Travellers are splurging on unique experiences according to Anthony Goldman, joint managing director of The Goldman Group, with a boom in bookings for boutique experiences and cultural encounters – all for share on social media – fuelling the trend.
Established over 30 years ago, The Goldman Group is a multi-award-winning travel advisory group managing travel arrangements for thousands of leisure, business and b-leisure customers every year. According to the Group’s network of advisors, luxury travel is no longer the reserve for the very wealthy; the luxe travellers of today are younger, more adventurous, travelling with family and travelling more often.
“We still service top tier clients for whom money is no object, however more and more, we are managing bookings for younger clients who are happy to invest in once-in-a-lifetime experiences before financing children or a mortgage. Families are another luxe travel group growing, especially those seeking new adventures which are both experiential as well as educational,” explained Goldman.
Data from the Virtuoso travel network supports the Goldman Group experience. According to the recent survey, getting “the best” is paramount in luxury travel, with 86% saying they are willing to pay full price if it means getting the best in service, and 73% agreeing that after experiencing true luxury, it was difficult to scale back. In addition to this, 71% said they expected to spend more on luxury travel this year.
So, what are the top luxury travel trend forecasts for 2019? According to Goldman, while Australian travellers are always keen to experience ‘the next big thing’, when it comes to luxury travel, big is no longer beautiful.
“Small and intimate is in, and the current view among luxe travellers is ‘good things come in small packages’. This is translating into increased demand for bookings on board smaller cruise ships visiting boutique ports, customised small tours such as those delivered by Abercrombie and Kent, and bespoke experiences such as exclusive openings and private exhibitions.”
Another key trend, thanks to emergence of Gen Z as part of the decision-making process, is travelling to Instagram-able destinations to document travel experiences. Coined the “iGeneration”, Gen Z is seeking unusual destinations and active experiences, with their decisions influenced by social media, online reviews, friend recommendations and shares.
“We are increasingly receiving booking requests from Instagram and we sell on the social platform. We receive direct messages from customers saying, ‘I want that’. Hotels are also creating more and more Instagram-able experiences, enabling the capture of special moments to be shared with followers. Instagram as a platform has really influenced the way younger generations research and undertake travel,” says Goldman.
Multi-generational travel is also trending, and families are increasingly seeking immersive cultural experiences, off the beaten path, which deliver authentic connections with locals. According to Goldman, destinations which will top the charts for families in 2019 include Iceland, Galapagos Islands, Cuba, Antarctica, Botswana and Mongolia.
“We love this destination diversity at the Goldman Group,” Goldman said. “While more and more people want to explore unique and far flung places around the world, they simply don’t have the time or connections to manage the planning themselves. That’s when they come to us, and even the simplest of briefs allows our travel expert to craft a dream itinerary. From renting a traditional yurt in Mongolia, to seeing blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos Islands, we can make it happen.”