Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

Fashion and Travel Branding

fashion and travel branding

Fashion has been used for some time  as an upscale or luxury branding tool in travel, especially for hotels and airlines. But in a new twist, we see an effective example of what it can do for a destination with Shinola and Detroit.

Big name designers have been leaving their mark on uniforms for years with airlines and hotels. Luxury designers from Armani to Versace and Missoni brand hotels and spearhead all aspects of design and sometimes even dining. Then we have had fashions made exclusively for resorts such as the  Christian Louboutin espadrilles for One & Only Palmilla , fashion popups to generate buzz and new customers, and boutiques that are destinations in themselves.  Interestingly enough, cruise lines have been slow to embrace this marketing and sales opportunity for some reason (any ideas why?).

fashion and travel branding

Now, hello fashion and destination marketing. Shinola which makes watches, high end bikes (think $2950 for a city bike) and classic design leather goods, has an advertising program that touts its Made in Detroit  roots. It plays on authenticity and a cool factor that also works to be a symbol of Detroit’s renaissance.  The graphic design of the ad campaign is sleek, classic contemporary, and pops.

fashion and travel branding

In Miami, home of its newest store, ad agency Partners & Spade opted for large placements as in full page ads, digital advertising and wall ads you could see from the highway. Photography is by the iconic Bruce Weber.  And the Miami shop was very well chosen to be in the hip artist district of Wynwood, best known for its street art. The bottom line: it’s effective in branding Detroit, heralding its rebirth, and imparting an image that’s at the same time classic and hip.  With revenues of $60 million in 2014, Shinola has also contributed jobs to the city’s rebirth. A win win for all. For more about Shinola, check out this article in the New York Times, “Detroit Cool Hits the Road”.

Hotel Shops and Branding


The selection of shops in a luxury hotel can speak volumes about its brand. I thought about this recently as a good friend and I were talking about a new 5 star hotel that opened in a major European capital and their shops. The default solution for hotel retail is often global luxury retailers and I doubt that nowhere is this truer than in Shanghai where it seems every top hotel has LVMH, Hermes, Prada and the like and, equally important, little else.

Today we read about the growing interest of the affluent in authenticity and hotels that offer a sense of place. A great deal of thought and care can go into the selection of hotel décor and artwork for that very reason. So instead of the ubiquitous luxury retailers, why not feature the best of local fashion designers, artists and craftsmen?

When Salvatore Ferragamo opened his Tuscan retreat Il Borro,  not only did he have fine leather, jewelry and woodworking craftsmen, but also, their workshops on site. Granted, that’s difficult for an urban hotel, but how about a shop that is exquisitely curated, similar to the ones found in museums, but where local (note I say local) fashion accessories, beautiful objets, and  gift items are presented and sold?

Some of you might remember what the W hotel in New York did when it opened. It had one of those “concept” like shops which generated a lot of media coverage. It also became a destination in itself, attracting travelers from other hotels and local residents who came, saw, and probably oftentimes stayed for a drink or a meal. Plus, it made a statement that W was creative and hip. More recently, Ace Hotels have done the same.

Getting back to the point about global luxury brands. To be sure, they do offer the benefit of imparting a luxury pedigree (you’re known by the company you keep), but at least one or two hotel shops that are original, creative and of the place can have multiple marketing and sales benefits.