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When I was seven years old, I took a six-month sabbatical. Well, technically, my father took a six-month sabbatical from his job in academia, but he towed the family along for the adventure. We traipsed around Europe in a Volkswagen minibus, the three kids wearing our matching Hush Puppies (very practical) and plastic rain ponchos (très chic), while staying mostly in hotels with the star rating of fleabag.
In that sense, the trip would hardly be considered luxurious by today’s standards. But we are talking about a very different era. While no need to specify the exact year of the trip, let’s just say that our family was way ahead of the sabbatical curve, and that any six-month leave overseas at the time would have been considered quite posh from those on the outside looking in. I always used to complain that I was too young to appreciate the trip, but the fact that I became a travel journalist when I grew up likely belies that gripe.
The rest of the world is finally catching up to the globe-trotting Powells of yore. Family and solo sabbaticals are quickly becoming a thing, particularly at the luxury end of the market. Providing sabbaticals as a benefit is gaining popularity at tech companies that want to tout work-life balance in a highly competitive market.
As Skift contributor Samantha Shankman reports in today’s lead story, that’s good news for travel advisors and high-end tour operators looking for lucrative opportunities to expand their businesses.
— Laura Powell, Skift Luxury Editor
5 Looks at Luxury
The Luxury Sabbatical Trend Looks Built to Last: This is only the beginning of the sabbatical movement — a flash point in which trends in work, mindfulness, technology, and access all come together. Expect high-end consumers to become accustomed to the idea of taking extended leaves with their family at regular intervals, especially as the millennial generation ages.
Can Luxury and Green Travel Comfortably Coexist? As conferences like ILTM get larger — and concepts like luxury and sustainability infiltrate more sectors and price points of the travel industry — it can start to feel like the overuse of these terms is a red flag of sorts.
Accor Sells Half of Its Stake in Huazhu as Chinese Partner Eyes Europe: Has Accor’s partnership with Huazhu worn out its usefulness given the Chinese hotel giant has built a strong positioning in the economy and midscale segments in China? Huazhu now wants to focus on luxury and upper upscale, along with international expansion starting in Europe.
New Chapter Opens for Asia’s Soneva With a More Than $200 Million Investment: Can an independent hotel group with just three properties now survive as the industry keeps consolidating? If the brand is Soneva, yes, and new backing is taking it forward.
Minor International Will Get New Group CEO As Founder Bill Heinecke Plans Succession: Phillip Rajakarier’s biggest achievement is lasting a dozen years with the hugely driven Bill Heinecke, who was once known for short-lived CEOs. Rajakarier earned his stripes well, but if you think Heinecke is retiring — forget it.
Skift Luxury Editor Laura Powell [email@example.com] curates the New Luxury newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday.