New research shows the era of ostentation is over for the luxury traveller – authenticity is the answer
New research revealed today at the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes shows how that the era of ostentation is dead amongst luxury travellers. Instead authenticity, exclusivity and attention to detail are key to keeping the contemporary wealthy happy on their travels.
In a survey of 248 travel suppliers from across the globe who service the needs of the world’s most affluent, 84 per cent agreed that their clients now seek more subtle forms of luxury than the past. Conducted by the Future Foundation, the survey showed that 85 per cent of respondents concurred that there is a major increase in demand for travel experiences that are perceived as more authentic. No longer content to visit the classic haunts of the rich and famous, today’s luxury traveller would prefer to be a trailblazer, albeit in great comfort, and visit new and less discovered destinations.
Founder of ILTM, Serge Dive, stated, ‘The tastes of the very rich don’t stay still, our research shows that the luxury traveller of today doesn’t just want to be pampered – they want a total escape from their highly pressured lives and they want to come back from their holiday having experienced something new.’ The survey showed that 68 per cent of respondents predict that clients would actually like to be amongst the first travellers to visit a destination, and 82 per cent feel they will want to visit more remote destinations in future. Holidays should also enrich, as respondents forecasted a rise in both cultural and educational travel.
The demographics of the luxury traveller are changing too. People are getting richer younger, and they are taking more less formal, but shorter duration trips. The line between business and leisure travel is becoming more blurred, with the effect that access to technology is a must have. Interestingly, despite the shift by the very rich away from the most obvious style of luxury, they do seem to care about the toiletries on offer in their accommodation – in fact 65 per cent surveyed felt that known luxury brands mattered to clients.
Respondents also noted a shift in the way service is delivered – the wealthy traveller now prefers more easy-going and relaxed service, that is intuitive as opposed to obsequious. Likewise the affluent don’t travel with a retinue, most respondents (86%) reported that their clients travelled either without or with just one member of staff.
Though the average spend of clients is US$17,370 for each trip – they still expect value for money and object to paying for extras that they feel should be part and parcel of service for which they have already paid. Likewise airmiles are often cashed in to take flights, even among celebrities and the very wealthy.
Paul Flatters, CEO of Future Foundation who produced the research concluded, ‘What’s clear from the research is that the very wealthy are looking for ultimates in their travels – enriching experiences, exciting locations and superb service. However, there is no simple formula to fulfilling their desires, so the ability to make their very individual wishes come true means success for the luxury travel provider today.’
The International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) is the only global trade show dedicated to the luxury travel. The above survey collated the answers from 248 travel suppliers who attended ILTM in Cannes 2004 and was conducted in last two weeks of November 2005. Exhibitors at ILTM encompass the most exclusive destinations, luxurious accommodation and elite transportation. A full copy of the research findings is available on request.