Luxury Hospitality is shaking up the codes of its industry with its fresh look and the quality of its productions. In an age of digital technology and the power of social networks, video is playing an increasingly important role in marketing operations in all sectors of activity. The luxury hospitality industry is no exception to this phenomenon, quite the contrary.
Enters, Olivier Le Rü and Dylan Cawte who understood this trend perfectly and did not let the opportunity pass them by when they created Hidden Cliffs – The Luxury Creatives.
Both entrepreneurs explain to us why the luxury hospitality industry should not neglect quality corporate photos and videos; and demonstrate the impact of professional visual assets on a luxury property’s reputation and turnover.
Start of the Interview:
- Could you share your journey and what attracted you both to filmmaking, photography, and luxury marketing in hospitality?
After completing an internship in New York, then working as a marketing director at Urban Adventures in Washington, I -Olivier Le Rü- decided to travel the world in 2018 and later settled in New Zealand, where I met Dylan who is an architect and interior designer, focused in both high-end contemporary architecture and bespoke furniture.
Both having a passion for photography and videography, we noticed a similar aesthetic and approach throughout our work and this pushed us to focus on transforming the principles of premium brand building and visual storytelling into the digital age.
We launched Hidden Cliffs, a boutique creative agency which we designed to be both small enough to care deeply, and large enough to impact highly. We wanted to embody what defines an authentic luxury experience by taking on fewer clients at a time so we can be personally involved every step of the way.
2. What inspired the establishment of your creative agency, and how does it uniquely approach content creation for luxury hotels?
Hidden Cliffs was born in New Zealand based on an observation: the mismatch between the sublime aesthetics of many luxury properties and their inappropriate presentation in the digital space.
Taking our hobby and creative minds to a whole new level, we decided to move forward and offer more demanding productions which allow our team to capture the heart and soul of each property.
3. How does high-end video content contribute to shaping the distinct identity of luxury brands, particularly within the digital landscape of the hospitality industry?
Video marketing has become an undeniable tool for luxury hotels and resorts. It taps into the viewer’s emotions of travel, relaxation, and luxurious eye, thus grabbing the attention of the potential customer more effectively.
Every marketing strategy now needs video content as it gives a brand the credibility it needs in a market where the target demographic is not only very picky but has quick access to an abundance of choice. Today, video is the media with the highest return on investment.
4. Can you provide examples of impactful storytelling and visuals that have elevated the brand identity of luxury hotels you’ve collaborated with?
Our recent work for Hôtel du Castellet, a Relais & Chateaux property located in Provence, France, is a great example. The idea was to capture what makes a romantic summer escape in Provence so special with a couple leading the narrative. The storytelling in this production is all about tying the luxury appeal of a stay there while heavily connecting it to the wider Provence region. From strolling in the streets of a medieval village to smelling fresh lavender or enjoying a romantic wine tasting overlooking vineyards and the Mediterranean sea, throughout the visuals we created, the messaging is clear: Hôtel du Castellet is the perfect place to stay for a romantic escape in Provence.
On the other hand, we had a very different approach and style for the “Beyond Imagination” video for the Bürgenstock Resort in Luzern, Switzerland. The client requested an original video that was exciting, fast paced, with an appeal to different demographics and most importantly with a different style than most other hotel videos. The final product combines the “feel good” and “Beyond Imagination” notions bringing together a video that feels like you have just been caught up in a luxurious and over the top day dream.
5. Balancing artistry with strategic goals is crucial. How do you ensure that visuals not only captivate but also align with a luxury brand’s objectives?
Listening beforehand to our clients needs, and making sure we fully understand each luxury property’s distinct set of brand guidelines allows us to establish a strong storyline and a strategy that fully align and compliment their objectives.
Then we produce content that focuses on bringing life, warmth and flare into the property’s digital assets. We showcase the uniqueness of the hotel or resort through environmental, architectural, cultural and experiential approaches, fusing the different qualities of the property to tell highly compelling destination story.
6. Given the digital age and the prominence of social media, how has the landscape of luxury marketing and content creation evolved, and how do you navigate these changes?
In the age of quick consuming videos and high-tech phone cameras, having a professional photographer or filmmaker with professional equipment makes a world of difference especially in the luxury field where each and every detail needs to be polished to the finest of detail.
As we mentioned, video is now the media with the highest return on investment. Not so long ago hotel videos were far and few between, but now with so many different social media platforms pushing video content to the forefront, hotels and resorts are really starting to understand the immense value of video. Customers are now able to immerse themselves in a hotel before even booking, and this is possible thanks to the video content creation movement.
Staying on top of this movement takes constant learning and innovating. While the digital world and technologies are constantly evolving, we too must evolve with our work to ensure our new and existing clients receive imagery that continuously excites their viewers.
7. What’s your approach to crafting content that is visually stunning yet strategically aligned with a luxury brand’s essence and goals?
We engage with our clients in order to understand their daily operations. Being directly in contact with each of the departments involved allows us to always align our creative process with the brand’s essence.
We then combine a mix of several important elements that all work together in the creation of our visuals: the latest technology, a curated selection of models and outfits, and the environment play an enormous role in creating stunning content.
8. For emerging marketers and creatives aspiring to make their mark in the luxury industry, what advice would you offer based on your experiences?
Developing your own creative style helps differentiate yourself from other agencies, once you have established a good look and feel, stick with it and never stop refining it.
Also, make sure resilience is in your DNA because you will certainly need it. The luxury industry is a very attractive space to work in but can also be very demanding, its not always pretty! Work and ethic dynamics can be very different from one client to the next so adaptability is extremely important as well.
9. Looking to the future, how do you anticipate the evolution of luxury marketing and content creation, and what excites you about it?
The digital age is only at its very beginning so we think the demand for professional content creators will keep rising. Look at TikTok for example, it is still a very new concept and is already leading over other social media platforms, why? Because people can relate to the content faster.
AI will eventually play a big role in the evolution of content creation and hopefully become a great helper during the post production stages. However, we are not too worried by the uprising of this phenomenon as we are convinced a human touch will always play a key role when bringing out any emotional factors as part of a powerful video.
Luxury is all about awaking emotions, especially when it comes to the hospitality and accommodation sectors. A great production makes a huge difference when looking to make a potential client feel special and connected to your location even before they get there.
As we spoke and reviewed the work of Olivier and Dylan, we can tell Hidden Cliffs is one of the top options for an amazing production, from stunning visuals and emotional music and sound effects, they truly reflect what a luxury focused production is. Working with high-end brands, as they mentioned is very demanding, the luxury industry in general demands high standards and Hidden Cliffs achieve them and even more.
Feel free to check more of Hidden Cliffs’ work on www.hiddencliffs.com If you are looking for photo and/or video content for your brand, hotel or real estate, do not hesitate to contact Olivier +1 917 833 5679 and [email protected]
For further entrepreneurial inspiration in the Luxury Industry, make sure you check our Interview with Alexandre Labails, Founder and CEO of Labails Geneve.
Written by Founder & Head Editor, Anton Fernandez.
In collaboration with, Olivier Le Ru & Dylan Cawte. Owners of Hidden Cliffs.