appreciation for the outdoors.
This is your opportunity to get creative and get luxurious in equal measure. Whether you have a tiny patch of courtyard or pavement available to you, or a large, immaculate garden, think about how your guests can enjoy that space.
We are not speaking about allocating a smoking spot or adding another deck chair to the pool area.
Think about nature’s colour palette, scents and textures – and how all of these help people enhance their physical and mental health and fitness.
Remember that we are all online now, more than we ever were before – and that includes your cliente. The outdoors offers an opportunity for rejuvenation. Yes, wifi works outside too, but even being around plants, under the sky (or an awning under the sky if it rains) and in the fresh air immediately calms the stress chemicals in our bloodstreams. Science backs up this claim!
Decide who your audience is – then do everything to serve them
Your luxury positioning was always important. But things have just got ultra-fragmented. And this is a huge opportunity for you.
A luxury hotel has an advantage in that it cannot be replicated on social media. Nor can it be replicated by the metaverse.
Digital technologies open up many opportunities for us. We can communicate with our loved ones who might be sitting in another hemisphere, let alone another country, at the touch of a button on our smartphones. We can also run our careers or our businesses far more efficiently, and with more flexibility, thanks to the wonders of technology.
But none of this takes away our need and desire for real-life experiences.
Enter your luxury hotel. Ask yourself what experience you’d like your hotel to become known for?
Some hotels adapted quickly at the start of the lockdown period to offer their rooms as offices. This is a brilliant example of new positioning in the high-end hotel vertical.
Consider whether your hotel could become world-renowned as the hotel for:
• Remote workers
• Digital detoxes
• Health and wellness
These are just four examples, but what would you provide to your guests if you wanted to become known as the last word in luxury for a specific type of client?
For example, a luxury hotel for remote workers would think very carefully about what type of ergonomic furniture it provided in its rooms. What lighting and colour would be available in the rooms? Would a barre be included in rooms alongside a bespoke video on stretching to mitigate all the hours sitting and working?
These are just some ideas to illustrate. But once you start brainstorming which type of guests you want to offer a luxury experience to, the ideas will flow and what goes into making this luxury experience.
The good times are coming
There is so much pent up demand for luxury just waiting to be experienced by travellers.
By showing how your hotel establishment has adapted to the pandemic and is forging a new path forward, you will find an audience of people eager to explore everything you have to offer.
Economists, politicians and designers are united in one belief – the roaring twenties are on their way.
And hospitality will be leading the party.