Luxury and digital are co-travellers

So, can luxury travel, tech and digital content be co-travellers? Let’s explore.

Take Four Seasons Private Jet Experience that promises a journey of a lifetime on its website with: glamorous images tick, fabulous videos tick, and just to ensure they have a word with you before your attention drifts, a live Facebook Messenger chatbot with an answer for every question. The last trick will continue to serve luxury travel vendors because when it comes to customisation needs, the most questions and concerns that can be processed in real time, the better and a chatbot comes supremely handy to serve that purpose.

Not all luxury packaging is entirely digital though. Here in Dubai, an abode of the most premium travel experiences, Atlantis Hotel the Palm, enlisted a spirited on-ground activation to create delicious footage that was lapped up online by their core and better-still wider target. All they did was turn a typical cab ride in London into a fairy-tale ride by having the driver offer a luxurious vacation to jaded passengers at the end of the ride. The conversation gets captured on candid camera and used as a promotional video to position Atlantis Dubai as a getaway for Londoners. This idea definitely drew new audiences to the luxury outpost. 

Innovation is important, but a recent dinner with Marriott International’s regional head Alex Kyriakidis has highlighted that attention to detail is key for any personalised experience 

According to digital marketing agency PMX in Luxury Study, Louis Vuitton’s top two engaging Instagram posts in 2017 revolved around the hashtag #SpiritofTravel, and featured “new luggage for the 21st Century traveller”. This has been a watershed moment for the popular photo/video sharing platform, the number of luxury social media followers on Instagram grew 54 per cent in the past year way ahead of Facebook and Twitter. Instagram accounted for 50 per cent of the luxury social audience – if luxury travel vendors are not wooing new audience here then they are surely missing a trick?

At last month’s industry summit for affluent travel, ILTM, research specialists YouGov presented a white paper titled ‘The State of Affluent Mindset’ to put together a list of insights that drive this category. An interesting takeout was the four key values that pivot success, and these turn out to be the good old-world charmers – integrity, honesty, kindness and intelligence, which are still the top factors that decide brand preference. It is now upon brands to carefully position their value system and more importantly communicate the same to reach out to like-minded luxury travel seekers. About 73 per cent of luxury travellers believe that premium hotels are more similar than different! It is high time for brands to start creating the niche they would like to be known for.

Quotes form ILTM Leaders of Luxury web series produced by Robb Report echo the need for luxury travel to change in the age of digitisation whilst staying authentic: “We are going to be fully electric in the next decade. It’s all about substance, you are not into luxury in its truest sense if you cannot deliver the masterpiece and be involved in the creative process,” says Torsten Müller-Ötvös CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“We constantly innovate. It’s about the whole experience not just the food – I want the chefs to be involved in the dining room,” says Wolfgang Puck, celebrity chef.

Innovation is important, but a recent dinner with Marriott International’s regional head Alex Kyriakidis has highlighted that attention to detail is key for any personalised experience – and this will remain the enduring value complementing digitisation trends. “If you don’t like what you are eating, we are going to change it as many times as it takes to get it right,” the president and managing director of Marriott’s Middle East & Africa properties told me with a smile.

From the entire team of TTN, a big smile and here’s wishing you a great year ahead.