Five Tips For Selling Ever-Changing Luxury Travel

by Daniel McCarthy

Photo: Kassandra Bay Resort & SPA.

It’s not your father’s high-end market any more.  

The very nature of the luxury market is changing, as an influx of new travelers from all walks of life seek luxury experiences—and head to travel professionals to provide them, says a new report from Amadeus.  

Here are five things to keep in mind when selling to the new breed of high-end customer. 

Get personal  
Don’t let the client drive the conversation. You are the professional here—and your job is to offer advice “on a specific, personal level that goes above a traveler’s norms,” the report says.  

So get to know your clients and make sure unexpected luxuries are offered throughout their trip without them having to ask. Think “their favorite Michelin-starred chef flown in to prepare a meal in a Bedouin tent in the middle of the Sahara.”  

Know the tribes  
Mine your data to determine which tribe a client belongs to.  

There are three tribes in luxury travel: reward hunters, simplicity seekers, and obligation meeters, the report says.  

Reward hunters focus on self-indulgent travel, high-end luxury experiences to reward themselves for hard work. They will spend money to do the unique. 

Simplicity searchers are looking for ease and transparency. They will give you control of their vacation, and the responsibility for delivering that goes with it.  

Obligation meters put their responsibilities—business, religious, and family—above their own travel desires, and schedule their trips around these things. 

Think long-haul 
Travelers from the biggest markets for luxury, North America and Western Europe, are looking to go far. And the largest growth between now and  2025 will come from South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Get out the geography books, and broaden your horizons. 

Value experiences over goods  
As the market continues to grow, luxury travelers are increasingly preferring vacations “bound up in experiences rather than things,” the report says.  

The spend on material goods in the past 10 years—almost 500 billion Euros—pales in comparison to the growth in money spent on experiences, which is up 750 billion Euros. Think of ways to connect your travelers with local customs and with nature.  

Get comfortable  
Only 23% of the future luxury travel market will be “special occasion” travelers, who take a luxury trip as a way to pamper themselves from time to time.  

The majority will be “always luxury” travelers, “Bluxury” travelers who blend business with leisure travel, “cash-rich, time-poor” travelers who value flexibility over all things, and “strictly opulent” travelers who seek out the best and most-glamourous experiences every time they travel. 

Getting to know your customers’ styles personally is the key to knowing how to sell the luxury niche each one is seeking.

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Tip of the Day

“Tack on days to other trips and conferences for exploring other properties. Get the most bang for your buck on every airfare you purchase, and use any free or discounted nights you have earned to make it an affordable and personalized fam." - Suzanne Haire, Travel Advisor

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