Virtuoso study: Aussies love to luxe

Australians take a higher number of international trips (1.9 vs. 1.5) compared to the global average

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Long regarded as tremendous travellers, now Australians are being recognised the world over as great luxury travellers. Fuelled by strong share portfolios, super and property, Australian luxury travellers are consuming at record rates, with demand pushing a raft of luxury travel brands to open sales offices across the country.

Australian luxury travellers take more international trips, are the second highest consumers of business class flights, and spend the most time on holiday, according to research undertaken by leading global luxury travel network, Virtuoso.

With Australians making 25% more luxury trips than the average international traveller and representing the highest consumers of luxury travel leisure nights, the world’s tourism industry has honed in on the Australian luxury dollar.

The YouGov research analysed global luxury consumer sentiment, identifying global luxury consumer trends, along with specific travel trends for the Australian luxury traveller including:

  • Australians take a higher number of international trips (1.9 vs. 1.5) compared to the global average
  • They take more overall trips (4.9 vs. 4.7)
  • Despite being conscious of the exchange rate (31% vs. 21%), Australians have the lowest level of budget setting (14% vs. 35%)
  • Australian travellers are more likely to use loyalty points (36% vs. 32%)
  • Australians have the highest number of leisure nights (18.9 vs. 14.4), especially for hotels/resorts (13.2 vs. 9.8)
  • 63% of cruising length is two weeks or longer for Australians, compared to the global average of 40%
  • Australian luxury travellers like to use a travel advisor (64% vs. 52%)
  • Average income of an Australian luxury traveller is around $318,000, and they spend approximately $13,000 per trip, with relaxation being their top reason for travel
  • Australians rate the importance of travel as 8.2 out of 10
  • Globally, 71% of luxury consumers believe many non-luxury brands now offer a level of quality comparable to luxury brands
  • 88% of consumers like brands that share their values, while 80% will spend more on a brand that customises the product for them

“Australians represent some of the most prolific travellers in the Virtuoso network,” stated Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso. “They are also some of the most intrepid travellers, always looking to new and interesting destinations that their American contemporaries might not have considered yet.”

Upchurch continued, “One universal trait with travellers across the globe is the desire for personalised service. And Australians are no different than other luxury travellers. They will switch their loyalties, even if it means paying more, to have service that exceeds their expectations. This is certainly true during their travels, but it happens during the planning process as well. Consumers will collaborate with their travel advisor – just as they would with their financial advisor – to ensure they get the experience they want. Where the trust comes in is when things don’t go as planned, and they can turn to their travel advisor for advocacy and accountability.”

The definition of luxury travel is shifting as non-luxury brands begin to offer a level of quality comparable with luxury brands, leaving luxury travellers to seek out other criteria to evaluate their travel products, including customisation and shared values.

Internationally there has been remarkable expansion in luxury travel with Virtuoso’s network recording 12% growth in the past year, now totalling sales of over US$23b, up from US$12.5b in 2013.

In Australia, Virtuoso has become the fastest growing retail consortia in the country, with current sales up 19%  on the previous 12 months. Recognising this growth, Virtuoso will host its global Symposium in Melbourne next May, gathering together 500 luxury travel leaders from across the world.

Image: Virtuoso Chairman and CEO Matthew D Upchurch at Virtuoso Travel Week 2018

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