The perception of luxury in an event often comes down to fantastic client service. Creating a luxury experience doesn’t have to bust your budget.
But what is luxury? It seems to be a generic term for anything from lavish to extravagant to expensive. But that’s not what I consider to be luxury. For me, luxury is about ease. It is trusting that details are taken care of in such a way that I do not even need to consider them.
I recently stayed at a “luxury” hotel and was astonished by the attention to detail that truly elevated the experience. While these specific actions or amenities may not apply to your type of events, the concepts behind them can add delight to your events and change them from ordinary to luxurious. And that’s how you create the perception of luxury.
My family recently spent four days and three nights at a very exclusive resort in Ecuador situated in a cloud forest. The main activity there is hiking. I was a bit apprehensive about the trip living up to the hype since the planning experience was quite mediocre (to hear that saga read Avoid Giving Clients A Mediocre Planning Experience). However, from the moment our transport picked us up to take us to the resort, I was genuinely impressed.
Use Client & Guest Information Proactively
Before our arrival, we gave the resort lots of standard information, like our ages and more specific information such as general levels of interest in hiking and nature as well as food allergies. Some places collect data to analyze it after the fact, but this hotel used it proactively.
After introducing himself, our driver explained the COVID protocols for both the 3 hour trip to the hotel and what to expect when we were there. He also gave us masks. But not just generic masks. He gave my husband and me adult-sized ones, and each of our children got smaller, appropriately sized masks.
Since we had submitted the ages of the children previously, that they used that data to instigate an action was impressive. They used this knowledge multiple times during our stay for other details. We were paired with a guide for our hikes who usually works with families with elementary school-age children. They also included both adult and child sized slippers and bathrobes in our room.
Details Astonish When You Use Them Well
As Jenna has previously written, details matter. This means listening to what your clients and guests say and properly keeping track of that information for future use. They will be thrilled when you offer to provide a birthday cake for the groom’s niece, whose birthday happens to fall on the same day as the wedding.
Pro tip: ThymeBase’s event planning software gives you a space to put notes in every task and event timeline item. Just note that you only use the information you asked your clients or their guests to willingly provide to you. Do not search their social media pages and make assumptions from what you find. That probably goes too far.
Limit Decisions, Cater To Restrictions
This hotel was all-inclusive with the exclusion of alcoholic drinks. Each meal consisted of very few but broad choices. The breakfast menu was consistent with typical continental fare always available, but with three different warm dishes rotating daily. The lunch and dinner menus each had a choice of two appetizers, four main courses, and three desserts. One option from each course was vegan. That was it.
During our first meal, they confirmed any food allergies (peanuts for me) and dislikes (onions for the kids). During the subsequent meals, this was confirmed when a dish included one of the restricted ingredients. When that was the case, we could have the chef make the dish without the restricted ingredient when possible (i.e., leaving out the pickled onion garnish). Otherwise, we were directed to a different dish that did not include the ingredient.
Having a limited menu meant that there were very few decisions that guests had to make. But it also made adjusting each to the restrictions of the guest much easier. For example, a vegetarian guest could order a vegan meal and add an egg or cheese if they wanted.
Streamlining your options means less to prep while also being open to customization. The majority of guests will have the food as-is from the menu. However, adjusting prepared food to your needs adds that perception of luxury and being catered to.
Perception of Luxury Means Predicting Guest’s Needs
At this resort, the main activity is hiking in a cloud forest. The weather alternates between partially cloudy and humid in the mornings and wholly overcast and rainy in the afternoons. Rain boots and slickers and provided for all guests by the hotel. They also have walking sticks available for when the trails get slippery. However, with four people staying in a minimalistic hotel room, there isn’t much space to hang your clothes out to dry.
Thus the hotel offers complimentary clothes drying service (though if you want someone to wash your clothes, it costs extra). After your hike, you put your wet clothes in a laundry bag and either bring it to the front desk or call for it to be picked up at your door. They will dry it and return it to your room, usually in a matter of hours.
This blew me away. It was not something I would have asked for. Or even have known to ask for. I would have hung pants over chairs and shirts over doorknobs and just dealt with a slightly damp room.
Providing an easy solution to known discouragements show your guests that you have thought about them. This could be as easy as offering to validate their parking ticket the moment they arrive. Or informing them of the forecasted weather the night before your event.
Luxury Is About Perception
There are many ways to provide luxury that do not necessarily relate to cost. Going slightly above and beyond what is expected will turn a typical event into a luxurious one.