Skift Take

Experience is passé. Today's top luxury marketers have moved on to a new way of looking at the customer journey. It's now about intention. High-end brands that can align their own intentions — beyond making a profit — with those of their customers have the potential to foster true-blue relationships.

Series: New Luxury

Luxury Travel News

The Skift New Luxury column is our weekly column 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.

If only I had a nickel for every travel marketer who has told me it’s all about “the experience,” I’d be a very rich person. Alas, I am not paid by the cliché.

Travel has always been about the experience, so companies that think they can distinguish themselves from their competitors by yammering on about it actually aren’t differentiating themselves at all.

A new word, however, slowly seems to be working its way into the marketing lexicon. I’ve been noticing that a few of the most forward-thinking analysts are keying in on intention rather than experience. The idea is that companies must understand their own intention, whether it’s to provide a place of refuge, excitement, or creativity. At the same time, though, it’s every bit as important to understand the intention of the customer. Why is that person traveling, and what is he or she desiring from the experience?

In other words, it’s not the experience itself, but the intention beneath it. One person might be hiking to lose weight, for example, while another might be trying to relax. That’s why customers with different intentions require different strategies even though, on the surface, a company is providing the same experience to both.

Luxury brands need a compelling proposition. For hotels, amazing architecture or a beautifully designed guest room isn’t enough. Those things are expected in luxury, but they aren’t differentiators. It’s the brands that go deep into intention that are able to emotionally connect with their consumers, leading to the loyalty that all hoteliers crave.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @dailysuitcase.

— Laura Powell, Skift Luxury Correspondent

6 Looks at Luxury

Embracing the Role of Romance in Luxury Marketing: Romantic love and a night at the opera might seem like the stuff of chick flicks and cheap paperbacks that sport Fabio’s bare chest. But one expert says luxury marketers should pay heed to both subjects if they want to build deep and lasting relationships with their clients.

Marriott Vs. Marriott Lawsuit in Thailand Shows Risks of Chain Consolidation: Global chains and hotel owners will watch this case closely as it addresses the contentious issue of whether brand consolidation affects the ability of chains to drive business to a hotel.

The Rise and Fall of Iceland’s Tourism Miracle: Life has changed for Icelanders as the country’s tourism industry faces a slump. While many are looking at the change as an opportunity to reassess their business, the widespread decline of tourism across the country presents intractable problems.

Scotland’s Tourism Efforts Highlight Post-Brexit UK Worry Outside London: European visitors make up a small part of Scotland’s tourism pie — but they are still an important part. Like other big geopolitical changes, Brexit offers up plenty of uncertainty, which often isn’t great for tourism.

Skift Global Forum Preview: Inspirato Pass Offers a Discounted Luxury Ticket Around the World: The best way for travelers to get the most out of the Inspirato Pass is to book early and often. That way, shelling out $30,000 a year for the subscription may essentially pay for itself, given the number of high-end trips customers could wind up taking.


Skift Luxury Correspondent Laura Powell [[email protected]] curates the New Luxury newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday.

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Tags: hotels, luxury

Photo credit: The lobby of the Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills. People like to talk about experience, but what about intention? Hyatt

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