As the world’s ideas of wealth and status change, travelers’ ideas of luxury are changing to match, according to a new report from Sabre Hospitality Solutions. High-end travelers increasingly choose subtle indulgence over flashy logos and conspicuous consumption. And they’re gravitating toward travel that enables them to live out their personal values and fulfill their dreams through exclusive experiences.
In this new landscape, “luxury travel” can mean flying by helicopter to a remote desert peak for an exclusive yoga class. Or, it could mean passing up the comfort of a resort stay for a once-in-a-lifetime dive to the wreck of the Titanic – a “vacation” that requires specialized training in addition to the ultra-premium price.
A newly-released report, The Future of Luxury Travel, by Sabre in collaboration with TrendWatching reveals five key areas impacting how customers will choose luxury accommodations and experiences in the years ahead.
“The evolution of high-end travel is creating a marketplace where ‘luxury’ is defined by the most exclusive, unique experiences that reside at the intersection of affluence and access,” said Sarah Kennedy Ellis, vice president of global marketing and digital experience at Sabre, in a written release. “We see guests moving beyond traditional ideas of status and embracing highly-bespoke travel opportunities that focus more on the individual traveler’s personality and values and less about expressing opulence.”
The five key trends are:
Luxury drives growth in wellness tourism: According to figures from the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness tourism segment is expected to grow by over 37 percent to USD $808 billion over the next three years. A major driver of this growth will be luxury travelers looking for opportunities to better themselves. Those trips could include rare and highly-shareable moments like the exclusive Museum Workout at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – a 45-minute exercise session and tour held before the gallery opens to the general public.
Low-key luxury: Increasingly, luxury travelers identify themselves as “post-status” – choosing subtle indulgence over prominent logos and showy opulence. The “no-frills chic” phenomenon sees travelers choosing travel that contrasts with traditional luxury – which, itself, is a new way of showing off one’s status by defying convention.
Indulgence without guilt: Another factor driving consumer choice is a desire for guilt-free luxury. The Future of Luxury Travel report cites examples of emerging high-end products and services whose selling points include positive environmental or social impact. From ice cream made from fruit that would otherwise have been sent to a landfill, to lab-grown gems that offer an ethical alternative to diamond mining, wealthy consumers are choosing luxury products that help make the world a better place.
Extravagance on demand: While on-demand services have always been a part of the luxury experience, a new wave of startups – from laundry services to taxis to manicures – have made on-demand products available to the masses. This trend is pushing luxury consumers to take their on-demand mindset to new heights, moving from on-demand functionality and towards on-demand extravagance.
Bespoke = Brilliant: Customized and co-created experiences help luxury travelers tell cachet-building stories, but, increasingly, luxury travelers are looking to construct experiences that align with their unique interests, needs and values, eschewing a “one size fits all” approach.