Suzanne Godfrey, while teaching luxury hospitality brand management at EHL, has explored the key pillars that she believes define the luxury hotel, or more specifically, the Palace with leading hoteliers in Paris.
If you have missed our series on luxury hospitality, here is a summary of the topics covered:
Redefining luxury in hospitality
If you ask friends and colleagues who appreciate the finer things in life ‘what defines a luxury hotel?’, you’ll likely get a range of responses from mod cons – with everything from a decent restaurant to a spa – to seamless, exceptional service and décor. All at a price justifying the offering and experience.
In the classroom, words such as ‘elegance’, ‘glamorous’, ‘experience’, ‘personalized service’, ‘perfection’, and ‘amazing’ came up. But so too do words like ‘classic’, ‘tradition’, ‘super-modern’ and ‘design’.
As in many other sectors, the hotel business has jumped on the luxury bandwagon. New competitors, ownership structures and business models are emerging: boutiques and collections; independent and family-owned, or corporately-owned and managed with different ownership and management strategies.
Quality & Consistency
Luxury is no longer just about the best quality furnishings, facilities and technology. Many people, especially those who can afford to stay at high-end hotels, already have these in their homes. These are expected. But still quality matters. It has to be the “best”, in fact the very best. Quality products, in all of the hotel’s “products”: the facilities, the fixtures and fittings, the service and in the delivery of it. From the best crystal (Baccarat) to the finest china and table linen. Quality craftsmanship and the attention to detail is a dimension of luxury itself. It is on display in the dining room, in the choice of fabrics and furnishings, china and silverware, and in the roles of each individual member of staff.
Service and the emotional connection
The emotional connection in luxury hospitality – and creating that ‘home-from-home’ feeling – is linked to the product, the service, and the people. Together they create a guest experience that is unique to the brand and the property. When done right, when genuine, authentic and meaningful – however big or small that emotional connection might be – this is what luxury hospitality is today.
Luxury inspires innovation
True luxury has always been at the forefront of innovation. It doesn’t depend on the wants or needs of “consumers”, nor is it limited by the traditional concept of utilitarian value and competitiveness that can stifle creativity. Luxury brands are leaders, not followers. They deliver the ultimate in craftsmanship and innovative design, at the leading edge of creativity and technological innovation. Luxury seeks to give pleasure and create status and symbolic value through innovation. It provides uniqueness, exclusivity and differentiation, free from normal cost-based product pricing and cost-value ratios.