- What is luxury to you?
Travel has always genuinely been a luxury to me; this became even more apparent during the pandemic. It is no longer a simple act of consumption and something that some – too many? – of us took for granted. The ability to go somewhere – near or far – and immerse yourself in a new culture, discover new places, make genuine connections is a luxury. A luxury as one should not forget that only a limited number of the global population has the chance to experience such.
What changes are you seeing that HNWI are looking for?
(U)HNWI overall and more particularly the younger generations are increasingly focusing on meaningful and purposeful experiences offered by more inclusive and transparent brands.
We also noticed that the most affluent consumers – but not only – are putting wellbeing at the very top of their priority list in the quest for a healthier way of living.
What is the biggest priority for Belmond right now as we move towards post-pandemic recovery?
There are many priorities! Firstly, I think all players in the hospitality/travel industry now have the greatest responsibility to shape the future of travel as we are on this slow path to recovery. For us at Belmond, it’s about perpetuating the legendary art of travel in a relevant and contemporary way. One of our priorities is to further develop our local expertise to offer our guests genuine incomparable experiences rooted in the local/regional culture.
From a product point of view, train travel is seeing a resurgence especially across Europe. People are taking the time to travel. It’s not only about the destination; it’s also about the journey. We will be announcing a couple of exciting developments for some of our legendary trains in the coming months.
What trends are shaping the luxury experience industry?
Purpose – craftsmanship, heritage, excellence continue to be quintessential to what the luxury industry is about but it is no longer enough to appeal to the most discerning consumers. Purpose-driven initiatives that resonate with today’s and tomorrow’s consumer values are equally important.
Personalisation – how luxury brands will go further with the ability to curate the most extraordinary, enriching experiences for you or offer customizable products.
Privacy – linked with the above, how personalisable experiences can be, depends on how much data brands collect that is ultimately dictated by how ready we are to give up a certain level of privacy. I believe we are only in the early stage of understanding the value of our personal data and this trend for more privacy will impact the shaping of the luxury industry.
Last but not least, I would also mention digital that continues to be an on-going trend (NFTs are an interesting phenomenon for example) and a greater need for relevant content and inspiring storytelling.
What brand do you most admire for their comms / marketing initiatives and why?
Sephora comes to mind when I think of a brand that successfully manages to champion and celebrate beauty in its widest spectrum thanks to brilliant marketing initiatives and campaigns that resonate with many.