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.

Luxury hotel brands have long believed they can get away without loyalty schemes.

In a way this makes sense — the kind of customers they want to attract don’t care about earning points — but increasingly they are moving into this territory, what they would call guest recognition programs. Mandarin Oriental is the latest company to get involved with its Fans of M.O., following a similar move from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

“What’s really exciting to me about the program is the beyond-the-stay benefits and access to special things that we can provide to members. I think we can give them something really different,” said Kendall Dunn, director of guest engagement for the company.

Personalization is more and more important and something guests are starting to expect, but perhaps more valuable for the companies is the ability to capture customer data for use in other areas such as marketing.

A smart hotel is a better hotel, even at the top end of the market.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at pw@skift.com or tweet me @paddywhyte.

— Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor

6 Looks at Luxury

Technology Finally Convinced Mandarin Oriental to Launch a Loyalty Program: Can luxury brands like Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, and others convince consumers that you don’t need the lure of points or free nights to be loyal?
How a Restored Raffles Will Target a New Generation of Luxury Travelers: How do you update an iconic hotel without losing its charm? That’s the challenge currently facing interior designers working on Raffles Singapore.

Qatar Airways Takes a Stake in a Small California-Based Airline: Did Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker finally win himself a slice of a U.S. airline? You could say that. But remember JetSuiteX, for now, has only five airplanes. We’ll see how much it grows with the new money.

5 Ways to Humanize the Next Big Thing in Aviation — Super-Long Flights: As flights tip over the 17-hour mark, airlines need to be thinking about ways to raise the level of civility on these uncomfortable trips.

Luxury Hotels Aim to Get Smarter About Which Ads Work Best: Sometimes it’s the small financing deals that reveal cutting-edge trends in investment and technological opportunity. Curacity must hope that’s true of this funding, given that its progress to date has been a slow burn in a promising sector.

Qantas Sells Catering Division to Focus on Premium Long-Haul Business: Qantas continues its history of selling off non-core assets to finance its lounges and new ultra-long-haul routes. Given the high costs of its new strategy, the savings from outsourcing its catering operation will come in handy.

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

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Photo Credit: The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Milan, Italy. The company is introducing its own loyalty scheme. Mandarin Oriental