Luxury Travel, Lifestyle and Marketing Trends

Using Art to Sell Real Estate

faena development miami

The latest luxury real estate trend: high end condo developers have found the perfect new amenity — art, and they’re using it to generate buzz, separate themselves from the competition, and for community relations, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.  New York and Miami developers are leading the pack in this innovation.One of the more creative uses of art is to make friends in the neighborhood before the building’s opening by holding a monthly tour of area galleries.  For instance, the lobby turns into an art gallery every six weeks at 350 Bleecker in New York’s West Village, complete with an opening party for 50 to 75 people and actual sales of the art. An invite to a potential client becomes a social event and time for bonding.

Probably the boldest initiative is from Argentine hotel and real estate developer Alan Faena (hotels in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro) who is building a $100 million exhibition space called Faena Arts Center by starchitect Rem Koolhaas that will make the development (pictured here), which includes a hotel, a cultural destination. It will feature art exhibits and dinners with visiting artists. The Faena Group also sponsors an annual art award with $75,000 in prize money ,and commissions original work as well. Also in Miami, the new Oceana Bal Harbour has commissioned $14 million in art from mega artist Jeff Koons. After five years, the art can be sold upon an 80% majority vote of homeowners. Similarly, at the Ritz Carlton Residences in Chicago, buyers of apartments selling for $1 to $11 million will get a share of a half million dollar art collection. They can choose to change it or sell it and split the proceeds. It will be fascinating to see how this plays out as, though it’s a noble effort, if you’re ever been on a condo board you know how contentious even the smallest thing can be.

Psychographics and Hotel Lifestyle Branding Part 2

Using psychographics rather than demographics (see Part 1) what are the options and new directions in hotel lifestyle branding for the hospitality and cruise industries?

The oldest lifestyle branding route is still through a celebrity recognized in a specific category, primarily food/chefs (Daniel Boulud), golf (Jack Nicklaus), and architecture/design (Philippe Starck).

Major hotel brands like Starwood Hotels and Resorts and IHG are segmenting by special interests. Starwood has been a leader in this over several decades, with its fashion brand (W), wellness (Westin) and the newest, eco-luxury (1Hotel) and entertainment (Aloft). At the same time, they continue to build their straight luxury portfolios, with high end appeal (The Luxury Collection and St. Regis).

Lifestyle brands especially from the fashion world – Versace, Armani, Bulgari, Missoni and others – are creating immersive hotel brand experiences at the high end. In a very interesting development, at the other budget end of the spectrum, Marriott is doing a partnership with IKEA. My prediction: always one to watch, LVMH will use its hotel acquisitions to showcase its full range of lifestyle product lines. Imagine this: you walk into their hotel and are greeted by runway models, offered a glass of Moet et Chandon. Want more? Visit the Moet et Chandon Ice Lounge (already in existence). Choose your fashion suite – Celine, Donna Karan, Fendi, Pucci maybe with Acqua di Parma bath amenities. It’s dinner time and you’re hungry? Head down to the restaurant through the lobby fragrant with the newest perfume from Dior, order a lobster and a glass of Chateau d’Yquem. And before heading home, stop off in the hotel shop and pick up a Bulgari or Chaumet watch as a memento of your stay.

And finally, the newest option is to brand by a niche, special interest category. Examples include the Food Hotel, Divorce Hotel, Women Only Hotel, and the Pet Hotel.  Interestingly enough, most of these have come out of Europe. Marketing associations with a niche such as Design Hotels are yet another choice, also a European invention.

Post by Karen Weiner Escalera, President and Chief Strategist

Digital Strategies for Luxury Brands #6

This is the sixth of nine digital strategies for luxury brands.

Make a concerted effort to reach out to affluent Millennials (ages 23 to 36), they’re your future. The most effective campaigns are those that engage followers in a conversation about the brand. (Mercedes Benz Generation Benz is a private online community that engages Gen Y in conversation and feedback about the brand. They also offer an M-B Advisors program where regular live chats and group feedback help tailor television spots and tweak product performance).

Five “Must Do’s” for Luxury Brands


One of the better articles I’ve read of late was on five “must do’s”, marketing for luxury brands by Steve Kraus. It succinctly focused on what practical messaging and product features make for success. Here’s a recap:

  • Communicate excellence throughout the brand experience—from materials and craftsmanship to the service. (my addition – if possible, let consumers see first hand the process of creation and, better yet, offer a bespoke option. For instance, Louis Vuitton just opened an in store atelier at their shop in New York’s SoHo where consumers can have their leather goods personalized and see it happening).
  • Motivate purchases with emotional engagement and quality.
  • Use the new luxury vocabulary of the times that most resonates with affluents: words like unique and rare that connote scarcity and authenticity (my addition – note that unique is a superlative so do not say “most unique”).
  • Offer multi-layered benefits, these can be anything from utilitarian benefits  to solid value and top design.
  • Connect with the next generation, who he described as “the emerging alpha affluents” (love that term). They’re a unique breed with a totally new approach to luxury. Read what we’ve said about them in one of our Luxury Trends newsletters.

Blogpost by Karen Weiner Escalera, President and Chief Strategist

New Real Estate Model: “Post Luxury Ranch”

It’s no surprise that economic hard times, plus new environmental and social values, are key factors in the death of the McMansion craze. You can almost hear the sigh of relief from some.


5 Things We Love about Miami

The 14th Annual International Real Estate Congress at the Biltmore Hotel last week garnered some good news on the real estate front – at long last. It was very hopeful to hear the experts tell us that things are finally on the move again and that inventory is shrinking.


Survival Strategies in Today’s Real Estate Market

In a real estate world that sometimes seems a bit like Oz, developers are utilizing creative strategies to survive the current market. The goal is to create some cash flow and to reduce inventory, with the added long range benefit of stabilizing prices in a sector still in free-fall.


Ruppies: the latest real estate trend for seniors

There has been a new boomer trend that has been consistently growing in major cities around the United States that is creating a shift in the housing and building products marketplace – retired suburbanites are downsizing and leaving their single-family “empty nests” in the ‘burbs and returning to the city to enjoy all that bustling cities have to offer.


Emerging Real Estate Markets

Could 2009 be sunny for real estate tourism? Certainly the recession we’re all mired in could lead you to think the opposite. The economy is challenging all industries – especially real estate and travel – as consumers have tightened their belts and are scrutinizing all discretionary expenditures.


The Ultimate Real Estate Perk

What must be the ultimate builder/developer incentive was in the business section of the Miami Herald yesterday. If you are an approved foreign buyer and purchase one of Lake Buena Vista Village Resort and Spa’s planned million dollar suites you qualify for a conditional two year visa from the US government.