The Luxury Quotient: How do you define the ineffable?
Changing times often require us to re-examine the simplest of terms – case in point: What is the definition of luxury? In some social circles, there’s an ongoing debate about how to define luxury. This question is coming from many people and brands that have been serving the luxury travel market for a number of years. It’s not a debate that is geographic in nature, or based on a population of varying degrees of socioeconomic status, or even a disparity among industries.
It’s a fundamental question. And people are seeking a simple definition to explain it.
To the illustrate the vast differences in how people interpret the term, I have pulled excerpts from the debate. Here are several short takes that exemplify the various responses: Luxury is delivering the unexpected and above expactations. If you manage that, you win the guests’ recommendations and their loyalty. It's about making a guest feel special - through services,
surroundings and experiences. Luxury is offering differentiators that scream " we care ' and we value your patronage. Luxury, to a large degree, is in the eye of the beholder. Ultimately, it comes down to what the guest sees as luxury and that depends on what that guest is accustomed to. If his house has luxurious carpets, chandeliers and plush furnishings then modest furnishings simply won’t impress. If she regularly dines in upscale restaurants, your white tablecloths and fine china will be viewed as a norm.
Luxury is a feeling: The feeling that you are the center of the staff’s attention, you are being noticed, your opinion matters and you are going to be remembered.
Luxury also demands constant vigilance. Since service delivery is part of the magical formula, people who provide that human touch play a critical role. People who recognize a need and fill it with that something extra, and thereby demonstrate it was the most important thing they had to do in that moment for that guest. Delivering guest experiences with enchantment adds to the characterization of luxury.
Webster’s Dictionary defines luxury as “something that is helpful or welcome and that is not usually available. ”But I think there are aspects of luxury that are even broader than Webster’s definition. The single most compelling comment – the one I truly appreciate – is: “Luxury is a state of being.”
I am a big believer that luxury is the blend of your physical surroundings, feelings from interactions, the arousal of the five senses and the overall emotional connection that stimulates a sense of self that is greater than everyday life. BT