Welcome back to The Deep Dive, a new series from Luxury Society that takes an in-depth look at the big issues and topics affecting the luxury market, and how the industry has responded to them. Through a series of interviews, exclusive data, and market analysis, we hope to provide a comprehensive view of each topic explored, adding to the wider discussions with our own expertise and that of others in the industry.
The second part of our report is a series of interviews with leading experts in different segments of the luxury industry such as Luxury Watches and Jewellery, Retail, Automotive, Media and Advertising and Health and Wellness, each taking a deep dive into the current state of the luxury industry today and where each category is headed. We aim to give our readers a deeper understanding and insight into the trends happening in the market through their eyes.
Our second interview in part two of The Deep Dive features Simone Gibertoni, Chief Executive of Clinique La Prairie, who discusses how the company has adapted to the challenges brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic, why hyper-customisation has become the new standard of luxury in health and wellness and what his outlook is for the year ahead.
When global travel restrictions were put in place last year Clinique La Prairie, like many in its industry, suffered. Around three-quarters of its clients –who were predominately visitors from outside of Europe – were not able to visit. Which meant shifting its focus to more local clients in Europe as well as highlighting its immunity and global health solutions as they become more relevant in the post-pandemic world. Clients, now more than ever, were seeking the long term benefits of a holistic health approach.
“COVID had a very negative effect on us,” said Gibertoni. “We had 97 percent of our clients coming from outside of Switzerland. And 70 percent of our clients were from outside of Europe. So, when COVID hit, we basically had three-quarters of our clients that could not reach us and this lasted for many months.”
So, Gibertoni decided to shift the clinic’s focus to local customers in Switzerland and Europe, who were able to more easily access its services and whose awareness and interest in its holistic approach helped drive demand in the first half of 2021. It was a decision that paid off.
Through an extensive marketing push that involved using its own loyal customers to help promote the clinic to family and friends, leveraging its expert approach in helping people, developing new immunity and wellness programmes to reach new and existing clients, as well as targeted online and offline campaigns, Clinique La Prairie has seen its occupation grow again, and the company can once again tentatively resume its longer-term plans to offer clients its services in global locations around the world like Bangkok and Madrid.
However, while demand remains high at present, Gibertoni remains positively cautious for the coming year. “We are definitely very positive on the second half of the year and the first part of next year,” he said. “But I think for us there is the question mark over the reopening of China, which I don't see coming in the next six months, and perhaps even in the next 12 months. And for a company like ours that relies on providing an experience, we cannot sell the experience, locally to China.”
While its global expansion plans remain in place, what has helped Clinique La Prairie bounce back from the effects of the pandemic, is in fact, the pandemic. Clients, now more than ever, are focused on health and wellness with a longer-term perspective.
“Clients are coming to us with very clear objectives about what they want to achieve, they’re really searching for results. They're really not compromising on the experience that they want,” said Gibertoni.
“People are much more aware of the importance of their health and of check-ups,” he added. “A lot of people were coming to us with the idea of a quick fix, where they would do a wellness-health programme for a week and continue as normal throughout the year. Now, people are beginning to understand the importance of a holistic programme, which is what we have with our Revitalisation programme. Now they are staying in contact with our team and looking for how they can benefit in the long term.”
At a time when one’s health might be the most luxurious thing that money can buy, the wealthy are certainly making use of the very best services that Clinique La Prairie can offer. Beyond its health-wellness programmes like Revitalisation, Master Detox, Better Sleep or Immunity Boost, and its rejuvenation procedures like Beauty Stem Cells, Clinique La Prairie has increased its focus on hyper-customisation for its clients, meaning that when a programme is recommended for a customer, it’s individually personalised because it takes into account their DNA and now also takes into account epigenetic factors like how lifestyle and environment affect how genes express themselves.
“Customers are requesting even deeper customisations than before,” said Gibertoni. “The final objective is to better customise the result that clients want to get from the experience. COVID has also clearly shown how different we are…and therefore how important is to customise the therapies based on genetic and epigenetic markers.”
Looking forward, Gibertoni believes the future of his industry lies on its ability to continue to innovate, either through technology or through health products, as well as a continued holistic approach to wellness that factors in elements like nutrition and epigenetics.
One of the clinic’s latest innovations is what Gibertoni calls a “longevity supplement”, something akin to dietary supplement but with ingredients that are aimed at promoting cellular longevity, rejuvenation, boosting immunity and managing stress and inflammation.
Another is working out which kind of digital technology will enable the clinic to stay connected with its clients, for example, wearables. “This is going to be a big challenge for us in the future because we have to have a tool which really works and that is really used by our clients.”
Whatever the future of health and wellness may look like, what remains certain is that it will be driven by what the client demands. And what the client demands, Clinique La Prairie delivers. “At the end of the day, what our customers want are benefits to their wellbeing, not just during their time at the clinic but when they are back home,” said Gibertoni.
“Our mission is to help people live a longer and better life,” he added. “The best way to do it is to be really at the cutting edge of innovation and offer value for our customers. The idea is to deliver a value that our clients cannot find anywhere else.”