The luxury travel business is facing upheaval from a new generation of well-educated, high-demanding travelers as global wealth grows and new inbound and outbound markets emerge. The hospitality sector has been pushed to reconsider both the meaning of luxury and its position as a service a result of this.
This reimagining, according to a new Skift trend analysis, centers around “the 5 C’s of Luxury Travel,” a set of ideas that engage customers emotionally and physically before, during, and after a trip.
Culture, Cuisine, Community, Content, and Customization are not new concepts in luxury travel. To adapt to industry trends and retain brand relevance, Royalty Travel+ is implementing and exploiting each of these C’s in unique ways.
Global travel is fueled by both cultural heritage and local culture. 27 percent of American international visitors consider themselves “sophisticated explorers,” with the desire to learn about new cultures and traditions as their top travel motivator. While overseas, many visitors seek to learn new things and have new experiences. Cultural heritage, performance arts, storytelling, and luxury products that demonstrate distinct traditions and techniques are valued by them.
All visitors require food, but luxury tourists prioritize culinary experiences as a highlight of their trip. Travelers prioritize cuisine in their travel budgets, whether by attending local cooking classes, adopting a culinary experience as a trip theme (as in wine region tourism), or dining at fine restaurants around the world. Local sourcing and sustainability issues add to the appeal of this trip for many vacationers. Consumers are willing to spend more for luxury experiences, but they have high quality and authenticity expectations.
While luxury visitors may not desire group excursions or dormitory accommodations, they do want to be part of a community. Upmarket travel caters to this by incorporating storytelling and community into marketing materials and providing off-site events where customers can opt in to share community with other guests. Travel providers can foster community by hosting a nightly happy hour or offering optional tours managed by the hotel.
Luxury travel features content in the form of marketing materials, web content, and real-time event or trip programs. While busy travelers may like planning, they also desire quick access to activities organized by others. This niche is filled by stand-alone luxury content materials and products, which allow consumers to sample as they like.
Customization, maybe the most important of the 5 C’s, allows luxury travelers to create their own unique travel experiences. The luxury travel business confronts continuing disruption to packaged travel tours, cruises, and other traditional staples, from allowing travelers to select meals to allowing them to purchase day trips to specific areas. Consumers may be happier if they have more options, which is a powerful incentive to encourage repeat business.
Traditional notions of luxury travel are challenged by the growing needs of modern consumers, as the 5 C’s demonstrate. Forward-thinking organizations can stay competitive in their area and accept this transformation by embracing these shifts.