The Future of Luxury Travel Trends 2018
Immersive, authentic experiences have been the talk of the industry for the some time now. Whilst this macro trend is applicable to most travellers, it is particularly prevalent amongst luxury travellers. Luxury travellers embarking on exotic international trips of two weeks or longer are seeking off-the-beaten-track destinations. They desire to experience the true culture of an area by engaging with locals and wandering neighbourhoods… to discover their own version… and we expect to see travel brands enticing luxury travellers by enabling them to co-design their experiences.
Self-discovery through mindfulness and wellness
Mindfulness & Wellness….it appears they are here to stay. Health-conscious travel has never been so popular with 31% of people increasing their travel budgets because they increasingly recognise its importance for their health and well-being (TripAdvisor study). Luxury travel is also now being associated with ‘remoteness and disconnectivity’ as high end consumers seek to add self-discovery to their shopping basket. To that end Airbnb predicts that non-urban apartments will be a big trend in 2018, with bookings of nature lodges now up 700 per cent and RVs reaching 133 per cent.
Luxury that makes the world a better place
Luxury travellers have totally disrupted traditional travel demographics as they have transformed the who, where and when of travel. With that being said, millennials and their values are still the key drivers of the trends within this sector meaning that you cannot overlook the importance of sustainability. The trend ‘sustainable luxury’ or ‘guilt-free luxury’ was once an oxymoron but the luxury travel industry has embraced the need for change and innovated to the point that a lot of operators now believe that the more sustainable they are, the more luxurious they are. Lonely Planet recently spoke of the new “Palau Pledge,” a compulsory oath that tourists must sign upon entering the Pacific-island nation, ensuring that they will “act in a responsible way to protect its natural and cultural heritage for future generations.” We are set to see more of this in 2018.
In 2017 we witnessed a variety of exciting brand collaborations. British Airways partnered with Liberty of London to offer amenity kits to business class customers and United Airways collaborated with Saks to launch the Polaris cabin, where premium passengers are made to feel at home with custom-made Saks’ bedding, including pyjamas and slippers. Collaborations are far from being a new way of reaching customers, but it continues to present exciting opportunities for luxury brands.
The trends that are disrupting the luxury travel market are a reflection of the ever-changing customer wants and expectations in their world. At Underscore we can’t wait to see how luxury travel brands will adapt to reflect the opportunities these trends create in 2018.