It’s great to see robust signs of recovery in travel. There is clearly pent-up demand. And specifically, for luxury travel.
As an example, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, which opened during the pandemic, performed really well within its first three months of opening; The Ritz-Carlton Nanjing achieved an occupancy of 60% in its first month, and The Edition Sanya is seeing revenues that are higher than in the same period of 2019.
The pandemic has accelerated shifts in consumer preferences, and affluent travellers are reassessing travel. We see three key trends emerging:
Experiences are prioritized over tangible, material purchases
People across the world are becoming more thoughtful and intentional. We are more focused on wellbeing, the environment, quality time with family and friends is a priority, and experiencing luxury travel is more important to many than another luxury purchase.
Purposeful travel is gaining momentum and travellers want to positively impact the people and communities they visit. We launched Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy earlier this year with this demand in mind. This exciting program provides guests the opportunity to connect positively with local communities and the environment. Guests can learn about coral preservation at The Ritz-Carlton Okinawa or visit a pioneering special education school near The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Shanghai Pudong.
Wellness is the new luxury
The desire for relaxation is driving wellness travel. In pursuit of improving mental and physical well-being, travellers are reframing their travel plans.
Recent research tells us that three out of four travellers are planning their travel around relieving stress. There is increased demand for slow travel. Rather than a fleeting visit, many travellers want to slow down and really connect with their surroundings. Many are looking to retreats and off-the-beaten-track destinations to recharge.
We predict wellness to be the new luxury, with curated experiences that cater to these evolving demands. From W Hotel’s mantra of ‘retox, detox, repeat’, Westin’s pillars of well-being, to the JW Marriott’s holistic wellness programs, our brands allow guests to maintain their wellness rituals while travelling.
A recent study revealed 71% would pay more for brands and products that enable personalization and customization. With 24 distinct brands across Asia Pacific, we tailor personalized experiences for every guest. The St. Regis Butler service has remained a signature offering for more than a century, a luxurious anticipatory service that caters to our discerning guests’ unique preferences. The Ritz-Carlton’s “A Gift Like No Other” campaign highlights curated, personal experiences and the creation of indelible memories. In Asia, industry players increasingly recognize the desire for curated and intimate travel with immersive experiences.
Powerful cohorts like Gen Zs are looking for fuss-free digitized experiences. We have curated seamless digital journeys through our Marriott Bonvoy app upgrades, which also features mobile keys and the ability to request services and amenities via chat and mobile requests anytime and anywhere.
We believe that the future of luxury travel will focus on empathy, warmth, highly personalized, anticipatory service and emotional connections. 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.
This article is contributed by Bart Buiring, chief sales and marketing officer, Marriott International – Asia Pacific.