The demands and standards of the luxury market segment are already stringent, but this will likely intensify when travel begins to open up around the world.
Speaking in a webinar yesterday, Belmond’s newly appointed divisional managing director, Asia Pacific, Iain Langridge, shared that the definition of luxury travel will change once demand returns.
“Going forward, it’s going to be a question of how we can offer space, privacy and nature to our guests. It’s not just about health and safety, but the whole experience. Of course, our cleanliness protocols will be reinforced, but this is a real opportunity to go over and above what our guests are expecting, and to offer new services and experiences,” he explained.
New features that the company is exploring include dedicated butlers, exclusive out-of-hours access to cultural attractions, as well as the integration of digital experiences into the journey.
This takes cue from the observation that more consumers are now responding positively with the brand’s social media communications and activations, and that “the desire for culture and entertainment has grown during this time”, noted Arnaud Champenois, senior vice president, brand & marketing, Belmond.
Other special considerations will also be taken with larger groups, who will demand to make the most of the security and space that a luxury company can provide, said Langridge.
The company has begun to look into the future, as it will reopen the first of its properties in Italy on June 19, as well as all of its Asia properties from July 1.
Following its return, Belmond will prioritise short-haul markets, including China, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong, revealed Champenois.
“We’re focused on our Asia strategy, on markets where it’s easier to travel in the short-term,” he described.
He added that the company will communicate the brand’s emphasis on heritage as it has proven “relevant” to these markets. It is particularly keen on moving into China through Wechat and Weibo.