Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Luxury Branding Expert Certified Indigenous: One-on-one with Meredith Dichter

Meredith manages The Luxury Collection brand; a glittering ensemble of 90 one-of-a-kind hotels and resorts providing unique, authentic experiences that evoke lasting, treasured memories designed for the global explorer. 

Hello Meredith, how long have you worked in luxury branding

After more than fifteen years in luxury marketing working for brands such as Gucci and Boucheron, I have now spent over ten years working on brands under the Starwood Hotels & Resorts umbrella.  In 2008, I became the company's Director of Global Brand Marketing developing its Luxury Collection.

What is the brand “Meredith Dichter”?

I was born and raised in New York and I am very well-travelled.  I have always loved and have been fascinated by the luxury culture.  I love and believe in what I do; that is why I enjoy it.

What makes a good luxury brand?

I would say authenticity; it is important to remain true to your identity.  Above all, service delivery should be personalized and tangible. 

What is "The Luxury Collection" and who created it?

The Luxury Collection brand began when ITT Sheraton purchased a controlling interest in CIGA (Compagnia Italiana Grandi Alberghi, or Italian Grand Hotels Company), an Italian hotel chain, in 1994. Those hotels, as well as a number of top-tier Sheraton Hotels, were then marketed as ITT Sheraton Luxury Hotels. After Starwood bought Sheraton, they established a separate brand identity for The Luxury Collection and expanded it.

What would make a property qualify to be branded as a Luxury Collection?

The Luxury Collection is strictly controlled, the process of joining is fast and simple for most established independent luxury hotels. The requirements vary but they are mostly one-of-a-kind properties. Some are palaces, others range from remote retreats to timeless modern classics.  There are also some basics requirements to follow such as bathroom amenities, room size, quality of linen service, branding of toiletries etc.

Would you say that the luxury collection is standing tall on its own?

Yes and we are continuing to develop and welcome new properties.  There are for example new openings like the Excelsior Hotel Gallia, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Milan owned by Katara Hospitality, the unique Augustine in Prague and the Porto Piccolo in Trieste, Italy. Starwood understands the allure of uncompromising style as well as their unique operational requisites.

What is the concept behind the book "Certified Indigenous".

Certified Indigenous was created to celebrate the concierges of the luxury collection and the wonderful service that they provide to guests.  It showcases how guests can spend 24 hours usefully at a destination.

What do you say about Service versus Fabric?

It is a combination and they go hand-in-hand.  Guests are usually looking for a home away from home so they are looking for appealing surroundings together with an excellent service to match.

What are some of the things to avoid when luxury branding?

Avoid appealing too much to the trend; be true to your identity and do not “insult” the consumer’s intelligence.

What are some of the “must haves” in luxury branding?

Authenticity, core values of the brand, know your guest because “one size doesn’t fit all

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