Africa Travel Week
luxury travel

Defining the luxury traveller of today

As luxury travellers’ needs keep evolving, it gets more and more complex to define who they are and what they really want. Jean Carmela Lim shares 5 ways to better understand the new luxury traveller.

With an ever changing fast-paced global economy, coupled with travellers’ varying needs and personalities, pinning down the ‘prototype’ of today’s luxury traveller is more challenging than it was a decade ago. It’s no longer just about targeting who likes to travel first and business class, or who prefers an above 600 thread-count in their bedsheets.

Here are 5 ways how brands can get to know today’s luxury travellers better.

KNOW THEIR NUMBERS AND WHERE THEY COME FROM

Ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWI) are defined as having assets valued at more than $50 million. The 2019 Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, reveals that the United States scores has by far the greatest number of millionaires: 18.6 million, or 40% of the world total. Next on the list is China (10%), Japan (6%), Germany and the United Kingdom with 5%, followed by France (4%).

KNOW THEIR LIFESTYLE AND WHAT THEY WANT TO GET OUT OF TRAVEL

Anthony Lassman, co-founder of Nota Bene Global, a London-based bespoke travel service firm, shares that high achievers, no matter where they are from, are hungry to consume travel and are on a constant quest for discovery. He notes that their expectations are extremely high. It’s about precision; it’s about knowing individual travel quirks; it’s about top-tier service.

Luxury for the UHNW crowd is “about space, time, privacy and doing things wherever and in your time and at your pace.” Philippe Brown, founder of the London-based luxury travel consultancy Brown + Hudson further adds, “Our clients want to do things that no one else has done before and will never do again. This is what Bespoke 2.0 is all about. It’s the essence of personal.” Going back to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, even when they reside in different continents, UNHW individuals tend to share more similar lifestyles, participating in the same global markets for luxury goods.

KNOW WHAT THEY DON’T WANT

Because they are prepared to pay a premium for experiences that either no one has done before, or can only be done once in a lifetime, these luxury travellers do not want to have to deal with petty annoyances. They are more than willing to pay for someone to worry about the small details for them so they can focus more on the bespoke experience. Philippe further adds that their clients expect “trust, personal security, fluidity, access, logistics, control.”

KNOW THAT THEY MAY WANT THE SAME THINGS AS US BUT ON A MUCH GRANDER LEVEL

UHNW individuals, just like us, seek unique and immersive experiences in their travels. However, unlike you and I, they have financial resources that allow them freedom to say that sky is the limit when it comes to possibilities. According to Brown+Hudson, their clients want to do things that no one else has done before and will never do again. “If it doesn’t exist, we create it, if it hasn’t been done, then it’s time someone did.” A private dinner with Desmond Tutu or opportunities to play a grand piano on stage at Reykjavik’s Harpa Concert Hall are just a couple of examples that Harper+Brown have arranged for their clients.

GET FAMILIAR WITH THE TERM ‘LUXPEDITION’

Perhaps, due to a combination of factors like people having a healthier lifestyle in general, therefore allowing them to achieve more adventurous bucket list items and also having a more experience-focused mindset, outdoor and adventure destinations continue to get more popular among UHNW individuals. Destinations like New Zealand, Iceland, Norway, and Rwanda (for gorilla trekking) continuously get frequented by luxury travellers with an adventurous side. Dubbing this type of travel as ‘Luxpeditions’, Brown+Hudson says that they try to “make the most challenging journey into the unknown achievable without the inconveniences.” For instance, the uber-wealthy might choose Papua New Guinea as a travel destination. But they will easily get into a helicopter to get to the back country. Or they may want to stay at an exclusive estate on Mount Kenya that comes complete with a private plane to explore the Great Rift Valley.

Jean Lim

Jean Lim

Jean Carmela Lim is the voice behind luxury and adventure travel blog, Holy Smithereens. Since a childhood trip to Hong Kong and her first typewriter, Jean has spent a lifetime pursuing her passion of travel writing. With a background in the airline industry and government travel, Jean now creates travel content full-time on blogs and social media, exploring life's unforgettable moments through luxurious travels both near and far.