Travel and tourism, research and design experts Resonance Consultancy has identified 10 high-level trends that reflect experiences and habits shaping the travel experience at the high end in the U.S. and around the world.
1. Well, Well, Well
Once, there was a world without wellness; now it’s ubiquitous. Today, ‘Well-being’, a word that includes health, comfort and happiness, is the next addition to the vocabulary of health – and to the aspirations of luxury travelers.
2. Travel as Transformation
Experiences can only be deemed ‘transformative’ if they have the power to change you. But for the highly evolved species that is the luxury traveler, who has seen and done much, can transformation only come from an out-of-this-world experience?
3. Art is the New Food
Food was once a quintessential expression of local, a placemaking tool, a destination-maker, and a refuge for connoisseurs and the curious. Today, art is the new food. And travelers, wealthy and otherwise, are developing a taste for it.
4. Hospitality’s Asian Turn
As Asian hospitality interests look overseas for growth and aggressively buy up western brands, they’re targeting wealthy travelers from around the world. But they’re also looking ahead to providing accommodation for the ever-growing numbers of Asian leisure and business travelers.
5. Togethering is Everything
Multi-generational travel has been the biggest trend in tourism for more than five years. Now it’s changing the configuration of resort and second home destinations as the wealthy demand ever-larger lodgings to accommodate extended families and friends – and sometimes, entire communities.
6. Unreal Real Estate
Ownership of a vacation home, or many homes, has always been one of the most desirable luxuries for the wealthy. But today, technology is changing the way the affluent access, use and buy – or don’t buy – vacation properties around the world.
7. Warm is the New Cool
Hospitality design once placed wealthy travelers in an opulent bubble. Then came contemporary interiors, with their rarified materials and clean, hard edges. Now, luxury has warmed up to its surroundings and opened up to the out of doors. But the wow remains.
8. Athletic Pursuits
As extreme athletics take the place of golf as the go-to pass time for a new generation of executives, destinations and hospitality providers have new opportunities to attract a wealthy demographic that will go anywhere and spend what it costs to maximize their fitness and improve their results.
9. Trip. Advisers.
Luxury travelers want curators, not clerks; they seek connoisseur-level experts who cultivate relationships and deep knowledge of individual needs in order to assemble experiences as unique as the people who will enjoy them. The advisers who will flourish in the future are those who can combine the human element with innovative uses of technology.
10. High Flyers
It used to be that a vacation didn’t really start until travelers had checked into the hotel, found a quiet spot by the pool and taken that first sip of wine. But for wealthy, experience-seeking travelers, carriers are making the getaway begin before the plane even takes off. And in a world where flying is drudgery, the journey is once again becoming as memorable as the destination.
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