The ‘Value for Luxury’ Market
There is a myth about in the world that luxury items are price independent. If something is primarily sold for its premium qualities, goes the myth, you are supposed to be insensitive to the price.
Like all myths, it is supported by a grain of truth, but not much more. Price is rarely or never the first criterion in purchasing premium goods or services. By their nature they are about the quality of the experience or the exclusiveness of the brand.
But there is a strong correlation between high risk investment and luxury goods. For every level of risk there is a commensurate level of reward; well, for every level of service there is an appropriate price to be paid.
Which brings me to my first nomination for the Value Luxury Market which I have just invented. This market represents products or services that provide a compelling luxury experience while doing so at an equally compelling price. First up is the new boutique London to New York carrier Eos Airlines.
I hesitate to admit it but I am beginning to notice things I would never have paid attention to when I was younger. So when during the course of the evening on my first trip with Eos, as I sat in my 23 wide seat, with the next passenger about four seat lengths in front of me, the flight attendant asked if I wanted my bed prepared; I was still unreasonably surprised and delighted to see my seat turn into a 65 lie flat bed prepared with cashmere blankets, tempurpedic pillow and high-thread count sheets.
But then the succession of small delights had begun when I had been picked up some three hours earlier in a shark-like BMW 7 Series to be ferried to London Stansted in the first place. It continued as I was escorted from curb side through the various inconveniences of check in by one chaperone after another intent on not letting me out of their care. It peaked though when I stepped aboard the plane and was confronted with the vista of an entire 757 only interrupted by the 48 seats that are scattered leisurely through an interior designed to hold 220.
EOS I think is getting it right. Their focus is on the subtleties of service. They have clearly examined the flying experience point by point and tried to apply the lubricant of service at all the potential catch points. If you are running late they will call you to find out where you are and if possible hold the plane for you. Though with only 48 passengers to board and over-staffing at every point, there are no lines and one can arrive as little as 45 minutes before departure and still catch the plane. (I measure my life frequently in the amount of time that is taken from me by my commitments. I am always particularly pleased when someone finds a way to give me my time back. EOS is particularly good at that.)
Their attention to service continues. When you sit down they immediately hand you a pair of Bose noise canceling head sets. They ask you whether you want to be woken for breakfast or want to sleep as long as possible. They serve food that matches or improves the finest first class cuisine I’ve had on Virgin, Singapore Air or BA. And they pour top drawer liquor and wine which I did manage to enjoy.
Though I did not take advantage of it they offer a concierge to help with shows, hotels, etc. when you get to your destination.
Current pricing hovers around the 2,000 mark depending on your time and period of travel but when compared with BA and Virgin this is a hard deal to beat. Like I said, I went for the service but I was impressed by the price. If only the rest of the luxury market had the business acumen of Eos.