|Upchurch: Luxury is about listening and delivering.|
There is a new definition of luxury, says Matthew Upchurch, chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. At a press conference in Las Vegas as part of last month’s Virtuoso Travel Week, Upchurch told members of the media that he defines luxury as “actually having somebody listen to what I want and delivering on that.” Luxury, he says, is now personalized travel and catering to the individual traveler.
In that vein, Virtuoso determined the top six travel trends in luxury travel today. No longer is it enough to travel to the latest, off-the-beaten path destinations. Experiences have to go deeper and appeal to personal interests. Here are the top six travel trends as found by Virtuoso research:
1. Special Interest Travel: Travel is deeply personal. Travelers more than ever can connect to a given destination by exploring their interests.
2. Health and Wellness Travel: Interest in improving health and remaining physically active while on vacation has only continued to increase.
3. “Culture Comes to Life” Experiences: Art, TV, music and books have influenced travel for years, but never before like this. Travelers can now experience the place or time of their favorite artists or characters through exclusive access to unforgettable events.
4. Living Like a Local...Only Better: No one knows how to navigate the places of the world better than a local. City hotels are catering to guests’ adventurous sides and providing them with authentic and localized experiences.
5. Private Residences: In the spirit of living like a local, private residences and villas continue to increase in popularity, with top travel companies enhancing the design, amenities and services of these offerings
6. Destinations Making News...and Why the Time to Go is NOW: Destinations, like Brazil, for example, are starting to show why it is imperative to visit now. Brazil is the home of the 2014 World Cup and is on everyone’s mind. Not only was Rio de Janeiro voted number six in the “Cities That Excite” list from Virtuoso’s “2013 Travel Dreams Survey,” but LATAM Airlines Group is announcing new routes to JFK and Miami by November. We also learned that the country is in the process of eliminating the requirement for U.S. citizens to obtain a visa.