Exclusive experiences, tailor-made travel and green or responsible travel are the top three trends in the luxury travel sector according to Mintel travel analyst Marloes De Vries, who presented at inVOYAGE 2019 in Monaco this week.
The inVOYAGE audience was given a sneak preview of Mintel’s forthcoming UK luxury travel report, which will be published in November, along with some key stats from the US and China markets.
“Luxury travellers are increasingly looking for exclusive and personalised experiences that have a positive impact on the environment,” said De Vries.
When asked what luxury means when staying in five-star hotels, Mintel’s research revealed that 38% of UK travellers said exclusivity, which ranked second in 2019, up from fifth in 2017.
De Vries said key drivers for exclusive and unique experiences are social media, and growing congestion in popular destinations, which is in turn driving interest in secondary cities – 46% of wealthy UK adults are interested in visiting lesser-known cities.
“It’s becoming less about where do you want to travel, and more about what experience do you want,” said De Vries, adding that there is an opportunity for luxury travel suppliers to bring experiences to the start of the planning and booking process and make search technology more flexible as the destination might not always be leading in the decision.
Exclusive access to local experiences can be also be a USP with Mintel’s research revealing that 52% of wealthy British travellers are interested in hiring a local expert to show the best parts of a holiday destination, 57% of wealthy Canadian travellers agree that some of their best memories when travelling are of their interaction with locals, and 32% of Chinese luxury travellers would pay more for a package tour that includes a visit to a local household.
Personalisation remains a key trend in the luxury travel sector, with luxury hotel operators giving travellers the opportunity to tailor everything from what they want in their mini-bar to which aroma they would like to wake up with in their room, said De Vries.
Sustainability is becoming an increasing concern – 88% of UK business travellers would like to see travel companies prioritise reducing waste and 69% feel bad about the impact on the environment when travelling for business.
Meanwhile, 78% of UK luxury travellers agree that travel companies should add labels/ratings to holidays to show which have less impact on the environment.
“Enriching search technology with environmentally-friendly search criteria and labels help support travellers and businesses to make more sustainable choices,” said De Vries, adding that putting an above average effort into reducing waste and CO2 emissions will result in a competitive advantage for travel companies.