by Peter J. Bates

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Welcome to the LuxuryBeat Blog!

Welcome to the LuxuryBeat blog! I've spent my entire career in the luxury marketplace encompassing marketing, sales, strategic planning, public relations, event planning and consulting. It is what I know, and it is what inspires me.

Luxury marketers have faced unprecedented challenges in the past 18 months, and while the economy is slowly starting to recover, analysts suggest the luxury travel segment will have a harder time rebounding than other travel segments. Therefore, we must tap into our masterful marketing minds and create a road map to success that embraces where we want to be in the future. In 2010 and beyond, I suggest you keep the following in mind:

1. Consider this mantra - "Protect rate, protect rate, protect rate." Maintaining rate is the equivalent to upholding the integrity of a luxury travel product. Discounting is a short-term solution but ultimately creates a larger long-term problem.

2. Eliminate the 'deals' mentality. The words that should be a mainstay of the luxury travel lexicon are 'value,' 'sophistication' and 'experiential.' Travel deals do no necessarily equal the 'travel value' our customers seek. Now more than ever, when today's high-end consumers spend money for travel, they will expect near-perfection, the utmost in customers satisfaction, and a superior product on all levels. In actuality, while the economy has gone south, the bar for travel expectations has soared.

3. Consumers must be encouraged to book with more lead time. The 'last-minute bargain-and-book' mentality that has pervaded the consumer mindset functions when the 'protect rate' mantra is ignored. Our luxury clientele should be gently reminded that the type of vacation they desire will have tremendous value based more on the richness of the experience than anything else - and that the depth of the experience will not be enhanced by waiting longer to book. Furthermore, as the recovery happens and people start traveling more, availability will be harder to secure if consumers continue to wait until the last minute to book.

'Think profitably' - let that be central to your strategies. Our approach must positively impact the long-term because luxury travel - despite the rollercoaster ride we've all been on - is here to stay. I look forward to the future with optimism.

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