The Skift New Luxury newsletter is our weekly newsletter focused on the business of selling luxury travel, the people and companies creating and selling experiences, emerging trends, and the changing consumer habits around the sector.

We’ll keep in mind the needs of the specialist travel agents who sell these products as well as the sophisticated consumers who shop for them.

The big hotel chains are seemingly addicted to adding new brands to their portfolio, making it more difficult for those that have been around for awhile to stand out.

Brands at the top end have it especially hard as their luxury price tags make standing out from the crowd a necessity, and over the last couple of years Hilton’s Conrad Hotels & Resorts has done a pretty good job of positioning itself as a purveyor of “smart luxury.”

In its latest attempt to differentiate, Conrad invited a bunch of startups to Hilton’s new Innovation Gallery in McLean, Virginia with the hope of unearthing the next great piece of guest innovation technology.

Of course, not all the companies in contributor Laura Powell’s story will make the grade — at least as far as the hospitality industry is concerned — but Conrad’s willingness to entertain new ideas should be applauded.

— Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor

Five Looks at Luxury

Conrad Ups Its Innovation Play: In the heavily competitive luxury space, Conrad is looking to gain its edge through innovative technology.

Giving Free and Independent Travel a Luxury Edge: Long-time tour operator Ker & Downey has always had a mission to get travelers to less-explored regions. Aside from bringing in tourism dollars to developing countries, the company stands out for its commitment to on-the-ground philanthropy.

Aligning Luxury Hotels With Active Brands to Attract High-Achieving Guests: Luxury travel brands are today operating within the transformation economy. Brands must align themselves with experiences that speak to affluent consumers’ desire for a personal evolution.

Onefinestay CEO Views Hyper Personalization as Next Stage of Luxury Rentals: In other words, don’t expect AccorHotels to be vying for Wyndham’s European vacation rental business anytime soon.

Best Airline and Hotel Innovators in 2017 From a Business Traveler’s Perspective: Here’s to some of the most innovative and thoughtful brands in travel today. These companies are doing the heavy lifting to make travel and hospitality more inspiring.

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Skift Europe Editor Patrick Whyte [pw@skift.com] curates the New Luxury newsletter. The newsletter is emailed every Tuesday.

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Photo Credit: Savioke's Relay robot. The company was one of a number to attend Conrad's Technology Pitch Day at Hilton’s new Innovation Gallery in McLean, Virginia. Savioke