Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

Director of Happiness and Travel



Dubai, the Persian Gulf nation known in the travel world for the towering Burj al Arab hotel, the world’s biggest indoor ski slope, and an island that looks like a palm tree, is innovating once again with a newly announced Minister of State for Happiness. Though it’s more directed to its citizens, there’s no reason why it couldn’t set another precedent with a Director of Happiness for tourism. Think of the possibilities for destination marketing. From what I read, it would be the first.

I never heard about a Director of Happiness so went on a Google search to see what I could find in hospitality, travel, or in the business world in general. Surprise.  There are Directors of Happiness for employees, customers, and clients. And one site had a chart with the average salary for the job at $72K.  I even found a coach who specializes in happiness whose clients have included the likes of luxury brands Mont Blanc and Jaeger Le Coultre.

But let’s get back to travel and the opportunities there. I could see a destination naming a Director of Happiness as the centerpiece of a campaign to promote the idea that they go the extra mile to welcome travelers. It’d be a good publicity generator as well, provided that it’s part of a larger program that will show concrete results. Like what? First step would be  research to see what visitors would most appreciate. Friendlier locals? Meet the people type programs? More information kiosks? More public restrooms (that’d make a funny commentary)?  And think of the interview potential!

I was surprised in doing research that only one hotel has a happiness concierge – the Waidringer Hof in the Austrian Alps.
The job is described as a part concierge, guest attendant, and hiking guide. The mission: “Your pleasure is the centre of our strategy”.An admirable initiative, but needs to be more substantive.

So colleagues, you have an opportunity. And, finally, just in terms of interesting additional information, Dubai also named the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs as also having a new responsibility for “The Future”. I’d say the Director of Happiness should also be in charge of The Future wouldn’t you?

Totally Branded Hotel: A Marketer’s Dream

Hotel St.Barth Isle de France, Now Owned by LVMH

Hotel St.Barth Isle de France, Now Owned by LVMH

In a Hotels’ magazine blogpost I read about the purchase of the the Hotel Saint Barth Isle de France by LVMH. My wheels started turning about all of the possibilities for luxury lifestyle marketing with their different brands. They can  turn the hotel into a showcase for their brands. To be sure, there are other luxury fashion branded hotels like Armani, Missoni, Versace, and Bulgari, but no others with the number and scope of brands that LVMH has. And one of the better places to do this is St.Barth’s, the winter watering hole of the rich and famous. Plus the island is French as is the birthplace of the firm. The scenario goes like this: guests enter the lobby which is perfumed by Dior and greeted by former runway models. They go to their guest rooms and find Louis Vuitton leather goods and if they choose a suite, it’s designed by Givenchy. In the afternoons guests have an iced champagne (Moet, mais oui) at the Moet Ice Lounge and dinners of course are accompanied by Chateau d’Yquem or Chateau Cheval Blanc wines . No lack of shopping opportunities here for guests at the LVMH boutique with their jewelry, watch and other fashion brands. Sounds like a marketer’s dream.

Luxury Marketing Trend 2013: Upgrade Product, Price Point

An interesting article in Luxury Briefing documented a repositioning trend with upmarket brands.In an about face, a luxury marketing trend 2013, major  players are making strategic moves to switch emphasis from entry level and aspirational products to those driving sales of higher end goods and price points. It’s all about raising the quality and exclusivity, as they look to price rather than volume to be the revenue driver.  We’ve  documented in KWE’s trends letters how the anti-brand movement continues to grow, especially in retail, where counterfeit goods have weakened the appeal of logo merchandise.  Both Louis Vuitton and Gucci report particular sales success with their non- monogrammed products, with Gucci’s leathergoods and exotic skin items posting double digit growth last year.  The big names are looking to slow the rate of new store growth, preferring to concentrate on improving profit margins in existing locations and seeing this as an opportunity to prevent excessive inventory which leads to big markdowns. Raising opening price points, they all would agree,  also enhances upmarket positioning which helps with the most robust segment of the affluent market, hyper luxury . In a similar vein, there’s also a push toward more made-to-order and bespoke in everything from leathergoods and watches to jewelry and fragrance, all available at higher price points of course.

Brands with the Human Touch will Win

Nobody’s perfect. Not even brands. But in today’s world, brands aren’t expected to be perfect. Challenging times (the economy) see people craving care, empathy, sympathy and generosity. It has them longing to see the human side of brands and institutions that care. This coupled with a young, online culture of individuals who share, give, engage, create and collaborate in vast numbers…. look for an emergence of businesses that are more socially, ethically and environmentally responsible. Businesses that present transparency, personality and celebrate their flaws will win.


Part 1: Rich lingo for developing-countries

The developing-country rich are clearly not only changing the economics of wealth, but also the language. Now for instance, there are the Blingsheviks – the flash, yacht-fleet-owning Russians. Then there are the Bollygarchs, the Indian version of the Oligarch, prone to living in personal skyscrapers. And we can’t forget about t the Ka-Ching! Dynasty – a term for the super-rich families in China.