Consumers are used to personalised digital environments in their daily lives and now expect heightened levels of personalisation in the products they interact with. They now expect brands and airlines to adapt to them, creating individualized experiences. Louis Vuitton for example, has embarked on a corporate strategy to deliver not only personalized products to more consumers but are creating a unique brand experience through the use of facial recognition software. The technology is used in store to identify registered and frequent customers. Through the use of tablets the LV staff can instantly identify customers, their purchase history and personal preferences, and can then tailor the service and experience.
As store expansion in luxury brands slows down, physical retail is becoming more experiential, with brands starting to incorporate various lifestyle modules such as art galleries; brand museums or cafes into their retail offer to stand out from the competition. ‘Destinational retail’ is the buzzword, as brands seek to attract more customers to spend more time and spend more. Some airlines are adapting to this trend with their lounge offer, recognising that customers want more than just a waiting room of comfortable chairs and are seeking a more experiential offer.At the high end of luxury, brands are extending further to create the ultimate in lifestyle living. Through a unique hotel partnership, residents at the luxury residential apartments at One Hyde Park London can access the services of the neighbouring Mandarin Oriental. They can buy anything from housekeeping services, chefs in their own kitchen, private butlers and concierge service. Remarkable partnerships that optimise luxury brands to new levels.
The third big trend in luxury will see the growth of more domestic home grown brands, as a new luxury consumer emerges from the new economies. Technology is also diversifying existing markets with new innovative start-ups that can easily reach a wider global audience. Also access to more affordable 3D printing technology is enabling small craft based businesses to create unique and personalized luxury products. With technology advancing at such a high pace fashion designers, artists and craftspeople are experimenting with the technology to create truly bespoke and desirable objects.
The final trend highlights how the uber-wealthy consumer will continue to seek out exceptional products and services that only they can afford. Luxury brands will continue to create the rare, the one off and the totally unaffordable to cater to their increasing needs.
So how could these trends affect the humble amenity kit, which for many years has been an important brand signature for many airlines premium customers?
Could airlines offer more personalized, rare and limited edition products through new creative partnerships?
Could airlines stimulate more diverse up and coming homegrown talent and help to create the global brands of the future?
Or could airlines deliver an amenity bag with a conscience to endorse and optimise their social and environmental strategy?
Lastly, could new technology like 3D printing enable airlines to deliver truly exceptional, bespoke amenity products to their most valuable customers?