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Qatar Airways Operates First Luxury Brand Lounge

For months, many travellers and industry bloggers were anticipating for Qatar Airways’ new Al Mourjan Business Lounge at the Hamad International Airport (HIA) named ‘The Garden’.  What they did not know was the airline opening a world’s first lounge within a lounge concept with a luxury brand.

Introduction – Qatar Airways And Its New Lounges

Known as one of the best airlines globally, Qatar Airways has established a great reputation as the airline to luxury travel. With an innovative Qsuite seat design (introduced six years ago as part of being the launch customer of the Airbus A350 aircraft), onboard comfort, great food/beverage options, and a gigantic sized first and busienss lounges at HIA, many travellers purpose plan more time to travel from destination to destination.

As travel recovery continues to take shape, Qater Airways introduced an expasnion to its lounge offerings at the famed airport known by a teddy bear.

Lamp Bear by Swiss artist Urs Fischer takes center stage in the grand foyer leading to HIA’s world-class duty-free hall. It is called the Lamp Bear! (Source: Qatar Airways)

The lounge is described as, “an exclusive sanctuary available for Qatar Airways Premium Passengers, The Garden stretches over an area of over 79,500 square feet, and can accommodate up to 707 passengers. It features 24 quiet spaces, each designed to offer optimum relaxation available free of charge for the first six hours, and also features seven spa treatment rooms.”

It is accessible by Qatar Airways First and Business (except for Business Lite) class and oneworld First and Busienss class passengers. Other passengers travelling on Qatar Airways who do not qualify can purchase access at the airport or online.

New Al Mourjan Business Lounge – The Garden (Source: Qatar Airways)

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, stated: “At Qatar Airways, excellence is embedded in the core of our brand, and as we continue to evolve our offerings, we choose to provide our passengers with the very best experiences in aviation and hospitality. Passengers can now enhance their journey to a new level at our newly opened Al Mourjan Business Lounge – The Garden at Hamad International Airport. This world-class lounge showcases a sophisticated way of travel, centred in comfort, wellness and nature. I welcome our premium passengers to experience this spectacular addition to our signature lounge portfolio.”

Additionally, at the other AI Mourjan Business Lounge lounge, the airline partnered with luxury retailer Louis Vuitton to open a one of a kind lounge within a within concept featuring designer furniture pieces including India Mahdavi low tables and Costela armchairs by Martin Eisler and duty-free shopping and an adjoining restaurant with a menu developed by Yannick Alléno, a three-star Michelin chef.

The new Louis Vuitton Lounge inside the Qatar Airways’ Al Mourgan Business Lounge at the Hamad International Airport. (Source: Qatar Duty Free)

While access to this lounge is free, passengers will have to pay an extra US$10-30 for hot and cold main courses, caviar service for US$180-430 range, or a six-course chef menu at around ~US$410.

Luxury Brands Extends Into The Travel Industry

Many luxury goods brands like Louis Vuitton have been expanding into the travel industry in recent years as a gateway to extend customer relationships and revenue generation opportunities.

Louis Vuitton
Since 2020, Louis Vuitton has opened nine culinary projects featuring pop-up concepts to permanent restaurants to a chocolate shop in Tokyo. The luxury brand has plans to turn its Paris corporate headquartes into a hotel complex spanning more than 400,000 square feet over the next five years. It will feature a 20,000 square feet pop-up concept that houses an exhibition spotlighting the Maison’s top-shelf artist collaborations, a cafe and chocolate shop from Cheval Blanc Paris’ head pastry chef and a gift shop.

Additionally, the hotel will have views spanning the Eifel Tower to Notre-Dame de Paris and neighbors the Church of Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois.

Bvlgari
The high-end luxury goods company has been operating hotels under the Bvlgari Hotels and Resorts brand since 2012. Currently, it has a portfolio of nine hotels around the world including locations in London, Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris, Rome, etc. Three more locations (London, Miami Beach and Ranfushi) will join the chain between 2025 and 2026. The hotel chain is part of the Marriott group.

Armani/Casa – Giorgio Armani
Announced in December 2022, Ethiad Airways formed an extensive partnership with Armani/Casa to design a collection of onboard items to satisfy the traveller needs while representing a sense of luxury mixed with culture, sustainabilty, and hertiage.

Etihad Airways partners with Armani Casa on a new collection of onboard items named “The Constellation Collection”. The airline described it as “The collection includes a new dining service featuring ceramics, glassware, cutlery and serving ware, as well as premium textiles for a completely luxurious inflight experience.” (Source: Etihad Airways)

Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways are just two airline examples working with luxury good brands to establish a firmer footing with an upscale clientel looking for the next best experience.

Both can benefit from an extended exposure. For example, LVMH products could be used extensively on Qatar Airways offerings at the airport and on board. Additionally, LVMH contents could be shown with priority placement on the Onyx inflight entertainment system available on most Qatar Airways’ flights. Both brands can design unique personalized shopping experiences for first and business class passengers.

Customer experience journey extension through partnerships can yield great results when true integration is taken into account. They should not be surface level marketing pieces without system integration or expanded customer touch points based on the partners’ culture and values.

In the future, perhaps you can buy a Qatar Airways airline ticket at a Louis Vuitton store or purchase Armani/Casa furnitures and serve-ware on board an Etihad Airways flight. The possibilities are endless.

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