Luxury doesn´t mean same for all of us
It´s not easy to define luxury in Tourism business. We all have different kind of thoughts when thinking of luxury or deluxe. Some of you might think of Dubai and the luxurious shopping possibilities whilst someone else may think about luxurious hotels with marble, crystal chandeliers, Champagne, servants and flights by private jets. Luxury is something we don´t have in our everyday life, something special, isn´t it?
For being so personal and subjective item, it is also very sensitive branch in Tourism business to promote and sell. It´s all about customers´ needs and wishes – and once customer arrives to your place or destination, you still need to exceed expectations. The success of Luxury Tourism requires very good image marketing – and perfect Service Design.
I had a boyfriend years ago who wanted to take me to the best five star all-inclusive holiday resorts close to golf courses for holidays and didn´t understand at all why I prefered to stay in small rural houses in the middle of nowhere.
Our expectations of luxury were different – and as you possibly guess- our relationship didn´t last for long – not only because of our different ways to spend holidays but because of our different values of life.
I hereby sum some notes about Luxury and Luxury Tourism. I found some information about Luxury Tourism gathered in one blog : World Tourism Forum
According to that blog ”Luxury tourism is considered as niche tourism industry as it serves customers providing unique, authentic ‘excess’ service, so that customer won’t need to worry about the organization or lack of amenities.”
Pam Danziger, internationally known market researcher and writer has told that luxury can be separeted to ”old luxury” and ”new luxury”. According to her old luxury is something that only rich people can have, it´s a way of life based on money and materia whilst new luxury is based on experiences and feelings.
She also define luxury as following:
Luxury should be all-encompassing, it should tell you a story, luxury need to meet the needs of the customer, it must comply with costumer values and luxury should make the customer feel special.
How about Luxury Tourism in Finland
My friend, owner and CEO of ToolBox-travel marketing & Consulting company Kari Halonen, talked about Luxury Tourism in Matka- Travel Fair last January (2016) in Helsinki. Kari also used the definition of Pam Danziger as base of the research he had done in Finland. You can read the results of Kari´s research in Finnish opening this link: ToolBox-travel
While listening to him I started to think about luxury Tourism in Finland. According to the research done by ToolBox-travel there are three different kinds of Luxury Tourism:
- Luxury – Luxus
- five star standard, about the same as old luxury
- Incentive Luxury
- ”once in the lifetime”- experiences, demanding money and lot of work as well as special environment
- Experimential Luxury
- highlighting authenticity, based on nature and cultural values, customer service respecting the locality, first class service taking into account the local level ( new luxury)
My experience and observation in Lapland
I was lucky to have an opportunity to visit probably the best known Luxury Tourism company in Finland, Levi Spirit Luxury Villas in Lapland. This is how they define luxury:
The definition of arctic luxury
Have you travelled the world in search of exotic experiences? Perhaps it’s time to give Lapland a chance to surprise you. Levi Spirit has all the elements that make special holidays and memorable times together. This unique resort is a combination of comfort and Arctic wilderness, which is not found anywhere else.
And yes- that´s exactly what they offer; Nordic/Finnish -style wooden villas in Lapland. The architecture and design is simple and beautiful. Customers are connected to nature and wilderness.
The environment is excotic and the special activities can be arranged. And then comes the main point; I think that the secret of the success lies in hospitality.
The whole customer service process is managed by one person who gets to know the customers already before their arrival – in personal way. She fullfills the customers´ wishes and needs from catering to every day cleaning, from clothing purchases to private driver and chef – what ever is needed.
It´s not easy to offer luxurious service for very special customers in Levi; it is located in a small municipality of about 6400 inhabitants all together spread in very vast area. There are not, for example, so many ”five star chefs” to call at short notice.
Luxury in Levi Spirit´s case seems to be based on local values, arctric location, nature and the best possible service. The heart of the place is Heini, local woman who really knows how to make you feel comfortable. Her attitude and way of being is a very good example of local hospitality – she is very professional and at the same time so authentic! She tells you the story and she lets you to be part of the beautiful, artctic story.
Thank you Heini and Pekka!
I did enjoy the spirit of Levi and the story of Lapland.