Luxury Traveller Tribes
Luxury has become an umbrella term that ignores the nuances and circumstances of its diverse audience. The luxury traveller isn’t a breed or demographic, but rather a set of tribes that share the same motivations and lifestyles. With so many holiday types and experiences that fall under the category of luxury, as a travel agency or travel operator, identifying which luxury traveller tribe you can offer value to is key.
Escapism is the motivation for a diverse audience ranging from Baby Boomers to Gen-Zers who travel to escape the day-to-day. This macro trend has been around for the past decade and it’s here to stay particularly in light of increased luxury long-haul travel. Over the next 10 years, the growth rate in outbound luxury trips is projected at 6.2%, almost a third greater than overall travel (4.8%) (Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel, Future Traveller Tribes 2030). Whilst escapism might have meant travelling in comfort to the most exotic destinations years ago, it’s now more likely to be finding sanctuary in an off-the-grid retreat.
In a world dominated by technology and social media, the refuge of a holiday away from it all is a luxury experience for an audience that is consumed by staying digitally connected constantly. Going incognito may be harder than it seems, especially when once remote destinations too have become connected via wireless internet. The term “digital detox” is coined by luxury travel companies such as Carrier Concierge and Healing Holidays which have found a niche in providing tech-tired travellers personalised escapes from screens and constant communication. Travellers retreat to “black hole resorts” in which they can disappear from the connected world as we know it, and take valuable time out for themselves or with loved ones.
Health and wellbeing has been a trend adopted by the fitness, beauty, and food industries—luxury travel is no exception. From luxury retreats that endorse tuning in with the wilderness and active itineraries in Greece to meditative courses and spa treatments in Thailand, wellbeing has made its place within luxury travel as holidaymakers become more health conscious. Whilst health consciousness was once reserved for Mid-Lifers, it is now being adopted by an increasingly health conscious younger generation of experience seekers.
As a generation who value, and spend more on experiences over material products, Millennials have embraced immersive health conscious experiences. For them, luxury is weaved into their lifestyles. With sunrise yoga, wellness festivals, and the latest health food trends under their belts, Millennials are on the look-out for experiences that are immersive, promise authenticity, and fuel their health driven lifestyles.
The past can be recreated to offer an alluring luxury travel experience. Thanks to films such as Murder on the Orient Express whose worldwide film sales generated close to $200 million last year, luxury rail travel is experiencing a resurgence amongst a nostalgic audience.
Luxury rail travel offers something air travel couldn’t—an experience that transports its passengers not only to a destination, but to another time. The Vence Simlon-Orient-Express heralds a bygone era of luxury, but 2018 also marks the debut of new luxury trains. The Belmond Andean Explorer launches as South America’s first luxury sleeper train, operating in the Peruvian Andes along one of the world’s highest routes. This experiential form of luxury travel is all about indulgence and enjoying the ride, but it shouldn’t only be reserved for a nostalgic audience. In a luxury travel climate that advocates experiences to solo travellers and Millennials, there are numerous opportunities for luxury rail travel to introduce out-of-the-ordinary excursions that generate new appeal.
All about me
The individual takes centre stage as personalisation fulfils a demand for authentic, hands-on experiences. In luxury travel this extends to every detail from customisable toiletries to room ambience and bar snacks—a tailored experience allows travellers to feel involved in the design of their holidays. As affordable luxury rises in prevalence, the boundaries of the industry are being pushed to retain a sense of exclusivity. Offering travellers a highly personalised experience does just that. However, beware that the personalised approach can tread a fine line between thoughtful and invasive. In a world where users are constantly sharing personal details online, privacy can be a gem.
It’s time we refreshed our perspective on luxury travel, its diverse audience, and opportunities within the sector this year
For some it means jet setting across the globe and staying in top room categories, whilst for others it’s an immersive experience that can be SnapChatted and Instagrammed. Luxury travel has come to mean many things to many people. It’s time we refreshed our perspective on luxury travel, its diverse audience, and opportunities within the sector this year.
Consider how your brand communicates luxury. Before your clients even reach their holiday destinations, their experience with your brand begins from the moment they step into store or browse your online channels. Your clients’ luxury experience should extend beyond their holiday—from your print materials and shop fronts to social media channels and website.
Understand who your luxury traveller is. Identifying their motivations and their lifestyles will help you pin-point what kind of holiday they’re looking for—luxury means different things to different people. Breaking down their habits and keeping track of behavioural changes will also help you tweak your value proposition and gain new appeal as new trends emerge over time.
Offer valuable experiences and content. Millennials aren’t the only ones that are constantly looking for new experiences, Mid-Lifers (Older Gen-Xers and younger Baby Boomers) might be ageing but they’re embracing the idea of staying active. Mid-Lifers are embarking on new career paths and new relationships, and as an affluential group they shouldn’t be neglected. Utilising content that motivates, inspires, and creates intrigue can elevate and draw your audience towards the experiences that you can offer them.