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A Look at the Biggest Changes Coming to the Luxury Travel Industry

Photo: Courtesy of Claire Ward

Luxury hotel expert, influencer, and founder of Luxe Social Media, Tiffany Dowd, breaks down what to expect for the future of luxury travel.

Tiffany Dowd

Luxury Hotel Expert, Influencer, and Founder of Luxe Social Media

How has the term “luxury travel” changed since you first entered the industry?

“Luxury” in travel used to be about meeting high standards of a demanding clientele. “Luxury” used to be about golden rules, and now it is about breaking a few rules to exceed guest expectations. Time is a person’s greatest luxury, and people are looking for unique experiences that are meaningful.

How have guest expectations evolved in the last decade?

Ten years ago, minimum expectations had to be met for facilities, décor and service as if checked off on exquisite stationery with a Montblanc pen. Today, “luxury” is about unique experiences, anticipating client needs and a delivering the unexpected. Sustainability in luxury travel is now more important than ever. Travelers are choosing to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues.

How are hotels most effectively leveraging technology for a more competitive guest experience?

Today, technology is no longer used just to enhance the guest experience while on property. It needs to be leveraged to extend the hospitality experience well before and after the hotel stay. It is not only about engaging with the guest; it is also about gathering information to help anticipate needs.

What are the biggest challenges when it comes to digital marketing in the hospitality industry?  What advice would you give to a hotelier looking to overcome this?

In the current environment, social media algorithms are ever-changing and need to be constantly monitored. Hoteliers must not be naïve to this fact and should pay attention to social media trends. Social media marketing isn’t only about marketing, it’s also about reputation management and continuous monitoring, so it’s now more important than ever to work with professionals who can help navigate this ever-changing landscape.

What’s your top advice for hoteliers heading into 2020?

Hotels need to understand that sustainability in travel is not a trend, and it’s going to be a more significant factor in consumer choice.  There is going to be an ever-increasing demand by guests who want to travel sustainably and visit hotels committed to enjoyable and responsible travel. It’s much more than just getting rid of plastic straws. It’s working with local communities to give back, sourcing food locally and having good environmental practices to name a few.

Hoteliers should also continue to invest in their social media marketing budgets and apply their advertising dollars leveraging intelligence about the digital marketplace. Continue to grow your influence through authenticity, creativity and consistency in posting and advertise responsibly within the channels that speak to their clientele. Growing numbers of followers isn’t a goal. Building a loyal following with a consistent marketing message will generate much greater results.

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