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This is a Luxury innovation from The 70 Best Trend-Driven Innovations of 2019.


Shangri-La is opening its first standalone dining establishment called Shang Social (香聚) at Singapore’s new Jewel Changi Airport this April. The 220-seater space consists of a bar, restaurant, and marketplace to cater to every dining occasion. The menu is curated by three of the hotel’s highly acclaimed master chefs and pays tribute to three distinctive Chinese cuisines: Cantonese, Huaiyang, and Sichuan. Strategically located at one of the world’s busiest airports, Shangri-La hopes to showcase its Chinese specialities to a global audience.

This fits into a pattern you’ve no doubt spotted! In a world where breweries are launching hotels, while hotels are launching breweries it would appear the grass is looking a heck of a lot greener on the other side. Yet this is bigger than leveraging brand cachet to play in a new space. There are two takeaways that apply to all readers, even if you lack the Shangri-La’s clout:

Atomized experiences. 
Singapore’s tourist numbers hit a record high in 2018 but there’s a problem. Even with the Crazy Rich Asian boost, they aren’t spending more. There are more day-trippers and multi-destination visitors who bundle their trips with Bali or Bintan. Many see Singapore as a transit point rather than a destination and opt for functional accommodation. Shangri-La realized a pre-flight meal is a lower investment than a luxury hotel stay. It allows the brand to reach this growing pool of transient consumers they’d otherwise miss out on. We love seeing how physical resources are sliced and diced (and expectations are endlessly reframed). Consumers used to rent an entire house, now they can rent the pool; restaurateurs used to rent a whole restaurant, now they can rent a kitchen. As Shang Social shows, the same can be done for experiences. Can you atomize your experiences to reach excluded segments?

New playing fields.
Hotels are facing stiff competition in Singapore and many older establishments are revamping their premises to stay ahead. Shangri-La did something different. It stepped outside of its lane and into an adjacent vertical. Okay, moving from hotels to restaurants isn’t that unexpected, but there are other examples to inspire you: Muji’s hotel, Chanel’s arcade, and West Elm’s walking tours to get started. Instead of focusing on the game your competitors are playing, can you leap to an entirely new playing field and win in unexpected verticals?


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