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WhatMore than 1,000 luxury travel advisors from around the world participated in International Luxury Travel Market’s (ILTM) research about early trends emerging in the affluent travel market. Two-thirds of advisors report that they have made bookings for clients since the outbreak of COVID-19, and that more than half of those bookings will take place before December 2020. (Of those who have not made a booking yet, 72% anticipate a climb in the next three months.) Most advisors (59%) are reporting that luxury automobile travel closer to home is trending because clients do not want to take unnecessary health risks. Family travel makes up more than half of booked trips.
Why It MattersMore than 50% of those surveyed say that they believe the industry will rebound within the year. It makes sense that luxury advisors are among the most optimistic: Their clients can afford some of the most socially distanced forms of travel, such as private villas and private jets — both of which are trending among survey participants. And while this is certainly not the first survey to predict that domestic family travel will be the first to make a comeback, ILTM advisors are able to back up this predicted trend with bookings.
Fast Facts- Respondents were advisors in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East, Russia and Africa.
- Advisors report that these types of leisure trips are trending for “first trips” post-lockdown: beach escapes, family travel, private villas, natural wonders, road trips, cruises and cultural and unique excursions/experiences.
- More than 20% of respondents showed preferences to focus on sustainability and conscious travel with health- and wellness-related travel itineraries also featuring as a first choice.
- Of the air travel already booked, 39% is domestic, and 27% is long haul trips.
- Of those considering other kinds of travel, a quarter of respondents are considering cruises for their clients. These include river, sea and international trips.
- Most advisors (57%) are being asked to look into booking luxury private villas for clients.
- As destinations start reopening, this early research showed a preference for Greece, Italy, Maldives, Caribbean and Europe in general. (Reminder: Respondents hail from around the world.)
- Advisors responded that the key drivers to encourage client bookings are: the availability of a vaccine; the lifting of travel bans and borders opening; health, security and safety standards (both in flight and at hotels); the relaxation of quarantine/self-isolation; and the flexibility of booking and cancellation terms.
- Advisors report positive changes coming from lockdown, including the time to “restructure businesses and adapt to the changes in the travel industry and their customers.” Other positives include more time for webinars and online conferences, and the ability to strengthen “client relationships, with time to touch base and just chat.”
What They Are Saying“These first trips will be closer to home as families start to come together again, and the research also showed a preference for private villas, too,” said Alison Gilmore, portfolio director for ILTM. “Shorter trips were also preferred, meaning there could be more of them as the opportunity to ‘catch up’ occurs. The use of private jets is also high up on preferences so that their trips can be taken at short notice and allows for group travel to be within their own family and friends.”
The DetailsInternational Luxury Travel Marketwww.iltm.com