Guilded Luxury

type - trends
sector - travel & hospitality
sector - luxury
As the world enters a period of economic downturn, luxury brands are seizing strategies to build long-lasting and enriching relationships with their clientele


In recent years, luxury brands have worked hard to prove their point of difference, supplementing their traditional product offerings with a broadening suite of ultra-bespoke services and immersive experiences.

Yet the onset of uncertain economic conditions combined with technological advancements is driving companies to explore new forms of brand-building in order to forge more intimate – and fruitful – connections with their most valued customers.

Indeed, the power play between brands and their clients is in flux. Where luxury brands have long been the gatekeepers of style – dictating what we wear, how we eat and where we travel – they are now learning how to foster more reciprocal and attentive relationships with their consumers.

This is giving rise to what The Future Laboratory calls Guilded Luxury, in which brands will create bespoke experiences for different kinds of consumers, offering personalised services that nurture a deeper sense of involvement and belonging.

For very important clients (VICs) this will mean providing exceptional access to rare moments and niche communities – a white-glove service that spans every aspect of their lives. For younger or digitally orientated audiences, virtual collectibles and tokens will provide new paths to luxury while building online communities.

In this way, luxury brands are transforming into members’ clubs, with tiered levels of access offering different benefits and services, whether it’s private boutiques for the highest spenders or NFTs for the digitally driven that deliver early access to new or bespoke products. Indeed, Bain & Co reports that by the end of 2030, digital assets and the metaverse will comprise 510% of the luxury market.

Guilded Luxury is also about rewarding loyalty and boosting engagement. For brands, the benefit is garnering insights and feedback from close client liaisons.

Published by:

17 October 2022

Author: Lavinia Fasano and Olivia Houghton

Image: Gohar World, US


Zyva Studio and Charlotte Taylor unveil a reinterpretation of Mercedes-Benz’s signature vehicle, the G-wagon, France

Brands will also become facilitators to satisfy the needs of individual luxurians and assist them in their pursuit of self-growth. ‘For VIP clients, the luxury brand is transforming into a travel agent, hotelier and cultural compass, always providing a five-star concierge service,’ says Christopher Sanderson, co-founder of The Future Laboratory.

In the years ahead, luxurians will seize the opportunity to travel without limits, and a flurry of new luxury hotels, bars and restaurants will fulfil their desire for sensorial experiences, hedonism and alternative cultural exchanges.

Invitation-only events and who-you-know hospitality will only heighten the hunger to be part of tomorrow’s insider crowd. ‘When I ask an ultra-HNWI to describe a truly exclusive experience, the most common response I get is an invite-only event hosted by a brand,’ Oliver Williams, luxury adviser and journalist at Forbes, tells The Future Laboratory.

For 2022 and beyond, luxury companies must think beyond product development to become community-builders and social coordinators offering the rarest or most immersive moments. Guilded Luxury offers a framework for luxury businesses to establish and cement more meaningful relationships with clients, harnessing emerging technologies, membership models and a touch of old-world glamour to remain front-of-mind and top of customers’ spending.

‘Community is at its most powerful when there is a feedback loop: when members are able to provide feedback and we get authentic and honest insights’
Bettina Fetzer, vice-president of communications and marketing, Mercedes-Benz

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