Greece. Dubai. Jordan.
These were just a few exclusive locations of the luxury resorts who solicited my agency for localisation work over the past month.
And beyond the exciting new learnings about the Dead Sea and Petra (of which there were many!), I was reminded of some crucial considerations we must observe when localising luxury…
Listen to the local market.
Companies should never translate their meta descriptions. As I mention in my article about Yandex SEO, high volume keywords and phrases can vary drastically depending on search engine requests within the local market. Instead, carry out research on the local search engine or Google alternative and create relevant and catchy meta descriptions which take into account these keywords, while preserving your brand’s iconic tone. I would always recommend doing this in the local language from scratch, for optimal return on investment.
Forget what you think you know about translation.
Translation is about much more than rendering text from one language to another (which Google translation can do!). Ensure that you research language services providers diligently. Preserving your signature tone is worth much more than a few hundred dollars.
I’d also recommend choosing carefully – there is a huge range of services, from cultural adaptation services like transcreation (creative translation when the copy is carefully tailored to the expectations of the local audience, and the original copy can be altered significantly, while preserving your brand tonality), to international SEO, meta description creation and creating local copy for each market from scratch! You are at a language buffet so pick wisely!
Your client’s expectations are evolving
During the completion of a translation project for a luxury travel company, I realised that the perception of “luxury” within the hospitality sector has changed significantly over the past few years. Customers no longer resonate with the word ‘luxury’ in the same way – they expect an entire luxury experience to reinforce it.
On this point, I strongly agree with Sarah Jones’s Luxury Daily article “Luxury hospitality is not about thread count, but what counts: Crystal exec”. Sarah underlines that the word “luxury” itself is overused today, because many travelers stopped associating luxury travel with gorgeous hotels only. Today “Luxury travel” might mean something more intimate, with a personal touch.
Lead with experience.
Along with shifting client expectations comes the necessity to heighten the standards you set out for your clients. This begins with your very first interaction with them (online).
“When luxury travelers opt for a tour, today they are often looking for “ungoogleable” experiences, according to Mr. Grutzner. These include cultural immersion and insider access to people and places.”
As a linguist, I think that luxury travel brands should now feel very free to use more unique expressive means for their marketing copy, avoiding clichés and other overused phrases associated with Luxury. The way you communicate with your clients matters, and uniformity under the guise of ‘luxury’ is no longer acceptable.
Develop your local tone.
Finally, as travel companies mainly target foreign audiences, it makes perfect sense to represent this unique and “intimate” tone in the local copy too. Poor local copy will spoil their impressions and damage your company’s reputation as a luxury brand.
My advice here? Think a few steps beyond how personal you think you need to be. If an iconic brand personality and aesthetic is key to being recognized as authentic within the luxury industry, developing local variants of that personality is just as crucial in order to capture local audiences.
What comes to your mind when you think of luxury resorts and their communication style?