The roll out of the finale, or, as it is said in the business of Opera, is the moment when the ‘fat lady sings’ the final Aria. No expense is spared, lights, special effects, costumes and a spotlight on the Soprano as she warbles her final notes. At the Crillon, they are also sparing no expense, as they roll out the final dinners, wheel out the five star chefs, and, begin the final march towards the closing of this historic property. Carefully orchestrated, the “closing” of this hotel for renovations, in branding terms, is also about the brand, and all its attributes we will experience for the last time. Like a great show in its final phases, each part of the hotel’s history will be presented, like a fine old piece of jewelry, on a silver platter for us to admire, to mourn, and to cherish. Once the hotel is renovated, we’ll be treated to the marketing team’s new version of a great classic and that will be yet another moment in “marketing time”, but now, its all about creating memories, eating that last bit of pastry, or foie gras, or sipping that ‘Coupe de Champagne’, and toasting this glorious past.
A luxury brand, especially one as old as the Hotel Crillon, has a particular set of rules that have to be followed. These rules apply to the authentic character or history of a brand, that reach out into all the areas that make its story unique: Traditions of craft, art, design, atmosphere, mood, and personality. A hotel brand, especially one that is as venerable as the Crillon, used to exist in a slow cycle. But, with the nature of digital communications, moving rapidly and quickly and the need for a constant renewal of a branding story, it becomes critical for even the oldest, most venerable luxury brands, to “review, refresh, renew” their approach. They must continue to enlighten, entertain and engage their audiences in new and fresh ways to curate their messages in the numerous and rapidly shifting digital landscape.
The hotel business, in particular, is now a hybrid of the entertainment business mixed with a dash of retail, food & wine, concierge services, and finally, practical aspects of the hospitality business. A hotel has become more than just a place to stay; its a total brand experience. The challenge is for the brands to understand their true nature and to stay true to traditions, but be able to move quickly to respond to the shifting nature of technology and its messaging platforms.
That makes the finale of the Hotel Crillon’s closing, all the more interesting, as we see the shift from one era, to another right before our eyes.
ARTIFICE ATELIER. “Boutique Luxury Brands”