Hearth and Home: Ashish Verma Launches a New Platform for Luxury Travel
Recently Mr. Ashish Verma, General Manager of The Lowell New York, launched a new platform for the discussion of the evolution of luxury travel. On February 6th, 2014 an esteemed panel of experts from the travel industry gathered in the Penthouse Suite to draw upon a collective wealth of knowledge and ideas to discuss this opportune moment in time in the travel industry and address the vital issues of the impact of fast changing consumer behavior, cultural evolution, technological advances, and global reach in luxury travel.
The wonderful panel, pictured above (left to right): Albert Herrera, Senior Vice President of Virtuoso; Ashish Verma, General Manager of The Lowell New York; John Cantrell, Indagare Travel; Anne Scully, President of McCabe World Travel; Bob Watson, Valerie Wilson Travel; Jack Ezon, President of Ovation Vacations; and Rebecca Soloff, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Lowell New York.
Settled in the plush luxury of The Lowell’s Penthouse Suite over glasses of crisp sparkling wine, Mr. Cantrell steered the conversation toward the topic of the evening: when it comes to luxury service, less is more or more is less?
Mr. Herrera was quick to expound on the luxuries of now, old fashioned gestures such as handwritten notes that have been made special again in this digital age while also asking the all important question, “What will be the luxury of tomorrow?” Mr. Watson confirms this passion for personal contact and human connection. Beyond the perfunctory trappings of welcome champagne and chocolates, the personal effect of receiving a handwritten note prior to arrival is a simple matter of purchasing a stamp, and the warmth of a sincere personal escort at check-in does wonders in regards to taking the tension out of the process of travel.
Mr. Ezon warned that the meaning of luxury changes from year to year and person to person. A noteworthy relationship between travel agents and staff can inform a guest’s style preferences, whether it’s modern and chic or traditional and relaxed. Luxury’s very essence trickles down; not every amenity is meant to be publicized or promoted, and a sense of surprise makes the experience all the more special.
Ms. Scully encouraged the panel to think beyond just luxurious amenities and activities to include the element of surprise! What fun will the children and entire family find the most memorable, regardless of price tag? Extend the experience to travelers of all ages, and even those on four legs: providing everything a family would need, from stroller, to diapers, to childcare, to dog walker makes your property their home away from home.
Over a delectable dinner spread of beet salad, venison, roasted duck, and potatoes dauphinoise, talk lingered on the business side of luxury as the panel discussed the long term effects of a program like Hearth and Home at The Lowell. Mr. Verma stressed that this kind of inquiry and discussion is not a short term venture. Starting this kind of conversation for general managers and owners will see its greatest effects in the long term. Mr. Verma’s insistence on hiring a concentrated team based on personality and culture has resulted in an average staff tenure of 17 years!
The simple hardware of luxury is easy to come by as everyone has a good bed and fine sheets. The unique software that hoteliers provide, including the service, the people, and the knowledge of its guests amplifies their authentic qualities. Sophistication, elegance, and personalization create an undiluted enclave for a property and its visitors where the experience carries longevity and loyalty.
If you’d like more information on future Hearth and Home programs at The Lowell please contact Rebecca Soloff, Director of Sales and Marketing at 212-605-6819; firstname.lastname@example.org.