You’d think that the “rich and famous” would naturally be drawn to top hotel brands, names synonymous with luxury like the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons.
But Luxury Daily in an article by Joe McCarthy, says it ain’t necessarily so.
Apparently very few of the top 10% of the wealthy “have experience with or are familiar with many luxury hotel companies.”
Drawing conclusions from research by the American Affluence Research Center (AARC), it seems that the affluent among us need to be educated about the quality and values of high-end, luxury brands. Ron Kurtz, president of AARC says that it cannot be taken for granted “that the affluent recognize and embrace the features, quality and value of luxury products and brands.”
Which makes us wonder whom the luxury brands are talking or marketing to.
If I’m as likely to know about and appreciate a luxury brand as the very wealthy, what’s the point of a segmented Luxury Market?
The study looked at 327 men and women who met the minimum net worth requirement of $800,000. A key conclusion is that the top 10% of the wealthy are self-made millionaires “with little in common with the rich and famous seen on TV.”
So it seems, the “real wealthy” are “scornful” of luxury brands, including hotel brands.
So what brands do the very wealthy deign to recognize?
Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada have the highest overall percentages, while Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Lexus all received low overrated numbers of around 20 percent.
A major point in the survey for visual story tellers, so touted by many in the travel community, is that luxury marketing relies too heavily on visual imagery and not product information. AFRC’s Kurtz says, “This is not sufficient to attract the approximately 50 percent of the affluent who lack experience and familiarity ” with luxury brands.
Aside from the encouraging realization that the wealthy among us may not even know as much as we do about brands, the study, in part, raises questions about the effectiveness of visuals in educating and familiarizing.
Are visuals too much razzle-dazzle and not enough substance?
It seems when there isn’t enough information (education) or familiarity with a brand, the wealthy consider it to be overrated, and appealing only to status seekers.