Virtuoso released its annual Luxe Report, predicting emerging trends, motivators and destinations for travel in 2019. Based on a survey of 1,071 of its travel advisors, the report identified personalization as the overarching theme, a trend it split into five parts: motivation, transportation, accommodation, recreation and conservation.
With the pervasive presence of social media, Virtuoso’s travel agents reported that their clients are increasingly looking to take the best photos. Aside from just searching out the most beautiful backdrops travelers are now requesting on-site photography sessions and advisors are arranging for themed photoshoots, such as traditional geisha attire in Kyoto or ball gowns in Venice.
Luxury travelers are also looking for personalized travel, requesting VIP airport arrival services and private helicopter transfers to and from the airport. While at their destinations, they are now asking for unconventional accommodations, like an igloo in Norway or a tent in the Moroccan desert.
Virtuoso’s travel agents reported an increasing desire to explore their passions through bucket-list experiences. Sports enthusiasts are seeking out the Olympics, Super Bowl and Wimbledon, shoppers are requesting appointments at high-end stores to buy signature items and music lovers are planning trips to summer festivals and concerts.
Travelers are looking more into humane animal-related experiences. Some want to visit animal protection facilities to observe wild animals while others search out direct interaction with activities like dog sledding in the North Pole or a visit to the Giraffe House in Nairobi.
The Luxe Report also identified Japan is number one emerging destination for the first time, followed by Croatia, Iceland, Portugal and Egypt. Italy topped the list of overall global destinations, with France, South Africa, the United States and Iceland behind it.