Evolving luxury travellers present opportunity, challenge for travel industry

Micaela Giacobbe

Founder & Director of Commercial Events, Connections

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Amadeus and Connections conducted roundtable workshops with more than 200 executives focused on the luxury travel market for the Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel report. We found that, when it comes to the profiles of luxury travellers, some things have changed and some things have stayed the same.


Ultra-rich travellers in the US and Europe haven’t really been affected by economic turmoil and the industry as a whole hasn’t taken a hit. At the same time, luxury travel is booming in new regions. There are new middle classes emerging in different parts of the world with India being forecasted as the country with the fastest growing outbound luxury travel over the next 15 years.

With these elements in mind, luxury travel providers are changing the way they work to meet the evolving needs of luxury travellers. These days, at the top end of the luxury sector, ultra-rich travellers’ tastes are evolving to the point where they want something that nobody else in the whole world can get at that moment. Forward-thinking travel agents understand this and they work hard to keep their itineraries up-to-the minute.

Luxury travellers expect intuitive service, and some want a travel agent who’s always there at the drop of a hat. However, this is only for “high-touch” travellers. The Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel report also showed the need to serve “low-touch” luxury travellers, who prefer less contact, but still expect flawless service. Technology has been key to innovating for these travellers with improving apps and technology in hotels that monitors guests’ movements and anticipates what they will need next – without asking.

When we ask travellers what luxury means to them, more and more of them come back with the same answer: time. Imagine what a tall order that is for the luxury industry – how do you give people more time? Of the six Luxury Traveller Tribes from the report, I identify most with the Cash-Rich, Time-Poor tribe. The time I get to spend with my daughters is extremely important, and I want to do what I can to make sure it’s special. I’m sure other travellers that fit within this tribe have a similar sentiment. The challenge for the travel industry is how they can balance time constraints with the delivery of exceptional experiences.

To find out more about the luxury travellers of the future – be sure to download a copy of the report here. You can also visit the Connections website to see how we bring handpicked leaders from the luxury travel industry together to do business and discuss the trends and challenges facing the marketplace.


Guest Post, Research