To some, one man’s luxury is nothing more than vulgar extravagance designed to impress rather than bestow a tangible benefit. Let’s face it, who actually needs gold bath taps?
But the travel and leisure business is different. Luxury is still in the eye of the beholder, but the extravagance really does make a difference.
For some, they’ve always had it, and couldn’t manage without it. No private jet? No-one to carry the bags, to ease one’s passage through the trials and tribulations of life? Aaargh! Unthinkable!
To others, though, it’s a reward for hard work, effort and perseverance, a well-earned indulgence that marks a special occasion, when the trip of a lifetime needs to be exactly that.
Travel company group Amadeus has published a special report aimed at putting the whole business of luxury travel into some sort of perspective, and to do so they created six Luxury Traveller Tribes:
Money is no object for this tribe, and luxury travel is an essential tool for making their life discreet, streamlined and comfortable. This group is typically made up of first-class and private-jet customers, who could outsource travel decision-making.
Luxury travel is considered a treat and this group therefore look for one-off experiences and luxury facilities. This tribe could include loyalty customers using points to upgrade their cabin class.
This group is made up of senior corporate travellers, who are looking to combine an obligatory business trip with a luxury leisure break tagged on.
This tribe is restricted as to when they can travel. They require full ticket flexibility and will often outsource travel planning to third parties. Rare leisure time is therefore precious and private.
This tribe indulges in the best and most glamorous experiences, which involves sharing travel tips with social media peers. Being seen and heard is important to this group of luxury travellers.
Independent and rich
With little or no ties, this group choose luxury travel to pamper themselves or try something new. Select destinations or unique experiences are preferred to fulfill their travel motivations.
The report starts by defining ‘luxury travellers’ as those with an annual income of more than $150,000, and looks at “how the continued human desire for more rewarding experiences provides an essential catalyst to evolve and improve travel industry quality and service standards”.
“We have entered a new era of luxury travel. As newly affluent citizens pop up in different regions of the world, and the travel industry expands to meet their demands, how can travel brands cater for more luxury customers while somehow maintaining a sense of exclusivity?
“As emergent middle classes seek the material aspect of luxury travel, more mature markets are craving a new, evolved kind of luxury.
“This is why offering luxury customers a relevant, personal and exclusive experience will become even more crucial than it is today – it will be a differentiating factor between old and new luxury.”
And says Julia Sattel, Global Head of Airline IT: “Consumers’ desire for life experiences leads the increased demand for travel.
“When innovation serves a basic human need in a new way, it sets new customer expectations; it primes customers to expect something new.”
“Through global industry expert workshops, we have sought to identify a ‘luxury hierarchy’ across material and service level standards, to define the six types of luxury travellers, and to highlight opportunities for improvement and greater collaboration across the global travel ecosystem.
“Ultimately, our goal is to help the travel industry deliver a more rewarding and personalised journey for travellers and suppliers.”
Read and download the Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel report here.