The travel industry is continually facing disruption, which often provides great benefits for travelers and a path to fostering a culture of innovation and new business models.
A current trend in hotel and travel disruption is coming from a new breed of unlikely players within the luxury brand space.
Over the course of 2015, brands have surprisingly taken the leap into the hospitality industry, from a plan by West Elm to launch a line of boutique hotels, Equinox expanding into hotels earlier this year, and Karl Lagerfeld’s decision to launch his own brand of hotels.
We have come a long way since online travel booking websites permanently changed the course of the travel agency business model and placed the power squarely into the hands of consumers. Today, hotels have Airbnb to contend with, as consumers can not only book a place to stay, but become hosts themselves.
The on-demand economy has been democratized, aided by technology and creative thinking — generating micro-entrepreneurial ecosystems in hospitality.
Experiential travel is now a focus of not just Airbnb’s new product offering, Trips, but we’re seeing the trend being facilitated by luxury brands who are extending their brand experiences to hotels and travel.
Brands are looking for new and creative ways to further engage customers with multifaceted brand experiences. So, how can your brand take advantage of this approach to grow customer reach and engagement?
Sideline to Full-blown Business
Most luxury brands are already involved in sideline businesses by collaboratively designing with hotels, luxury residences, and more. The move into making a sideline into a full-blown hospitality business is the latest trend for luxury brands such as Armani, Bulgari, and Versace.
And the possibilities are endless for how far a brand would like to take it in the space. The opportunity to extend a brand’s reach and fully immerse customers with an authentically branded experience can be a great way to build affinity among its customer base for years to come.