by Peter J. Bates

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's Happening With Today's Traveler? A Six-Month Review...

It is half way through the year, which I find is a good time to reflect on the state of luxury travel and to recalibrate our strategic efforts based on the reality of bookings and trends of the past six months. As luxury travel marketers and advisors, it is vital for us to remain on the pulse of the latest news and trends so I surveyed approximately 50 advisors at the owner or manager level who graciously shared some enlightening feedback about today’s affluent consumer.

Read on for their valuable insights…

What destinations have been the most popular for affluent clients the past six months?

Accordingly to our survey, 70 percent of respondents named Italy as one of the most popular destinations for bookings in the past six months. Whether it’s the amazing cuisine, gorgeous art, or rich culture and history, Italy has broad appeal – and as one respondent stated, consumers have a “constant love affair with Italy.”

There is a wonderful cultural diversity in Europe – where “clients never seem to tire” of the continent. Respondents repeatedly mentioned France and Spain as well as London, where last summer’s Olympics and the upcoming Royal Baby seemed to have raised the city’s profile. Croatia was also listed for its undiscovered appeal. One agency said that a key with Europe is crafting “wow” moments in classic European capitals, which speaks to the continued desire for the treasured experiential and enriching aspects of travel. One respondent did warn, though, that Europe’s popularity could decrease “if air stays at such high levels even for coach.”

South America – particularly Peru, Colombia and Brazil – ranked high for its “perceived value,” “variety,” and because it is “interesting and luxurious.”