Having identified what true luxury hospitality is, we have to address the delivery of that luxury. In the traditional sense, guests were content with the finest quality linen and unimaginable options for bathroom amenities that the average individual wouldn’t need but in the presence of luxury, began to demand. However, we are now faced with the much more complex task of utilizing our emotional intelligence to deliver this new luxury.
According to Claudia Roth, this evolution of luxury has been triggered by two factors;
A. Changes in Lifestyle Habits
A substantial shift in mindsets has moved us towards the need for self-consciousness, both in terms of leading a healthier lifestyle as well as minding our surroundings (socially and ecologically) as we become more aware of the planet as our home. This awareness is linked to our deeper consciousness of personal wellbeing with health becoming the new luxury (An article soon to come).
Technology plays a crucial role in society. Guests are so connected that becoming disconnected is scarce and therefore, by our definition, a luxury. Additionally, the tech-obsessed, always-on culture surrounds our guests who are now seeking the freedom of being disconnected. But, it is difficult to replace the accessibility, efficiency and dependability of digital services within our industry today. To provide luxury, we have to strategically balance these two opposites.
More specifically, Luxury can be categorized into five perspectives;
Our guests are searching for a more fulfilled experience, increasingly turning their backs on superficial purchases. As hoteliers, we need to adapt our mindsets to understanding the true purpose of travel in relation to Maslow’s need for ‘Self-Actualisation’ and implement this into our business strategy. Once we have identified the desired transformative objectives of our guests, we need to then integrate emotional triggers within our guest journey and focus on multiple touchpoints.
As expected, emotional intelligence would be required when creating a sense of personalisation in our services. When we can grasp the importance of developing a genuine interest in the guest’s lifestyle and what they prioritise as preferences, we are then one step closer to providing genuine luxury hospitality.
With our guests seeking experiential travel, we are hard-pressed to redirect the guest's experience within our hotel to focus on the emotional value and the potential for personal transformation. The key lies behind the delivery of aligning the concept of our hotel operations with the relevant trends and destination surrounds. For example, we as hoteliers need to take into consideration the significant shifts in eating preferences such as healthy eating with the demand for cultural integration into the cuisine.
4. Balanced Disconnection:
Technology allows us to enhance our personalised and seamless experience for our guests but at the same time, having such a dependence on technology, it is becoming the cause for our guests feeling trapped and controlled. While guests are looking to disconnect, we can use technology as a solution to operational efficiency. Guests are looking for the home away from home feel and we need to look at offering a seamless transition between their home and their stay through the right technological platforms available in our hotel.
5. Seamless Journey:
Explained in an earlier article “Service vs Hospitality”, impeccable service has always been the core of hospitality, but today we are required to engage in new methods and strategies to how we deliver service. A seamless journey will ensure satisfaction and will avoid any potential conflicts with guests. Impeccable service has always been and will remain one of the critical pillars of true luxury. As hoteliers, we need to integrate the concept of efficiency with a guest-centric focus.
When considering what “luxury” is and how we can provide luxury, it is no longer for five-star establishments and only desired by the high-end guests. New luxury has opened up the entire industry to the opportunity of delivering luxury experiences that go beyond what is expected by our guests. Delivering experiences through service quality, excellence and emotional engagement is what luxury hospitality has become. Irrespective of the guests' expectations, culture and background, creating memorable experiences and emotional engagement will be invaluable to our guests.
Bradley Barrett | LinkedIn