Luxury Travel Insights Series: Part One

By Kristen Poskitt

Luxury travel is a $350 billion industry. This niche sector is extremely valuable, so how can a luxury hotelier stand out amongst the competition of spectacular properties and destinations? What can hotel sales and marketing managers express in their messaging and promotions to appeal to the affluent traveler? With a specialty in this niche, Wallop has curated data about the luxury traveler to answer these questions, and to help luxury hoteliers inspire travel to their properties.

2016 Resonance luxury travel report
Who is the UHNW traveller?

The ultra high net worth individual (UHNWI) has a net worth of over $30 million USD (Wealth-X Special Report, Wealth X). These affluent individuals live primarily in the US (50%), followed by China, the UK, Germany and Switzerland (Global Wealth Report, Credit Suisse). The largest age bracket of UHNWIs is between 35-54, and 80% are male. There’s an average of 3 people per household, and an average of $3,115 USD spent per family member per vacation. This affluent demographic takes an average of 14 trips per year, which is more than triple that of the average US household, which is 4.8 trips per year (2016 US Luxury Travel Report, Resonance).

Demographics of the UHNWI
Source: Resonance 2016 US Luxury Travel Report
What influences accommodation selection?

While UHNWIs are familiar with the Four Seasons, Hilton, and Marriott as the top luxury hotel brands, their brand preferences are swayed by the amenities that impact their guest experience. For the luxury traveler, the amenities at a property play a critical part in their selection process. Topping the list is Wi-Fi access; it’s critical to stay connected, and UHNWIs consider this to be the most important hotel amenity. These travelers value a true retreat experience, placing Privacy as the second-most important selection criteria for their accommodation (2016 US Luxury Travel Report, Resonance).

Where do luxury traveller want to go?

Luxury has shifted from ‘having’ to ‘being’; UHNW travellers are seeking out one-of-a-kind experiences, and this demand is reshaping the luxury travel industry and service offering. 69% of UHNW travellers are looking to participate in a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ activity while on their vacation. Certain destinations offer appeal based on the top 3 destination-criteria for UHNW travelers: safety, favorable climate, and scenery and nature. Aligning to this criteria, the top destinations that UHNWIs are looking to visit in the next 12-24 months are Europe, the Caribbean, and Mexico (2016 US Luxury Travel Report, Resonance).

Resonance report - luxury travel destinations

Luxury travel brands are putting a greater emphasis on creating a personalized experience for their guests. With a detailed understanding of who the UHNWI is in their everyday life, and of the criteria that influences and inspires them to take a vacation, you’re now closer to attracting these luxury travelers. The complete 2016 U.S Luxury Travel Report can be purchased here.

Check back for Part Two in the Insights Series: Emerging Trends for the Luxury Travel Industry.