Luxury travellers’ budgets and desire to travel remain largely unaffected by the coronavirus crisis, even if they are seeking safer, closer-to-home ideas for now.
The conclusions are part of research by Elegant Resorts carried out in June which found 26% of respondents said “my travel plans and feelings remain unaffected”; 52% said they would be more cautious when travelling; and only 17% said they felt the need to reassess their travel plans completely.
When it comes to budget, 67% of customers confirmed their holiday budgets were not affected by the pandemic, while 10% even said they would spend more on luxury travel than before.
Looking at when people will be on the move again, 33% said they would likely travel in autumn (if government restrictions allow); 16% this winter; 35% in spring 2021; while 17% would not travel until “summer 2021 and beyond”.
Short haul seems the preferred option for now, with 76% saying they will most likely travel to Europe over the next 18 months, with 58% saying they would love to book private homes in the UK.
The Caribbean is also popular, garnering 38% of responses, while 37% said the Indian Ocean. Asia was named by 26%; Africa, 25%; Australia, 23%; and South America just 7%; but Middle East remained a solid choice, at 34%.
Easy and relaxing beach holidays seem to be the priority, with 94% looking for luxury beach holidays.
A whopping 78% said they would consider a city break, but for many, social distancing is key with 62% planning to take luxury villa holidays. Meanwhile, 39% are considering private safaris and 29% are interested in private islands; 48% are also thinking of travelling by private jet.
But also now more important than ever for luxury travellers are direct flights, with 62% of clients saying this is the case.
Safety, hygiene and reputation remain key also, with 85% saying that hygiene levels at hotels and resorts was now “more important than ever” as a consideration factor, while 75% placed a lot of stake in “airline reputation and hygiene protocol”.
VIP airport assistance was also seen as important, getting an “overwhelming response” from clients when asked what else was important, as luxury travellers look “to ensure journeys are seamless from kerbside to air”.
“I am delighted to see that the appetite for travel is still very much there, and that luxury holidays are part of [clients] plans for the end of this year and early 2021,” said Lisa Fitzell, managing director of Elegant Resorts.
“We are working hard with our partners to make holiday dreams come true in the safest, most flexible and seamless way possible. We have recently launched our new UK and Ireland Collection and are working to offer a more enhanced and exclusive VIP service at the UK’s major airports as a direct response to this survey.”
The survey also found that 88% of travellers said “flexibility to amend without charge” was also now more important than ever. Respondents expect lower deposits, better savings, easy amendments and “complete clarity”, much of which Fitzell said the operator was “already working hard to provide”.
A desire for greener getaways was also discovered, as people “deeply consider their impact on the environment” in these new post-Covid times.
As a result of the research, Elegant Resorts has since launched a range of UK & Ireland holidays.
The programme includes hotels such as Gleneagles, The Merrion and The Newt; private estates and castles such as Inverlochy Castle in the Scottish Highlands and Cromlix in Perthshire; and experiences such as Belmond rail journeys, front row seats at Trooping the Colour, exploring Highgrove, and accessing the usually off-limits Map Room in Churchill’s War Room.