The ever-worsening economic recession has, of course, taken its toll in a number of areas. Among them we can certainly include the field of travel and perhaps the worst hit have been the proprietors of luxury hotels and luxury travel agents. Let us look at the problems this area is facing.
The Changing Guest
The fact is that many so called luxury travellers have indicated that the current economic climate is not having that much impact on their travel plans. Indeed, the attraction of travel has certainly not subsided and many are choosing to adapt to the recent recession. This is especially true of high-end luxury travellers, many of whom stress that the current economy is actually more of an incentive for travelling, both to escape the hardships and because rates are generally lower at the present time.
However, it would appear that what is changing is what actually constitutes people's idea of luxury. Research has shown that at present, people are far more interested in being entertained than being pampered. Quite simply people, with luxury travellers included, are now looking for a whole different type of experience. Whilst a survey conducted in 2007 concluded that what the guest most wanted was the feeling of 'being pampered', the luxury type hotels that are renowned for pampering are now in less demand than ever.
A follow up survey conducted just two years later concluded that the top three experiences people are now seeking are, from first to last: entertainment, excitement and inspiration. It is true to say, however, that a great number of hotels and tour operators have reacted to the changing environment. This is evident from the number of 'transformational travel' offers available in addition to the growing number of 'kids clubs' that are being offered as part of a package. In short, the focus has shifted to one that aims to address the traveller's need for enrichment.
With this in mind, many tour operators and hoteliers have introduced fields such as 'educational tourism' or 'adventure travel' and many are even choosing to cater for those who want to volunteer abroad during their gap year. After all, these could be the luxury travellers of the future and a gap year could inspire travel ambitions. The focus now is on personal growth and the above trends are continuing to grow as hotel managers begin to fully grasp their potential market value.
The Luxury Traveller Is Now Predominantly Female
A further trend within the luxury travel sector is that women tend to be the ones seeking luxury travel rather than their male counterparts. Indeed, more and more women are now choosing to travel alone or as part of an all female group, more so than at any other time in history. Luxury travel operators and hotels again have to adapt accordingly. For women, much more so than men, a holiday has to have some kind of 'special interest'. Therefore, we now see travel guides offering all kinds of special interest packages including well-being or spa retreats, women's golfing holidays, surfing women or 'wine and women' deals.
In conclusion then, we can see that the face of luxury travel is changing and in some areas, rather drastically. Nonetheless, whilst rates for luxury hotels have fallen to a certain extent, there is still more than enough demand to mean that, for the most part, the area has maintained its strong price strength. Indeed, as long as those involved continue to take adaptive measures, the field of luxury travel and hotels is sure to outlast the current economic downturn.
Ben Scriber writes regularly on the topic of travel for a wide range of related websites and blogs. His main focus remains that of adventure holidays and he recently worked as a volunteer abroad.