Luxury Experts: Understand Your Customers

by  and  rew Sheivachman
Luxury Experts: Understand Your Customers

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Luxury experts at The Affluent Traveler Symposium’s opening session here on Tuesday implored travel professionals to better understand their current customers and expand their business by exploring market segments with growth potential.

“Luxury is back and it’s back with a vengeance,” said Jeff Senior, chief marketing officer of Fairmont Hotels. “We’re excited about where  we’re headed in every dimension.”

The panel discussion on “The Faces of Luxury,” which took place at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, addressed the different types of luxury travelers and what they are looking for in a vacation experience.

“The important thing for everyone in this room is to understand consumer segmentation,” said Senior.

Senior divides travelers into three groups-- researchers, who are exhausted by the amount of research they do; experientials, who want to understand the craftsmanship behind their experience, and the traditional traveler looking for a normal luxury vacation.

Others suggested that pairing the right product with the right luxury client is of utmost importance, regardless of customer demographic.

“By slowing the travel experience, going deeper and understanding the local culture, there is more of a luxury experience for travelers,” said Greg Furman, founder of The Luxury Marketing Council, who led the panel discussion.

Affluent consumers across all demographics want unique vacations with high-touch amenities.

“Luxury travelers want to be treated as individuals -- no nametags, crowding or anything that takes away their identity,” said Rick Baron, managing director of worldwide accounts for Tauck.

Niches to explore
Niche consumer markets experiences are a strong opportunity for luxury agents. Getting involved in multigenerational travel, for instance, can pay dividends for decades.

“Think of multigenerational travel when looking at your rolodex. If you’ve got the grandparents all the way down to the grandchildren in there, you can have them for life if you mold them now,” said Kim Daley, vice president and managing director of Journese.

Solo travelers represent another growth market. Suppliers are capitalizing on the trend too, introducing new products, from solo-friendly tours to more single staterooms on cruise ships.

“We are seeing an uptick in the solo traveler,” said Christienne de Souza, director of national accounts for AmaWaterways. “I encourage you to look into your database to market to those customers. The market does skew to women as a demographic,” she added.

Millennials and luxury travel
Luxury sellers might not be thinking about millennials, but they should, panelists suggested. Millennials don’t have the spending power of more mature generations, but they will soon.

Agents interest in attracting younger clients should pay attention to the types of companies millennials identify with.

“Millennials define themselves by the brands they do business with,” said Senior. “While they’re not in a financial position to spend like other segments, they are well on their way.”

For suppliers, it can be a challenge to cater to millennial expectations while maintaining a strong experience for boomers.

“Millennials perceive luxury differently than other generations, and we’re learning how to adapt to both dynamics so we’re not alienating one component of cruiser over another,” said Kristian Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of Silversea.

  0
  0
Tip of the Day
Daily Top List

Airlines With Best Beer List

1. Virgin America

2. Delta

3. JetBlue

4. Alaska Airlines

5. United

Source: Vine Pair

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
Travel Groups Speak Out in Support of PreCheck Expansion
Travel Groups Speak Out in Support of PreCheck Expansion

Industry organizations push for legislation to modernize the TSA with expedited screening, biometric technology, and other deployments.

Despite Dip in 2017, Travel to the U.S. Remains Strong
Despite Dip in 2017, Travel to the U.S. Remains Strong

Fewer inbound travelers visited the U.S. this year, but they spent more money while here.

How Millennials Are Disrupting the Wellness Travel Market
How Millennials Are Disrupting the Wellness Travel Market

Millennials traveling for wellness want rockstar fitness trainers and unique experiences that transport them.

September Leisure Travel Remained Strong Despite Hurricanes
September Leisure Travel Remained Strong Despite Hurricanes

Resilience of the American economy buoys vacation travel despite extreme weather, and bodes well for leisure travel through the first quarter of 2018.

Turkey and U.S. to Begin Issuing Travel Visas Again
Turkey and U.S. to Begin Issuing Travel Visas Again

As relations thaw, both countries say that “limited visa services” will be offered.

Air Canada Suspends Flights to St. Maarten Due to Hurricane Maria Impact
Air Canada Suspends Flights to St. Maarten Due to Hurricane Maria Impact

Almost two months since hurricane season, the impact on tourism to the island is still being felt.

News Briefs
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: Tauck River Cruising