Top Travel Trends From Ultra 2016

At Luxury Travel Advisor’s Ultra Summit, which ran May 22-24 at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point CA, attendees heard from Chris Fair, president of Resonance Consulting. He spoke about trends and insights involving the luxury travel industry, all culled from surveys that reached out to the top one percent of the population as well as the top five percent. Here is a glance at the 14 major trends he shared.

  1. Affluent travelers want experiences, not products.
  2. Discerning travelers are seeking epic journeys that they can tell stories about.
  3. The idea of “transformative travel” is taking shape, meaning that since affluent travelers have been to many places and own many products, travel needs to continue to stimulate and engage.
  4. “Art is the new food.” People are traveling for art fairs (think Art Basel), museums and major exhibits, just as they travel for fine cuisine.
  5. Safety is important to travelers. Those seeking a luxury trip will seek out destinations they perceive to be secure.
  6. People are visiting urban resorts more often for vacation. Cities have become popular destinations for their fine dining, great hotels and sophisticated cultural offerings.
  7. An influx of Asian influence is affecting the travel industry; more Asian travel brands becoming popular with the top one percent and five percent of the population (think Mandarin Oriental and Peninsula).
  8. Affluent consumers are traveling together, in fact, the wealthiest travelers are vacationing more frequently with friends than with children.
  9. Travelers are now purchasing more luxury real estate or club shares in top destinations.
  10. Super affluent travelers are seeking accommodations that feel like home. People are seeking less of a contemporary vibe and more of a relaxed setting.
  11. Fitness centers and spas are very important to the uber wealthy.  Building on that idea, vacationers now want to know how a trip will make them a better overall person.
  12. Some ultra-wealthy consumers are now going to destinations in the shoulder- and off-season because they want to compete in athletic competitions like triathlons.
  13. The demise of golf is widely exaggerated. The sport rode a great wave during Tiger Woods’ championship years and has, admittedly diminished somewhat in popularity. However, there is still a strong demand for golf and resorts are learning how to configure courses that will be fitting for championship tournaments as well as golfers at all skill levels.
  14. Vacation goers now expect their experience to be enhanced through both people and technology.

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