Travel Incentives News: Travel Incentive Trends: Luxury Travel

If you’re in a lucky enough position in life to either be a reward manager or travel booker for travel incentives, or someone who is lucky enough to get out and about across the World – you might already be aware that the way we look at wealth and luxury travel has changed.  Whilst some companies are of course looking for low-cost travel incentives, there are plenty of businesses who want luxury rewards and incentives that are truly unforgettable. Words like luxury, butler and service are often coupled with phrases like ‘fulfil your dreams’ – and there is a whole new market dedicated to making these exclusive experiences.

In this new landscape, “luxury travel” can mean flying by helicopter to a remote desert peak for an exclusive yoga class. Or, it could mean passing up the comfort of a resort stay for a once-in-a-lifetime dive to the wreck of the Titanic – luxury travel is something else. The Future of Luxury Travel by Sabre Hospitality Solutions in collaboration with TrendWatching has shown that when it comes to travel incentives, there are some key areas impacting how customers will choose luxury accommodations and experiences in the years ahead.

So, whether you want to book something that is truly luxurious, or if you just want to see how the other half live – read on!

How has luxury travel evolved? 

“The evolution of high-end travel is creating a marketplace where ‘luxury’ is defined by the most exclusive, unique experiences that reside at the intersection of affluence and access,” said Sarah Kennedy Ellis, vice president of global marketing and digital experience at Sabre Hospitality Solutions. “We see guests moving beyond traditional ideas of status and embracing highly-bespoke travel opportunities that focus more on the individual traveller’s personality and values and less about expressing opulence.”

Each of the trends has immediate implications for the hospitality industry, showing how luxury brands and innovative startups can attract high travellers’s by providing fresh, unique opportunities and experiences.

A growth in wellness tourism

The unique Nâga massage experience created at Miraval Resort & Spa uses silk strands to enhance healing (credit: Miraval Resort & Spa)

According to figures from the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness tourism segment is expected to grow by over 37 percent to USD $808 billion over the next three years.

Tripsavvy describes it as a travel incentive or experience where “trips (are) organised around the principle of wellness tourism that includes healthy food, exercise, spa treatments, and opportunities to experience or expand your spirituality and creativity.  You learn how to better care for yourself, physically, psychologically and spiritually. ”

A major driver of this growth will be luxury travelers looking for opportunities to better themselves. Those trips could include rare and highly-shareable moments like the exclusive Museum Workout at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art – a 45-minute exercise session and tour held before the gallery opens to the general public.

According to Virtuoso, this also starts after check in – explaining that airports including Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Cleveland offer indoor walking tracks to pass the time before flights in an invigorating way.

An interest in unconventional luxury

The 25 Hours hotel gives a new style of unconventional luxe to travel

Increasingly, luxury travellers identify themselves as “post-status” – choosing subtle indulgence over prominent logos and showy opulence. The “no-frills chic” phenomenon sees travellers choosing travel that contrasts with traditional luxury – which, itself, is a new way of showing off one’s status by defying convention.

Trendwatching identifies places such as the 25-Hours Hotel in Hamburg, Germany which combines boutique with affordable rates, making it a poster child for German hospitality. With living Divani daybeds, Brionvega televisions, Sixties-style lamps by Flos and a retro feel – this is an example of the unconventional becoming luxury.

Travel with positive social impact

Corporate responsibility is high on the agenda for savvy resorts. Source: Sandals

Another factor driving consumer choice is a desire for guilt-free luxury. The Future of Luxury Travel report cites examples of emerging high-end products and services whose selling points include positive environmental or social impact. From ice cream made from fruit that would otherwise have been sent to a landfill, to lab-grown gems that offer an ethical alternative to diamond mining, wealthy consumers are choosing luxury products that help make the world a better place. Places like Sandals resorts, known for luxury have been keen to offer a wide range of environmentally sound solutions at their resorts. For example, all resorts are part of the EarthCheck programme to ensure they are among the most eco-friendly and community-friendly resorts in the hospitality industry.

At the same time, they also offer water conservation programmes, energy/waste management and social and cultural development, where they can promote and sell local tours and attractions with special recognition of “Green tours” at the tour desks. This also involves inviting local craft vendors to the hotel at least once per week to display and sell their craft items – something that benefits the community and the travellers alike.

Further reading: 

Motivating employees to care about travel expenses

Travel incentive report

Discover Hawaii

The benefits of travel incentives

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