Hospitality's Evolution Favors Ultra-Luxury Hoteliers

In an obscure way, social distancing has brought us closer, leveling the playing field.  

Accept that our world has evolved, sparking inspired industry leaders to brainstorm collectively, resulting in imaginative, actionable solutions for luxury hoteliers.  

Hospitalities' paradigm shift now revealed, maps-out the way forward.  Our 'new norm' is undisputed, touching every aspect of our lives; most importantly, travel.  Not only do these shift impact hoteliers and travelers (business and leisure) it also encompasses brainpower from concept developers, architects, futurists, influencers and social media mavens, booking engines, shopping, communication, transportation, activities, sports and entertainment, health and wellness, and luxe hospitality leaders.  Our new world order is influencing how well-heeled travelers choose destinations, mode of transportation and hotel properties to optimally suit their needs and objectives.  

Lifestyle opportunities are unfolding.

Merging business, pleasure, travel, health, and wellbeing is a profound game-changer for the Hospitality Industry, resulting in an eclectic mix of novel business models in which HNW travelers will revel – luxury boutique properties and residential resort venues are racing to key-in on enhanced guest experiences including dining, shopping, learning, activities, special interest themes (art and design, music and entertainment, wellness and health, sports and activities, cooking classes, even astronomy) which collectively can exceed expectations and satisfy every whim – without leaving the property.  This new perspective reveals opportunities for added profit centers.

Today's wake-up call has heightened our awareness resulting in a common objective to improve and protect humanity, our environment, happiness, experiences, and economies.  

The 'new norm' is bringing out the best in many.

Harkening back in history, crisis can be a conduit to elevated thinking and improvement.Consider the Black Plague (circa 1350-1700) during the Dark Ages yet played the most considerable role in triggering the revolutionary Renaissance. This period is particularly striking in terms of artistic expression, wide-ranging social, economic, cultural changes—one of the most significant epochs for art, architecture, and literature in human history.

Our lives are evolving as evidenced by today's society.  People are demonstrating kindness and empathy; we are witnessing the rise of family values and high creativity emerging, hand-in-hand with compassion and determination.  Fortune 500 corporations with teams working from home have proven effective, and this transcends to travel as well.  Lifestyle preferences are now altered with staggering statistics supporting new lifestyle perspectives and mindsets evident in HNWI. 'If I can work from home, I can work from Paradise remotely as well'.  Listen to your wealthy guest demographic.  They are hungry to escape their mundane urban offices.  Small luxury hotels with a residential element will thrive.  You may have the key to unlock unheard-of sales and bookings.

Case and point:  The Mustique Company with the boutique concept:, Oetker Collection's Jumby Bay Island: are switched-on; Belmond's private river portfolio cruises, trains, safari camps, resorts, and hotels: get it.

Bright hoteliers and industry futurists recognize the fact that well-heeled travelers most likely will be cautious. Yet, they have the means to travel safely, i.e. private transport: jets, yachts, helicopters, and private drivers.  Destinations will be to their remote private residences OR they will lease private villas, etc.  For example, ultra-luxury game camps are low density and enjoy higher bookings (in tandem with private planes) today.  Boutique upscale properties are considering leasing (buy-out) the entire Resort to families and small groups.  

For example, Necker Island:, owned by Sir Richard Branson.

Luxury hoteliers: we are now on a new plateau.  Embrace it.


Identifying Luxury Hospitality Talent for Hardship Locations

To recognize and retain talent who will thrive in challenging locations, you must understand that Hoteliers accustomed to operating solely in developed and urban locations are less likely to succeed.   Their odds of success are drastically reduced without prior hardship experience.

The cards are sadly stacked against new hires without prior hardship location experience. They are lacking the necessary resourcefulness, resilience, and prior remote working experience.  Simple but profound.  Luxury hardship locations are in remote areas, i.e., wilderness, jungles, lesser developed countries and islands, arid deserts, mountainous regions, often only accessible by boats or puddle-jumpers (small prop planes).

Guests demographics typically are comprised of adventurous, well-heeled, worldly experiential-seekers for whom cost is of minor relevance.   They expect timely, unpretentious, invisible personalized service with exceptionally high standards, comfort, culinary excellence, and activities.

Hollywood and Hospitality.

The synergy between filmmaking and luxury tourism is stunningly similar.  

On the surface, both industries project pure glamour to those on the outside looking in.  Conversely, the people who create Blockbusters- as well as hospitality teams providing memorable experiences- labor relentlessly behind the scenes. The antithesis of glamorous.

