Takeaways from Luxury Travel Roundtable
Overlooking Lexington Avenue and the east side Manhattan’s mid town, Grand Hyatt New York recently hosted some of the industry’s top experts in luxury marketing, for a round table discussion in methods to reach the affluent consumer. General Manager Mark Pardue was one of the panelists, and he had the opportunity to share Grand Hyatt New York’s best practices and insights. It was an interesting and energizing discussion, and highlights were live tweeted using the hashtag #GHNYCLuxChat. We loved it so much that I asked him to share those with you all, too.
Here are thoughts from Mark:
Engaging with experts outside of the travel industry always give me a fresh perspective, so I make every effort to do this on a regular basis. In addition to the experts, Ruthanne Torrero of Questex Publications joined to cover the Round Table in an upcoming issue in a Questex publication for travel agents and top tour operators. In advance of this media coverage, I’d like to share some of the key findings, trends and forecasts with you, in hopes that it can be a source of useful information as you enhance your marketing plans and strategy – and so that we can carry on the conversation internally as we continue to develop initiatives that help grow loyalty among affluent consumers.
Luxury Marketing: Findings, Trends and Forecasts
- Balance and Brand Image – Staying true to your brand is crucial. However, selling your product, or putting “heads in beds” as we like to call it, is equally crucial. The key is striking a balance between the two in a way that doesn’t devalue or erode the other. For instance, lowering your price point during a slow or “soft” period can speak volumes to consumers about your brand and product. Understandably, however, companies have to be nimble and react swiftly to difficult market conditions in order to attract untapped clientele. It’s about balance. It’s about reacting appropriately to what’s going on outside your doors while still keeping your brand image intact.
- Remember the Un-google-able – Sometimes it feels like you can know everything about your guests from a Google search or public social media channels. But there’s still something to be said for what’s un-google-able. A personal touch on check-in because your front desk manager remembered someone’s favorite fruit. A gift to bring home to their children who stayed home this trip. The greatest impact often comes from being present and relying on human interaction without computers or smartphones.
- Go Beyond Points & Perks – Consumers enjoy the points and perks that come along with loyalty programs. Just as it’s key to do the un-google-able touches, it’s key to go beyond those things to create true loyalty. We want to motivate our guests to come back – not for more points but for those touches they can’t find elsewhere, whether that’s differentiated amenities or a concierge who remembers your favorite table.
- Use Technology to Enhance the Guest Experience – Consumers, particularly Millennials, want seamless connectivity and digital engagement. Many of our guests are embracing the new Hyatt Guest app for guest requests during their stay. They’re doing everything from requesting extra pillows via an app to texting OpenTable for dinner reservations. Many guests appreciate never placing a single phone call or sending an email to meet these needs.
- Digital Experiences Must Match the Product – Social media is a powerful tool to draw people in and share news about your hotel, and it’s important to do so in a way that’s true to your offering. Don’t let a guest’s experience fall short of expectations based on your social media presence. Don’t spend time on one too many filters on your Instagram photos or promoting room views found in only a quarter of your rooms. Focus on what your hotel is good at, and celebrate that through posts and photos.