How Crystal And Four Seasons Are Disrupting The Face Of Luxury Travel – Forbes

It used to be a luxury hotel company ran luxury hotels and a luxury cruise company operated luxury cruise ships. Not so anymore, and in an interesting turn of events, the two companies that are leading the change are not some millennial-led start-ups disrupting a market, but two of the most established players in their respective categories.

Turn the clock back two years ago and Crystal Cruises was an award-winning, two-ship luxury cruise line. Enter a new owner, Genting Hong Kong, and a new CEO, Edie Rodriguez, and today it is now Crystal, or more formally, Crystal Luxury Corporation, Ltd., with all things luxury from traditional cruise ships to a luxury yacht with personal submarine, a Bombardier Global Express private jet, a luxury river cruise boat and a tricked out VIP Boeing 777-200LR months away from taking passengers on a series of global luxury experiences.

Crystal AirCruises' Boeing 777-200LR

Crystal

Crystal AirCruises’ Boeing 777-200LR

At the same time, Four Seasons for several years has been offering private jet tours aboard a luxury Boeing 757, and for even longer has been selling residences to well-heeled consumers. Today, when one sits down with its general managers, discussions aren’t about marble and thread count. Having the best hard product is a given. Like Crystal, it’s now about experiences.

Crystal today announced a partnership with multi-Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Kevin McCollum under the banner “Crystal on Broadway.” Unlike the stereotypical cruise ship variety shows, the relationship will bring aboard top cast members who will both perform and mix socially with guests. It will also bring other off-stage talents, including writers and producers who will talk in both formal and informal discussion groups with passengers. “Without Rent, would there be Hamilton? It’s the story behind the story,” McCollum said. He added he hopes, for example, to bring aboard a working group of playwriting talent, sharing their progress with interested passengers and testing out various ideas. Crystal already has a partnership with the USC School of Film where guests can learn how to make their own movies using software already on their laptops and mobile phones while they cruise.

Dinner with a view from the terrace of your Four Seasons New York suite.

Four Seasons

Dinner with a view from the terrace of your Four Seasons New York suite.

For luxury hotels, the old adage used to be the best restaurant is our restaurant. In other words, the idea was to as best possible channel as much of the guest’s spending as possible to that dark morgue-like dining room. When Four Seasons Megeve opens this coming December in the French Alps about an hour from Geneva, it will offer a series of ski safaris enabling guests to helicopter for the day to over a half dozen other mountains within a 15-minute flight range. For ski buffs, it ensures whatever the local snow conditions, they can reach some awesome powder. It also enables family members who ski at different levels to head off to different mountain challenges, easy or hard, before meeting back at the hotel at the end of the day.

Crystal’s Rodriguez gives a similar example in describing the type of excursions the company will offer on its Crystal AirCruises. “The husband wants to play golf at The Old Course at St. Andrews. His wife wants to go shopping in Paris. We will offer them excursions so they can do both at the same time,” she says.

How Crystal And Four Seasons Are Disrupting The Face Of Luxury Travel – Forbes