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Nov 16, 2023 LuxNews

Building Resilience: A Closer Look at the Younger Affluent Explorer

The world of luxury travel is undergoing a transformation, and at its forefront are the younger affluent travellers who are redefining the industry’s dynamics. Resilient and dynamic, these individuals are proving to be a driving force in shaping the changing face of luxury travel.

“We’re in a growth industry once more,” said James Kavanagh, Global Leisure CEO – Flight Centre Travel Group, at this week’s Luxperience, taking place in Sydney, Australia.

“The travel industry is projected to grow by at least 6-10%, with the luxury segment expected to outgrow the industry. The luxury traveller has proven to be the most resilient and for me that’s exciting as it’s about creating experiences and a great future not just for the travel industry but for the many luxury travellers that are keen to take off once more.”

A Shift in Travel Patterns

Over the past 12 months, a noticeable shift has occurred within the luxury travel sector, with younger affluents demonstrating a heightened resilience in their travel habits. These individuals are not only more likely to engage in business-related travel but also to embark on extended vacations, indulging in an increased level of travel expenditures, welcome news to cruise and expedition ultra-luxe suppliers, offering a more ‘active’ experience.

Image courtesy of Visit Noosa.

In comparison to the global average, these younger affluents are seeking more authentic and personal experiences and are more likely to value experiences over exclusivity, engaging passionately in both business and leisure pursuits.

Mixing Business with Pleasure

One striking trend among affluent travellers aged 18-34 is their inclination to blend business with pleasure. In a world where hybrid working is the new normal, these individuals are more than twice as likely as the global average to have undertaken a business trip in the past year. Additionally, nearly double the number have extended their business trips into vacations, seamlessly combining work and leisure.

The remote work phenomenon has further fuelled this trend, with affluent travellers actively working while on vacation. Some resorts have even adapted to this paradigm shift by offering package stays equipped with dedicated office and study spaces. Destinations across the Caribbean, LATAM, Europe, and APAC have gone a step further, introducing special remote work visas to attract those seeking extended stays and an immersive local experience.

The Role of Travel Experts

In a world where convenience and curated experiences are paramount, affluent consumers, especially those aged 18-34, exhibit a pronounced preference for utilizing travel experts. These individuals are +106% more likely to have enlisted the services of a travel expert in the past 12 months, emphasizing the importance of tailored and exclusive experiences. Travel advisors not only offer convenience but also provide reassurance, knowledge, and support, crafting personalized itineraries that go beyond mainstream options.

“Luxury Travel advisors are not just tailoring or shaping an off-the-shelf holiday for a customer, they’re able to do something that’s quite unique. There’s a lot go curiosity right now which is clear from the diversity of products and experiences on display this week [at Luxperience].” – James Kavanagh, Global Leisure CEO – Flight Centre Travel Group.

Enriching Travel Experiences

Wealthy travellers, driven by a desire for enrichment, seek experiences that transcend the ordinary. This includes stays at health and wellness retreats, the purchase of vacation homes for flexible getaways, and a penchant for group travel that fosters cultural immersion. The pursuit of fulfillment extends beyond ticking off destinations; it involves cultural enrichment, relocation to different countries, and the creation of a travel narrative that goes beyond the commonplace.

As the luxury travel landscape evolves, the younger affluent traveller is emerging as a key influencer, reshaping the industry’s norms and expectations. From seamlessly blending work and leisure to valuing the expertise of travel professionals, these individuals seek unique and enriching experiences that go beyond the traditional definition of luxury travel. As the travel industry adapts to these changing dynamics, the future promises a more personalized, immersive, and fulfilling luxury travel experience for the younger affluents who continue to redefine the boundaries of exploration.

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