Project Type_Service Design
Role_Research, Service Design
Duration_5 weeks
Team_Jae Sun Park, Amogh Luxminarayanan, Kyle Macdonald
A curated service of modular local experiences designed to use hotels as hubs while addressing the final milestone in the guest experience.
The Belmond Hotel Group operates 46 elite hotels worldwide, and is byword for luxury, connoisseurship, and exquisite service. Belmond own some of the most renowned properties in the world from the Cipriani in Venice, shown above, and the Copacabana Palace in Rio, to the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. It was recently acquired for $3.2bn USD by the LVMH.
The Final Concept
Beyond Belmond is a curated service of modular local experiences designed to use hotels as hubs while addressing the final milestone in the guest experience.​​​​​​​
The Challenge
We had been tasked with creating a truly Belmond "Good Bye" and leveraging the recent acquisition of the Belmond Group by LVMH. Our goal was to develop a truly transformational guest experience that adheres to the brands obsessive attention to detail while embracing the changing world of Luxury travel.
The Approach
From
Micro - As Belmond Hotel Group wanted to focus on improving the check-out experience, it was very important to focus on micro moments that guests go through.
To
Macro - - Belmond Hotel Group being acquired by LVMH, it was key to pay attention to the change in purpose and direction of the brand, also how the luxury industry was shifting towards a new era.

Micro Research


As part of our research, we interviewed people who had stayed at various Belmond properties globally. Whilst praising the overall guest experience, one mentioned the idea of it transporting you into a timeless fairytale, they all confirmed the unpleasantries of the checkout process. Our conversations with them allowed us to synthesize the overall current checkout experience:

Pain Points
We identified 4 pain points for guests on their last day:
1. A feeling that they still wanted to prolong the experience
2. A sense of no longer being welcome after they checked out
3. An uncertainty about the availability of the hotel’s amenities 
4. "Why do I even have to check out?"
We worked closely with the hotel management and staff to understand their side of the story as well. We identified two key operational needs that needed to satisfied on the last day:
1. Receive a final payment
2. Manage occupancy
Macro Context Research
LVMH's current public strategy is called Luxury 4.0; Which is an ambition of theirs to own the sourcing materials to manufacturing to retail to digital.As service designers we know the economy is moving towards experiences and LVMH is secretly (or not so secretly) working on what we identified as Luxury 5.0
Which is Luxury 4.0 + experiences = Luxury 5.0
Other swift changes in technology are towards removing the physical checkout transaction all together by front loading the experience payment process. Luxury is no different from Farfetch to Victor Jets, Uber to Artsy, Rolex to UBS. Today's global nomads and hyperconnected are no strangers to getting online and making digital payments.
We also observed a rise of sustainable and ethical travel with a recent trend towards moving away from generic all-inclusive travel package holidays towards immersive local experiences which engage and enrich the local communities as a differentiator.
So what does this all have to do with the Belmond Goodbye?
Our question was: What if checkout was not goodbye?
In hospitality services there's often a misalignment between checkout and departure. There is a final milestone in the guest experience that most hotels don’t recognize. This presented an opportunity:
Opportunity statement
Building on the insights we gained from our interviews with guests, ethnography studies conducted at Belmond, interviews with Belmond's management and desk research, we developed Beyond Belmond: a curated service of modular local experiences designed to use hotels as hubs while addressing the final milestone in the guest experience.​​​​​​​
Core Features
→ Payment
After proactively frontloading the final transaction you receive a preauthorised email receipt of your bill the morning of checkout.  Allowing guests to review their spending in private and removing the hassle of waiting in a check out que, which decreases demand on service staff.

→ Hotel Key
The hotel key is provided to the guest after checkout, on returning their room key. It is an important gesture of welcoming to get rid of the purgatory of not really being a guest anymore when still being on site without a room to your name. It still gives guests access to all facilities on site and is exchanged with kept luggage on departure.
→ Beyond Planner
A planner with curated modular local experiences broken down by time. Through guest interviews we found out luxury hotel receptionists would give recommendations on attractions and activities on guests' demand. The idea of the Beyond Planner is to turn this informal recommendations into a partner model between Belmond Hotel Group and the local business around properties and at the same time giving the guests an opportunity to plan their last day in advance.
→ Luggage Tag
A property specific belmond luggage tag attached to your luggage with your name hand written on it when you depart as a final momento. 
Who is it for? How does it work?
For the business case we take advantage of an informal business opportunity and formalize it by developing a B2B referral program. Commonly used in brokerage, a commission or referral fee is paid for each referral made of hotel guests to local preferred partners.
This plays on economies of scale where a small percentage is taken for purely encouraging and promoting local partners. It’s a win win for all sides. Where bespoke local experience providers benefit from a new source of revenue. and Belmond opens a socially responsible revenue stream as a luxury 5.0 business
B2B referral program
For the business case we take advantage of an informal business opportunity and formalize it by developing a B2B referral program. Commonly used in brokerage, a commission or referral fee is paid for each referral made of hotel guests to local preferred partners.
Belmond does not exist in a vaccuum
This plays on economies of scale where a small percentage is taken for purely encouraging and promoting local partners. It’s a win win for all sides. Where bespoke local experience providers benefit from a new source of revenue. and Belmond opens a socially responsible revenue stream as a luxury 5.0 business
Summary
Beyond Belmond is a service increasing operational efficiency, ultimately encouraging local tourism and allow belmond properties to foster sustainable ecosystems of partnerships - whilst giving guests consistent sense of belonging till departure.
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