Tammy Smulders, managing partner for leading trend analyst agency Havas LuxHub & SCB Partners, says while much attention being paid to ‘Millennials’ [those born in the 1980s to 2000s], it is actually Generations X and Y, in their role as ‘Globizens’, who are energising change in the world of luxury travel.
Typically aged 35-50, Globizens are in their peak earning years, she says. Many are single, couples or have young families. These social, political, and business leaders have become experts in the art of living.
Hardworking jetsetters, they share a passion for success and a hunger to live life to its fullest. They share experiences personally and digitally.
Most importantly, for Globizens, travel has become a way of life – for business and pleasure, and they are the new authorities on luxury travel.For Globizens, luxury is experience-based, and 360-degree experiences at that. They define themselves by their ‘story’, which they share online or in person, with friends.
Globizens are always online. They have an incessant desire to share, whether by Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – online profiles are a self-curated exhibition of their life. Equally, they have high expectations.
They are the most sophisticated and demanding generation we have seen – far more so than either Boomers [born between 1946 and 1964] or Millennials.
Here are nine reasons Globizens are changing the meaning of luxury travel…
- MID-LIFE GAP YEAR: After 15 to 20 years of working, Globizens are increasingly taking a year out to reassess their career goals and enjoy what they have achieved so far. This mid-life gap year means a year of travelling in luxury. How they spend their time includes visiting friends in different cities, going to extreme parts of the world, or undertaking charity works internationally. These are undertaken as singles, couples or young pre-school family.
- SABBATICALS: For those Globizens who do not have time to take a full-year off work, sabbaticals are the short terms answer. Sabbaticals may be one to three months spent in extended executive education, TedX at luxury resorts, learning a new language, or learning to cook. Hotel groups and airlines will increasingly develop programmes for Globizens looking for fulfilment for an extended holiday period.
- GOING NATIVE: Globizens often want to feel like a local, creating a residential experience. While luxury apartment rental services such as Airbnb and OneFineStay are taking off, luxury hotels and concierge services are doing more to create an authentic, local experience and make recommendations of local coffee shops or designer boutiques. Equally, living room and library spaces in hotels are becoming more common, as are minibars filled with local delights.
- TOTALLY MOBILISED: Globizens live on their mobiles and tablets. Always on the go, the Globizen wants to travel light. All reading material, including newspapers, books and magazines are consumed on an iPad, and the smartphone is the home of travel documents.
While mobile boarding passes are now commonplace, Globizens are also checking in via mobile devices, scanning their passports on arrival, and unlocking their hotel rooms with smart devices. They might also be ordering room service, setting wake-up calls or turn-down service, and getting concierge recommendations via an app.Soon, suitcases (check out Bluesmart Luggage), will be paired with mobile phones, enabling GPS tracking for baggage collection and serving up power sources for mobile devices.
- FRIENDS IN MANY PLACES: Globizens have friends in cities around the world – people they went to school with, worked with and partied with. No trip is complete without connecting with their local connections to get an insider/native view of the city.
- PUSHING LIMITS: Globizens want to chart new territory – and push themselves to the limits. For some, it’s doing a marathon in a faraway city (Pynongyang, anyone?), while for others it’s kite surfing in Morocco.
- CONTENT TRAVEL: When not visiting friends or taking a walk on the wild side, Globizens enjoy a sense of purpose, often seeking to meet fellow Globizens with a shared interest, be it at an art fair (Basel, Venice, Frieze), music or media events (SXSW, Sonar) or event leadership events (Davos, Milken Institute).
- FIXER APPS: When it comes to booking a table or getting in to a club ‘fixers’ on the ground are deployed. Those who don’t have a fixer, they may use virtual private members’ club Little Emperors for exclusive discounts and privileges, or apps such as Killer Rezzy for a premium restaurant reservations.
- CONSPICUOUS LEISURE: Sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen spoke of ‘conspicuous consumption’ – the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display financial power or social status, rather than intrinsic practical utility of the goods and services – and in this day of social media, the display of one’s personal adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is obligatory.