Luxury travellers ready to hit the road again: SLH survey

A segment of less risk-averse travellers are continuing to drive pent-up demand for luxury holidays this year, despite ongoing uncertainty over international travel restrictions, according to a recent survey by Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH).

Conducted in partnership with Liz Hall Hotel & Travel Consulting, the survey looked at the current travel sentiments of more than 6,000 members of the luxury brand’s Invited member loyalty programme.

Luxury travellers keen to travel again, with most favouring domestic destinations, finds SLH survey 

The results show a desire to travel this year wherever possible, adapting travel plans to changes in governmental advice, and a preference for smaller hotels where their experience can be managed and customised.

The survey results split the recipients into three groups: the Travel Ready, those who have already booked and even travelled, taking increased safety precautions in their stride; the Travel Reserved, those who are keen to get away but still cautious about potential risk; and the Travel Reluctant who are unlikely to travel until things have returned to ‘normal’.

With over 46 per cent of recipients expecting that they will be in the same position financially next year, it comes as no surprise that over 30 per cent fall into the Travel Reserved group and are currently planning a holiday in 2021.

Short breaks take priority as only six per cent indicate they would reduce spending on short breaks over the next 12 months, with holidays prioritised above personal purchases such as clothes, electronics, furniture and even outings to bars, theatres and restaurants close to home.

Domestic travel takes the limelight, with 61 per cent of global members (44 per cent in Asia) planning to take a staycation, of which 17 per cent plan to do so during 4Q2020.

SLH reservations data for bookings originating from Asia-Pacific since August 1 reflects these numbers, with 93 per cent of reservations for local hotels. International bookings were mainly for 2Q2021 visits, with top destinations being Maldives and the UK. Most are also mindful of travelling safely, with a majority agreeing almost unanimously (93 per cent) to additional health checks at the airport.

In terms of selecting accommodation, over 90 per cent of recipients stated that they would feel most comfortable in a small hotel, while private residences were also popular. Location, flexible booking options and cleanliness were guests’ most important considerations.

Discounts and offers ranked least importantly to SLH guests – 28 per cent are of the view that there should be no discounts at all, with hotels investing in hotel services to ensure guests’ safety at luxury standards instead. In addition to cleanliness-related conditions such as capacity adjustments, accredited Covid-19 certification, enforced social distancing, face masks, guests would favour hotels which can also offer enjoyable activities safely as well as those with an outdoor focus.

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