August 27, 2013
Recently developed, social-trip planning platform Coo Boutique is aiming to attract luxury travelers tight on time with travel insights from experts, recommendations from friends and exclusive incentives.
The social-trip planning platform synthesizes travel information for more than 610 properties from brands including Mandarin Oriental, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. Bundling several aspects of travel into a single Web site will likely appeal to travelers looking to explore new locations without too much confusion.
"Coo Boutique aspires to save modern, affluent travelers time so they can enjoy and share their trip experience," said Elizabeth Heggie, chief marketing officer for Coo Boutique, Toronto.
"Recommendations are thoroughly vetted before being posted on Coo," she said.
"We offer the best of both worlds, recommendations from your friends that I know I can trust and from experts that contribute to publications that have years of experience."
Two times two
Coo Boutique aspires to amass a guidebook of global travel information based on consumer input and expert advice. As with any platform dependent on user engagement, the more people submit their testimonies, the more credible Coo Boutique can become.
Luxury travelers can book and plan a personalized trip at the same rates as booking direct. Perks such as room upgrades, free WiFi and resort credits can be gained as a traveler books through Coo Boutique.
Each featured property can be shared on social media and either saved to a wish list or tagged as a visited location, which can earn users points.
Mandarin Oriental Geneva on Coo Boutique
When a property is selected, users are provided with an overview, amenity and activity descriptions, booking information, the weather and other details. Users can glide through image galleries for an intricate look into properties.
Some activities covered include shopping, museums, art galleries and sightseeing. City Guides are available to users that strive to provide more intimate descriptions of things to do in the area.
Travel ideas offered by the brand include Sexy Honeymoons, Modern Hotels, Islands + Beaches, Family Getaways and Zen Out.
Mandarin Oriental Geneva on Coo Boutique
Coo Boutique encourages users to post reviews after their trip to help future travelers. The brand makes this more feasible by rewarding users with points when they post reviews.
The Web site also features a Tumblr with a more relaxed stream of travel information.
Interested consumers can sign up for free to begin earning points at: http://www.cooboutique.com/.
A three-dimensional niche
Other brands have predicated their business on streamlining luxury travel.
For instance, luxury villa rental company Luxury Retreats is expanding its portfolio with global properties aimed at addressing the travel preferences of consumers.
The new properties are located in Puglia and Sicily, Italy, Morocco, Mauritius and more. By adopting new properties with varied amenities, the brand is able to cater to the preferences of discerning clients who do not mind taking their business elsewhere (see story).
Also, luxury private club and home exchange program 3rd Home is expanding the scope of its properties to lure global travelers with three new locations in Park City, UT, Bermuda and La Paz, Mexico.
With this expansion, 3rd Home acquired three new partners that will provide members with numerous housing arrangements from which to choose. Adding diverse properties to the network strengthens the brand’s tight-knit grip on the luxury travel market and will likely generate new consumers (see story).
What may distinguish Coo Boutique from its competition is its pursuit of providing a thorough view of a property and its surrounding environment.
"Travelers can build their personalized city guide in minutes with recommendations from their friends and experts that helps travelers avoid spending time filtering through millions of unqualified recommendations pre-trip and during trip," Ms. Heggie said.
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York