Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends
Whether it’s the top 1% or just your average traveler, we all enjoy getting in touch with the child in us. And now, with so much negativity in the headlines, it’s truer than ever before. Things that are fun and make us smile bring back memories and create new ones. Special amenities, services and facilities don’t have to cost much. Sometimes it’s the smallest thing. Case in point, on a recent trip to Milan I saw a selection of candy jars in the entrance to the lobby lounge at The Bulgari Hotel. The candies — liquid filled jellies, house made marshmallows, and other sweet treats were there for guests for the taking. Besides the jars were cellphane bags with lovely Bulgari silk ribbons. The concierge said they were very popular with guests and are also featured at their hotel in London. The Ritz-Carlton Chicago hotel has its candy man, and nostalgic food and beverage treats like popcorn, popsicles and milk and chocolate chip cookies are making a comeback.
If you go to any of the leading, state of the art teens clubs such as the one at The Breakers in Palm Beach or at Grand Velas Resorts in the Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit you’ll see some adults without their teens kids, enjoying everything from the karaoke and virtual reality games to ping pong and X-Box Kinect. Or witness the success of the Aloft Hotels concept of retro games In the lobby, always a big draw with millennials.
More can be done to appeal to hotel guests and cruise travelers on this score, and think of the fun thinking up the ideas!
Guest blogpost by Kevin R. Escalera
Snapchat is all in the news in marketing and advertising circles. Here’s a quick guide to geofilters, one of the best ways for businesses to use the app:
What is currently the best social media tool for brands to reach millennials?
It’s the fastest growing mobile app among teens and millennials in the United States, passing Twitter and Instagram. Snapchat has over 100 million daily active users, with more accounts created each day. Over 8 BILLION videos are viewed on Snapchat each day.
How can businesses, events and brands easily use SnapChat to their advantage?
Custom branded geofilters.
What are Geofilters?
A geofilter is a digital sticker that changes based on your location. Snapchat users are able to share your logo or event info without having any contact or interference from the sponsor or brand. These stickers can be added to any photo or video that you take in the Snapchat app.
Why use Geofilters?
Geofilters are a fun way for brands to get in front of a lot of people attending events or visiting a store, restaurant or nightclub.
How do they work?
Step 1: Design a custom geofilter for your event or brand.
Step 2: Select a specific location that you are targeting using SnapChat’s Geofence tool.
Step 3: Select a date and time for your geofilter to go LIVE
Step 4: You are all set! Anyone in the area you have chosen at the selected moment who is using snapchat can see or use your filter while using the app.
What are the costs?
Minimal! Prices depend on how many hours/how large the area is but on average the costs are around $20 per hour for a mid-sized event space.
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?).
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.
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”.
“It’s the little things that count”. That was the tent card in my room at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Gurgaon, India. I couldn’t agree with them more – especially since they delivered on their promise. The hotel was my last stop on a several week trip to India staying at one of the better hotels in each destination which sometimes was barely three star. So the details on my final stop were especially welcome – from Dead Sea Salts for my bath and every other bath and toilet amenity you can think of to preparing a boxed breakfast to go since my departure was before the restaurant opened.
During my trip I experienced other notable and original touches and amenities that will surely remain top of mind long after I’ve departed which should be every hotel’s goal. In the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai it was the manicure kit complete with nail polish remover, nail clipper, emory board and cream and oil delivered on a tray with rose petals and a hammered brass bowl.
When the laundry was returned, a sachet bag graced the top of the linen cover.
Then in New Delhi on the club floor at the Taj Palace Hotel they sent a mini-facial treatment kit.
Even a three star hotel in a rural village, the Dera Village Retreat, staged a dance presentation complete with popcorn and saris on loan for the women and a turban for the men.
These kind of details and hotel amenities go a long way not only in making memories for guests and giving value add, but creating long term fans plus generating word of mouth and oftentimes press coverage. So Crowne Plaza. It IS all about the details.
Butlers, concierges, they’ve been marketed by the travel industry for years, from hotels to more recently cruise ships (Viking river cruises) as evidence of going the extra mile in service. They can be a true value proposition – as in a baby concierge offered by our client Velas Resorts, or a public relations tactic to generate press. In fact, one of our all time great press generators was when we announced the butlers as a service at an Intercontinental Hotel, talking about how the butler would even iron the newspaper to avoid the guests’ having ink stained hands. Over the years we’ve read about everything from pillow, recovery (as in from a hangover) and suntan concierges to fragrance, camping and barbecue butlers . Interestingly enough, this kind of news, falling into the category of unusual hotel services, continues to be a media darling.
And speaking about what’s happening in the hospitality industry and “butlerdom”, I thought I’d share these interesting thoughts and updates from Steven Ferry, Chairman of the International Institute of World Butlers . It appeared in his recent newsletter which always makes for good reading.
