Luxury hoteliers must prioritise authenticity, personalisation and guest experience

Industry professionals explored ways to stand out in the Middle East’s oversaturated luxury travel segment at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024, which concluded at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) on Thursday. Panellists speaking during 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.

Panellists participating in the Next-level Luxury: How to Stand Out as Truly Premium in an Oversaturated Market summit included Claudia Kozma Kaplan, SVP & Global Head of Brand at Raffles; Richard Alexander, GM of The Lana (Dorchester Collection); Michael Grieve, Chief Brand Officer at Jumeirah; and Marco Franck, Chief Hospitality Officer at Boutique Group. The session was moderated by John O’Ceallaigh, Founder of The Luxury Travel Edit Limited.

Participants said that rather than attempting to replicate luxury across multiple locations, the most successful luxury hospitality brands are infusing their hotels with local art, music and cuisine. For example, 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.

Speakers 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, summit participants told attendees that exceptional guest experiences are essential for luxury hoteliers looking to distinguish themselves in an overcrowded market.

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