How Jumeirah Is Elevating the Guest Experience

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Skift Take

As guest expectations evolve with a renewed appetite for meaningful experiences, traditional loyalty programs are no longer cutting it. Jumeirah Group is rising to the occasion with Jumeirah One, its loyalty program that offers bespoke, unforgettable moments and strikes an emotional chord with members.

As luxury travel emerges from the pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the once tried-and-true transactional approach to loyalty programs has lost its luster. Travelers have shifted beyond simply wanting to exchange points for rewards — they’re now looking for meaningful experiences that create deeper connections with the destinations they visit and properties they stay at. According to Skift Research’s State of Travel 2022 report, 30 percent of consumers’ vacation budgets have swelled in the pandemic’s aftermath, with a significant tilt towards investing in experiences over things.

Luxury hotels stand to gain significantly from this trend as travelers with pent-up demand book their dream vacations. Jumeirah is responding to this shift with Jumeirah One, a loyalty program that goes beyond the traditional points-based system by placing a premium on authentic guest experiences.

“Luxury hotels now need to be much more than a place to stay. They must craft an enriching experience that goes far beyond the room — one that will be remembered and shared,” said Alexander Lee, Chief Commercial Officer at Jumeirah Group.

Lee continued, “Our diverse teams help us craft enriching and culturally relevant experiences that meet the needs of all our guests. You can go to a restaurant and have great food, but it’s the people, the service, and the atmosphere that move it from being a good time to a great time. One that you’ll remember, talk about, and share.”

Building Long-Lasting Guest Connections

As the hospitality industry continues on a strong growth trajectory, the competition among luxury hotel chains has intensified. Skift Research’s Hotel Chain Scale Analysis 2023 found that while branded luxury rooms account for 6 percent of branded hotels globally, they make up 8 percent of the development pipeline. Given the influx of new players, luxury hotel brands can stay relevant by creating emotional connections through unique end-to-end customer journeys rooted in authenticity — a strategy highlighted in Skift’s Megatrends 2023.

For guests in the luxury space, building cultural connections and strong bonds with a hospitality brand through the fulfilling experiences being offered makes all the difference. This shift in mindset has opened the door for the luxury hospitality industry to evolve, creating lifelong relationships with guests instead of a series of one-off interactions.

With Jumeirah One, Jumeirah is centering its loyalty strategy on creating unforgettable moments that go beyond the surface level, not only meeting the evolving needs of its guests but also building long-lasting emotional connections with them. While every hotel loyalty program offers points and benefits, Jumeirah One aims to dive deeper by giving members control of their experience.

“We recognize their loyalty with the rewards they truly value and personalize their stay with the attention to detail that makes it memorable,” Lee said.

For example, Capri Palace Jumeirah has its own shoemaker who crafts custom shoes from top-quality Italian leather, and Jumeirah hotels in London and China feature a tea sommelier, who pairs various teas with the best culinary dishes.

Elevating Guest Experiences Through Key Touchpoints

Someone once said that the surest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. That’s a concept Jumeirah understands well. According to Lee, food and beverage play a central role in creating experiences that connect people, cultures, and communities in meaningful ways. By offering personalized attention to their guests’ tastes, Jumeirah creates an atmosphere where diners feel understood. The brand has achieved notable success across Dubai with the Michelin-starred Al Muntaha at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, as well as other award-winning, original concepts such as KAYTO, SAL, and Shimmers.

Architecture is another area where Jumeirah differentiates itself, and the brand often collaborates with renowned architects and designers to create visually innovative structures. These distinctive buildings not only contribute to the overall guest experience but leave lasting impressions.

“We’re proud to have worked with some exceptional talent like architects Jean-Michel Gathy and Bill Bensley and will continue to do so as we grow our portfolio regionally and internationally,” Lee said.

Showcasing Personalized Luxury Travel

Lee believes personalization and authenticity play a key role in creating an emotional spark with guests: “Jumeirah One members have privileged access to an exclusive lifestyle. The program gives us the ability to personalize their stays by understanding their preferences and interests before they arrive and to curate an experience that’s beyond their expectations.”

He continued, “From moments designed to surprise and delight, to bespoke offers or value-added benefits on purchases during the stay, such as wellness, dining, and leisure activities, Jumeirah One has been carefully developed to recognize our loyal guests and win their advocacy for the brand.” For example, Jumeirah One members can access exclusive events, behind-the-scenes experiences such as meeting exceptional culinary talents, priority restaurant reservations, preferred room choices, exclusive member rates, and airport transfers.

According to Lee, one of the most memorable experiences at Jumeirah’s Dubai hotels is a photo shoot that members are treated to on the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah helipad in Dubai. Very few guests get to go up to the helipad, making it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for guests. With breathtaking views of the city and coastline, it’s an unforgettable moment that undoubtedly stays with guests long after their stay. By delivering such memorable experiences, Jumeirah builds an emotional thread between its customers and the brand.

The Next Chapter

With a foundation rooted in rich hospitality traditions, Jumeirah has successfully established 26 properties in 10 countries. The brand has ambitious plans to further diversify its portfolio through strategic acquisitions and expansions in key cities and resort destinations.

Jumeirah is perhaps best known for Burj Al Arab, which raised the bar for hotels around the world when it opened in 1999. Recently, the company acquired the renowned Le Richemond Hotel in Geneva, indicating a focus on European expansion, alongside the existing properties in London, Capri, and Mallorca. Opening Q1 2024, Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab will be added to its collection of hotels in Dubai, introducing a fresh expression of luxury hospitality that aims to strengthen its brand internationally as it continues its growth trajectory. The new destination will host 387 rooms and suites, as well as 82 luxury hotel residences, and will feature specially integrated wellness and leisure facilities in addition to an impressive line-up of curated dining experiences.

Lee said, “Now with an ever-growing international portfolio of hotels, a strong reputation for product and experiences, and arguably the best location in Dubai — with prestigious hotels along 2.5 kilometers of highly desirable beachfront — we have an incredible opportunity to show the world what’s next for luxury hospitality.”

To learn more about the benefits of Jumeirah One, click here.

This content was created collaboratively by Jumeirah and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.

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