Thrill seekers splurging on dream holidays are changing the face of the Australian luxury travel market.
The Goldman Group says luxury travel is no longer the reserve of the very wealthy – the luxe travellers of today are younger, more adventurous, travelling with family and travelling more often.
Whether its the frozen climes of Antarctica and Iceland, the unique geology of the Galapagos, the sweeping plains of Mongolia and Botwana or the hot Havana nights of post-Castro Cuba, bookings for boutique experiences are booming.
“We still service top tier clients for whom money is no object; however more and more, we are managing bookings for younger clients who are happy to invest in once-in-a-lifetime experiences before financing children or a mortgage,” said group director Anthony Goldman.
“Families are another luxe travel group growing – especially those seeking new adventures which are both experiential as well as educational.”
The group’s latest survey data shows getting the best out of luxury travel is a top consideration for moneyed visitors, with 86 percent saying they are willing to pay full price if it means getting the best in service and 71 percent saying they expect to spend more on luxury travel this year. Another 73 percent said that once they had experienced five-star travel, it was difficult to scale back.
So, what are the top luxury travel trend forecasts for 2019?
While Australian travellers are always keen to experience ‘the next big thing’, when it comes to luxury travel, big is no longer beautiful.
“Small and intimate is in, and the current view among luxe travellers is ‘good things come in small packages’,” said Mr Goldman.
“This is translating into increased demand for bookings on board smaller cruise ships visiting boutique ports, customised small tours such as those delivered by Abercrombie and Kent, and bespoke experiences such as exclusive openings and private exhibitions.”
Another key trend driven by the emergence of Gen Z in the decision-making process is travelling to Instagram-able destinations to document travel experiences.
The “iGeneration” seeks unusual destinations and active experiences, with their decisions influenced by social media, online reviews, friend recommendations and shares.
“We are increasingly receiving booking requests from Instagram and we sell on the social platform. We receive direct messages from customers saying, ‘I want that’,” said Goldman.
“Hotels are also creating more and more Instagram-able experiences, enabling the capture of special moments to be shared with followers. Instagram as a platform has really influenced the way younger generations research and undertake travel.”
Multi-generational travel is also trending, and families are increasingly seeking immersive cultural experiences, off the beaten path, which deliver authentic connections with locals.