Skift Take

The smartest people in luxury travel are realizing that they can't just keep doing things the old way. Keeping a high-touch, personal approach while adapting to the needs and wishes of today's travelers will be key to survival.

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.

The role of the concierge neatly encapsulates the conundrum at the heart of  modern luxury travel.

In the past, employing a highly skilled concierge could help a hotel set itself apart from the competition.

The problem is, today’s new luxury consumers don’t necessarily need the expertise on offer. As Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor at the NYU Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, told Skift’s Hospitality Editor Deanna Ting: “Does a 28-year-old want to rely on a concierge to tell him what he’d like for dinner tonight?”

As today’s millennials get older (and richer), the situation will likely worsen. Herein lies the issue for luxury hoteliers: If a concierge isn’t valued by consumers, what is the point in having one? But if that is the case, then how do you differentiate?

There are some counterpoints to this. Skift columnist Colin Nagy made a number of persuasive arguments in a piece last year about the importance of concierges and how they can still be relevant to today’s luxury travelers.

And Rafat Ali, Skift’s founder and CEO, paints a gloomy picture of the upcoming tech backlash and what it means for the travel industry in 2018. Among other things, the piece calls out some of the most corrosive aspects of our digital-led culture and looks at what can be done.

“The travel industry also needs to rethink its chase of digital tools and services as a proxy to the human experience, and build real social experiences as part of the social spaces it incorporates: airports, airlines, hotels, resorts, destinations, tours and activities, and restaurants,” Ali wrote.

As we’ve said for a long time, humanity needs to be central to the travel experience — but that doesn’t mean parts of it don’t need to be reimagined.

— Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor

Six Looks at Luxury

Luxury Travel Confronts a Widening Identity Crisis: Luxury hospitality is no longer defined by marble bathrooms and turndown service. To compete and appeal to today’s luxury guest, hotels have to be a lot smarter and more thoughtful than ever before.

Luxury Hoteliers Believe Customization Is Key to Winning Over Millennials: Customization, wellness, and technology are must-haves for any luxury hotel brand that wants to remain relevant — regardless of the age of their customers.

Hoteliers Are Taking Different Approaches to Luxury Travel Innovation: Everyone has different ideas and approaches for the next big thing in luxury hospitality, from digital innovation and more personalization to smarter, more intuitive service, and better dining experiences.

A Luxury Hotel Hit List for 2018 Tied Together by a Creative Vision: Here is a list of inspiring hospitality experiences and properties to consider for 2018 travels. The selections are tied together by each property’s vision, uniqueness, and focus on guest experience.

Video: Apple Leisure Group CEO on the Appeal of Luxury All-Inclusive: All-inclusive vacations aren’t necessarily just for low-end consumers seeking high convenience. The luxury corner of the all-inclusive market has staying power.

A Look at What the Hospitality Industry Taught Itself in 2017: In 2017, the hotel industry took stock of the prior year’s major mergers, focused on putting them all together, and worked on figuring out a path into the future.


Skift Europe Editor Patrick Whyte [[email protected]] curates the New Luxury newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday.

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Tags: hotels, luxury

Photo credit: The Waldorf Astoria New York. A high-touch, personal approach is increasingly key in luxury travel. Hilton Worldwide / Facebook

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