Luxury travellers desire the meaningful and memorable

Bart Buiring, chief sales and marketing officer – Asia Pacific for Marriott International, explores how expectations from luxury travellers are quickly evolving

Around the world the desire to travel is palpable. Research from McKinsey puts travel as the most desired activity by consumers right now, just behind eating out. And the prediction is that luxury travel will lead the way.

We see this manifest itself in markets that are normalising, such as China and the Maldives. A recent American Express poll of global travellers notes that 61 per cent plan to spend more than they usually would, while online trends show searches for “luxury hotels” are at their highest level since before 2006.

We see two key trends that will define the future of luxury travel experiences. These will require travel service providers to rethink and continually innovate offerings and capabilities.

Purposeful luxury is increasingly top of mind
The 2021 Global Affluent Tribe Study by Team One suggests that modern luxury should be understated, less formal, and more meaningful. The “global affluent” is seeking more rewarding and purposeful luxury experiences. Seventy per cent of respondents feel travelling sustainably enhances the leisure experience. The desire for meaningful vacations means luxury travellers are seeking to positively impact the people and communities they visit. To connect with the pursuit of purposeful experiences, Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy was launched recently and provides guests the opportunity to connect with local communities to create a lasting positive impact and indelible memories.

Hyper-personalisation coupled with well-being continues to be a strong focus
The quest for luxury continues to drive hyper-personalised, curated, and intimate travel experiences. Seventy-one per cent of luxury travellers desire more personalisation and customisation. This is even stronger in Asia with China at 91 per cent and India at 92 per cent. With a “buy fewer, buy finer” mindset, luxury travellers are now prioritising values like privacy, well-being, and family. We predict wellness to be the new luxury, as our research shows that three out of four travellers intend to travel to enhance well-being and reconnect with the world. Expect a spike in longer stays, exploration of emerging domestic and regional destinations, and spiritual retreats.

We believe that the future of luxury travel will focus on empathy, warmth, highly personalised, anticipatory service and emotional connections. To continue to spark wanderlust, The Ritz-Carlton recently revealed its A Gift Like No Other campaign in Asia Pacific. Through this campaign, we encourage travellers to journey to less-travelled destinations, delight in friends’ and family celebrations, enjoy spiritual wellness or simply give back.

As we look to the future, the desire to travel and explore the world will be stronger than ever, and help us all rediscover what truly matters in life.

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