Held in Lausanne last week, Luxury Hospitality 2013 saw over 170 hospitality industry professionals discuss the future of luxury travel.
The results of the first World Luxury Index report on hotels were released at the think tank event which was organised by the International Herald Tribune (IHT) with the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL).
According to the report, global interest for luxury hotels is stable. However, while New York remains the top luxury hospitality destination, London, Dubai and Paris are the fastest-growing destinations.
London’s luxury hotel market has grown by nearly 12 per cent in the last year.
The report, featuring an analysis of 70 leading luxury hotel brands within 10 luxury markets, was based on 133 million consumer online searches.
Three main categories of luxury hotels were identified in the report: upper upscale (Hotel du Vin and MGallery for example), luxury major integrated chain (Sofitel, ME Hotel) and luxury exclusive (Guoman, Mandarin Oriental).
While upper upscale properties are the most sought-after, there are more luxury exclusive hotels than venues in any other category.
The study found that UK consumers are partly responsible for a 1.5 per cent increase in global interest in luxury hotels.
Of the number of people who searched for a luxury hotel in the last year 13.3 per cent were from the UK – a jump of 8.4 per cent.
However consumers from the US remain the biggest global recipients of luxury hospitality. Americans account for 66.3 per cent of those seeking out luxury hotels.
The USA does not just dominate when it comes to luxury hotel consumers - three quarters of luxury hotels analysed in the report were in the US.
David Sadigh, founder and chief executive of Digital Luxury Group, who compiled the report, said other nations trying to attract luxury hotel guests could learn from the USA’s approach to visas.
“America’s State Department has now confirmed that US visa application processing times from Chinese and Brazilian tourists have decreased from a matter of weeks or months to just days,” he said.
“With more high income travellers visiting the US, this will have a positive impact on the luxury hotel industry,” Sadigh added.
Other points made by attendees at the summit included that consumers increasingly value authenticity as well as aspiration and that many people today believe luxury means gaining access to culture, people and places.
“Our customers look a lot different than 10, even five years ago, and we have to offer the product and services that cater to their needs,” said Paul James, global brand leader for St Regis, The Luxury Collection at W Hotels.
“Eighty-five per cent of Starwood’s luxury guests hail from generation X and Y, allowing us the unique position to cater to this emerging and ever-more global generation of affluent travellers.
"This growing cadre is multi-national and cross-generational, mobile and jet-setting; more comfortable moving across our portfolio of luxury hotels but also demanding personalised service at every turn,” he added.