According to the latest Virtuoso Luxe Report, globetrotters are seizing the day and prioritising trips — powered by the belief that customised experiences are the best investment of their money and time.
The latest report by global luxury travel network Virtuoso annually surveys its travel agency members and advisor sales force across 50 countries to predict what lies ahead in the coming year. In its most recent release, it states that carpe diem travel is fuelling the desire to savour as many new destinations and experiences as possible in more authentic ways.
Virtuoso Luxe Report has reported six trends highlighting how upscale globetrotters continue to assert their influence in the travel industry for 2020:
Untouristed and unexpected
With some favourite destinations seeing an untenable rise in demand, the well-travelled luxury set is seeking remote, unspoiled destinations to avoid crowds at over-touristed locales. Virtuoso advisors report a rise in requests for places ranging from the culturally distinct to those steeped in nature, including Borneo, Greenland, and Oman.
Travellers are heeding the advice of well-informed Virtuoso advisors, who encourage clients to explore multiple countries, even during shorter journeys. Trips that mix locales are trending, especially ones with surprising combinations. Travellers may pair a ski adventure with a beach finale, or a city stay with a jungle adventure, or a well-travelled place followed by a little-known spot to mingle with locals. The focus is on varied experiences that enrich the trip with each stop.
Culinary travel has transcended ‘trend’ to become its own niche, with amazing food and drink now considered essential to any trip. Cooking classes, eating in private homes, Michelin-starred restaurants, farm-to-table visits, truffle hunting – culinary experiences are as varied as travellers themselves, and allow foodies to go beyond a seat at the table. Dining has become such a focus that some travellers are requesting restaurant reservations at the same time they book their flights – sometimes even before.
Travel unites those who share common interests, and Virtuoso advisors say clients want to connect with like-minded people. Gen X-ers, Boomers and even Matures are travelling to bond with friends and others who share their passions or are at the same life stage. Women’s travel is on the rise as well, including soft adventure trips and affluent girl getaways to unplug, relax and play. Groups of couples are also travelling together, including buddymoons, where newlyweds bring pals along for the fun.
Today’s traveller is seeking more profound experiences leading to increased emotional intelligence. Pushing beyond their comfort zone combined with genuine interaction among locals provides travellers with a deeper appreciation for the people and cultures they encounter.
Foregoing the usual attractions, Virtuoso clients are instead opting to tap into their passions, such as a tasting with the owner of a local winery, a motorcycle tour or a personal shopper to guide them through the latest pop-up stores. They also want accommodations that reflect the destination – inns full of character, small neighbourhood hotels, and private homes.
Enjoying the journey
Embracing the philosophy that the journey is half the fun, upscale voyagers are using exclusive services including meet-and-greets planeside to avoid the stress of changing terminals, locating gates, or waiting in customs lines. The Private Suite at Los Angeles International Airport offers a members-only terminal where travellers are escorted through TSA screenings, driven to and from aircraft in BMWs, and provided a room to relax in between flights.
A total of 1,300 travel advisors from Virtuoso-affiliated agencies in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and the Middle East took the Luxe Report survey, drawing on their extensive knowledge, professional experience and client requests to offer insight into 2020’s top trends.