Luxury

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Código 1530 Tequila Closes the Loop

Código 1530 Tequila Closes the Loop

by David Klemt

Upscale tequila bar with luxury bottles on back bar

The evidence that consumers are showing increasing interest in luxury spirits continues to mount, with tequila benefiting greatly.

According to DISCUS, the luxury category of tequila continues to grow. Sales volume is up 30.7 percent annually since 2015 for luxury tequila brands.

While it’s easy to point to brand recognition, cache and perception, there may be another reason for this growth.

In a word, “responsibility.”

Sustainability is Sexy

Episode 57 of Bar Hacks features Collin De Laval. He’s the company mixologist for Código 1530 Tequila, and he’s intimately familiar with the brand.

So, De Laval knows more than every nuance of each Código 1530 expression. He also understands the ethos that drives the brand and its processes.

One of Código’s values is responsibility, which it manifests through sustainability efforts. As De Laval explains, “we try and close a lot of the waste loop, as much as we can.”

Not only does Código utilize naturally filtered water, they cut the water back out of their heads and tails. That water is then reused. The brand uses broken pieces of barrel and spent agave to char new barrels.

Further, Código is a small craft distiller. They don’t level thousands upon thousands of agave each day. Instead, they’re selective and take only what’s necessary.

“We’re treating the land a lot better in that way,” says De Laval.

These efforts are increasingly appealing to consumers. It’s not just the liquid in the bottle that matters. How that liquid got into the bottle is important to them.

“Now it’s like, ‘I know this brand. I know they do good stuff,'” De Laval says.

That “good stuff” doesn’t reference only the quality of the spirits but a brand’s responsibility and sustainability.

Drinking Better

“People are drinking ‘up’ now,” says De Laval. “Gone are the eras of, ‘Let me get whatever’s well.'”

He’s not talking about how a guest orders their drink. By “up” De Laval means they’re choosing top-shelf spirits.

Six years of steady growth for luxury or ultra-premium spirits supports this claim.

De Laval isn’t the only Bar Hacks guest who notices this trend. During episode 56, Pernod-Ricard Prestige sales manager Maxime Lecocq mentions the trend as well.

If luxury spirits and wines had suffered during the pandemic, that would’ve made sense. It could’ve been explained as people being cautious with their money.

Indeed, consumers were cautious. However, not in the way that many would assume. The numbers support the belief that consumers were spending more to drink higher-quality bottles.

Interestingly, drinking better doesn’t appear to refer only to quality or price. Many small, luxury craft distillers enjoy the perception as more responsible than large, industrial producers.

Drinking better now seems to mean drinking what’s better for the environment. And if what’s more responsible and sustainable happens to be ultra-premium, consumers are willing to pay for it.

Image: Spencer Pugh on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

As Guests Learn More, Luxury Grows

As Guests Learn More, Luxury Grows

by David Klemt

Luxury concept featuring Champagne coupes on silver tray

Consumers are drinking better and the luxury categories of several spirits, wine and Champagne are benefitting.

Interestingly, this growth no longer appears to be driven solely by a desire to stand out and be seen.

Instead, according to one Bar Hacks podcast guest, consumers seem to be more carefully allocating their dollars.

Luxury Continues to Rise

The word “luxury” tends to conjure thoughts of expensive, high-end items.

Indeed, that’s certainly still a part of luxury. However, the concept of luxury as unattainable to most people is seemingly falling to the wayside.

Maxime Lecocq, Prestige sales manager in Las Vegas for Pernod-Ricard, shares a similar thought on episode 56 of Bar Hacks.

“The consumption style started to change during the pandemic,” says Lecocq. “So, people are more careful on what they’re drinking, where they’re spending their money.”

Intriguingly, Lecocq doesn’t mean that people were looking to spend as little as possible. Rather, they wanted higher quality for their dollars.

“Instead of having just any Scotch, they’re gonna research more,” Lecocq says. “Instead of spending, like, $25, they’re gonna be like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna spend $40 but I’m gonna be more careful about what I’m gonna drink.'”

As far as Lecocq is concerned, consumers doing more research is benefiting the luxury segment.

Why does he think that? Because it appears that research is leading consumers to spend more on luxury spirits and wine.

Numbers Support Luxury Growth

Early last month, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) shared their research into luxury spirits.

DISCUS data shows that during the period from 2015 to 2020, luxury spirits brands saw sales growth of 125 percent. Further, looking at the first half of 2021, luxury spirits volume is up 25 percent.

For the curious, DISCUS considers any brand that sells 750mL bottles at retail for $50 or more to fall within the luxury segment. So, $10 more than the example Lecocq provides during his Bar Hacks appearance.

