Convergence, collaboration, partnership. By whatever name you call the phenomenon, expect to see more luxury travel companies taking the tack of expanding their appeal through teaming up with brands their customers likely fancy.
Collaborations and partnerships between high-end travel brands and their cousins in sectors ranging from fashion to food to automotive have been increasing in recent years.
But in 2019, such collaborations will likely become commonplace, as luxury companies seek to align with others of their ilk in order to extend their reach and increase brand awareness.
“I think we are going to see a lot more of it. After all, collaboration to survive is really important. Certain species need other species to survive. When you have a common understanding of luxury and heritage, it makes sense to partner [with companies] that believe the same things,” said Marek Reichman, executive vice president and chief creative officer at Aston Martin Lagonda.
“The boundaries are blurring within the world of creativity. It’s about combining the creative thinking of successful brands, so that one and one is making three.”
For several years, we’ve seen this new convergence of luxury fashion and travel. Bulgari, Versace and Armani all have put their names on five-star hotel properties. But at the end of 2018, the world of haute hospitality and high-end fashion collided in a much bigger way, as LVMH agreed to buy Belmond, including its signature hotels, ships and trains.
“It’s another big year for brand tangos in luxury and fashion. I’m excited by what will show up in 2019 in terms of truly strategic collaborations, especially as brands are disrupting the very notion of categories,” said Rebecca Robins, global chief of learning and culture officer for Interbrand.
“So, which brands come together, how they come together and for what purpose, is a big watch for next year. Brands have been redefining the whole notion of categories and sectors, and we will see more of that at every level in luxury. Where do luxury products, services and experiences begin and end?
“LVMH continues to be a bellwether for more on this front. LVMH‘s final big play of 2018 was its acquisition of Belmond and is, perhaps, a compelling statement of more to come.”
Collaborations across sectors will likely continue as brands realize the power of total immersion in a luxury world.
“We will no doubt continue to see a convergence of fashion and travel,” said Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner at Embark, a luxury lifestyle partnership that develops bespoke travel experiences.
“We already see brands like Armani, Bulgari, Fendi, and Ferragamo in the hotel space. And no, they are not in the hotel space to make it big on a room night; rather they are in the space to get clients to immerse themselves in their brand and have people live their story as nothing but a travel experience can do better.”
Ezon sees another opportunity for brand immersion through collaboration in the world of pop-ups. “Hotels are becoming hubs for future pop-ups, helping both the hotel and the fashion brand position themselves…and to engage ultra-high net worth clients with brands.” He believes this trend will be particularly prevalent in secondary markets, where luxury consumer goods brands might not otherwise have a physical presence.
Robins concurs, adding, “What I’m looking to in 2019 are the more visceral collaborations [including pop-ups] between brands that will be led by innovation, by creating something better – together.”
Regardless of how they manifest, expect partnerships to become more abundant among luxury brands. As global trend authority WGSN notes in a report about how to appeal to the luxury consumer: “Collaborations, whether product or artistic, will be key over the next five years, with co-creation changing the emotional investment consumers have in product.”
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Photo credit: The Palazzo Versace Dubai. Fashion brands have tried to get more involved in hospitality in recent times. Palazzo Versace