Hakan Ozel, General Manager – Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai
Luxury has become very popular that everyone wants to be in it. It has the history as old as humanity. It is very much found in fashion, architecture, design, manufacturing, service, retail, art, cars, watches, hotels, etc. Almost every financial player is claiming to offer some kind of luxury in their business models. Almost everyone in society would like to be a part of it.
People started to produce variety of luxury types, like premium luxury, ultra-luxury, hyper luxury, affordable luxury. As such, if everything is a kind of luxury, then there is no meaning of luxury. Luxury is luxury; it carries the characteristics of its own with a fine difference compared the others.
Consumers have the freedom to define themselves in society through luxury, as long as they have spending power with the availability of money and time itself. This freedom creates a sort of social classification. Product is the base of luxury, which needs to have a fundamental function of creating a social classification.
In this respect, luxury brands are required to help consumers to make their dreams come true in society. This means anyone can create their own state of class through luxury and luxury-related brands with a new kind of excitement and freedom.
Product is the starting point in luxury. There is always a strong human touch, feeling and content from handmade to personalized and from person-to-person in every luxury product created, unlike other stuff from-shelf-to-person. Luxury consumers dream about moments of luxury experiences. It is not only the logo to share on the product, but enjoying the rarity, design, culture and quality of material and the spirit of acquiring it while transferring from one generation to another.
Luxury products are complemented by service. Service provides most of the consumers with the opportunity to access in one short experience what they imagine is the life of the wealthy consumers such as a stay in a luxury 5-star hotel, dinner at a famous restaurant, or rent a luxury car for a day during a family holiday.
We can’t remember every second of a 90-minute movie when we want to share with our families and friends. We only remember couple of bespoke-actions, moments, and scripts, not every second. Luxury service is also like movies as we share the experiences of the journeys.
From the beginning till the end, we only remember bespoke actions, moments, and scripts of the journey, and share with others, be it positive or negative. All these dreams need excellent service organization, detailed and anticipating planning, and perfect delivery. Human touch is always required.
When the brands give consumers unique and bespoke experiences, which helps them to make their dreams come true, save time, give them what is important and significant to them, and provide reliable information, they create luxury experiences for consumers to enjoy, remember, and most importantly share in society regardless of where and what they are selling. Time is the greatest luxury, which proofs that luxury does not necessarily require to be the most expensive, but rare and precious to find and purchase.
Culture is the rooted nature of luxury products. When the consumers buy a luxury product, they are not only buying the product itself, but its native cultural value. Imagine that when the guests stay in a luxury branded hotel, they encounter with products and services, rooted by the nature of company’s cultural origin.
Luxury brands should always remain relevant to their roots; they should be produced in the original location, should not move from one location to other due to economic reasons such as cost saving, and give services while remaining loyal to its origins.
It is a dangerous risk that luxury brands forget their roots. Once separated from the roots, luxury brands become ordinary as they are recategorized to consumer goods brands, and undesirably find their values on the shelves for shelf-to-person business.
Luxury is amazing; it seduces the consumers. Once the consumers are in taste of luxury, it is difficult for them to exit and turn away.
From investors and executives till consumers, everyone becomes addicted to use, create and model it. They experience the pleasure of being close to it and make it a part of their life and culture. Luxury is now an uncompromising part of our lives.