Industry Experts Forecast What Luxury Travel Will Look LIke in 2021

Industry Experts Forecast What Luxury Travel Will Look LIke in 2021

This year has brought unprecedented changes to the travel industry. As 2020 comes to an end, key industry players reflect on the unpredictable year behind us and what it means for travel moving forward.

Philippe Zrihen, chief business officer, sbe

Wellness will remain at the forefront of travelers’ priorities: “We’ve noticed a significant rise in request for health and wellness services at our global sbe properties, it is clear that wellness is here to stay and will remain at the forefront of travelers priorities. In an effort to offer a meaningful partnership that aligns with our consumers luxury lifestyle, we partnered with DOGPOUND to curate virtual workout programs by way of one-on-one fitness sessions in the comfort of their sbe hotel rooms.”

Ian Moore, chief commercial officer, VistaJet

Private jet travel will see new entry: “As the number of touchpoints significantly decreases when flying private — 20 interactions as opposed to 700 when flying commercial — the travel industry expects to see an increased number of first-time private flyers looking for more safe and reliable flight solutions with brands of trust. Although currently only around 10% of people who can afford to fly private do, 71% of our new incoming requests at VistaJet are from passengers who have not regularly used business aviation solutions before, which confirms an abundance of new entry into the market.”

Elana Friedman, chief marketing officer at AKA

*please note AKA is an extended stay brand, not a hotel

Longer stays: “With many companies expanding work remote options into 2021 and beyond, we anticipate greater interest in longer stays and predict length of stays will be measured in months, not weeks. At AKA, our average length of stay in Sept 2020 spiked 140% compared to Sept 2019.”

Reservation-only amenities: “Due to the rising importance of privacy, we are likely to see popularity in reservation-only amenity spaces. At AKA, residents have the option to book our shared common areas and amenities, like our a.cinema.”

Fitness center amenity to prevail: “Going into 2021, we predict many people will be hesitant to return to public fitness studios and will opt for virtual workouts or utilizing fully-equipped fitness centers onsite. Our amenity will cater to this demand.”

James Henderson, CEO of  Exclusive Resorts

Longer stays and membership-based travel: “I anticipate an increase in UHNWIs splitting the year between multiple destinations. In fact, stays with Exclusive Resorts lasting 14+ days in 2021 have more than doubled compared to this year, as the flexibility to work/attend school remotely allows for longer trips.”

“With an unprecedented premium on safety and privacy due to COVID, there will also be a rise in private travel via members-only vacation clubs like Exclusive Resorts that offer access to luxurious, private accommodations worldwide. Knowing only our small community of like-minded Members have access to our homes, they travel with peace of mind because their safety is our top priority, allowing them to focus on spending quality time with loved ones.”

Deepak Ohri, CEO of lebua Hotels & Resorts

International hotels will continue to see trend of long-stay visits: “As major companies like Twitter and Facebook have realized that Work-from-Home really does work, we’ll continue to see an increase in long-stay visits to hotels in international destinations post-pandemic when many more employees are no longer tied to a physical office or commuting distance.  International hotels will also be investing in attracting these remote workers with different promotions and packages to incentivize long-stay trips.  Many have already created long-stay packages for their domestic and drive market travelers—lebua is currently offering an extended stay package that includes month-long stay rates and tailored amenities like priority “regular” restaurant reservations onsite, daily breakfasts, increased concierge services and more, in order to accommodate workers schedules and needs.  We predict that hotels will extend these packages as a strategy to bring international travelers back to their properties once the pandemic is over, while workers maintain their flexibility in re-locating for a month or two.”

Theresa van Greunen, assistant vice president, corporate communications, Aqua-Aston Hospitality

Families will seek out residential-style accommodations for their first post-pandemic travels: “2021 will mark the first time many will travel since the onset of the pandemic. We anticipate people will seek out spacious residential-style accommodations in domestic destinations where they can safely reconvene with family, such as the luxurious ESPACIO, The Jewel of Waikiki where each of nine suites occupies a private floor or one of Aqua-Aston’s budget-friendly, condo-resorts throughout Hawaii. Families will also have access to a multitude of outdoor activities in Hawaii’s unparalleled natural setting.”

Will Lucas, founder & CEO of Mint House

Demand for apartment-style short term rentals and contactless accommodations: “Apartment style hotels that offer a true ‘home away from home’ are going to be sought-after as travel resumes. Travelers will seek out amenities and spaces that allow guests to avoid touching anything such as contactless check in/check out, keyless entry, customized groceries waiting in the refrigerator upon arrival, laundry in unit and functional at-home working spaces, etc.”

George Aquino, vice president and managing director, AHC Hospitality

The start of travel’s next “roaring twenties”: “History taught us that societies will always bounce back after a pandemic. The 1918 pandemic and World War I were followed by a decade-long growth in mass consumerism, the Jazz Age and a renaissance in arts, culture and entertainment. Despite the gloomy forecast for our industry, I predict that our industry will recover quickly from COVID and give birth to the Travel Roaring Twenties. People are itching to travel, especially after months of living a sedentary lifestyle. The ramp up to normalcy will be faster than predicted. It won’t take long before social media is flooded with travel and food posts like we’ve never seen before.”

Nadim Barrage, hotel manager at Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach

Demand for multi-room suites and larger accommodations: “During these past few months, we have seen an increased demand for larger accommodations, especially bookings for our oceanfront suites and residences that have larger terraces with an outside sitting area. As guests are looking more to book getaways to spend more time outside their homes, at Conrad Fort Lauderdale, they can enjoy a different, and quite beautiful view from what they usually see.”