There are so many forecasts about the future of luxury travel, yet most track the same trends. Here's Sabre Corporation's take on what's next.
Changes in the world are happening at warp speed, and the expectations of luxury consumers are following suit, according to The Future of Luxury, recently published by Sabre Corporation.
The report notes that smart brands will make a move toward more individualized and transformative forms of luxury in order to appeal to the new consumer ethos of wanting to broaden personal horizons while finding purpose and connection.
Sabre identifies five core trends that luxury purveyors should be paying close attention to — trends that tap into the desires to be unique and to access luxury on one’s own terms.
The five core luxury trends are:
1. The Quintessential Self: “The endless search to realize the idealized version of themselves that they carry around in their head.” Consumers are looking for brands to deliver goods to “help them fulfill their dreams to be better human beings.”
A prime example of a product appealing to this trend is Le Monastere des Augustines, about which we previously wrote. A bit more extravagant is Maverick Helicopter’s Yoga in the Desert. For “just” $3,500, yogis are transported by helicopter from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire State Park for a 75-minute class.
2. No-Frills Chic: Growing numbers of experienced luxury travelers consider themselves post-status, according to the report. They say they are not drawn in by brand prestige, but rather by quality and purpose.
Many luxury travelers “are looking for more subtle indulgence, choosing low-key brands, products and services over showy opulence.” That said, as the report notes, even the display of shunning brands is a status play. It’s just an alternative way of expressing it.
3. Premium Redeemed: “Thanks to an ever-greater awareness of the impact of their actions, many travelers feel increasingly guilty about the negative impact their consumption has on the environment, society and their health.” So, there is a rising demand for luxury products that make the world a better place. The report notes that businesses should be looking at how to make products sustainable and/or how the brand can do social good.
For example, in Nicaragua’s countryside, the not-for-profit American Nicaraguan Foundation runs a luxury resort helping local communities benefit from tourism. Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat is situated on land where slash-and-burn agriculture was previously practiced. According to Sabre’s report, “The aim of the hotel is to educate visitors about its goals of improving local employment, sustainable farming and environmental stewardship.”
4. Extravagance on Demand: “Smart phone-fueled on-demand services have rewired the expectations of customers.” Luxury brands seeking to get a leg up must realize that their consumers expect the benefits of instant access and “will push their on-demand mindset to new highs, and into entirely new domains of consumerism.”
Recharge taps into this trend. The app allows consumers to reserve luxury hotel rooms by the minute. It debuted in New York this spring. The cost of a New York City luxury hotel by the minute: 66 cents to $3. (Doing the math, that’s $40 to $180 per hour).
Blade, an on-demand helicopter service, partnered with Delta Airlines to reduce travel time from JFK Airport to Manhattan. Upon arrival at JFK, an elite service team whisks guests and their luggage to an awaiting chopper, which takes them to Manhattan in ten minutes.
5. Customized: “Many luxury travelers want to construct experiences that align with their unique interests, needs and values.” The report notes expectations around personalization are constantly being heightened online, where it appears everything can be tailored to individual preferences and interests.
Nothing’s more personal than your own DNA. Last year, London-based Travel Unwrapped launched DNA Unwrapped, a series of travel itineraries inspired by the traveler’s genetic code.
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Photo credit: Poolside at Nekupe, a luxury resort helping local communities benefit from tourism. Nekupe Resort