What Defines Luxury Travel? New 2021 Research Provides Some of the Answers

New Research Shows How the Needs of Luxury Travellers is Changing

Luxury travel has changed considerably over the years and continues to do so. The days of just lounging by the pool, sipping a drink at a high-class hotel are no longer top of the list. Luxury travellers now crave more meaningful experiences filled with culture, knowledge and community.

Luxury travel has changed considerably over recent years, and what’s happened over the past twelve months will cause it to change even more.

It’s no secret that people’s attitudes to luxury are changing. Recent reports have shown that shiny, expensive and unique material objects are now taking a back seat to knowledge, nature, culture and much more.

It’s not only manufacturers and suppliers of material objects experiencing a change in luxury buyers attitudes; high-end travel specialists have also found that people’s needs and desires have changed.

A woman sitting down under a tree reading a book

What I need as a luxury traveller
You would imagine that after experiencing lockdown after lockdown, I would’ve had my fill of limited contact with people. I’ll admit that it has been sometimes difficult being cooped up within my own four walls minus the freedom to choose where to go or who to see.

However, when it comes to going on holiday it is a different matter altogether. One of the big lures for me is the chance to find some solitude in a natural surrounding, unwind and appreciate the world we live in.

If someone were to ask me what I would want as a luxury traveller, one of the first things on the list would be the opportunity to escape the masses should the need arises. Too often, I’ve been on a ‘self-titled’ luxury holiday where I have been thrown into a melting pot of people I have no desire to interact with, feeling trapped inside a noisy environment. For me, this is a less than ideal way to switch off and relax.

I would also want the opportunity to see what true day-to-day life is like where I am visiting, not some artificially created vision that has been conjured up in the minds of senior holiday firm executives.

A decade or so ago, sitting by the side of a luxury pool, drink in hand would probably have satisfied me, however, after twelve months of what I consider to be a more sedate pace of life, the lure of stretching my legs, embracing nature and broadening my knowledge is strong.

A woman enjoying natural surroundings

It’s now very clear from recently released data from multiple sources that people’s attitude’s to all-things luxury has changed (including mine) and it is showing just how broad these changes are.

The latest data relating to luxury travel
The Experience Travel Group (ETG) commissioned research to establish what current-day luxury travellers are looking for. Their findings show that travellers are feeling starved of adventure, and wherever they travel, to must now offer them culture, nature and the opportunity to experience the local community.

The in-depth ETG survey conducted in conjunction with AITO (The Specialist Travel Association) involved more than 20,000 respondents.

Culture is an important part of modern day luxury travel

The survey results highlight how luxury travel has changed from what many people have historically envisaged and see in the media. The top three things present-day luxury travellers wanted were encounters with wildlife (nature), the ability to experience and embrace cultures and the opportunity to try local cuisine.

In addition to this, walking was also right at the top of the list alongside wellness activities, focusing on yoga, meditation, and spa treatments.

There is now also a greater desire to ease back from trying to ‘cram’ in as much as possible, and travellers are now less likely to embark on a holiday that involves constantly changing locations. In essence, a slower-paced holiday that allows the traveller to soak up a diverse range of experiences is now the preference.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve written in-depth about how luxury travellers are willing to pay more for the ideal vacation. This has been confirmed in ETG’s survey results, with the vast majority of luxury travellers stating they would be prepared to spend more to get the exact experience they want.

Fisherman on a Cambodian river

Sam Clark, Managing Director of ETG, said, “People have missed taking holidays. But more than that: what our research has shown is that they’ve missed the travel experience itself – discovering and exploring a destination.

“This has demonstrated the value of travel to our customers and, as we come through this, they will be even more focused on immersive experiences. Added to this, we’ve got lockdown inspired activities including yoga and walking, which people want to experience as part of their holidays now.”

To read ETG’s detailed report on luxury and immersive travel, click here.

Read more luxury travel news and articles in our dedicated section here.

What Defines Luxury Travel? New 2021 Research Provides Some of the Answers 2


Natasha Godbold

Creative Director / Writer

Natasha is a co-founder of Luxurious Magazine® and has undertaken the role of Creative Director. She is a keen photographer and regularly accompanies Paul on hotel and restaurant reviews. Born in Moscow, Natasha like her husband Paul has experienced living in multiple countries around the world. She is bi-lingual and has degrees in English Language and English Literature. Natasha covers all aspect of the luxury industry in her work. Her hobbies include health and fitness, culture and learning about nature and animal welfare.

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