A concept that we are frequently evaluating at 80 DAYS is luxury. We recently had a spirited discussion about what it means for a property or experience to be luxurious and whether or not it might be time for hoteliers to consider redefining its meaning.
Instead of the word luxury evoking thoughts of decadent five-course meals, the poshest of penthouses and big-ticket items like designer clothes or fast cars, we need to consider the fact that even the most luxurious purchases are going to go to waste if we don’t have the time to enjoy them. For this reason, luxury, and to a greater extent the advertising angle of lavish goods, might be better modified to be all about time.
For example, after the Porsche Sales Representative handed my dad the keys to his new Carrera GT, he looked at me and said, “now I just need to find the time to drive it!” Here he was, the new owner of his dream car, the very definition of what we consider luxury, but we both knew that he would be hard pressed to find time to make the dream a reality by driving it. For hotels the message here is that the emphasis needs to be on enjoying the luxurious purchase – on driving the car, savouring the food and actually staying in the penthouses.
The most high profile clients we work with have this in common: they give their guests a respite from the world and facilitate him or her having the time and space to enjoy the finer things in life. When you enter a well-deserved five-star hotel you should feel comforted to know that you won’t have to lift a finger, your job is to leave the world at the door to your suite, unwind at your leisure and remind yourself why you work so hard in the first place – free WiFi be damned. You want the luxury of buying back time. It might be time for hotels to therefore adjust the services they provide along with their luxury accommodation.
Make conveniences like valet parking and dry cleaning standard and entirely complimentary. It’s not enough to have fine dining, you should consider offering the guest around-the-clock options to fit his or her schedule so that there’s no precious time wasted worrying about where the next meal is coming from – perhaps including to-go menu items ready to deliver to the guest’s room at a moment’s notice so that there’s no faffing around at the breakfast buffet or local sandwich shop. Along with having a driver on call, spa treatments available in a guest’s room tailored to his or her specific needs, and most importantly, a way for the guest to get in touch with whomever he would like, around the clock.
In the current economy, we are considering the fact that hotel advertising needs to convey with the utmost importance that time is available for purchase. The consumption model is no longer about the purchases you have made, it’s about experiencing them. For hotels and travel providers, that means taking care of the pesky, mundane tasks that clutter up everyday life.
We all have 24 hours in a day, but if you can provide the guest with the services to squeeze the absolute most out of that time, that’s true luxury.
This post originally appeared on the 80 DAYS website and is reproduced with their permission.