Can luxury be defined? Certainly, there are vacation stays that tick the luxurious list with their high-end facilities, infinity pools, and incredible locations. However, the luxury vacation market is evolving and in 2016 and beyond simply upscale stays may not be enough. So what do luxury travelers expect from their vacation experience?
To begin with, the luxury travel market is expanding. According to Wealth-X, a leading global wealth information and insight business, there is a trend to ‘fly cheap, stay chic’ travel. This means that there is a greater emphasis on spending on an upmarket stay rather than splurging on business class getting to a destination.
At the same time, there is greater demand for luxury travelers not just to visit a destination, but to actually experience it. With so many options of what to do, many luxury travelers want somebody else to help them source amazing adventures and fascinating excursions. In the villa rental industry, a dedicated concierge who is on hand to advise and help plan and organize activities is fast-becoming a luxury travel must-have.
While many travelers may want to plan what to do before they arrive, there are many who want to go with the flow a little and see how they feel once they are away. Accommodating this flexibility with local knowledge is part of the growing trend to provide luxury services. While vacationers can easily download an online guide to their destination, this on-the-ground knowledge is really what they are seeking so that they can become truly immersed in a destination.
Luxury travelers and the growing number of middle-income vacationers aspiring to stay in upscale villa accommodation expect a private chef, housekeeping staff, and even spa therapists. Games rooms and cinemas are becoming extravagant features that are the norm in the luxury villa holiday market too.
An article published on an independent news publication, Travel Market Report, said there is a definite rise in luxury travel with certain trends emerging. Surveying travel professionals, the Travel Market Report has identified that while there is a trend for an authentic experience this does not necessarily extend to where vacationers stay. In other words, holidaymakers may want to stay in a top-notch place, but also feel connected with the local culture with experiences that are less touristy and far more real.
Other trends include getaways that are personalized in some way, where the small details count. Of course, attentive, personable staff responding to guest requests, and booking a stay in a unique property that is as far from cookie-cutter as can be, really adds in that individual, personal touch. Luxury as a static standard that does not engage is losing its appeal.
As has always been the case, cuisine is a vital ingredient of any holiday, luxury or not. What is becoming more noticeable is how luxury travelers want to have more fun with food, from trying local dishes to exploring them in new ways. With this, luxury vacation rentals with in-villa chef who can cater to all dining occasions and diets are getting more and more popular, sourcing local ingredients and creating whatever is desired from indigenous snacks to world-class menus, from outdoor grills to gourmet dinners.
Being hip or stylish is in with luxury travelers who are happy to spend more to be around with a hip place or people. However, it is luxurious hipness that really appeals. A trendy vibe or look of a place is not enough if the service is not deemed impressive enough. Many luxury villas in hip locations such as Phuket, Koh Samui, and Bali are architecturally stunning with incredible design style and wonderfully chic features. With comfortable day beds, designer décor, and al fresco lounge seating many villas in the sun exude a Hollywood image that is the ultimate in hip luxury.
Particularly with the younger luxury travelers, there is a greater interest in exotic locations. There is no definite definition of a luxury holiday hotspot in many ways and many travelers are looking for new destinations and adventures in tropical climes. At the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Asia 2016, the emphasis was on the importance of Asia as an international luxury travel destination. Asian tourists also make up a big part of the luxury travel figures too.
According to millennial marketing consulting firm, FutureCast, and reported in business magazine, Forbes, the millennials, in the US at least, are a growing luxury travel group with big spending potential and a quest for luxury travel from a ‘global perspective’. They are also more likely to travel abroad than older travelers.
Luxury does not necessarily mean opulence in the traditional sense either. What is crucial is that luxury stays have the ‘wow’ factor, the reason many contemporary designed villas are sought after. Wide-open spaces, interiors that flow to the outdoors, and stays that inspires a luxuriously relaxed lifestyle are desirable.
Wellbeing and transformative experiences are ever-more popular, as are holiday homes that can accommodate big family groups and friends vacationing together and sharing the new wave of luxury vacationing.