More than nine in ten wealthy travellers plan to use travel advisors for at least some of their holiday bookings over the next year, according to research shared at ILTM Cannes 2022
Rise of the luxury travel advisor
The global flagship event for the ILTM Portfolio brought together over 3,600 luxury travel professionals from 77 countries for a week of dedicated one-to-one meetings as well as an extensive programme of networking events.
ILTM Portfolio Director Alison Gilmore commented on the success of the week’s events: “With ILTM, we bring together an international community, filling Cannes with a celebration of the luxury travel industry. Business went on day and night throughout the week as travel suppliers and buyers connected and forged new relationships, both inside and outside of the Palais des Festivals.”
In collaboration with American Express and luxury research experts Altiant, ILTM released a global industry report entitled ‘BUZZ vs. REALITY – Decoding the luxury travel consumer mindset’.
In highlighting this research, Alison Gilmore commented: “We launched the first part of this research at ILTM Asia Pacific earlier this year and this in this global edition, it was interesting to see that not only are traveller demands higher than ever, but that travel advisors are now often expected to deal with various new responsibilities which they may not have had before. Their expertise is being recognised and advisors are becoming even more integral for the global affluent, with 59 per cent planning to use travel advisors for half or more of their holiday bookings over the next year.”
TRAVEL ADVISORS KEY
According to the recently published research, more than nine in ten wealthy travellers plan to use travel advisors for at least some of their holiday bookings over the next year, with all three regions showing an increasing reliance on them.
Two in five (41 per cent) wealthy Asian and European travellers plan to use travel advisors for more than half of their holiday bookings over the next year, rising to 59 per cent among travellers from the Americas.
Factors such as transparency around cancellations, monitoring Covid statuses and getting hygiene information are new responsibilities that most affluent travellers now expect travel advisors to deal with
Flexibility to adjust to booking changes and being up-to-date on the latest travel rules and regulations are the two main reasons why wealthy travellers plan to use travel advisors.
Factors such as transparency around cancellations, monitoring Covid statuses and getting hygiene information are new responsibilities which most affluent travellers now expect travel advisors to deal with.
Meryam Schneider, Senior VP at Altiant, luxury research specialist says of the research: “For this unique piece of research focused solely on affluent and HNW individuals’ views on luxury travel, we gathered quantifiable data across 14 countries, from affluent and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) across the second half of 2022. As a result, the data became extremely relevant to any organisations targeting luxury travellers. The sample was balanced in age and gender and participating members were exclusively extracted from the top 5 per cent of their country’s income earners or wealth holders, and each of them has been manually validated.”
Gilmore adds: “There has been much discussion over the past three years about which traveller behaviours will now accelerate, which will stabilise, and which will recede. Increasingly, we are moving into a period of much more conscious and considerate tourism. Factors such as wellness, sustainability, philanthropy, and human connection will become more integral as people look to travel ‘better’.”
One of the key findings of the research is that revenge travel is still high on the agenda, with 50 per cent aiming to make up for lost time and 40 per cent focusing on extravagance. Family and multi-generational trips continue to be on the rise with 40 per cent planning to take a family holiday next year.
Planning well in advance is (60 per cent) preferred over last- minute trips (13 per cent). Sustainable/eco-friendly travel is on the rise with 45 per cent planning to take more of these types of trips. Travel spending should rise notably as 57 per cent plan to spend more, with only 10 per cent cutting back.
Domestic holidays dominated over 2021: 91 per cent of the affluent from Europe and the Americas took a trip within their country, while 82 per cent of those from Asia Pacific did so.
City breaks, beach holidays and extended family breaks were the most popular holiday types last year overall, and are projected to remain so over the next 12 months. Boat cruises should see a notable upturn in interest, particularly among wealthy travellers from the Americas.
Many affluent individuals have saved money over the past two years and are now looking to travel in style with more unique and memorable trips (‘revenge travel’). Overall, 57 per cent of the global affluent expect to spend more on holidays than pre-Covid trips, peaking in the Americas at 73 per cent. Only one in ten (10 per cent) expect to cut back.
Half (52 per cent) of affluent individuals say they would prefer five hours more of free time per week, rising to 67 per cent of Germans and 86 per cent of Chinese. The other 48 per cent of the sample favour $800/week extra.
Half (52 per cent) of wealthy global travellers now prefer to spend their money on luxury experiences rather than luxury goods. Around half also have bucket lists of places and experiences which they are trying to complete, and prefer to take holidays with close friends and family since the pandemic.
Three in five (61 per cent) say that health and wellness is now a big factor when planning a trip, while 45 per cent expect to take more sustainable/eco-friendly holidays in the future.
Close family, partners and friends are the most influential people over holiday bookings. Travel advisors still have a key role to play, with two-thirds (65 per cent) saying that a Travel Advisor will be influential.
Health and safety/hygiene of the location is the most influential factor for holiday bookings. Just over half (54 per cent) of the total sample now prioritise this, peaking among wealthy travellers from APAC and the Americas.
Health and safety concerns are also the most likely deterrent to visiting a location or travelling there more (51 per cent), peaking among APAC travellers at 59 per cent.
Holidays booked in advance (60 per cent) and new venues/experiences (56 per cent) are now strongly preferred over trips booked at the last minute (13 per cent) or to previously visited places (20 per cent).Holidays which are taken overseas, last a week or more and are relaxing or ‘slower’ in nature are also all preferred by 50 per cent or more of wealthy global travellers.