Affluent travelers can define luxury travel in many ways. One person’s definition of luxury may be a five-star hotel, while another’s might be an exclusive once-in-a-lifetime trip. Regardless of how affluent travellers define it, they expect to be pampered and treated like royalty when traveling abroad.
Increasingly, luxury travel is defined by experiences that offer an opportunity for the client to learn or do something new and different. This can be anything from blending your own wine in Argentina to a guided walking safari with an expert naturalist in Botswana. Moreover, the client is willing to pay for this type of experience because it adds value to their trip and makes them feel special.
This reprioritization is due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic and has ushered in a new era of luxury travel that isn’t just about over-the-top extravagance. For luxury travelers, there is renewed interest in authentic experiences, wellness incorporated into itineraries and climate-conscious options.
Azamara Cruises’ Larry Pimentel looks to professional polls and studies to determine what luxury clients want when traveling abroad. He notes that today’s affluent traveler isn’t the classic image of a free-spending millionaire—like Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island—instead they have a “broader middle-class sensibility.”
Additionally, high-end clients are interested in incorporating luxury trains and cruises into their broader private tours. This is evident in the growth of Vietnam’s Viettage train between Danang and Quy Nhon, which offers semi-private seating areas for clients, three-course gourmet meals served in your seat, and overnight hotel accommodations included in the tour. Likewise, Rocky Mountaineer is seeing an increase in interest for its two-day train journey across the ‘-stans’ which includes lunch and dinner onboard, WiFi, and head and neck massages.