Virtuoso Reports on Luxury Travel

Luxury travel expert Virtuoso has released its annual survey of Virtuoso’s 6,000 member travel advisors in the United States and Canada. This predictive report forecasts luxury travel trends for 2011, based on current and anticipated reservations.

From the most popular destinations to what motivates travelers today, the Virtuoso Luxe Report offers insight to the patterns and decisions of the world’s wealthiest travelers. (The 18 questions and the Virtuoso agents answers follow in full providing a benchmark for readers.)

Virtuoso is a network of 346 independent leisure-focused travel agencies and leverage more than $5.1 billion in annual buying power. Visit www.virtuoso.com.

Motivation: What inspires the affluent to travel and what factors go into their decisions?

1. What are the top reasons your clients are traveling in 2011?
Seeking authentic experiences in new destinations (75 percent)
Rest and relaxation (68 percent)
Spending time with or reconnecting with loved ones (48 percent)
Personal enrichment (43 percent)
Discovering new experiences in previously visited destinations (tied – 24 percent)
Seeking adventure (tied – 24 percent)
 

2. What are the five biggest travel trends you’re observing for 2011?                                                Family and multi-generational travel (63 percent)
Luxury cruises (41.3 percent)
Active or adventure trips (33.2 percent)
Guided or private touring (22.1 percent)
Beach resort stays (19.2 percent)

3. What are the factors your clients consider when choosing a vacation in 2011?
The destination (93 percent)
Value for money paid (79 percent)
Once-in-a-lifetime experiences (57 percent)
The activities available (33 percent)
Price (23 percent)

4. What are the 10 most influential sources of information for your clients’ travel decisions?
Travel consultant’s advice (84.5 percent)
Word-of-mouth from friends or family (74.4 percent)
Travel publications (34.3 percent)
Travel web sites (28 percent)
Travel programs on television (15 percent)
Direct mail travel offers (12.1 percent)
E-mail travel offers (10.6 percent)
Lifestyle publications (9.7 percent)
Social networking sites (7.7 percent)
Print advertisements (3.4 percent)
 

5. Who are your clients most frequent travel companions on leisure trips?
Spouse/Partner (94 percent)
Immediate family (74 percent)
Friends (52 percent)
Extended family (17 percent)
One their own/Solo (9 percent)

6. How many leisure trips do you estimate an average client will book in 2011?
Two (53 percent)
One (19 percent)
Three (18 percent)
Four (7 percent)
Five (2 percent)

7. What is the most popular type of leisure trip your clients are booking for 2011?
International trips, 8 days or longer (57 percent)
International trips, 6-7 days (18 percent)
Domestic trips, 6-7 days (11 percent)
Domestic trips, 3-5 days (5 percent)
Weekend getaways to fly-to destinations (4 percent)
International trips, 3-5 days (3 percent)
Domestic trips, 8 days or longer / Weekend getaways to drive-to destinations (tied – 1 percent)


8. How far in advance are your clients booking their domestic leisure travel?
One to three months prior to the trip (64 percent)
Four to six months prior to the trip (22 percent)
Less than 30 days prior to the trip (12 percent)
Seven to 12 months prior to the trip (2 percent)


9. How far in advance are your clients booking their international leisure travel?
Four to six months prior to the trip (53 percent)
Seven to 12 months prior to the trip (29 percent)
One to three months prior to the trip (16 percent)
More than one year prior to the trip (2 percent)
Less than 30 days prior to the trip (1 percent)
 

10. What are 10 most popular U.S. destinations for 2011?
1. Maui, HI (60.08 percent)
2. New York, NY (56.38 percent)
3. Las Vegas, NV (42.8 percent)
4. Napa Valley/Sonoma, CA (37.45 percent)
5. Orlando, FL (31.69 percent)
6. San Francisco/Bay Area, CA (29.65 percent)
7. Colorado Mountains (25.10 percent)
8. Hawaii’s Big Island (tied – 23.87 percent)
9. Miami/South Beach, FL (tied – 23.87 percent)
10. Kauai, HI (17.70 percent)

11. What are the 10 most popular international destinations for 2011?
1. Italy (74.58 percent)
2. France (40.42 percent)
3. South Africa (34.17 percent)
4. Australia (30.42 percent)
5. Mexico (29.17 percent)
6. England (26.25 percent)
7. Costa Rica (22.92 percent)
8. Turkey (20 percent)
9. Egypt (18.75 percent)
10. Argentina (18.33 percent)

12. What are the 10 most popular “emerging” destinations for 2011?
1. Vietnam (41.77 percent)
2. India (26.16 percent)
3. China (25.74 percent)
4. Galapagos Islands (23.21 percent)
5. Morocco (20.68 percent)
6. Chile (18.99 percent)
7. Abu Dhabi (18.14 percent)
8. Botswana (17.30 percent)
9. Czech Republic (16.88 percent)
10. Jordan (16.88 percent)

13. What are the 10 most popular family travel destinations in 2011?
1. Italy (55.74 percent)
2. England (28.51 percent)
3. Hawaii (28.09 percent)
4. Costa Rica (25.11 percent)
5. Alaska (24.68 percent)
6. South Africa (23.83 percent)
7. Mexico (22.98 percent)
8. Galapagos Islands tied (19.57 percent)
9. Turks and Caicos Islands tied (19.57 percent)
10. Australia / Bahamas tied (18.72 percent)

14. What are the 10 most popular adventure travel destinations in 2011?
1. Costa Rica (40.53 percent)
2. South Africa (32.16 percent)
3. Galapagos Islands (30.84 percent)
4. New Zealand (26.43 percent)
5. Australia (23.35 percent)
6. Alaska tied (21.59 percent)
7. Kenya tied (21.59 percent)
8. Botswana (20.26 percent)
9. Peru (17.18 percent)
10. Colorado Mountains (15.86 percent)

15. What are 10 most popular romantic destinations in 2011?
1. Italy (62.27 percent)
2. French Polynesia (52.27 percent)
3. France (31.82 percent)
4. Maui, HI (30.91 percent)
5. Napa Valley/Sonoma, CA (27.27 percent)
6. St. Lucia (26.82 percent)
7. Fiji (26.36 percent)
8. Seychelles tied (25 percent)
9. St. Barthelme tied (25 percent)
10. Turks and Caicos Islands (23.18 percent)

16. What are the five most popular cruise itineraries for 2011?
1. Mediterranean (74.42 percent)
2. Alaska (55.81 percent)
3. Caribbean (44.65 percent)
4. European River (29.30 percent)
5. Greek Isles (27.44 percent)

Special Requests: What client requests keep Virtuoso travel advisors on their toes?

17. What is the most surprising thing your clients are asking you to book for their vacations?
• Family trips with infants and toddlers. Clients want their bambinos traveling early!
• Unique, hands-on experiences that inspire a personal connection and will build lasting memories: cooking classes; staying in African villages to become part of the culture and community; visiting local schools.
• Villa and apartment rentals for family and friends.
• Private jets for large family groups.
• Adventure activities in multiple destinations during the trip, even for families, such as zip-lining, hiking and bone fishing.

18. What is the most unconventional destination request for family travel?
• African safaris
• Antarctica
• Madagascar
• Hiking in unusual destinations such as Nepal, Bhutan, North Korea, Libya, Lebanon/Syria, and Cyprus
• Round-the-world trips

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