The gap between what affluent babyboomers and millennials look for from a luxury travel experience is narrowing, according to a new report from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
Sharon Cohen, vice-president of the Fairmont brand at AccorHotels, told TTG “these groups are not as dissimilar as we may once have thought”.
“And I also think millennials are actually more risk-averse than people think because they have led more protected lives; they pick more predictable destinations than you would think.”
There were still some clear distinctions between the groups, but that was also more of a surprise reversal of what might be expected; for example, 73% of millennials prefer having similar comforts as they have at home, versus 54% of 55-plus respondents.
Meanwhile, 90% of millennials said they were willing to pay more for an exclusive experience versus only 79% of travellers aged 55 plus.
Cohen added that the gap was closing between “backpackers’ travel experiences” and those of luxury travellers. “The two worlds are converging – the luxury traveller wants more grit, to go out and have street food, to explore more, but also to enjoy safety and comfort,” she said.
Research for Fairmont’s Global Luxury Traveller Insights Study questioned 2,725 luxury travellers from seven key source markets for the group, including the UK.
Cohen added that as the hotelier enters its biggest-ever expansion period – going from 76 to 96 properties in three years – it was important to ensure the brand is on track with affluent consumer demands.
The insight also showed 84% of travellers consider it important that the hotel gives recommendations of experiences that are not detrimental to the local community. Travellers with children placed an even higher importance on sustainability – 82% compared with 74% – the report found.
“More people are connecting their desire to be sustainable with actually behaving that way, and they expect hotels to do the same,” Cohen said.
Fairmont hotel openings in 2019 include locations in Rio, Morocco, Egypt and the Century Plaza Hotel, part of the $2.5 billion redevelopment of Century City in LA.