Next year has also been declared the year of “ultra-personalisation”, according to the new Virtuoso Luxe Report.
Based on feedback from its force of travel agencies and advisors across 50 countries, including 28 locations in the UK, the Luxe Report shows travel in 2019 will be “highly personalised and inspired by a desire to experience new destinations in unusual ways”.
Virtuoso’s affiliated travel advisors said clients were becoming even more “vocal about their precise preferences”, asking agents to book everything from specific seat numbers on planes to particular hotel room numbers, exact car rental types and prearranged meals, with “nothing left to chance”.
The report goes on to say advisors are even being asked to “reserve tables at in-demand hot spots, pre-order wine to accompany the meal, book sessions with hairdressers and even tattoo artists”.
Virtuoso said some of its advisors are being asked to arrange themed photoshoots characteristic of destinations, such as wearing traditional geisha attire in Kyoto or ball gowns in Venice.
The report further highlights how luxury clients are requesting on-site photography sessions to help “create Instagram-worthy content”, including replicating shots they might have admired online.
Social media’s influence remains unmistakeable, with advisors saying it “drives travellers’ desire to find the most captivating backdrops and even the best time of day for snapping images”.
When flying, VIP airport arrival services that speed travellers through customs and ease tight connections are growing in demand. Requests are also on the rise for private helicopter transfers when travelling.
For wishlist travel, Japan topped the list of emerging destinations Brits most wanted to travel to, with adventure travel seen as the top trend for UK travellers.
Advisors also concluded that when it comes to places to stay, “experiential travellers who have seen it all are craving stays in unconventional accommodations”.
Those range from a treehouse to a monastery, to an igloo in Norway, a tent in the Moroccan desert, or a bubble in nature for stargazing before bedtime.
Sports fans are asking for tickets to major events such as the Olympics, Super Bowl and Wimbledon, while art aficionados are inquiring about private tours of locales such as the Vatican after-hours, and shoppers want appointments at high-end stores such as Hermes arranged in order to purchase signature items such as a Birkin bag.
Another factor featuring highly in advisors’ feedback was interest of travellers in conservation.
“Travellers are expressing heightened interest in animal-related experiences, including visits to animal protection facilities or to observe animals in the wild, such as whale watching and viewing rhinos at close range,” the report said. “Travellers also exhibit concern for animal welfare and want to ensure that interactions are sustainable.”
Top travel motivations
• Seeking authentic experiences
• Crossing off bucket-list items
• Seeking adventure
• Rest and relaxation
• Exploring new destinations