There are six luxury categories tracked by DISCUS: American whiskey, Cognac, Irish whiskey, Japanese whisky, Single Malt Scotch, and Tequila.

On his podcast episode, Lecocq discussed three of those categories: Cognac, Single Malt Scotch, and Tequila.

Growth Categories

Per DISCUS, American whiskey has seen annual growth since 2015 of 41 percent. For Japanese whisky, that rate of growth is 42 percent.

Irish whiskey and Single Malt Scotch are also healthy annual growth. However, Irish whiskey’s annual growth is only a third of that of its Japanese counterpart at 14-plus percent.

Single Malt Scotch, in the first half of 2021, is up 5.6 percent.

According to DISCUS, Cognac’s annual growth is nearly 16 percent. Lecocq posits that this rise in interest in Cognac is down to shifting consumer perception.

Once thought of as “your grandparents’ drink,” younger consumers are now more eager to explore this type of brandy.

It’s perhaps tequila that sees the most interesting growth. Given its explosive and seemingly unwavering popularity, I thought the luxury tequila category would see growth in excess of 42 percent.

However, per DISCUS, luxury tequila brands are up 30.7 percent annually since 2015. Obviously, that’s impressive growth, and the category represents 28 million bottles sold.

That’s more than American, Irish, Japanese and Single Malt Scotch whiskeys combined.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that operators should abandon their less expensive spirits and wines. It does, however, show that consumers are willing to pay more for what they perceive to be higher quality brands.

Image: Billy Huynh on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Can Luxury be Accessible?

Can Luxury be Accessible?

by David Klemt

Poolside seating at luxury resort hotel in Cabo San Lucas

Can everyone experience luxury or is this category of hospitality inherently exclusive, serving only a small percentage of consumers?

During a panel discussion titled “Brand Identity: The Evolution of Luxury in Lifestyle Hotels” at Hospitality Design Expo 2021, one speaker answered this question.

Moreover, this speaker’s answer was simple and definitive.

What is Luxury?

Blame luxury brand marketing but it seems many people define luxury through the Three Es: exclusive, extravagant, and expensive.

However, as people reflect and rethink their priorities, a new view of luxury appears to be emerging.

Lee Shuman, director of project management at Peachtree Hotel Group, defines luxury through the Three Cs: comfort, convenience and contemplation.

Interestingly, comfort is included in the dictionary definition of luxury as well. (And yes, I know it’s cliché to point to dictionary definitions in articles.)

We’ve been hearing for a few years now that more people, particularly younger Millennials and Gen Zers, favor experiences over material items. Time is more valuable to these consumers than possessions.

Shuman’s Three Cs, then, speak to these consumers:

  • Obviously, people seek out comfort, particularly when it comes to hotels, resorts, restaurants, and travel.
  • Convenience reduces friction and removes pain points, allowing guests to spend their valuable time seeking out memorable experiences seamlessly.
  • When it comes to contemplation, Shuman says this is a design component that provides guests with several opportunities to notice and experience design “moments.” Contemplation also relates directly to experiences.

Operators who embrace and embody the Three Cs will meet guest expectations of luxury.

Can Luxury be Accessible?

Shuman answered this question succinctly: “Luxury has to be accessible.” Not can be accessible, not should be accessible, but luxury must be accessible.

Going further, Shuman said that “everyone in every strata should experience luxury.” There are a couple of ways to interpret this view of luxury.

Looking at this subject through the lens of convenience, one can take Shuman’s opinion on luxury literally. Everyone, regardless of the category or price point of hotel or resort (or restaurant, for that matter), should have access to luxury.

An alternate view that still relates to convenience is that if luxury is too exclusive, too few consumers will have access and the venue won’t be profitable.

Another viewpoint is that luxury needs to be accessible physically. In other words, if it can’t be touched, it’s not luxurious.

Per Shuman, guests don’t want luxury they can see but not touch.

Make it Happen

Shuman likes to see how guests are using a given property. Observing guests in situ provides him with insights that can be used enhance their experiences and improve design.

Hotel and resort guests are, from what Shuman observes, trending younger. Although, he said that could be because operators are aging.

As we’ve been learning, many younger guests are after experiences, comfort and convenience regardless of where they’re staying. Ticking those three boxes will help operators attract these younger guests.

Of course, older guests, due in part to a reshuffling of priorities during the pandemic, also have an interest in the Three Cs.

Shuman is also seeing that hotels and resorts must be enjoyable to use. Interestingly, he’s observing pools falling out of favor while the demand for well-designed health centers. His commitment to observing and learning about guests constantly provides these insights.

