Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of hotels and entrepreneurs offering new and creative ways to deliver luxury hospitality.
My personal journey started at The St Regis in New York City where I donned black tails and white gloves, serving guests as a Maître d’Étage (butler). Newly renovated, the hotel oozed opulence and glamour, a legacy to a bygone era.
In contrast, a few years later, I joined Amanresorts at The Strand in Yangon, Myanmar. I spent 14 years under Adrian Zecha’s helm, working in six countries on four continents, shaping and delivering a different, discrete and informal luxury.
Amanresorts offered a life-style experience that brought together individuals with shared values and a lust for cultures. Novel in its approach, the focus was on creating intimate, personal and enriching human experiences.
Today, the luxury hospitality market continues to evolve. We create new standards as do our guests. We each have our own definition and interpretation of luxury, both in terms of self-identification and the benefits desired.
Luxury is inherently personal. It can mean so many things to different people – space, opulence, status, formality, time, privacy – what is important is that there needs to be an involvement with the guest that builds an emotional connection.
As the term becomes more and more used, hospitality brands must compete to reach an ever-widening audience – geographically, culturally and demographically – all of whom desire a piece of luxury. So how does one stand out?
Crafting unique experiences associated with the brand is crucial. Whether through nature, history, culture, food, and wellness, guests desire authentic, enriching and fulfilling experiences. Research shows that this elicits far more internal satisfaction.
Now may be an opportune time for you to define or redefine your luxury. What do you stand for? Are you aligned, throughout your operation? How does your brand depict that luxury? And how are you engaging with your guests?
I am optimistic that when we start to travel again, we will share more stories and discover more beauty. We will also crave more experiences that connect us to others human beings. That is, in my view, the ultimate luxury.