THE LUXURY CONSUMER IN THE NEW DIGITAL WORLD
As we start a brand new year, the social media universe is full of predictions about what’s next for digital media. No wonder. Digital media has been used to influence public opinion, organize protests, unveil new products and ideas, and broadcast events in real-time. Though the world is now more complex, it somehow seems smaller and more united, and digital innovation and social media is what has enabled this global interconnection. This, in particular, makes travelling more exhilarating than ever before, something we’re very excited about at
The project began with in-depth research of guests' online behaviours and more on four continents around the globe. From there, we set out to completely rebuild our content management system and booking engine, all while creating a dynamic experience that would bring Four Seasons to life. Then we began to develop a new mini-site for each of our 80+ hotels around the world, capturing new photography in 35 countries and curating unique content in collaboration with hotel employees. We built a digital infrastructure that will learn what our guests like and serve up personalized recommendations, similar to an experience you might get at one of our properties. Over time, we will invest $18 million in this endeavour, one that will continue to evolve to leverage the ever-changing digital landscape. With the introduction of the new www.fourseasons.com, we further establish our leadership in digital innovation and look forward to what's next.
As we look ahead to what the next 50 years might bring, we bring you the first issue of the Four Seasons Luxury Trend Report, the first of a quarterly publication on a wide range of topics. In this inaugural issue, we explore the digital habits and desires of today’s luxury consumer, both in the travel sector and across other categories, that draws upon the latest research as well as results from the Luxury Traveller Technology Survey3.
From our findings, the future for luxury and digital looks bright:
1. LUXURY IS BACK
2011 was the year of luxury’s rebound. Almost all regions saw at least six percent year-over-year growth in the luxury travel sector – a key indicator of luxury in general. This surge is projected to continue; industry experts project 10 percent growth in luxury overall in 201311. At Four Seasons, revenues will grow more than 9% in 2012.
2. BRANDING MOVES TO THE SOCIAL SPHERE
Seventy-eight percent of the affluent participate in social networking sites, with more than half using social media to connect with a brand9.
3. E-COMMERCE IS KING
The luxury consumer is increasingly going online to research and make purchases. Four Seasons online bookings rose 10 percent from 2010 to 2011.
4. THE RISE OF THE IPAD
One-third of wealthy consumers own a tablet or e-Reader7. Four Seasons revenue generated from the iPad and other tablets has grown 200 percent from 2010 to 2011. This will continue to grow significantly in 2012.
It’s clear that our guests are not only embracing, but engaging with, new technologies in ways that are changing the face of travel. No matter what the technology or trend, Four Seasons will continue to be at the forefront of digital innovation, engaging our guests in the ways that are most meaningful to them. By blending the very best of high tech with signature high-touch Four Seasons service, we’re committed to creating exciting guest experiences that are second to none.
Executive Vice President Marketing