Ian Schrager is interviewed in February Neiman Marcus Magazine The Book. The interview is an interesting read as Schrager talks about his new boutique hotel and his jump from luxury to value. “It is something that evolved culturally. The country is not as upwardly mobile now as it has been historically. People are interested in value now,” states Schrager.
Pam Danzigner of Unity Marketing echo’s Scharger’s sentiments. In a recent survey her findings report, “The new affluent customer is keen on finding value when they shop so they look to maximize their investment in spending. They expect the goods and services they buy to deliver the maximum return on their ‘luxe’ investment.”
So how do luxury hotel brands create value? Neither mentioned discounting, which is still prevalent in the marketplace as an avalanche of discount sites have jumped on the travel bandwagon. So if it’s not discounting what then?
I think Scharger was on to something in regards to what’s applicable now culturally. Travel is not just for the affluent, many in the US believe travel is a right. I define travel as follows, “Travel is a journey, a journey that helps fulfill life goals, dreams and/or shared experiences, a personal enrichment if you will, that no money can buy.”
Maybe today’s new luxury has nothing to do with price but everything to do with the value of shared experiences, personal enrichment and dream fulfillment. A new and exciting time for travel and tourism to be sure.