Goldman Group research reinforces the value of travel advisors

Globetrotting habits of Australian luxury travellers

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Goldman Group, in partnership with AccorHotels, has released the findings of the globetrotting habits of Australia’s luxury travellers, including their passion for discovering unique experiences, their willingness to travel to far-flung locations and their spending habits in pursuit of the perfect getaway.

The survey, conducted by New York-based Strategic Vision, also underlined the close partnership between luxury travellers and their travel advisors to make high-end travel dreams a reality.

Among the revelations is that luxe-loving travellers have no issue with committing significant sums to support their global roaming, but do seek value and look for discounts and special offers when booking accommodation.

Europe remains the most popular destination, followed by North America, with 93% of respondents stating they travel specifically to experience new places and cultures. Luxury travellers are keen to visit a new destination on each trip (79%) with historical sites and heritage at the top of the hitlist (53%).

“This survey proves that the Aussie adventurous spirit is alive and well in the luxury travel sector, especially with retiring Australians making the most of their additional free time to traverse the globe and enrich their lives with new experiences,” said Anthony Goldman, Joint Managing Director of The Goldman Group.

Anthony Goldman told LATTE the report was valuable as it provides qualified and researched results, rather than the popular ‘trend’ gauge, and involved an audience of several hundred existing Goldman clients and non-clients.

Further insights from the Australian Luxury Traveller 2019 report include:

Luxury travellers don’t compromise during ‘tough times’

Despite falling house prices and consumer confidence on the decline, 22% of luxury travellers are planning to increase their travel spend, in comparison to last year and 19% plan to spend over $50,000 or more on international travel. While luxe-loving travellers have no issue with committing significant sums to support their global roaming, 76% do seek value and look for discounts and special offers when booking accommodation.

History and heritage reign for luxury travellers

Immersive travel is important to luxury travellers with 49% stating they “travel to have experiences that are transformational”. More traditional travel motivators such as rest and relaxation (27%), beaches (14%) and romance (8%) were lower priorities, compared to experiencing historic sights (53%), destination dining (48%) and cultural pursuits (36%).

Gourmet travellers

Nearly half of respondents (46%) agreed that food is a principal reason they travel, but just 25% said restaurants with well-known chefs were important.

Let’s get (a little) physical

Twenty per cent of respondents enjoy ‘leisurely outdoor activities’ on vacation, such as walking, hiking, cycling and boating, with just 5% keen on strenuous outdoor activities. Only 4% were interested in wellness programs or spas.

Putting a value on value

Although 45% of respondents plan to spend at least $30,000 on travel this year and 19% will spend over $50,000, ‘price’ was still the number one answer for 63% when asked about factors influencing travel decisions. Seventy-six per cent look for discounts and special offers when seeking accommodation, with four out of five respondents saying benefits of booking through travel agents, such as room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and late check-out were important. Nearly half (49%) attempt to stick to a budget when travelling.

Italy: the hottest destination for luxury travellers in 2019

Long-haul trips remain popular with Australian luxury travellers, with multi-destination and multi-continent journeys common among this demographic. The most popular recent international travel spots among respondents were Europe, USA, Italy and New Zealand. Europe also took out the top spot for the next trip on respondents’ radars, followed by multi-destination, the US, Japan and Asia. Europe – particularly Italy – was the ‘favourite’ international holiday destination for 17% (and 12%) of respondents, with Italy top of the international wishlist for luxe travellers in the future. Other wishlist destinations a little more ‘off the beaten track’ included Africa, Antarctica, Scandinavia, Alaska, Iceland and the Maldives.

Luxury travellers remain undeterred by the current US political climate

Australian travellers are largely undeterred by concerns over security and politics, with only 33% saying they worry about personal safety while travelling overseas. Just 29% mentioned security issues as a factor in picking a destination, and the US political climate is also a relative non-issue.

Cruising is still king

The expanding cruise sector is now valued at US$5 billion, with 1.34 million Australians boarding a cruise in 2017. A significant 72% of respondents had taken at least one cruise in the past five years, with 21% saying they cruise annually. The Mediterranean is the most popular cruising destination (44%), followed by Australia/New Zealand (32%), the South Pacific (31%), Alaska and the Pacific Coast of North America (29%), and the Baltics (29%). Looking ahead, 42% are interested in river cruises, 41% in expedition cruises and 31% keen on cruising on a small yacht. The most sought-after future itineraries include the Galapagos Islands (43%), European river cruising (42%), the British Isles (42%) and Norway (42%), Antarctica (39%), and the Baltics (38%).

Luxury Travellers still enlist the help of a travel advisor when booking overseas travel

A significant 58% of respondents prefer to use a face-to-face travel advisor when booking their next overseas adventure compared with booking directly with airlines and hotels, or using an online agent or app (28%). In addition, four out of five respondents said the benefits of booking through travel agents, such as room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and late check-out were important.

Brand love

Qantas was easily the local luxe travellers’ favourite airline (41%), followed by Singapore Airlines (20%), Emirates (12%), Cathay Pacific (5%) and Qatar (3%). AccorHotels came top of the hotel list with 12.4% of respondents naming it their favourite brand, followed by the Four Seasons (5.3%), Marriott (4.6%), Hilton (4.2%) and IHG (3.9%). Twenty-three per cent of respondents cited no hotel brand allegiance.

Lead image: David and Anthony Goldman, flanking Strategic Vision’s Peter J Bates.

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