Here are a few of the key travel trends I see in the ultra-luxury travel market.
If there’s one over-arching trend, it’s awareness. Awareness of how your travel dollars affect local communities; awareness of how your travel affects the environment; awareness of over-tourism; awareness of travel on your mind and spirit; and awareness of the value of a travel expert like moi!
It’s not a luxury if you’re not awake and mindful of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. The pandemic has woken all of us up and is also changing how we travel.
1 || Secure a professional
You knew this was going to be my first one, eh? The pandemic illuminated the value of a professional. We can make magic happen when there’s no room at the inn when neither love nor lucre will get you a room – because we have personal connections. We have a saying – when you go with the internet, you’re a gambler. Hire an advisor. And hire her early.
2 || Not just a vacation; it’s a lifestyle
Whether it’s The Loft on a Virgin Atlantic flight or the bar at The Edition, the rise of influencers is influencing travel brands. They are expanding how they think about themselves. And offer more intimacy, more high-end design, and more customer service. The mood is young with a unique touch that combines luxury and lifestyle.
3 || Off the beaten track
Before the pandemic, over-tourism topped the charts as a concern for the industry, and with the rise of revenge travel, that’s back. But intelligent travelers avoid the crowds. Think Slovenia instead of Italy. Ecuador instead of Costa Rica. Grenada instead of Jamaica. Northern Finland instead of Iceland. You can even do a mystery trip and go entirely off the grid.
4 || Slow and space
Time is the ultimate luxury because it’s your only non-renewable asset. We will see fewer trips with stops all over Europe and longer trips to just one or two destinations. Why waste your holidays getting from one place to another, especially while hiccups abound in the flight industry? Slow travel offers authentic immersions, days of wandering, hidden gems, and pleasures.
5 || Wellness
We’ll see more than just hotels adding a yoga mat to your room and green juice to the menu. The latest wellness escapes offer not just physical restoration but mental too. You’ll see more farm-to-table food, more spiritual experiences, more nature, and more science-based treatments. And many are now offering pre- and post-trip support to solidify the reset we’re all now craving.
6 || Consciousness
We want to transform ourselves AND others through our travel. That means making mindful choices with our travel dollars. We hire companies with established links to the communities that support conservation and environmental projects and that help local businesses grow. And ensure we empower local artists, craft makers, and designers. Because isn’t that WHY we travel? To immerse ourselves in a different place?
7 || Staycations are Staying
During the pandemic, staycations were the only choice for many in locked down. Rediscovering the places we call home will continue to be a trend because doing so is good for the wallet and the environment. The shutdowns sparked curiosity about adventures closer to home, and that perspective is not going away anytime soon as we will continue to explore fun and renewal nearby.
8 || Hybrid Holidays
It used to be if you wanted fine-dining or wellness or adventure or wildlife or culture, those would be unique and distinct trips. Now, travel suppliers are offering hybrid experiences so that travelers can, for example, go on a luxury safari, relish four-course meals, enjoy a massage under the stars, hear a local storyteller around a campfire, and retire for the night in their tent with en-suite bathtubs – all in the same trip!