“An interesting article about the lengths butlers go to in hotels to service their guests—although the author has taken it upon herself to pronounce that “butlering is a dying art.”
Some entrepreneurs have created a company called “Hello Alfred” (referring to Batman’s butler) that offers “butler service” for $25 a week—the duties basically being running errands and managing small projects for which the clients do not have time. As the company already employs 100 butlers (stay-at-home mums and artists) so far in New York and Boston, they are obviously much in demand by busy executives and no doubt appreciated by those looking to boost their income.
If the above is a bit of a stretch, then how about Sandcastle Butlers, the latest hijacking of our profession to boost image? The picture (from the Hertfordshire Mercury) says it all.
Hot on the heels of the Japanese cafe culture with butlers and maids, we now find Glasgow, Scotland offering the same: a cafe with maids and butlers. Used to be a time when one went to a cafe to enjoy a simple coffee and scintillating chat.
Not sure if we have covered the “Stock Butler” before—software that analyzes and rates a person’s stock portfolio. (Karen’s note: idea for a city hotel?)
The first hotel in the world has opened with service almost exclusively carried out by robots—done to save money on wages and downtime, such as days off, and to create “the most efficient hotel in the world.” Um…. Let’s see: “Hospitality,” basic definition being “friendly.” “Friend” comes from an Indo-European root word meaning “love.” Met any friendly robots recently, ones who express their heartfelt love for you? (Perhaps that should read “programmed love”?). Somewhere, someone, or a lot of someones, are missing the point.
And while “scientists” are busy trying to make robots human, and humans unnecessary, they are also busy making humans into robots: witness the University of California, Berkeley breakthrough (also reported in the Wall Street Journal) in creating neural dust that is so small, it can be implanted into the cerebral cortex (front of the brain) without the knowledge of the individual and run forever, collecting information and controlling people’s thoughts and emotions (and presumably, ultimately, their actions).”
An ideal promotion that’s a homerun has several elements:
- It enables consumer sampling
- It’s a public service
- The appeal is to all ages and demographics
- It’s low cost or no cost and is self sustaining
And so, one of the best promotions I’ve heard about of late is between Miami Beach tourism, the Mount Sinai Medical Center and Destination Brands.
The proposition: 50 dispensers to distribute sunscreen lotion will be installed at different Miami Beach public pools, parks and beach access points near lifeguard stands. The sunscreen is free for anyone visiting the beach. The specific brand is MB Miami Beach SPF 30 Triple Aciton Sea Kelp lotion. This Miami Beach brand of lotion was launched last year by Destination Brands to capitalize on the Beach’s brand and tie in with the city’s Centennial celebration this year. The product, part of a line, is also sold in retail shops in Miami Beach and in some markets abroad.
Mount Sinai invested $25,000 to fund the dispensers. Destination Brands funds the sunscreen through revenues from the MB lotion sales.
The Beach gests a percentage of the sales revenue from this year. “It’s an opportunity for us to increase our brand awareness and generate some revenue,” said Max Sklar, director of the Beach’s tourism, culture and economic development in an article in the Miami Herald.
Sounds like a win-win-win for everyone.
Photo courtesy of miamiherald.com
The golden word in the travel and hospitality industry these days is “experience” with hotels, tour operators and travel agents touting their special offerings. Why the interest in “experiences”? Because they evoke powerful sentiments – the stuff that memories are made from, landmark celebrations, and, most importantly, the promise of involvement.
Experiences in the form of interactivity are hitting the restaurant industry in a big way in innovative directions. Many of these have the added benefit of more social interaction and the promise of making new friends. Underground dining, where a chef cooks a gourmet meal in his or her home or unusual venue for a prix fixe has been around for a number of years. Here in Miami several prominent foodies started a club where you sign up for a pricey mystery dinner at an undisclosed location and it is often oversubscribed. Then there’s an extension of the cooking class with not only a market tour to choose ingredients for the class, but also, foraging in fields and streams for special herbs, vegetables or fish.
The latest twist is Dinner Lab which operates popup restaurants across the US. Emerging chefs prepare a high end prix fixe dinner ($50 to $80 a meal, drinks and tips included) for members who rate each dish’s creativity and taste and each drink pairing as well as whether the course was “restaurant worthy”. Communal tables, guests talking about the dinner as they fill out the rating forms, family style service, and chefs chatting up diners all contribute to the social interaction.
Meals are also presented as a performance, with each getting a name from the chef. And even the setting is different from the usual – dinners are held in large open spaces like the roofop of a parking garage or at a motorcycle dealership.
Dinner Lab’s plan is to operate in 40 cities including international ones and to sell the data at events for anyone looking to overhaul or create a menu.
Photo courtesy of www.forbes.com