In a 2013 HVS report, which explored the trend of luxury travel, it states that people are looking for more than just five little stars attached to the name. This can only be seen as a positive sign. But it begs the question: what exactly is it that people are searching for with these kinds of trip? Is it seclusion? Is it that extra touch of personalisation? Or maybe it’s just robes so thick you could get lost in the loops and folds?
What is for certain is that everybody has different priorities. Ensuring that these priorities are met is the challenge for luxury break conveyors. The research suggests that there are five strong areas of focus for the current season and beyond that can really mark a brand apart:
- Increased personalisation –The ability to provide a bespoke service to an individual at the moment of arrival, knowing and providing for their needs as if they are your own. This means that each summer break, or holiday-maker’s desires, will be different. The ability to tailor a break to your exact desires is clearly something that is important. No longer will out-the-box package holidays satisfy.This is even more important when you travel as a family; personalisation can really make the difference from a great break to a magical one. At Center Parcs it’s a well-loved fact that, while housekeepers are cleaning the Lodges, they will often arrange young children’s’ toys to make it look like they have come alive. The look of wonder and disbelief as the children walk in is quite special.
- Ecological and social sustainability – As a society we are ever more conscious of the footprints we leave behind. Whether that be as simple as not leaving rubbish in the park or more of a lifestyle choice, such as not shopping from retailers who are known to exploit workers. This is also happening in travel. We are making great strides towards our target of 20 per cent less emissions by 2020 as we appreciate travellers want to know that they are travelling and living in a responsible and ethical way.
- Home away from home – This new traveller wants to be surrounded by likeminded people, so that they are completely comfortable in this precious break away from work. They want to feel completely relaxed and connected, to be in a setting where they can become part of an experience.
- A move away from the obvious – Today there are more and more holiday or short break providers offering a class of luxury that rivals the well-established destinations. This new generation of traveller is much more open-minded to the notion of holidaying somewhere unexpected; the popularity of our Treehouse accommodation is testament to this. Guests are happy to pay the price of having holiday on their terms that offers luxurious benefits not found anywhere else.
- The importance of experience – Aside from the usual mementos and trinkets brought back from a break, the main things that people bring home with them are memories of the experience. These are very hard to quantify, but are increasingly important to the modern traveller. Sending guests home with lifelong memories is what will increasingly set apart the modern luxury break provider. Segway rides through a forest or a Zip Wire over a lake are a good place to start.
The nature of travel is always adapting as people’s lifestyle and financial priorities change over time. More traditional hoteliers will struggle to adapt in a world where the customer demands more from their break. While there is no way we can all be pigeonholed into behaving in a specific way, the research does show a change in customer behaviour.
Do you share any of the behaviours above when it comes to your break?