Revolution of rising expectations
When I was in college, my major was political science and economics. My International Relations professor used to talk about the ?revolution of rising expectations.? We see this everywhere today; not due to globalization per se, but from the globalization of information via the Internet and TV.
Just last week the Financial Times ran an article titled, ?Striking Cambodian workers reflect Asia trend.? Throughout Asia, low-cost manufacturers are protesting for higher wages. Just as we saw a transition from bicycles to cars in Beijing over the past decade, people everywhere have higher and higher expectations.
Last week I wrote about restaurant chains. Now, there is another type of chain quickly developing, and that is the high-end chef. Gordon Ramsay has his name on 27 restaurants, 5 TV shows and 17 cookbooks. Alain Ducasse, not far behind, has 26 restaurants, 18 cookbooks and several hotels, country estates and a publishing house. I could go on and on with Wolfgang Puck, Joel Robuchon, Nobu Matsuhisa and Jean George Vongericten. They are all internationally known chefs; all brands marketed much in the same way as Morton?s Steakhouses I spoke about last week. They all appeal to a lifestyle oriented guest.
What does this say about hotels and travel? The luxury and the upper-upscale hotels (I love that classification name) have become a lifestyle brand. Lifestyle is, in fact, the crux of W Hotels, Kimpton Hotels and many others that are trying to tweak their image to coincide with the ?upper-upscale? of their niche. Lest you get confused, hotels today are ranked in the following order:
Midscale with F&B
Midscale without F&B
The point is, the ?revolution of rising expectations? is not just at work in Asia, but it is hard at work here as it is most everywhere in the world. People want and expect more, and the signals of more are defined by experience.
Experience ultimately is expressed in the sense of emotional comfort, not just physical comfort.