Luxury travel is one of the most robust segments in the travel industry. There are a number of millionaires and the number of affluent households in the US alone is expected to double within the next 6 years. Despite the headlines being made by China in the recent years, Japan, Europe and the US should still dominate the luxury travel segment, at least until the year 2020. Millennails are also growing in their importance to the travel industry, more so when it comes to international travel. This article tries to offer insights into the latest luxury travel trends as they happen.
The Growth of Creative Tourism
Creative tourism tries to direct travelers towards hot new destinations that offer an authentic and engaging experience. Travel helps to provide a relationship with the people who reside in the destination and the way luxury travelers look at travel has been evolving over the years. According to Lhatu Wangchuk, a former UN Ambassador from Bhutan, countries like Bhutan are also high on the list of travelers associated with luxury travel because of their unending search for something unique. Having been isolated for centuries, Bhutan is now experiencing an incredible growth in terms of tourism with brands like Taj and Aman now having properties there. A few other countries found in most luxury travel hot lists include Peru, Columbia, Argentina, Cambodia and Vietnam. Apart from these hot new destinations, luxury travelers now prefer off the beaten path destinations and hyper-personalization that bring them close to new and undiscovered sites instead of those standard packages and vacations. Authentic experiences such as private vacation rentals that leave behind a long lasting impression remain high on their lists as well.
Peer-to-Peer travel has never looked back ever since the holiday home rental platform Airbnb was launched. Although considered to be a major domain for budget travelers, the market has taken over the luxury travel industry in the year 2014. More and more luxury operators are offering exclusive versions of this model, including platforms that connect a select group of travelers to each other. Luxury travelers are also looking for experiences that offer a sense of locality. One of the most unique innovations in this segment was the rise of amateur chefs who arrange meals for guests in their homes. This helps luxury travelers to enjoy an authentic and unique meal as well as engage with the people they’re visiting.
The Age of Impatience
The consumer’s expectation for ease and speed in delivery has risen exponentially ever since the growth of on-demand options. As a result, it is extremely important for retailers (including luxury operators) to deliver their services as seamlessly and quickly as possible. Luxury operators who facilitate value options that make wait times shorter are in high demand as well. Modern day luxury travelers are more than willing to pay a premium for speed and greater convenience. As a result, luxury hotels have introduced schemes like quicker check-ins for preferred customers and amusement parks are offering line-jumping privileges for their luxury travelers.
Younger and more affluent travelers
There has been a major growth in the number of travelers aged in the 20s and 40s. The market for luxury travel among 40 – 55 years has grown exponentially as well. Successful families in their 30s and 40s are now planning adventurous trips with their children so as to allow their kids to enjoy these experiences and not having to give up their own travel freedom either. According to Terrie Hansen, the Senior Vice President (Marketing) at Virtuoso, adventure travel has become much more personal and broader. People are no longer looking at idling around a beach, irrespective of their age group. Some industry forecasters also predict that luxury travelers should begin to choose private vacation rentals over luxury hotels. The main reasons behind this trend are the local flavor as well as spacious and private options that such an arrangement has to offer.
The Introduction of Space Travel
Finally, space travel seems to be more and more closer than most people would like to believe. Virgin Galactic is one of the brands responsible for building space flights and this dream is currently in an advanced phase of flight testing. In fact, more than 500 people have already booked space flight. According to Reuters, space travel should bring in anything between $600 million to $1.6 billion in the first 10 years.