The luxury travel market has undergone much change, and with that has come an issue of definition. The word “luxury” has become so overused that it seems like nearly everything is being promoted as luxury. You’ll be pressed to find any adverts promoting low thread count sheets or plain breakfast toast. Luxury, in some way, has crept into a lot of travel experiences, or at least claims to. The global luxury market will reach EUR 295 billion in revenue by 2020, but what is luxury travel in 2018?
Categories of Luxury TravellersTo help us get a definition of luxury travel, let’s look to Skift, who splits the luxury market into three distinct categories:
Ultra high-net worth luxury travels. These travellers are seeking the best of everything - regardless of cost.
High-net worth travellers who are looking to travel outside of the typical luxury bubble.
Aspirational upscale travellers who are splurging for special occasions.
Rezgo.com further breaks up the Luxury market into demographics in their infographic 'What's Driving Luxury Travel?':
What seems to ring clear through these definitions are the concepts of ‘exclusivity’, ’authenticity’, and ‘scarcity’. When at least some luxury has become affordable, doesn’t that raise the threshold of what it means to be the new luxury?
The lean luxury or “high/low” trend catches on to this, where traditional luxury is mixed with artisanal, craft, DIY and unique local experiences. An example of this is Michelin stars awarded to low cost hawker stalls in Singapore. Thus a luxury experience is not only related to the dollar amount spent on an experience. The most expensive is thus not always the most luxurious.
Some luxury brands are rushing to design the most Instagrammable spaces that may go viral - such as Flamingo Beach in the Netherlands. Others are focusing on offering exclusive perks and access to remote places.
What Opportunities Are Ahead For Luxury Brands?
Are you a luxury brand looking to attract (and get in front of) luxury travellers? Consider the following opportunities to grow in the luxury market.#1. The Art Of Customization
Allowing customers to hyper-personalize their experiences with your brand can help you stand out in the luxury market. This can go as far as room ambiance to selecting a favourite colour of toilet paper, like what’s offered at The VIEW Lugano in Switzerland.
#2. Beyond Regular Dining
Seasonally inspired menus, over-the-top room service and award winning hotel restaurants are one thing. The future of luxury dining may just be in catering to the unexpected. Look to pop-up restaurants, mood-based menus, full personalization and locally-sourced ingredients to something entirely different.
Take the Dans Le Noir? for instance. This London restaurant with the tagline "more than a restaurant, a true human & sensory experience".
#3. Brand Collaborations
Brand collaborations and non-travel luxury brands moving into travel market are also have the potential to fuel growth in 2018. 2017 brought several brand collaborations including British Airways partnering with Liberty of London to offer amenities kits to business class customers. Traditionally non-travel brands have also started realizing the potential of the luxury travel market, for example luxury watchmaker Bulgari, has opened a series of luxury hotels to capitalize on its name and brand recognition.
Luxury travel has gone past dollar amount and into the realm of a complete experience. For Luxury travel providers, the opportunity to branch out and capture a wider segment of the market has never been better.