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Utopian Hotel Collection is a significant new player within the luxury hospitality market. Its business is founded on offering some of the world’s most exceptional/unique independent luxury hotels.

As we recently discovered, the company also happens to be owned and staffed by some of the brightest and best Glion alumni from the past two decades.

What makes Utopian different from other luxury hotel collections is its focus on hotels with a youthful mindset. “That’s a mindset which unites the hotels, our people and the way we behave. It also drives our marketing and how we communicate with our millennial target market,” explains co-founder and CEO Ronald Homsy, class of 1997 Glion alumnus.

Utopian recognizes that the millennial generation is now key to the future of luxury travel. As such, the industry has to adapt to this generation’s changing desires and habits. The company is a keen observer of millennial travel trends. From these studies, it has drawn a number of conclusions that paint a fascinating picture of how luxury travel may look in the years to come:

“Millennialisation”

Millennials want to have fun and don’t tend to take themselves too seriously. However, luxury hotel operators shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that they don’t care about the world around them. If a luxury brand wants to appeal to millennials it must be deeply conscious of its social and environmental impact.

Intriguingly, where once older generations tended to look down on younger ones, the millennial outlook on life is spilling over into the Generation Xers and Baby Boomers. This is leading to a “millennialisation” of the market.

Transformative travel

Millennial-minded luxury travelers seek unique journeys that will enable them to feel part of something more significant. They want travel experiences from which they will return home deeply changed.

Personalization

This is essential for the millennial traveler. It means one-to-one marketing, real-time communications and bespoke services. Here data-driven technology is an enabler, but it is vital not to lose the human element. Never underestimate the value of people-to-people service.

In the luxury segment specifically, millennials gravitate towards brands with which they can build a relationship, and which reward their loyalty.

Lean luxury

One of the big industry buzzwords, so-called lean luxury is for travelers thinking outside the ‘luxury bubble’. This places value for money, creativity and sense of place ahead of traditional luxury hotel trappings. It can also mean some mix-and-matching – a low cost flight with 5* hotel, for example.

Meta luxury

This trend explores the concept of luxury from both a business and cultural perspective. Millennials seek uniqueness and originality. Brands that can engage this mindset tend to be those which stay true to their own values and culture – i.e. those that offer authenticity. They will also be able to use their knowledge and expertise to create an experience so unique it bestrides time constraints and prevailing fashions.

Seamless technology

Millennials are completely at home using digital technology to get what they want, including to book and enjoy their travel experiences. Platforms such as Uber and Airbnb are setting the standard for a seamless user experience – the challenge for luxury hospitality providers is to understand and cater for the changing consumer behaviors inspired by these apps and platforms.

Luxury specializations at Glion

These millennial challenges are arguably among the most complex the hospitality industry has ever faced. Glion’s response has been to create an entirely new, luxury focused Master’s in Luxury Management and Guest Experience, designed to give graduates the in-demand skills organizations need to attract and excite today’s consumers.

Luxury Brand Management in Hospitality is also one of the final semester specializations of Glion’s BBA in International Hospitality Business. The program covers a wide variety of areas, including hotels, cruises and spas.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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