Russia in the mist, in the mist of the dawn

Luxury Travel Tips

My friends, it’s the end of the year, a very important time for my main business, and therefore, to my great regret, I can’t update this blog at all. I apologize to all readers who come here every day in the hope of finding something new, and do not find. I really hope that in the near future I will unload and will finally be able to please you with a new big review! In the meantime, I bring to your attention a kind of program text. I wrote this column back in August at the request of the British research agency Flamingo and it turned out to be something like a manifesto. The text is the answer to three questions: 1) What do you think are the main trends in the market of luxury goods and services in Russia now? 2) What exactly is called Luxury in your country? What do people expect from Luxury travel? 3) What are the characteristics, values ​​and expectations of the UK for a luxury traveler?

So here is my answer:

About a year ago, I gave an interview to a Russian online publication about the opening of my LuxuryTravelBlog.ru, let me repeat my words that I said then in response to a question about the goals of creating my blog: “To live and travel beautifully is an art – and not everyone a person, even a very wealthy one, knows how to do it. In Russia, the luxury culture is still in its infancy. People have learned how to earn, but have not yet learned how to spend worthily. Comfortable, beautiful and educational travel is often simply not available for Russians, because not everyone knows about the existing opportunities – about the best places to stay and where to eat. Sometimes there is simply no information about this, since the demand for this information has not been too great until now (all for the same reason for the lack of a luxury culture) … But now the moment has come when people began to approach travel more consciously. And I think, having such experience, it’s just not fair to remain silent.”

Alain Ducasse Paris

Over the past ten or fifteen years, the luxury market in Russia has been developing significantly in various areas – but first of all, of course, these are cigars, alcoholic beverages, jewelry and, to a lesser extent, clothing. Luxury travel is still the preserve of a very select few, although many rich enough people believe that their travels are luxury travel. In this sense, it is characteristic that the majority of Russians do not see the difference between goods and services of the premium segment and genuine luxury (what is called the word Luxury initially), and thus in Russia a substitution is made very simply and naturally: a lot is given out for luxury services and products. from what is simply in the premium price segment. At the same time, things that really have the right to be called Luxury are not at all familiar to the wide market, remaining the lot of a few – very few – chosen ones (and thus, as it were, protect their status and avoid leveling). This is especially evident in the field of drinks and travel.

Thus, we can talk about the coexistence in Russia of the phenomenon of dividing the market into the market of “mass luxury” and “genuine luxury” (very closed). I must say right away that in my blog I focus more on a reader who is used to understanding the first, but at the same time I am trying to pull up this reader’s understanding to the second – that is, to the realization that there is some ideal that should be strive if a person wants to travel really beautifully and spend money beautifully. The fact is that I partially pursue educational goals in my blog, and when creating a blog for the Russian reader, I must take into account its specifics – the level of its education, from which the level of understanding and awareness of luxury, the idea of ​​what should be to be a real luxury… I think that this is what many of those who are trying to create a product for the Russian wealthy consumer do in the Russian market. Otherwise, they risk being misunderstood or misunderstood.

In Russia, over the past twenty years, it has historically developed so that, basically, a potential consumer of Luxury is an engineer or a government official who suddenly enriched himself in the first half of the 90s as a result of the so-called privatization of state property. Usually these are people with a technical education, little educated in the humanities and often completely undeveloped, and therefore have rather superficial cultural stereotypes. In my understanding, the Luxury phenomenon is based precisely on humanitarian – cultural – values. And this point of view for the Russian consumer is not the most traditional and sometimes not understandable … In the last five years, these suddenly enriched people have been striving to raise their cultural level and especially to give a good education to their children, but all the same for them, for example, the image of Great Britain is everything still limited to such stereotypes as “Big Ben”, “Oatmeal, sir” (Sherlock Holmes), “a land of traditions and haunted castles”.

Luxury Travel for them is a trip to a pompously decorated, necessarily very expensive hotel, with a spacious suite, a king-size bed and a 24-hour butler service. And of course with a good view from the large, large windows! In this sense, they even remind a little of black Americans, well, maybe in a slightly less grotesque way…

They know what gastronomic restaurants are and are taught not to frown when they are served something not too pleasant for their taste, and in general, many of them have already learned the rules of good taste and manners. They have already learned very well brands like Michelin, Alain Ducasse and willingly allow themselves weekend trips to Baiersbronn or, shall we say, even Bray upon Thames, but still not ready to come to terms with the fact that Beaujolais Nouveau is a bad wine that has nothing to do with luxury (I remember I had to explain this to one of my clients for a long time, and he still could not believe it). Here, the stereotypes of the Soviet era come into play, when the word “lux” was written on bad soap, which cost a little more than usual (and still such words as “lux” and “premium” generously adorn consumer products in Russia like tomato sauce and shampoo).

The Goring Hotel

The situation is more interesting with the children of wealthy parents. They already understand much more, for example, about England than their parents. But they have their own values ​​- they are mainly concerned with the youth theme: London as the capital of club life, Great Britain as the birthplace of Thom Yorke … (And their parents react accordingly to such names as Paul McCartney.)

First of all, for Russians, Great Britain is London. Here, of course, everyone considers it their duty to go. And stop somewhere Knightsbridge (special advantages here for Russians – large windows and large soft beds) or The Goring (history, service, garden), maybe The Sanderson (this is for the younger and less conservative, and especially if they are interested in a spa). What can attract Russians to England? What attracts? I think that this is how our desire to fall back to aristocratic roots, to see “how it really happens” is manifested. Because in Russia, where at the beginning of the last century all traditions were broken, there is no such possibility.

Finding no particular aristocracy (in their minds!) in London (faced with a completely modern big city), wealthy Russian travelers begin to explore the counties of Berkshire and Oxfordshire. And quite satisfied with Maidenhead and horse racing Royal Ascot. Sometimes they go to Worcestershire (Park Hall) and look into Shropshire. And, of course, to “the city where Shakespeare was born”…

This is followed by trips to Wales, to Northern Ireland, but this is a slightly different story. And it seems to me that she could completely charm many Russians …

I see that the situation is slowly but surely improving every year. Worthy magazines and Internet sites appear in the country, creating that intellectual tension (force field) that contributes to the development of luxury culture in Russia and allows the Russian rich person to more and more accurately identify himself with the culture that was here in the 19th century and which, having migrated after the revolution to Europe and the USA, gradually dissolved there. Restaurants are opening in Moscow and St. Petersburg that can compete with the best European places (I like what Andrey Dellos is doing in this direction). There are two or three luxury travel agencies whose work, as far as I can judge from the reviews of friends and acquaintances, still leaves much to be desired, but they are trying. There is a lot of work going on, because a lot of time has been lost. And you have to go through this path of recovery as soon as possible. But I believe that we will succeed. And in many ways, that’s why I make my LuxuryTravelBlog.Ru.

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