What luxury travellers want from 5* hotels
Today’s luxury travellers are a different breed from their predecessors. Far less focused on formality or status symbols, the modern luxury lover is as likely to be a 25 year old jeans-clad web entrepreneur as a middle-aged suit-wearing executive, and high-end hotels have had to adapt to reflect this new reality.
Over the past decade, several themes have driven this shift in how hotels service their top-tier guests, most notably those of a technological, cultural and environmental nature. The smartphone revolution has probably had the biggest impact, and in response to the demand for constant and speedy connectivity, resorts have upgraded their technology offerings to ensure guests can remain permanently plugged in, with wireless access and gadgetry like iPads, chargers and docking stations provided as standard.
The new generation of travellers is also seeking a much more fulfilling experience, and is no longer content to just lie on the beach. “They want to live authentic experiences and to learn more about the culture and local celebrations,” says Francois Eynaud, CEO of Veranda Leisure & Hospitality (at Heritage Le Telfair). “Many are ‘foodies’, who enjoy a fine dining experience and are eager to try out new dishes.”
Angsana Balaclava’s PR and Corporate Social Responsibility coordinator, Emmeline Forget agrees. “Five star luxury and boutique hotel travellers are curious about their surroundings and feel the need to embrace culture during their stay, like taking a culinary cooking class with our chef where they can learn how to make a local Mauritian dish.”
High-end clients can mostly afford to pay for any activity a hotel can offer them, so what they are seeking is something different – immersive, authentic or behind-the-scenes experiences that money can’t buy, tailored to their own personal needs and desires. Those resorts able to provide an intimate, individualised experience with every detail taken care of are the ones most likely to attract repeat or word-of-mouth custom from their guests.
But the feel-good factor comes with a cost, and luxury travellers are increasingly focused on the need to tread lightly, too. They expect their chosen hotel to continually integrate sustainability into all areas of the resort, from property-wide initiatives like green housekeeping operations and the use of responsibly-sourced materials, to small but powerful commitments like only using fruits and vegetables grown locally.
This expectation has not gone unnoticed in the island’s five star hotels, with resorts placing a huge emphasis on eco concerns and green issues in recent years, along with an ever-increasing shift towards nature and outdoor activities.
More importantly, these travellers expect their hotel to live and breathe sustainability in all its interactions – with guests, with its staff and with the local community – not just treat it as something associated with the practical running of the resort.