The definition of luxury has changed. The era of logos and brands is ending. Luxury in the future will be defined by authentic, unique and personal experiences.
The Bangkok Manifesto, created at the SITE Global Conference in Bankok, Thailand in January, comprises 10 statements developed by incentive industry thought leaders on the industry’s true purpose in the business world today.
The Manifesto has been published in hard copy with the addition of written commentary on each of the 10 statements from industry experts in several disciplines–DMC and DMO sectors, hospitality sector, third party planners and corporate end-users. Each week we will take a deep dive into each one, thanks to our industry experts: This week we look at number five on luxury with commentary from Bob Miller, CEO, One10 Marketing.
Luxury is a state of mind that arises when circumstances make people feel special. It’s defined by long-held preferences, is highly personal and often changes. It used to be opulence and extravagance, champagne and caviar but now its authenticity and unique personal experiences, craft beer and local cuisine.
In travel, luxury used to mean over-the-top destinations, exclusive accommodations and bucket list activities. Now researchers are attempting to understand the shifting face of luxury based on generations, personas and life stages. As the power of individual choice continues to assert itself globally, many of the traditional definitions of luxury are being challenged.
The incentive travel industry is at the forefront of the changing perceptions of luxury. Our clients still look for obvious comforts but the real focus now is on unique access to experiences. Access that guests can’t buy or curate on their own. Access to locations, activities and other people. Authentic, once-in-a-lifetime moments that are truly transformational.
Digital technology and ubiquitous screens fuel the desire for more experiences as we’re continually exposed to new stimuli social media sharing. Highly curated experiences are now documented for all the world to see. Whether it’s hiking on glaciers in Patagonia and then enjoying lunch with locals, a surprise flight to Cuba or passing a football with NFL greats on a beach, incentive travel provides access to extraordinary experiences and these need to be shared!
Luxury is emotional – a state of heart, not mind. But, more than anything, luxury arises when we experience life changing moments that we turn into memories that, in turn, define and transform our lives! A well-designed and executed incentive travel program can be this life changing moment. It offers an extraordinary travel experience to qualifiers and that, increasingly, pivots around authenticity, uniqueness and deeply personal experiences.