Luxury becomes necessity for the Ritz Carlton
While most other luxury hotel chains are focusing their marketing communications online and use email to reach out to existing and potential customers, the Ritz Carlton seems to have taken a different strategic approach, going back to old style brochures sent by classic post. Since the launch of its loyalty program, Ritz Carlton Rewards, in 2010, the Ritz Carlton has been producing most elegant printed materials, culminating with the recent ”Luxury Meets Necessity” campaign, enticing members to book Club floor rooms, with a series new benefits.
The elegant brochure printed on luxurious thick embossed paper includes an enclosed personal letter signed by the company’s CEO and features images of luxurious club lounges of Ritz Carlton hotels around the world, described as ”sanctuaries of personalized attention”. When booking a Club Room(limited time duration campaign), Rewards members receive: complimentary internet, three items pressed upon arrival, an additional 20 minutes when booking a 50 or 60 minute massage, US$ 200 dining credit for stays of four nights or longer as well as 20% discount on shopping online.
In today’s internet dominated communications, Ritz Carlton’s approach is certainly grabbing attention, however, it conflicts with the ”going green” trend which is being embraced by most luxury chains. Recently, Shangri-La Hotels introduced paper free check in and check out, using dedicated iPads, while Four Seasons hotels draw attention to guests on check out whether they wish to receive a printed invoice or the invoice can be emailed to the guest.
Ritz Carlton, Shangri-La and Park Hyatt are among the few major international luxury hotel chains offering a membership reward program, most other chains such as Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Peninsula, Dorchester Collection resisting the implementation of such membership reward programs, claiming such reward programs are inefficient, loyalty being rewarded with constantly increasing levels of personalized customer service. Mandarin Oriental recently re-launched its website, which features the possibility for customers to create online profiles, with sophisticated technology that tracks preferences and personal needs.