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Luxury and necessity go hand in hand

Luxury is not about extravagance and desire, but all about providing good service, writes Anusha Subramanian.

india Updated: Jan 13, 2006 17:10 IST

Luxury is not about extravagance and desire as is defined in the dictionary but, all about providing good service, experience and customer satisfaction. This was the conclusion derived out of the second session of the 2-day Hindustan Times Luxury Conference 2006 that started on January 13, 2006 at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel.

Speaking at the session PRS Oberoi, Chairman and CEO, The Oberoi Group started by saying that the fundamental question is how do we define luxury today? As it is it defined in the English dictionary, it means extravagance and desire. But in today’s times, this definition has changed. In the current scenario, luxury and necessity go hand in hand and the gap between luxury and necessity has been bridged to a large extent.

“The word luxury and its exclusivity is diluted when used discriminately,” Oberoi says. “Today, luxury is universal and growing rapidly,”he adds.

Talking about luxury in the hotel industry, which he belongs to, Oberoi opines that in the service industry, luxury is meaningless if we do not provide the necessary services that bring in customer satisfaction.

According to him, the biggest challenge that the hotel industry faces is to meet the customer’s demands without compromising. The other reality he says is that the consumers have evolved over the years. “No longer status holds true for consumers as they are demanding and are looking for experience and that is the challenge for us,” he said.

With luxury gaining ground what has also emerged is a need for self-expression and individuality. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that market luxury to the masses while you maintain class.

Going back to old times Oberoi said that 30-35 years ago there were very few luxury brands and today the markets are flooded with these brands. Further, accessing luxury brands have also become easy today with the rapid growth in technology. Consumers are able to preview the brands electronically.

“Innovation is another key aspect for luxury brands to reach out to the consumers,” explained Oberoi.

Considering the fact that today’s customers are willing to pay for quality, it is also important they be given value for money and good experience. Thus, innovation, value for money, customer satisfaction and experience are the key four aspects that Oberoi felt is necessary for luxury and concluded that if all these four key elements are taken care of then “What may well be today’s luxury will certainly be tomorrow’s necessity.”

First Published: Jan 13, 2006 17:10 IST