As we emerge from lockdown, agents have given their predictions on how consumer habits will change in this new TTG Luxury research.
Europe looks set to be the key destination as travel takes off again in the coming months, according to the country’s luxury agents.
As part of an exclusive survey carried out among the TTG Luxury community, two-thirds of all new enquiries made with luxury agents were said to have been for Europe (63%), with the Caribbean also proving popular among 36% of agents, and the Indian Ocean another key choice, with 33% of consultants saying they had had enquiries for the region.
Staycations are also being channelled through travel advisors, with UK & Ireland enquiries taken by 31% of agents; the US was another popular choice, with a quarter of agents having gotten enquiries for America.
A beach holiday was overwhelmingly the most popular enquiry, perhaps indicating customers initially want more of a simple, relaxing holiday as their first option post-lockdown. The survey – which was conducted early in June among 300 respondents – showed that 59% of enquiries had been for “beach-only” breaks.
Despite some fears that city breaks and touring might suffer as a result of people not wanting to be in urban spaces or on multicentre trips, 20% of agents said they had fielded enquiries about city breaks and 20% said touring. When asked if they thought clients would avoid cities now when travelling, 62% actually disagreed.
Interest in cruise also remains stable, with a quarter of agents (24%) saying people had asked about cruising. However, when asked if they thought clients would want to go on less cruises generally, 74% agreed; they also thought “smaller ship cruises” would be preferred, with 76% of agents thinking this would be the case.
Encouragingly, 13% of agents said they had taken enquiries for travel to take place in the next three months, while 27% said their enquiries were for travel in the winter season. The bulk of travel enquiries, though, are for spring 2021 (52%) and summer 2021 (60%), with some also looking to autumn 2021 (15%) and winter (14%).
When it comes to frequency of travel, there are some positive signals on the desire among affluent travellers for 2021, with 64% of luxury agents thinking customers will “take more holidays than usual” next year, as they make up for lost time, and 74% said they think they will spend more on their trips throughout 2021.
In a potential boost for premium travel, only 20% of agents said they thought clients would cut back on business class flights, and 37% said they thought luxury travellers would seek more private flying options.
The way affluent consumers travel might see some changes, agents thought, with 68% of them saying they thought luxury travellers would likely prefer to move in smaller family and friendship groups.
A huge 82% of luxury agents said they thought clients would seek more privatised experiences. Specifically, the research found that 73% of agents thought their clients would seek more private guided options/tours and a huge 86% said they would request more private transport, both of which open up opportunities for suppliers to think more about how these kinds of services can be made available.
The survey also found there would be a move towards more private accommodation, with 80% of consultants saying they thought clients would look for this now.
After being cooped up for so long, agents also thought affluent consumers would be booking more celebratory and special occasion travel, with 71% of respondents thinking this would be the case. There’s also a belief that luxury travellers will be seeking more remote, isolated places, with 62% agreeing this would be the case.
• For ideas on where to suggest for clients seeking remote, private, or wellness travel, check out the latest issue of TTG Luxury.