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The Skift New Luxury newsletter is our weekly newsletter focused on the business of selling luxury travel, the people and companies creating and selling experiences, emerging trends, and the changing consumer habits around the sector. We’ll keep in mind the needs of the specialist travel agents who sell these products as well as the sophisticated consumers who shop for them.
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Skift has expanded its scope of coverage into various sectors of travel, and we are now looking at the business of modern luxury travel.
Last week we brought you two stories that looked at luxury from a different angle, and today we’re back with more coverage of the sector, with multiple new original stories, as well as ones from our partners at Jing Daily — leading authorities on the habits of Chinese travelers — as well as Bloomberg (you don’t need to ask).
Two of the stories look at different approaches to getting new consumers acquainted with luxury travel: One selling smaller destinations with excellent products and lower overhead, and the other giving by-the-hour access to people who don’t wish to spend or who don’t choose to book for a full day’s worth of services.
We also bring you a video from our gathering in London earlier this month. The founders of the weekend break bible Mr & Mrs Smith talk boutique hotels, booking channels, and the non-golf habits of romantic country weekend escapes.
— Jason Clampet, Editor-in-Chief
Just like everyone else in the travel industry, luxury hospitality operators are looking to for new markets to explore. In the United States, what’s next is the rise of the second-tier city.
From Cincinnati, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia over to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Oklahoma City, secondary and tertiary cities have gone through a renaissance. As America’s major urban centers become unwieldy and expensive, millennials in particular are surging to these creative hubs where rents are low and job growth is on the rise (businesses also being attracted by real estate prices).
The luxury sector is largely depending on the growth of emerging nations’ middle classes to drive future sales, but a combination of socio-economic factors is expected to slow growth in terms of outbound travel and luxury spend. Sales of luxury goods worldwide grew in 2016, according to new research from Euromonitor International.
But now research suggests that the growth will plateau and even decline in the next five years due to tough global trading environments, political unrest in Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific, and the economic slowdown in Latin America.
VistaJet is now the first international private jet operator that lets clients book flights on WeChat. The company hopes its newly launched service on the mobile platform can replace the convenience of owning or renting a private plane by allowing affluent Chinese consumers to charter a private jet virtually in an instant.
Just when it seemed the brick and mortar travel agency was out of style, old school is making a comeback. It seems that in this day and age of information saturation, growing numbers of people (especially among the millennial set) are craving expert curation and advice as they make their high-end, experiential travel plans.
As the agency world experiences a renaissance of sorts, some innovative players are upping their game by reconceptualizing notions of what a travel storefront should look like.
The guidebook business isn’t much of a standalone one these days, as any publisher will tell you. It takes multiple revenue streams beyond the bookshelf: from licensing to coffee table books to direct bookings.
Mr & Mrs Smith co-founders Tamara Heber-Percy and James Lohan know this last part well. They turned their best-selling hotel guide into a booking site before the publishing side became unsustainable on its own. “Publishing was even tougher and harder than the travel agency business because the books were on a downward trajectory,” Lohan told the audience at Skift Forum Europe earlier this month.
Getting to use a luxury hotel room for just enough time to do what you need to do and get on with your business—that’s a treat that’s only just now available, thanks to a new app called Recharge.
But is there a viable market for renting hotel rooms by the minute instead of hanging out at Starbucks for awhile? There are a few apps trying to find out. Meanwhile, this could be beneficial for some hotels if they can sort through the logistics.
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Photo credit: The Charmant Hotel in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Aparium Hotel Group