From Longevity Escapes to Zinfluence Travel, Luxury Horizons: Unveiling 2024’s Travel Trends reveals how fundamental societal and cultural shifts will shape the future of high-end holidays.
Leading luxury tour operator Elegant Resorts has partnered with Globetrender to produce a new trend report on the changing behaviour of luxury travellers and the opportunties this presents for the industry, with support from Kerzner International. (Download it free here.)
Luxury travel is a hugely significant, growing sector that will almost double in size by 2030, up from US$241 billion in 2022 to US$440 billion at the end of the decade.
“Creating this trend report was as much about identifying the changing behaviour, influences and emerging desires of luxury travellers in 2024, as the kinds of opportunities they present for the luxury travel industry going forward,” says Jenny Southan, editor, founder and CEO of Globetrender.
“The trends we have identified are connected not with survey data, which has limited use for forecasting, but fundamental societal and cultural shifts such as human longevity, the emergence of Gen Z as the most powerful consumer group on Earth, and the under-appreciated power of Gen Alpha children.
“We also show how the persuasiveness of brand collaboration will be a defining force in luxury travel, how providers are tapping into the deeper human need for personal betterment and why top-end cruise passengers are going to be spreading their wealth on land as well as at sea.”
Whether it is a desire to live a longer and healthier life, build bonds with loved ones, experience more of the world when going on a cruise, coincide travel plans with special events, satisfy wanderlust influenced by social content, learn something new for personal betterment or simply immerse oneself in the world of fashion, “discernment” is the common denominator when it comes to booking luxury holidays with Elegant Resorts.
Lisa Fitzell, managing director of Elegant Resorts, says: “The luxury traveller is discerning and has a thirst for new adventures. After the last few years, our clients want to make their holidays more meaningful, make the most of their time with their loved ones, look after themselves and be healthy for longer, ensure every trip matters, enriches their souls, create long lasting memories. Travel is not taken for granted and at Elegant Resorts, we have the expertise and know how to create unforgettable and perfectly curated holidays.”
Craig Jeffs, regional director, sales and marketing, United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Netherlands at Kerzner International, says: “It has been an absolute pleasure to support and collaborate on the Globetrender Luxury Travel Trends report. It goes without saying that these reports offer a great insight into how the luxury travel sector is growing and allows us to build strategic and meaningful road marks to support and align our offerings.”
Southan says: “It was interesting to collaborate with Elegant Resorts on this project because they are clearly a company that doesn’t want to rest on their laurels. They are aware that they have a very loyal database of high-spending clients but there are younger generations rising up the ranks and it never pays to be complacent.”
Here are excerpts from five of the seven trends that feature in the report:
1. LONGEVITY ESCAPES
“You can’t put a price on health,” as they say. Except, of course, now you can, with the effort to “delay human death” being worth US$600 billion by 2025, according to Bank of America analysts.
Recent studies reveal that lifespans are actually decreasing in America, largely attributed to unhealthy diets and lifestyles. For the first time in human history, more people are dying of obesity than they are of starvation. However, globally, longevity continues to rise.
This dichotomy has fuelled the popularity of longevity programmes, especially among elite communities of Silicon Valley tech innovators looking to “hack” human lifespan limits.
Billionaire Bryan Johnson, for example, is pouring a fortune into unlocking the secrets of ageing, as captured in the recent BBC documentary podcast The Immortals. (He’s going so far as having “vampire” blood transfusions from his son.)
Why? Health and longevity have become the latest status symbols, inspiring innovative wellness resorts and retreats to cater to affluent consumers seeking to extend their lives with everything from high-tech therapies and DNA analysis to the healing attributes of nature and ancient ancestral knowledge.
2. GENERATIONAL CONNECTIONS
Everyone knows that multi-generational holidays are on the rise but Elegant Resorts has noticed that it’s grandparents that are increasingly footing the bill, and the emerging Gen Alpha demographic (the youngest generation born after 2010) has increasing sway when it comes to how money is spent and where families go on holiday.
With Gen Alpha’s parents and grandparents now prioritising shared experiences, a lot more attention is being paid to how to bridge the gap between children and adults, and finding destinations, accommodation and experiences that are fun-filled, safe and varied.
Kids clubs are great but they don’t facilitate bonding. By making holidays seamless for blended generations and embracing family-wide experiences, brands stand to gain their long-term loyalty: after all, extended families can make ideal repeat guests when programming hits the mark for all ages.
3. CRUISE FRAMING
In the past, cruises left little opportunity for land-based exploration but for passengers of tomorrow, bookending a voyage with itineraries on terra firma are becoming a desirable enhancement. Plus it helps direct spending to local people.
Growing demand for ocean-land itineraries are going to be big news. Indeed, luxury cruising is sailing into a new era defined through pre- and-post-voyage stays that expand the at-sea experience with shore-based add-ons.
Although the cruise lines themselves provide compelling journeys with stops along the way, it’s the “framing” element (before boarding and after getting back to dry land) that luxury travel advisors such as Elegant Resorts can add value to.
This company’s exceptional expertise in crafting customised “Cruise Framing” journeys provides the ability to tap into local outfitters and their secret address books to arrange exclusive experiences beyond mass-market options.
Further benefits include insider knowledge and clout (including unbiased recommendations matched to clients’ wish lists), amplified experiences and upgrades, and a single point of contact for seamless, stress-free arrangements and support throughout the entire trip.
4. ZINFLUENCE TRAVEL
Gen Z are the most plugged-in generation on Earth and when it comes to travel, these impressionable social media natives are thirsty for inspiration from content creators, while their parents are the ones who foot the vacation bill.
Generation Z now makes up about one-third of the global population. So, out of 8 billion people in the world, about 2.6 billion are aged 13-28 (in 2023). Although millions of them are children and teenagers, they are already a powerful consumer group.
Even those in their twenties may still be living at home and travelling with their elders. But, with a world of information delivered to their fingertips, never before have young people had so much inspiration to share – or so much clout when it comes to family decision making. Globetrender has coined the term “Zinfluence” to describe this.
Brands have an unmissable opportunity to speak to this generation through platforms such as TikTok, which is now rivalling Google when it comes to travel search. In so doing, they will nudge the ultimate booking decisions of parents in favour of what’s trending.
5. DESIGNER COLLABORATIONS
The fusion of travel and hospitality with high-end fashion and retail is opening up new opportunities for curated interiors and highly desirable concept mash-ups that appeal to brand-hungry consumers.
As aspirational consumption compels people at every income level to spend (or at least desire) lifestyle enhancements and material signifiers of wealth, travel and hotels are realising that aligning themselves with elite brands in other verticals can have a magnetic appeal.
From couture fashion houses to fine jewellers, luxury goods brands themselves are also tapping into travel to extend their universes, find new avenues of growth and revolutionise revenue streams through unique offerings such as shoppable suites, which might be bedecked in Gucci or Paul Smith homeware.
Other interesting examples of recent Designer Collaborations include Missoni’s venture with luxury Maldives resort One&Only Reethi Rah; and Dior and the Beverly Hills hotel in Los Angeles; and Louis Vuitton and Mandarin Oriental Bodrum.
In all three instances, the fashion brands opened pop-up boutiques at the resorts and installed branded parasols and loungers for the poolside.
After all, what better reminder than to leave with a designer souvenir as a memento of your trip and a long-lasting positive association with that brand.
Free download: Luxury Horizons: Unveiling 2024’s Travel Trends