Starwood Hotels CEO on the changes which redefine luxury

At the recent American Express Publishing Luxury Summit, Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts has spoken about how the changes the world is experiencing are redefining luxury.

“The wealthy today are more diverse. There are more wealthy women and Asia is home to more millionaires and billionaires even though in the United States there are more millionaires and billionaires than ever before.” van Paasschen said, adding that consumers expect to have their unique preferences met everywhere they go and technology is increasingly playing an important part.

“Great design and great service by itself can’t set you apart anymore,” Mr. van Paasschen said. “The old notion of luxury of serving ladies and gentleman is a credo for the ages, but I’m not sure it’s a credo for this age of change. Brands are no longer the arbiters of what luxury is today, Mr. van Paasschen said. It used to be that scarcity was a defining feature for luxury, but now it depends on who a consumer views as the arbiter – a fashion blogger, a concierge or their favorite magazine editor.” The new generation of travelers is going from novice to experts due to global awareness.

Maria Cristina Hotel (Luxury Collection) San Sebastian, Spain