Pandemic shifts luxury travel consumers’ mindsets and behaviours: ILTM

Advance planning, slower holidays, experiential travel, wellness breaks and eco-friendly experiences are some of the considerations that luxury travellers in Asia-Pacific (APAC) have, according to the latest survey ILTM conducted in collaboration with affluent research specialist Altiant.

The research surveyed some 500 validated wealthy APAC travellers from six countries – Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea.

The ILTM opening cocktail party was held at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore (Photo: Rachel AJ Lee)

Here are eight key findings:

1. Travel agents will continue to play a critical role in holiday bookings as 92% of affluent APAC individuals plan to use them over the next year. 86% plan to use them the same or more than they did since the start of the pandemic, reflecting the importance of having some expertise to help plan stress-free trips. The fact that two-thirds (65%) say that an agent will be influential when booking holidays over the next 12 months underlines their enduring importance.

2. Many affluent individuals are looking to resume travelling in style. Almost half (48%) plan to spend more on holidays than pre-Covid trips, while only 16% expect to cut back.

3. Spontaneity is becoming less common, with advance planning preferred by many. Holidays booked in advance (62%) and relaxing/slow holidays (61%) are now strongly preferred over last-minute bookings and more active trips.

4. Wealthy APAC travellers are also increasingly looking to fly less often/stay longer (50%) and take holidays that last longer than a week (45%). In terms of deterrents, health and safety concerns (59%) lead the way, showing that for many travellers, Covid-19 remains an ongoing preoccupation.

5. Despite domestic and regional trips being the most popular options for many wealthy travellers over the past year, there is a cohort that is already travelling further afield, with trips to see family members being one of the main motivations. However, ongoing concerns about Covid-19 and sudden changes such as outbreaks mean that some will remain anxious about venturing too far. Health and safety (59%) remains the leading factor influencing both the last and next booking choices.

6. Beach holidays (48%) are the most popular planned holiday type over the next year. This is followed closely by city breaks (43%), signalling a returning willingness to mix. Extended family trips (38%) are still popular, while 61% say that health and wellness is also now a big factor when planning a trip.

7. Around half of wealthy APAC travellers prefer luxury experiences over goods, with a similar share having bucket lists of places and experiences that they are trying to complete. Overall, around half say they would prefer more free time rather than a little extra money, but this rises to 86% in China.

8. Close family, partners and friends have the most influence over holiday bookings, while two-thirds (65%) say that a travel agent will be influential over the next 12 months.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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