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Waldorf Astoria exec: Luxury is about convenience, choice, control

January 17, 2013


NEW YORK - A Waldorf Astoria executive at Luxury Daily’s Luxury FirstLook: Strategy 2013 conference said that the status of true luxury is determined by convenience, choice and consumer control.

During the “Moving from one-touch to high-touch for the modern luxury marketer” session, an executive from Hilton Worldwide said that the true luxury experience depends upon the service provided to the consumer. Luxury marketers should keep service in mind when trying to engage consumers.

“There are imitation brands everywhere, what makes the difference is the status,” said John Vanderslice, global head of luxury and lifestyle brands for Hilton Worldwide.

“It is also about the convenience, choice and control,” he said.

“Luxury is here forever, luxury will not die.”

Updated luxury

Marketers should realize that luxury is not going away and luxury goods will always be present.

The luxury market has surged back after the last downturn of the economy, per Mr. Vanderslice.

However, luxury marketers need to make sure they understand their consumers and their future consumers.

To help address this point and start the conversation, Mr. Vanderslice has started a video series titled “The Luxury Manifesto” where he discusses the future of luxury and the luxury consumer with industry experts.

The series is available on Conrad Hotel’s YouTube account.

Ferruccio Ferragamo in The Luxury Manifesto

Overall, Mr. Vanderslice is optimistic about the future of the luxury market and said that luxury will always be present.

“Luxury is what people will turn to in order to pamper themselves, in the good times and in the bad times,” he said.

Waldorf Service
Affluent consumers expect certain points of service during their stay at a luxury brand hotel.

Also, luxury consumers want services on their own terms.

Many hotels are working technology into their service points to increase a customer’s experience during their stay.

For example, when a consumer makes a reservation at a Waldorf Astoria property, they receive an email with information to connect to the concierge, Mr. Vanderslice said.

This allows the consumer to make a personal connection with a member of the hotel staff that they can maintain during their entire stay.

After staying at a Waldorf Astoria property, a guests’ information will be saved with the hotel to remember the next time the guest stays with the hotel property to tailor the experience toward the guests wants and needs.

This is all a part of the "Waldorf Service" that a consumer can expect when staying at a Waldorf property and helps set it apart from other hotels.

In addition, Mr. Vanderslice said Hilton Worldwide’s Conrad Hotels & Resorts will introduce a mobile application called the Conrad concierge.

The app gives consumers an immediate connection with what area of the hotel can meet their needs.

Conrad Concierge app has approximately 60,000 downloads after being released more than one month ago, per Mr. Vanderslice.

“The app is hot wired to the systems in the back of the house,” Mr. Vanderslice said. “If you order room service, it goes to the kitchen, if you want your car, then it goes to the valet.

“Conrad is smart luxury, the new luxury consumer is drawn to Conrad.”

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York