To make luxury accessible moving forward, operators should embrace the Three Cs, observe their guests continuously, and realize that luxury doesn’t necessitate excluding guests.

As consumer desires and expectations change, operators must adapt more and more rapidly. Increasingly, change is impacting the perception of luxury.

Yes, the Three Es still exist and likely always will. However, the Three Cs are informing a more modern view of luxury.

Image: GaPeppy1 from Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Prepare for a Luxe Life Summer

Prepare for a Luxe Life Summer

by David Klemt

BMW M cars parked next to private airplane

When we think of restaurant and bar tech and platforms, we tend to think of POS and inventory solutions. But what about guest-facing services?

We’re all familiar with online ordering, reservation, and review platforms. What I’m talking about is guest-facing tech that focuses on the luxury lifestyle.

For those living the high-roller life, every convenience is at the tap of an icon, including private jets, helicopters, yachts, and luxury and exotic vehicles.

What does any of this have to do with hospitality? Anyone who serves or courts high-net-worth guests needs to understand how they live and what they expect. This is even more important as summer approaches, vaccine rates improve, and pandemic guidelines relax.

Additionally, there are partnerships and marketing opportunities for operators and luxury lifestyle platforms.

Flight

Flying private isn’t solely the domain of those who can afford to shell out several million dollars for the plane of their dreams.

The proliferation of the sharing economy means people can hop on a charter flight for a fraction of the cost.

Blade

Do you hate waiting in traffic, even if you’re not the one doing the driving? Wish you could just jump into the air and leapfrog a sea of cars keeping you from, say, an airport? With Blade, you can summon a helicopter and make your flight in minutes.

JSX

Formerly known as JetSuite X, JSX serves the western region of America and Texas. If the thought of flying commercial is unbearable at the moment, JSX makes it easy to jump onto a 30-seat set via private terminals for non-stop flights.

NetJets

We’ve all been there: We want our own private jet but it’s just slightly out of reach at the moment (by many millions of dollars). NetJet gives people fractional ownership of private jets and provides top-notch, personal service. The company’s fleet includes everything from six-passenger Embraer Phenom 300 jets to the high-speed, long-range 14-passenger Bombardier Global 7500.

Wheels Up

This company offers three levels of membership: Connect, Core and Business. Wheels Up is more than a transportation app—they’re a lifestyle brand. The company offers membership perks such as exclusive events and concierge services, which should be of particular interest to hospitality operators.

Float

There are a couple of tropes that come along with boat ownership. One is that the two happiest days for a boat owner are the day they take possession and the day they get rid of it.

And then there’s the classic “definition” of a boat: “A hole in the water into which one throws money.”

However, much like one can dial up a helicopter or grab a seat on a Gulfstream, people can now charter a yacht for a fraction of boat ownership. Choose the yacht that meets your yachtin’ needs, board it, and crank the yacht rock.

Float

Any boat that someone uses for cruising, leisure, pleasure or racing is a yacht. So, the yacht life isn’t exclusively for ocean-going vessels. Float lets customers “rent the lake life,” connecting boat owners with people who want to rent boats on lakes. One of the best parts of Float is that it doesn’t, as far as we can tell, cost thousands of dollars per day to rent a boat via the platform.

GetMyBoat

This is a huge platform. We found more than 12,100 boats available in America, more than 4,400 in Australia, and well over 28,000 in Europe on GetMyBoat. Given the size of the platform, there’s a large swing when it comes to rental costs, which makes sense. For instance, there was a 21-inch Sea Hunt Ultra 210 for $44/hour (four-hour minimum) in Virginia and a 40-foot VanDutch Ultra Luxury Yacht for $4,000 for eight hours.

YachtLife

Serving an array of locations with a rather impressive portfolio of boats, YachtLife offers three membership levels catering to various needs. Beyond living the yacht life, the company provides perks and specials from their partners. This platform should be of particular interest to our Florida and Eastern Caribbean clients.

Four Wheels

So, someone grabs a helicopter to a private hangar, looking forward to lounging on the their rental yacht.

Sure, they could take a limo to the marina, or they could use the car service their plane or boat membership offers.

But they could also decide to drive themselves. Obviously, not just any car rental will do.

Turo

There are various Porsches and Mercedes listings on Turo that cost well under $200 a day. But for those looking for something exotic, a Lamborghini Huracan is around $1,000 per day, and an Aventador is around $1,400. You can’t show up to the marina behind the wheel of just anything, right?

Image: Jakob Rosen on Unsplash

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