ATM 2024: Luxury hoteliers 'must prioritise' personalisation and guest experience

ATM 2024: Luxury hoteliers 'must prioritise' personalisation and guest experience

Personalised experiences for travellers continues to be a hot topic

Industry professionals explored ways to stand out in the Middle East’s oversaturated luxury travel segment at Arabian Travel Market 2024 this week.

Panellists speaking at the exhibition’s luxury summit said authenticity, personalisation, and the guest experience were among the key considerations for brands looking to distinguish themselves from the competition.

While architectural designs of hotel operators’ premises may vary, it is important for luxury brands to establish common values and authentic experiences across their portfolios. 

From the language used to convey a company’s offering to the integration of local heritage and culture within individual hotels, attendees were told that luxury players must remain laser-focused on delivering unique value propositions for guests.

The session titled "Next-level Luxury: How to Stand Out as Truly Premium in an Oversaturated Market" included Claudia Kozma Kaplan, SVP & global head of brand of Raffles; Richard Alexander, GM of The Lana (Dorchester Collection); Michael Grieve, chief brand officer of Jumeirah; and Marco Franck, chief hospitality officer of Boutique Group. 

Moderated by John O'Ceallaigh, founder of The Luxury Travel Edit Limited, the panel revealed that rather than attempting to replicate luxury across multiple locations, the most successful luxury hospitality brands are infusing hotels with local art, music and cuisine. 

Panellists acknowledged the value that can be added by the personal involvement of renowned celebrity chefs, but noted the importance of simultaneously nurturing and providing opportunities for homegrown culinary talent.

It also emphasised the pivotal role of effective recruitment and retention in establishing teams that are equipped to meet and exceed expectations through hyper-personalised service. 

From retaining information about customers’ favourite foods to their children’s birthdays, exceptional guest experiences are "essential" for luxury hoteliers looking to distinguish themselves in an overcrowded market.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME of Arabian Travel Market, said: “Given the number of players in the Middle East’s luxury hospitality segment, it is no surprise that hoteliers are looking for new ways to stand out from the crowd. 

"It was fascinating to hear such a diverse array of insights from our panellists, who provided some excellent examples of how brands can redefine what modern luxury means to their guests.”