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.

For once, it wasn’t one of the usual suspects. Luxury conglomerate LVMH came out of left field to snaffle up Belmond in a deal valued at $2.6 billion.

So what does a company that mostly sells high-end luxury goods want with a hotels and trains operator? It all comes down to experiences.

LVMH is great at “things.” It has a portfolio that includes the likes of Fendi, Bulgari, and Hennessy, but it has recognized that today’s luxury consumer wants more than a particular handbag or watch.

As LVMH Chief Financial Officer Jean-Jacques Guiony explained after the announcement: “The future of luxury will be not only in luxury goods as it’s been for many, many years, but also in luxury experiences, and we want to be in both segments, which is as simple as that.”

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

What LVMH’s Belmond Buy Means for the Future of Luxury Travel: LVMH might not have been the most obvious of suitors for Belmond’s luxury assets, but now that it’s close to owning them, it’s a deal that makes a lot of sense in this post-experience economy still contending with the concept of new luxury.

Hyatt’s New Wellness Exec Talks Strategy: As luxury hotel companies work to become spaces for healthy living, we’ll likely start seeing more people with “wellness” or “well-being” in their titles take up senior positions.

25 Travel Moments That Mattered in 2018: This past year served up headlines that certainly didn’t end with the start of another news cycle. The ripple effects were felt across all of travel.

Virgin Galactic Clears a Hurdle in Space Tourism Race: Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s private space company, scored a long-elusive win last week with a successful trip to the edge of space. Branson says in three years he’ll be up there. But given a record of delays, we’re not holding our breath.

Meditation Boom Is Pushing Brands to Keep Up: Meditation is now the fastest-growing wellness activity in the United States. Because it’s a free (or mostly free) practice, brands will probably need to get creative if they want to capitalize on the trend — especially since the app category is already saturated.

South Africa’s Visa Policy Is Still Hurting Tourism: South Africa’s onerous visa regime for minor travelers continues to hobble its all-important tourism industry. Amendments published last month may look like good news, but read them closely and — industry insiders say — not nearly enough has changed.

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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 Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, in Cape Town, South Africa. Luxury conglomerate LVMH is buying Belmond. Mark Williams / Belmond