Published on Tuesday 08 Sep 2015
(Sydney, 7 September 2015) In Sydney at the Thought Leaders Forum the opening event for Luxperience, 2015 where 500 global travel industry leaders gathered, guests were presented with the initial findings of the latest trends, opportunities and challenges facing the luxury travel industry uncovered in research initiated by Luxperience with respected market research specialists, MyTravelResearch.com
Increasing inequality in wealth is one of the factors changing the nature of luxury travel. The trend to private consumption away from public scrutiny can be seen in the rise of purchases of mega yachts and private islands. Technological change and its impact on workplace expectations has triggered a counter demand among many of the rich to de-tech completely while on holiday, said luxury travel analyst Carolyn Childs, Co-founder of MyTravelResearch.com.
Childs told the audience of 500 high-end travel buyers, sellers and advisors that the ‘occupy’ movement, like the French and Russian Revolutions before it, had changed the psyche, moral reference points and consumption patterns - of the rich as much as everyone else. “We now see the rise of responsible resorts such as El Nido in the Philippines where the well-off are both pampered and give back to the community,” said Childs. “Luxury travel is now increasingly defined by a rising commitment to people, planet and self-improvement as much as indulgence, pampering and conspicuous consumption.”
Childs told the audience that wealth disparity has been on the rise since around 1980, with the richest 1 to 10% in North America, Europe and Australia now owning over 70% of society’s wealth. However, the rise in the nouveau riche, not least in China, India as well as G7 economies, has seen luxury consumers around the world splinter into personality types such as “philanthropist”, “dynast”, “lotus eater”, “hedonist”, “pioneer”, “jet setter”, “enrichment seeker” and “replenisher.”
And then there are the millions of “aspirational” luxury travel consumers who will splash the cash depending on the occasion (such as a honeymoon or anniversary), the experience (such as a trip to Antarctica), or their ability to trade up or down – for example, enjoying a three-star holiday but taking a helicopter ride to a spectacular dinner on the last day. Luxury travellers rely on elite travel agents, or advisors that Childs called “magicians”.
“These Gandalfs and Merlins are completely service-minded, very creative, control freaks who try to anticipate the psychological and physical needs of their clients. It’s in their DNA to deliver magic because their customers are only used to hearing ‘yes’.”
It’s a constant test of their skills, experience and judgement, said Childs. When it goes wrong the results can be high profile: she cited the case of Johnny Depp’s terriers Pistol and Boo who faced being put down when the actor brought them into Australia in defiance of strict quarantine regulations. Instead, buyers work hard to find ‘yes instead’ answers.
In December, Childs, the co-founder of MyTravelResearch.com, will publish an in-depth study of trends and changes in the luxury travel economy in partnership with Luxperience. Today, it is down to business as Luxperience exhibitors and buyers gather at the Australian Technology Park for the first day of appointments. More than 30,000 meetings are set to take place over the 3.5 day event and each attendee's appointment schedule can be accessed through the new LUXE Concierge App, which includes personal travel itineraries and a playful guide to Sydney's hotspots.
Further information: luxurytravelresearch.com or mytravelresearch.com.