by Stathis Bampouklis
And if I asked you what it was that changed in the midst of the pandemic? You would definitely refer to remote work, the most substantial insertion of technology into the workplace, as well as zoom meetings that far surpassed the previous data. However, our perspective on the concept of travel has also changed. We redefined the importance of hospitality and accommodation and seeked more authentic and personalized experiences. Even our perspective on luxury shifted to something we didn’t know before.
“Luxury to me is not about buying expensive things; it’s about living in a way where you appreciate things.” -Oscar de la Renta
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According to a survey by AMADEUS, over the next 5 years the growth rate in outbound luxury travel is projected to reach 6.2%, more than a third of overall travel (4.8%). But what does luxury mean today? In the past, tourists sought luxury in opulence, expensive gastronomic options, all-inclusive packages and materialistic rewards.
Nowadays, however, luxury acquires another dimension and demarcation. It has less to do – without being negligible of course – with the classic décor and location. More emphasis is placed on experiential experiences, through which they will be able to interact with local residents, as well as with places or pastimes that the latter enjoy.
The new generation of travelers is looking for the unique, the inaccessible and the interior. Unique, because one aspect of luxury will be for the customer to get exactly what (s)he wants, when (s)he wants it and as (s)he wants it – before (s)he even asks for it. Inaccessible, because few will have the opportunity to live it, but also few to provide it. And internal, because it will be associated with his/her spiritual uplift and mental rejuvenation through activities of wellness and interaction with other patrons.
Apart from all these, today’s visitor is characterised by environmental consciousness. That is why a modern hospitality space, if it would like to become competitive, needs to create eco-friendly services. Luxury is now more than ever intertwined with sustainability and the green economy. What is important for young travellers is to stay in a place that does not harm the local environment. Instead it applies environmentally sustainable practices and uses local products and know-how.
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In this context, wandering around the world and cultural experiences are important experiences that they want to gain. So, as tourists now see accommodation choices as an integral part of their identity and their vacations as an imminent reflection of who they are, hospitality organizations must also offer deeper values via successful luxury business models.
There are five relevant pillars for a modern luxury travel service:
The excellent service The new luxury traveler is not interested in a robotic provision of service by an inhospitable and cold staff. They desire knowledge, empathy, innovative hospitality and forward-looking people who are willing to provide immediate solutions.
Flexible environments Hotels need to develop a more customizable and flexible model that can better serve the unique requirements of each guest. For example, services can range from a room with a specific aroma and a private festive dinner on a rooftop with a seductive view to a private visit to the catacombs beneath the Vatican or finding VIP tickets for sold-out concerts. Thus, every business needs to take advantage of the most of every technological and non-technological innovation. By doing this, it will provide a more personalized and emotional experience that gives the feeling of being at home.
Wellbeing A gym and spa are no longer enough. New luxury travelers are looking for activities that promote spiritual and mental well-being, healthy food choices, green spaces and fresh air.
Simplicity Luxury can also emerge through everyday cultural experiences of each destination given with simplicity. This will contribute to the real decompression and decongestion that every traveler will feel when (s)he sees for example an impressive view or will enjoy a local dish and thus, will experience a redemptive feeling of carefreeness in his/her journey.
In-house interaction But what does that mean? A prevalent phenomenon in the luxury hotels so far was the limited sociability and the predetermined solitary activities. However, this should change and give way to places, lobbies and services that favor communication, acquaintances and interaction of guests beyond the reception and restaurant employees. A significant lead in this is recognized in small, family and boutique hotels.
More and more brands have started creating such facilities as they shift their focus from the building to the surroundings.
One of them is the YES! Hotels Group. For many years it has managed to identify its name with luxury, enjoyment, exceptional design and architecture. Moreover it has bridged local traditions and authentic culture with high quality technological innovations and modern amenities.
With the aim of perpetuating this philosophy and always on the altar of evolution, it is preparing to welcome from the new season a new hotel on Santorini. A 5* resort with a unique character and aesthetics that aspires to touch the modern side of luxury, to reach the limits of the beyond luxury hospitality. Featuring a world-class interior design and an immersive exterior landscape, this hotel will mix the island’s history with contemporary aesthetic breakthroughs.
See how you can work for Yes! Hotel Group HERE
But how will all this take on realistic dimensions?
Initially, visitors will be able to live experiences that embrace and preserve the topography, products, cuisine, arts and culture of the place. They will escape from the stressful and fast-paced everyday life, as they will be in an outdoor or indoor space suitably configured to favor well-being and prosperity.
Simultaneously locations of social interaction will be created, such as an outdoor fireplace, outdoor yoga classes and free-design games. Sports activities will be organised throughout the year, such as hiking, cycling, climbing and tennis. Particularly innovative will be even the construction of a naturalistic garden, which will not play a decorative role, but will provide a place for relaxation, reading, isolation and inner wandering. Finally, two of the hotel’s additional innovations that will stand out are the breakout rooms in the conference facilities, as well as a Vitamin Bar and outdoor showers in the spa area.
Summing up, the concept of luxury in hotels today acquires multifaceted dimensions that go beyond the concept of a 5* hotel with strong dining experiences mounted on an enviable location. The new requirements in the sector of hospitality are related to finding places that have not been discovered before and services that have not been offered before.
Live the magic of the beyond luxury hospitality in a hotel, like the new lodging of the YES! Hotels Group! in Santorini and surely this experience will remain unforgettable.
Luxury is attention to detail, originality, exclusivity and above all quality. Angelo Bonati