Summary of the interview at the 2017 Stay Boutique Leadership Conference with
Dr. Daniel Langer, CEO, Equité
Dr. Daniel Langer’s talk on ‘The Future of Luxury’ comes not from his many years in the hotel business, but from his experience of spending 50-80 nights a year staying in them. His company, Equité, is at the forefront of luxury brand strategy and encourages his clients to innovate outside of their comfort zone. “Luxury is not price,” Dr. Langer says, “it’s the ultimate treat and customers will pay for it. The product is not relevant, the experience is.” By applying ‘limited edition’ thinking, hotels can create value for the experience they offer and then price it. This makes your brand more powerful.
The experiences that hotels create for their guests are very important to gain a competitive advantage in the hotel industry. Dr. Langer encourages disrupting the old hotel ways of thinking to twist the experience. Like viewing a self-driving car not as a car, but as a chauffeur service; or an Apple store not as a store, but as an inspiration place. It’s going back to the root of what your product really is and thinking of it differently. When you give the consumer what is expected, it doesn’t excite them. Instead, exceed their expectations by giving them something they might not have even known they wanted.
“Luxury is difficult.” Dr. Langer acknowledges. “If not managed well, there is a high risk of destruction of brand equity.” Because there are very few tools to assist managers, most luxury brands are not managed to their potential. Assess whether every touchpoint in your hotel adds or subtracts from your brand equity and brand experience. Make sure that everyone in your organization knows what they must do for the brand to thrive. When your team knows what needs to be done and all the elements are in place from check-in to check-out, the consumer experience will be special. Because you have created a life experience for your guests, they will, in turn, desire your brand more and buy it at almost any price.