Luxury business digest – Hospitality by Andrea Luri and Miriana Verga (November 2017)

Luxury veteran hotelier Andrea Luri and Miriana Verga provide CPP-LUXURY.COM with his expert insights on the selection of the most important hospitality news of the month.

The luxury hotel guest has very much evolved in a very brief period of time. Clients are not the same people, technologically speaking, that they were only 5 years ago. The pace of this evolution is trying to be kept by the hotel and travel industry; technology is becoming a discriminating factor in the choice of your hotel: an evidence of this is Marriott having announced the hotel room of the future through a partnership with Samsung (news) giving Guests a choice of a state of the art room experience, other hotel companies are going to extremes by integrating robots in their service team (news)

All this is certainly a sign of our times, but when does technology go too far? We feel that despite the trend is going towards a highly technological environment, guests of the luxury world are still, and even more, looking for the human touch, where service is provided by a person who can channel warmth and establish an emotional connection. Certainly technology can be an aid, or even provide a momentary amusement, but it will never be able to substitute the real sense of hospitality and experience provided by a human being. Four Seasons has created the perfect blend of technology and humanity by launching their new chat (news) which reflects the attitude of the company and in the words of Christian Clerc “Human connection may be the single most important element of the Four Seasons guest experience”

The perception of hotel restaurants has dramatically changed in the recent past. In Europe and in Italy, especially, the food and beverage outlets of a hotel used be a necessary item but never profitable and were often in loss. Today we have finally realized that a wonderful culinary experience is not only more profitable, but has become very attractive, this is why we see more famous chefs who open in hotels and more luxury hotels investing in famous chefs.

Food has become an actual and concrete marketing tool, an example is Castadiva Resort and Spa, one of the finest luxury hotels on Lake Como which for the past 6 years has been opening pop up restaurants for a limited time period around the world in locations which are disclosed at the very last moment,  another example of luxury pop up restaurant is  Nobu who has decided to associate his  name to 5 star Hotel Baur au lac in Zurich for one month only (news). Mention must be made that in July 2017, CastaDiva hosted a spectacular gourmet experience “Eight hands”, orchestrated by Enrico Derflingher, Gianni Tarabini, Massimiliano Mandozzi and Elvana De Rosa.

The trend of luxury alliances goes across the board and is seen in apparently unusual partnerships between the food industry and luxury jewelry  for example Tiffany opening the Blue Box Café in New York, so guests will finally be able to have breakfast at Tiffany’s. (news)

The world of luxury unites all the various segments. Cross marketing activities  between various product segments and the world of hospitality are ever growing, two recent examples are Hublot and Cheval Blanc creating a special edition timepiece inspired by the various shades of blue of the Maldives (news) and Park Hyatt Vendome creates a pop up Chalet in collaboration with IWC. (news)

These cross promotions are becoming more an more frequent as luxury brands realize the importance and the power luxury hotels have to influence their Guests. Today some luxury properties have become actual trend setters and through their architecture, their array of services and the offering are actually inspiring Guests through a strong lifestyle component. For this reason the classical product placement in a hotel shopping arcade is surpassed as it simply and coldly presents a product, whereas creative partnerships attract the consumer because they live the whole context. These cross marketing activities guarantee a wider visibility involving aspects of products which come together well because they exist in the same niche and therefore guarantee the creation of an experience, creating that unique emotional connection which fulfills the needs of a potential customer.

Matsuhisa pop-up at Baur au Lac – Omakase-Menu: Salmon Karashi Su Miso