Skift Take

Luxury travel is evolving beyond its traditional parameters, and luxe travel brands are meeting these needs by developing more nuanced options for immersive destination experiences so consumers can customize their entire travel journey.

We recently released our latest report in the Skift Trends series, The Changing Business of Selling Luxury Travel.

Below is an extract. Get the full report here to get ahead of this trend.

The first Impressionist Festival in Normandy, France in 2010 attracted over one million visitors to the region north of Paris with over 250 special events during the four-month event. In 2013, the second festival welcomed over 1.8 million visitors with over 700 events. Due to that success, the 2016 program is being extended an additional six weeks.

Content and community are inherent aspects of any festival but they reach a new level here in the historic city of Rouen and the magnificent Rouen Cathedral that plays the role of ad hoc festival headquarters. From here, thousands of tours lead to the same pastures where some of the world’s most famous paintings were created, the coastal cities of Honfleur and Deauville, and Monet’s home in nearby Giverny. The opportunities for discovering and engaging with such a large volume of like-minded people are endless, as are the options for sharing content online, which many of the area destination marketing organizations reshare.

Content and community partnerships are how mature brands are ensuring their relevance for next generation luxury consumers. The Principality of Monaco provides an interesting example of how destination marketing organizations are developing partnerships with non-travel brands to open up new markets and cater more to Millennials at the same time. This year, for example, Monaco partnered with Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York to engage younger, educated audience members with an appreciation for culture. The jazz theme also aligns with the shift toward more relaxed, unbuttoned luxury.

“The Jazz at Lincoln Center is an example of how we’re engaging a younger audience in a lively and spirited way, although it was really more about attracting Millennial people than jazz people,” says Cindy Hoddeson, U.S. director of the Monaco Government Tourist Office. “Affluent Millennials, and every other generation for that matter, are more focused on authentic experiences with their money and not just goods.”

In a similar initiative, Monaco developed a co-marketing partnership with the Dr. Zhivago Broadway theater performance to promote the 2015 Year of Russia programming in Monaco. The principality arranged a year-long schedule of special events celebrating Russian cultural heritage, and the collaboration with Dr. Zhivago gave Monaco access to both the U.S national arts media and culturally attuned luxury consumers. The DMO also developed the website in an effort to push more content marketing, which Hoddeson says is a major focus for her organization.

“Content marketing is becoming much more relevant in terms of telling our story to people and utilizing digital communications to interact more with affluent travelers today,” she says. “I think people relish the hunt and discovery of a destination, and that is something we’re trying to develop by creating alliances with like-minded organizations in the United States.”

Also according to Hoddeson, a big challenge for legacy luxury travel brands with a perception of being expensive is showing value for spend. “People don’t hesitate to spend money but they do want value, there’s no question about that,” she explains. “So our hotels are focusing on individualization as part of the value proposition. People are willing to pay for the highest levels of luxury but they want to feel like they’re getting something special for what they’re investing in.”


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Tags: food and drink, france, monaco, research reports

Photo credit: Honfleur was a popular subject for Impressionist painters. christian / Flickr

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