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The synergies between luxury sectors which can no longer be ignored

Whether addressing an emerging or a mature market, luxury companies from various sectors can no longer ignore the lifetsyle component they all share. When buying a piece of jewellery, women would invariably consider the attire she would actually wear with that piece of jewellery ! When flying First Class, travellers expect to be surrounded by luxuries they would otherwise not find when flying Business ! When taking a ride from a hotel, guests would surely enquire about the type of hotel car !

When checking into a luxury hotel, consumers want to feel at home, but a home away from their real home !

With an increasing number of luxury hotel chains working with the same interior designers and most of the times with the same suppliers of furniture and fittings, invariably, many hotel rooms and suites look alike. Apart from the evident financial aspect which allows hotels to save costs, on the long term, such hotels will turn away the most discerning guest, regardless of the perfection achieved by the respective hotel in terms of service. Much like wearing the same bag or dress, luxury consumers nowadays are seeking uniqueness in hotels too.

If you were in the shoes of such a high demanding luxury consumer when selecting a hotel among two similarly positioned luxury hotel chains in the respective destination, with a similar service reputation, would you go for a ”One Bedroom Park Premium Suite” at Hotel X or the ”Dior Suite” at Hotel Y, even if the latter would come at a higher cost? The same goes for a theme suite, for instance inspired by a famous personality which once stayed at the hotel, in comparison with a ”standard” suite.

Tiffany Suite at St Regis, New York

But why would a powerful household fashion house brand be so important? It would not only lend prestige but it would also instill a vision which specialized interior design companies cannot achieve. And this is not necessarily about bling or show of, provided, of course, the right fashion house is chosen!

Take for instance, the collaboration between St Regis Hotels and the Italian house of Bottega Veneta recognized for its understated, neutral designs, its products being recognizable for their unique craftsmanship and not by evident logos. Or imagine a Ralph Lauren suite at a luxury chain hotel.  Both Bottega Veneta and Ralph Lauren have established home collections, that is why, the costs for the hotel would be lower than in the case of a fashion house which does not have a home collections division.

I believe this is the ultimate WOW factor which can be achieved at the highest level of luxury hospitality! and I am hereby refering to contemporary hotels and not heritage, classic hotels !

Guest not only check into a hotel but they enter the universe of a famous fashion house, provided, of course, the hotel has one or maximum 2 fashion suites by the same house. Another huge advantage of such collaborations is that every year, new design elements can be added or enhanced, according to the vision of the designer. The more subtle the signature design elements of the fashion house in such a hotel suite, the more attractive and desirable it would make. The same reasoning does not apply for suites designed using fashion house branded products which reflects the vision of an interior designer which opted for the respective pieces.

The ultimate service level remains of utmost importance for a successful luxury hotel, whether independent or managed by a chain and this is why, designer hotels have probably failed to reach a consistent level of success and a luxury positioning. I firmly believe that exclusive Armani suites at select top international luxury hotels would have been so much more successful than an Armani Hotel ! The same applies for a Missoni Suite or a Moschino Suite…

What about the other details such as bathroom amenities or bed linen? Numerous studies and survery in the past years have found that guests at luxury hotels expect the highest quality bathoom amenities which they would actually use or take home, unlike in the past, when bathroom amenities of basic quality would be tossed aways. I wonder what would be the choice of a suite guests at a luxury hotel, when choosing between a free set of amenities by a so called ”premium” brand widely available at duty free shops throughout airports worldwide or an exclusive set of organic bathroom amenities, even if payable? The same goes for bed linen and towels, otherwise considered ”basic”. Browsing through hundreds of reviews on Tripadvisor of top international hotels, I was not surprised to find specific comments related to the quality of bed linen and towels.

Have you ever wondered why top luxury hotels with restaurants run by Michelin starred Chefs would provide a 100% junk mini-bar selection? Beyond the financial motivations (the buying cost of a Mars bar is less than a dollar and sells for 8), why wouldn’t hotels create the obvious synergy between such an important amenity and fine dining? Besides healthy bars, how costly or complicated would it be for hotels to place freshly squeezed juice in the mini-bar? Just imagine the home feel when looking at your mini-bar in a top luxury hotel you would discover your favourite yoghurt, fruit juice or cereal bar? (they are checked daily and some products, if kept refrigerated could stay fresh for at least 2 or 3 days.

When it comes to bespoke technology, discerning guests are equally sensitive – from hi fi sound systems to LED TV screens and phones. And this is not only a matter of design but also a matter of the finest quality i.e. sound, television etc. What would be a better promotion for the latest LED touch technology TV than a luxury suite at a famous property?

Last but not least, while staying at a top luxury hotel how much more tempted or motivated you would be to use the hotel car for an airport transfer or simply for a ride to a dinner if you knew the hotel provides a custom made Rolls Royce with Hermes interiors or a brand new Bentley which is not yet available for sale?

Luxury fashion house signature suites at top luxury hotels worldwide: Christian Dior (St Regis New York; Majestic Cannes), Brioni (Four Seasons Milan), Bottega Veneta (St Regis  Florence, St Regis Rome, Park Hyatt Chicago), Tiffany (St Regis New York), Diane Von Furstenberg (Claridge’s London)

Just imagine at your favourite luxury hotel – a pop up fashion designer suite (for a limited duration i.e. one year); a fashion installation by a famous fashion in a suite or selection of suites; dedicated men’s suites with a tailor on call and the opportunities and endless…

Oliver Petcu

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