Communication for Luxury Hotels
A growing business
Luxury travel is on the rise globally and is supposed to reach US$1.2 billion turnover by 2022; to satisfy an increasing demand, 3,800 new luxury hotels and resorts are expected to open by 2030. Meanwhile, high-end travelers are moving toward a more digital approach. Because of that, it is of the utmost importance to develop a multichannel communication strategy: every brand should always make sure there is coordination and synergy between its offline communications and the digital and social ones.
The importance of a good communication strategy
Planning a precise communication strategy when dealing with luxury brands is essential: It has to set congruent actions and pursue tangible objectives while adding a touch of intangible allure. The strategic direction must be all-encompassing, with content and activities that perfectly fit and are relevant for diverse targets. At AIGO, we have been working with various luxury brands for years – including Belmond (formerly Orient Express), Marriott International Luxury Brands, Anantara, Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts, the iconic La Mamounia, Atlantis the Palm, the Gritti Palace and others – and have defined a tailor-made narrative plan for each one of them, giving full respect to every brand identity.
Setting specific targets
Every campaign should have specific communication targets.
For example, we introduced Katara Hospitality – a Qatari sovereign fund specializing in hotel business – in the Italian market, on the occasion of their first investment: the renovation and relaunch of the Excelsior Gallia Hotel in Milan. On top of launching the renewed hotel, we had to ensure the hotel’s image was excellent and bolster the reputation of the investor to overshadow any possible negative perceptions. Therefore, our work was a mix between strong corporate communication through press conferences and interviews from top management, and a striking product communication involving offline media and top influencers.
The case of the opening of the JW Marriott Venice, the first JW property in Italy, was different. There, our strategy focused on a teaser campaign for national and local media, a great opening party with journalists and influencers, and a weekend-long special event to introduce the hotel’s location and activities. This first step was then followed by a second one, with the aim of keeping the media talking about the hotel by focusing on specific themes such as food, design and wellness, all linked to the property or the destination.
Using proper contents and channels
Communication for the luxury segment is constantly evolving, using an approach that is both digital and increasingly emotional. Some channels enhance this trend better than others: Instagram, for instance, is perfect for celebrating the brand value through photos and videos, but YouTube can also be an effective showcase for the product.
Today the competition is very strong, so one should always develop innovative ideas and use them to create seamless conversations with an audience. “Quality” and “authenticity” are two keywords, but sustainability and eco-friendliness are now also considered integral parts of a quality offer. Showing the product is not enough anymore; a good communicator should elicit emotions and be able to connect them with the sense of place.
International hotel chains and independent properties: two different approaches
When working with hotels, you may find big international chains next to independent boutique properties. Obviously, both belong to the same industry, but their communication needs are profoundly different. A known franchise will focus on its brand values, its vision, its loyalty program and its initiatives, both on a local and on a global level. To better highlight the brand’s growth, its innovation and the market strategy, they often prefer a corporate-oriented exposure. Flagship properties usually play an important role, as they are meant to be the tangible demonstration of the brand essence.
On the other hand, independent hotels tend to showcase the distinctiveness and the personalized experiences they offer; the focus is mostly on the hotel’s location and its background in term of history, culture, art and food. Their social media channels are characterized by a more emotional approach and leave more space for the content creators, promoting the uniqueness of the experience, acknowledging and embracing new trends.
La Mamounia Hotel: a case study
We have been working with the La Mamounia – Marrakech Hotel since 2015, and we believe it is a case in point when talking about luxury hotel brands and communication. Since the beginning, we have used a two-layered strategy. On one hand, we kept feeding the legend of the hotel, highlighting its “One Thousand and One Nights” feel, its rich history and all the personalities who have been regular guests since its opening. We involved mainly glossy magazines, celebrities and influencers.
At the same time, we reached a younger audience by focusing on specific projects: food, art, fashion, beauty and wellness. Thanks to the combination of various tools and exercises, the result was all-around exposure, bringing together different high-spending targets. Needless to say, social media played a key role throughout our communication.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency member of Travel Consul