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Providing exceptional experiences is more difficult than ordering sheets with the highest thread count and thus fundamentally changing how luxury brands position themselves and interact with guests.

We recently released our second e-book about the Future of the Guest Experience — an unprecedented collection of 28 interviews with the CEOs of virtually all of the world’s top hotel groups including 11 global brands, 13 luxury and lifestyle brands, and four hotel marketing organizations.

By collecting their thoughts on a similar set of topics–from technology and marketing to fees and training–we have tackled the hospitality’s most pressing topics from every angle and gained a glimpse at what the future of hospitality will truly look like.

Below are quotes from the e-book that address consumers’ changing definition of luxury and how hotels are adapting their products and services to meet travelers’ demand for personalization and experiences over physical extravagance.

Sonia Cheng, Rosewood Hotel Group

It’s not unexpected but travelers are more sophisticated and they are no longer looking for physical extravagance at the luxury level. They’re looking more for a personal experience and someone attending to every detail of their stay. That is what they’re expecting walking into a luxury hotel right now.

Herve Humler, The Ritz-Carlton

Traditional luxury was all about material goods, living a life of comfort, which was characterized by collecting material goods on the wall. I go to China and I buy a vase. I go to the Middle East and I buy a carpet.

Those needs and values haven’t disappeared but luxury is changing rapidly. We hear a lot about experiential travel and that’s what people are doing. Guests today define themselves by what they have experienced versus what they have bought.

Craig Reid, Auberge Resorts

The single biggest thing that we’ve seen post-downturn is people want a greater sense of, what I call, real identity. They want a sincere product and they’re moving away from routine or traditional products. If you were to look at, for example, the top ten hotels that Travel + Leisure or Conde Nast writers historically comment on, it would be big brands. As of late, it’s hotels that are more intimate and bespoke, have a greater sense of personality, and resonate with the environment.

Lindsey Ueberroth, Preferred Hotel Group

We’re spending a lot more time talking about experiences versus destinations or physical hotels. Some people still say, “I want to go to London,” but we’re finding a lot more travelers looking for a family trip, golf vacation or romantic getaway. We’re spending a lot more time serving up experiential marketing that helps them get to the hotels that meet those criteria. It’s been a shift in that perspective.

Get the “The Future of Guest Experience” E-Book Now

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Tags: ceo interviews, guest experience, luxury

Photo credit: Banyan Tree Resort, Mahe Island, Seychelles. / Flickr

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