As countries reopen their borders and international air travel resumes, pent-up demand for hard-earned vacations is driving new luxury travel trends. Travel advisors and experts from the Global Travel Collection (GTC) recently shared key insights from travel bookings at “Elevate,” the international virtual conference and trade show that brought together luxury travel advisors with 300 of the industry’s leading luxury travel suppliers.
Travel advisors from All Star Travel Group, Andrew Harper, Colletts Travel, In The Know Experiences, Protravel International, R. Crusoe & Son and Tzell Travel Group, along with advisors from ALTOUR, a sister company of GTC at Internova Travel Group, comprise the largest selling force for luxury travel.
Luxury Travel Planning
- Luxury is being redefined. Luxury travel advisor Maya George of Tzell Travel Group notes luxury travel is now more than expensive five-star hotels and first-class flights. It’s the total package from beginning to end, and the connections made through the travel experience.
- Planning for travel is now done farther out. Tiffany Bowne of All Star Travel Group shares that she’s already booking summer and fall 2022 trips for clients, many of whom are also using a travel advisor for the first time. They’re also booking multiple luxury trips at a time.
- Travelers are spending more. It’s been almost two years since some clients have taken a trip, said Scott Davis of ALTOUR, so they’re willing to pay more for their next vacation.
- Brazil is trending worldwide, according to Wagner Barros of Colletts Travel. “Some places in Brazil remind travelers of the Maldives,” he says.
- Exotic, far-off destinations are still in demand. Travelers are traveling to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for sports fishing, said luxury travel advisor Paulette Darensburg of Protravel International. Maya George adds, there’s also a huge buzz around Zanzibar and Roatan, Honduras.
- Travelers still flock to the Caribbean and Mexico for privacy. Amy Blackenship of ALTOUR explains that private villas are plentiful here, and these destinations are reached easily by private air.
- Safety and ease of entry are paramount. Luxury travel advisor Leslie Tillem of Tzell Travel Group says clients are constantly asking questions about travel requirements and health and safety protocols. This is expected to continue well into the next few years.
- People want something different. Lily Szemplinski of In The Know Experiences shares clients want all the details of their trips taken care of so they can seek out new experiences that are inspiring and enlightening.
- Luxury travel is evolving in ways that connect people with luxury products. Kamala Cummings of In The Know Experiences notes her clients are looking at travel as a means to rejuvenate their souls. They’re seeking experiences and accommodations that are infused with gastronomy, art and fashion.
- Luxury travelers are also seeking sustainability. Wagner Barros continues this is a trend that is going to stay as clients are increasingly asking for eco-friendly hotels and operators.
- Luxury is not necessarily opulent hotels anymore. It is becoming more experiential and cultural, based within offerings at a property and within the destination itself, shares Stephen Scott, Protravel International.
- Small boutique resorts and villas offer an ideal escape. Small boutique resorts and villas are the most sought-after accommodations, along with private yachts, notes Linda Seargent of Tzell Travel Group. Travelers want access to resort amenities but with the private space.
- Domestically, luxury clients are looking for properties outside of major cities. What the pandemic has shown is we need more hotels in these areas, shares Ashley Les of Protravel International.
- Space travel is piquing interest. Greg Kiep of Protravel International notes space travel is something that, though still new to the luxury travel space, will continue to gain interest over the next five years.
- More are opting for trains over flights. Quality alone time is underestimated, says Maya George. Some travelers are preferring to take longer routes or different methods of travel, such as long, scenic train rides, to get away.
- Cruising makes a big comeback. There is heightened interest in luxury river cruising, particularly in Europe, for 2022 and 2023, comments Paulette Darensburg. World cruises are selling out in record time, notes Scott Davis.
“Our travel advisors are trusted counsellors with insider knowledge of emerging trends in the luxury travel space, and they know how to deliver these experiences to their clients seamlessly,” said Angie Licea, President of Global Travel Collection. “They are becoming more of a concierge with their service levels. For the ultra-luxury clientele, these travel advisors travel with their clients to ensure everything is done correctly. They look after their travelers every step of the way, saving clients the time and hassle of having to make any necessary changes to their itinerary on their own.”