As the world’s ideas of wealth and status change, travelers’ ideas of luxury are changing to match, at least according to a new study from Sabre, which found that high-end travelers increasingly choose subtle indulgence over flashy logos and conspicuous consumption. And similar to what is being observed across other industries and at meetings, luxury travelers are gravitating toward 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 money.
A newly-released report, “The Future of Luxury Travel,” by Sabre Hospitality Solutions in collaboration with TrendWatching reveals five key areas impacting how customers will choose luxury experiences.
“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, VP of global marketing and digital experience at Sabre Hospitality Solutions. “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.”
Each of the five trends have immediate implications for the hospitality industry, showing how luxury brands and innovative startups can attract high-end travelers by providing fresh, unique experiences.
Here are three trends that are highlighted in the report.
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 $808 billion over the next three years. A major driver of this growth will be luxury travelers looking for wellness opportunities.
Those trips could include 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.
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 status.
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.
The full “The Future of Luxury Travel” report full report is available for download here.