Expectation versus reality.

Ask yourself, 'what resources are you engaging in differentiating the wheat from the chaff for working in difficult locations (people with leadership abilities required from those that do not)?  

Suppose your internal human resource recruiter or external search consultant is not familiar with difficult locales for which you are seeking talent. In that case, your hiring selections may be jeopardized, as unfamiliar resources are less likely to recognize the critical abilities they require to sustain and succeed.  Consider cost per hire – look at your employee retention rate and turnover statistics.  Results will reflect a direct correlation between those who provide your talent: selecting recruiters from those with remote practice expertise versus those without personally experiencing the hardships inherent in a remote location, therein lies your disadvantage.

Another reality is that mobility and getting people to stay long enough in hardship locations often become more challenging as hoteliers mature and are raising families.

The silver lining.

The 'new normal' adds complexity to the above however, it also provides an opportunity as it is imperative now, more than ever before, to identify unparalleled suitable talent who view obstacles as possibilities.

Luxury Hoteliers with existing remote properties and forward-thinking developers embarking on building in hardship locations are already ahead of the curve.  Despite obstacles inherent in difficult places, the upside is that your guests will enjoy peace of mind amidst clean air, open spaces, and low populations.  These compelling positives combine to boost bookings and provide ultimate memorable guest experiences.

Rosewood Hotels and Resort's chief development director, Karl Bieberach-Dielmanis on the right track.  Rosewood is incubating development plans in lesser-known destinations and targeting "affluent adventurers" for their residences, a burgeoningcomponent of the upscale new norm marketplace.  Other visionaries include MichaelMeldman, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Discovery Land Company's portfolio and Victor International's Chairman, David Johnson whose vision realized on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, Oil Nut Bay, a residential resort is targeting HNWI.

What Human Resource Professionals must recognize when seeking candidates for tough assignments around the globe.

To 'vet' your potential hire, he/she must have excelled in and fully grasp the fundamental aspects of living and working in remote locales:

1. Preparedness:
Activating a plan for common natural disasters, such as:
- Tsunamis
- Hurricanes
- Blizzards
- Flooding
- Desert sand storms

2. Mindfulness:
- Normally, healthcare is substandard in most lesser developed nations.
- Logistics can be difficult for supplies and materials, food and beverage
- Experience with emergency evacuations
- Crime, strong security protocols are critical in hardship locales
- Inferior communication, phone, WIFI, etc. are common
- Frequent power outages
- The ability to understand the culture, respect and train the locals.
- Suitable education may be nonexistent
- Remote locations lack shopping, entertainment, and cultural events.
- To forge solid Government relations

3. Must-have abilities:
- Positivity
- Resourcefulness
- Creative problem-solving
- Proactivity
- Anticipate guest needs
- Create and implement imaginative guest experience programs
- Awareness of the cultural challenges
- Prior experience managing and excelling in lesser developed locations.

When the clock is ticking

What is the optimal 'people sourcing strategy' to expeditiously zero-in on the talent you need now?

Regardless of your decision (will you tap your internal Human Resources department or choose to outsource assignments?).  Your recruiter 'must be' remote-savvy, well-connected and ideally has devoted years building relationships with talent who possess a successful track-record and expertise in your niche market area.

By Pamala Baldwin

Human Capital is Your Greatest Asset

Status is online

It's no surprise that the hospitality, and related industries have been decimated globally since the onset of 2020's pandemic. Industry experts, research firms, influencers, futurists, government spokespersons, politicians, financial institutions, the medical community, and media mavens are saturating us with conflicting opinions and predictions.

The only absolute is that there are no certainties, and that nobody has been untouched by Covid's impact when everything around us has been disrupted: the way we live, work, play, think, behave, spend and plan for the future.

Certainties and Uncertainties

Addressing hospitality, the media is bombarding us with idealistic solutions, primarily aimed at health protocols, reimagined architectural spaces, and novel tourism destinations. If you are like me, the phrase, 'new norm' is becoming cliché and annoying, yet it is a certainty. We can't predict the future.  Another certainty is that technology in tandem with your employees will emerge as your greatest asset, leading the industry and positively influencing your guests.

High Tech - High Touch

Optimally, your team will mesh these essential new measures to provide a welcoming and memorable guest experience. Value your team; be empathetic, support and respect all,as they represent your 'brand' more profoundly than any aspect of your luxury hospitality operation.

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