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The Cadillac of luxury brands in the hotel world, The Ritz-Carlton recently announced changes to its brand, namely a fresh voice and updated logo, as it looks for ways to stay relevant in a world shaped by millennial travel.

The Ritz-Carlton Company recently announced it is singing a new tune with its fresh new brand voice and logo.

The re-designed logo marks the company’s first time in its 32 year history that any changes have been made to the lion and crown.

“If we don’t evolve to reflect the changing priorities of how the guests we serve are living their lives, we won’t be living up to our purpose and values as an organization,” says Ed French, chief sales and marketing officer of The Ritz-Carlton.

The change in its voice, which French says “represents a modern understanding of The Ritz-Carlton legacy,” and logo was one that began taking place 10 years ago when the company assessed its path for the future, French says.

“The updated brand voice is a necessary part of the continuous journey of evolution that we commenced ten years ago. If you look back at the significant changes and modifications we have made to keep the company relevant, this is the next logical step. The purpose and the values of The Ritz-Carlton brand have not changed. We still strive to create memories for our guests, but research told us we needed to evolve our brand identity to meet the tastes of a new generation of consumers, so that we might better communicate our brand’s purpose and values in a more powerful modern context.”

Echoing what many in the hotel industry are voicing, The Ritz-Carlton’s new generation of consumers lies with the growing number of millennial travelers. French points out that the luxury market still has roots tied to Baby Boomer and Gen X travelers, but that the future will be dictated by Gen Y travelers, hence the need to change.

“They are far more globally mobile than previous generations and desire more genuine experiences and exposure to local culture,” he says. “Similar to other demographics, they value beautiful design and expect high-quality, impeccable service. These, and other continuous learnings, govern most of The Ritz-Carlton evolution.”


Lobby of the remodled Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage.

Among the transformations that have come to shape throughout the past ten years are the brand’s design strategy, location selection for future hotels, the service style, grooming standards and dining experiences, which have been re-designed, re-invented or replaced.

For example, Ritz-Carlton has changed its design in a way so that no two properties are the same and instead are reflection of their locations, with local and cultural influences integrated into a modern look and feel. The Ritz-Carlton Herzliya in Israel and the Rancho Mirage in Palm Springs, California are two such examples of the hotel’s new approach to its design. It’s a big step away from a brand that used to be known for imposing the same look at a property in Jamaica that you’d find in Boston.

With location, French says that the launch of its Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties best illustrate Ritz-Carlton’s move to establish a presence in locations it otherwise would not have taken the brand.

“Research indicates an expanding number of undiscovered and unfamiliar destinations are growing in popularity, with a demand by travelers for increased diversity,” French says. “Today we have three Reserves: Phulay Bay in Thailand, Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico, and Ubud in Bali.”

The future also holds some exciting new ventures for The Ritz-Carlton as the brand is opening in Cairo on October 1. It is also gearing up for projects in Perth and Melbourne, Australia, and making progress toward a dream of establishing a presence in Budapest.

French is quick to maintain that changes to the brand do not reflect a change to the service culture of The Ritz-Carlton properties, which he says is the “DNA of the brand.”

“A new brand voice does not change those core values, but should instead, represent them in a beautiful and modern way,” French says. “We believe we have developed a fresh look to our identity that will stand the test of time for years to come. It has been important all along to ensure that any brand voice we use is fitting of the iconic stature of The Ritz-Carlton brand and can be elegantly pulled through across all touch points of a guest journey.”

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Tags: branding, ritz-carlton

Photo credit: The service culture is the DNA of The Ritz-Carlton brand, even as it evolves and transforms to meet the demands of a growing consumer base. The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage

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