By Kristoff D’oria di Cirie*  

It already feels like a lifetime ago – but yes, we’re all still adapting to the… Unpleasantness. In light of the pandemic, luxury hospitality is experiencing major changes. 

Discerning travellers are seeking more than just a temporary escape, these adventurous explorers yearn for immersive and genuine encounters that will forever etch themselves into their cherished memories.

I recently stumbled upon a campaign promoting a newly opened resort that claims to redefine luxury with its pristine white sands, luxurious water villas, and even a dedicated yoga instructor. With its undeniable allure (who wouldn’t fancy a 7-night stay?), one must ponder whether this establishment is truly pushing boundaries or merely satisfying the basic demands of the modern luxury seeker.

For years, professionals in the industry have wrestled with the key challenges of unpredictable customer loyalty, which frequently revolves solely around price. It seems that pristine beaches, world-class dining, and infinity pools have become quite common, rather than standing out as unique selling points. Hotels are faced with the challenge of standing out and appealing to discerning guests who value brand loyalty.

Presenting the brand resort takeover; a ground-breaking partnership that is changing what luxury travel means between well-known companies and luxury resorts. Through these partnerships, properties can set themselves apart from the competitors and become leaders in the field of experiential travel. Brands give top priority to creating smooth, sophisticated guest experiences that exactly reflect their principles and design, which frequently leads to improvements and renovations of the property.

Leading the way are fashion houses, as always, with well-known names like Valentino and Dior setting the bar for engaging brand experiences. A summertime must, dioriviera pop-ups transform beachfront homes into chic retreats. Here visitors can unwind in branded deck chairs, sip on signature cocktails, and peruse a selection of limited-edition items. Valentino’s purchase of the storied Hotel Romantico on the Amalfi Coast perfectly captured the brand’s unique style, as it offered private events, customised experiences, and breathtaking displays that were ideal for Instagram.

Brand resort takeovers have far broader applications than just fashion. Luxury lifestyle labels such as Chanel and Nanushka have brought their unique aesthetics and principles to Mykonos. These alliances provide an insight into the luxury travel of the future, when resorts and brands collaborate to produce immersive experiences catered to the aristocratic preferences of contemporary tourists.

Solid statistics support the need for these experiences. By 2028, Allied Market Research estimates that the luxury travel industry worldwide will be worth $1.3 trillion. The growing need for bespoke, one-of-a-kind experiences is propelling this expansion. Particularly millennials and Gen Z are prepared to shell out more for real experiences that fit their interests and values.

Investors and hotel owners who want to profit from this trend must be innovative and think creatively. Takeovers of brands by resorts provide countless opportunities to improve in-room experiences with branded furnishings and amenities or to establish a distinctive sense of place.

Lobbies can be used to great advantage as engaging brand showcases that envelop visitors in the unique ambiance of the company. Resorts can design experiences that really capture the rich culture and history of their location by collaborating with nearby companies, craftspeople, and communities. With this strategy, visitors can really get to know the local way of life and experience the spirit of the destination.

This is not how you restyle the sun lounges with monograms and erect some ice cream carts outside your lobby.

Next, brand resort takeovers are bound to spread beyond the beach and into the realm of adventure and city breaks.

Perhaps we will witness a luxury fashion company buying a Paris boutique hotel. This special partnership offers visitors unmatched benefits including VIP passes to your own “Emily in Paris” moment, customised shopping experiences, and front-row seats to fashion shows.

Imagine if an outdoor gear company took over Colorado’s mountains and started providing gear testing, guided hikes, and fireside conversations with adventurers. 

Understanding and adjusting to the always changing traveller preferences is essential to success in the current luxury travel market. Experiences that embodies authenticity, sustainability, and social conscience are more and more appealing to visitors of today.

A CAGR of 8.9% is expected for the luxury travel market in Asia Pacific, and 7.6% for the luxury travel market in the United States. A revenue share of 34.50% would be held by Europe in 2023. Using key trends in these markets, such the rise of “bleisure” for the business, entrepreneur or freelancer travel in the US, slow travel in Europe, and multigenerational travel in Asia Pacific, brands can execute tailored takeovers.

Together with ensuring a seamless transition of the takeover with the resort’s present offerings and operations, hotel owners and operators should work closely with their brand partners to create experiences that reflect their common values.

Resort takeovers are transforming the travel and tourist business by giving hotel owners, operators, and investors a revolutionary way to differentiate their properties, boost revenue, and make a lasting impression on visitors.

*Kristoff Doria di Cirie Experiential Retail Expert and Insogni Studio Founder – specialising in brand experience and retail design. With over a decade of expertise, he boasts a proven track record in transforming physical spaces into captivating brand experiences, driving key performance metrics like increased dwell time and earned media. Developing stunning commercial environments, and explores new applications to elevate brands’ physical and emotional design through immersive experiences.