Privacy is the “New Ultimate Luxury”, Amex report finds

Two new Travel Mindsets identified - Luxury Travel and Second-City Destinations

Credit: Ooralba Estate, Kangaroo Valley, NSW

“Privacy is the New Ultimate Luxury”. That was one of the top insights concluded in a survey conducted in January of consumers from seven countries, including Australia, to gauge their sentiment towards travel.

The study found there is considerable pent-up demand from consumers looking forward to travelling again, with nearly 9 out of 10 people saying that having a trip planned in the future gives them something to look forward to. More than half of those polled said they miss travelling so much they are willing to book a trip now, even if they might be forced to cancel it in the future.

Two new travel mindsets were also identified in the wake of the global pandemic, one specifically in the luxury travel segment, the latest Global Travel Trends Report has revealed.

According to the report by American Express Travel, regular changes to booking policies, travel offers and new destinations to consider have stemmed from the coronavirus, resulting in a new travel mindset.

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New Travel Mindset | American Express Travel Global Travel Trends Report - March 2021

“The 2021 traveller has a new energy and new mentality – from the types of destinations that people are choosing to visit to the way they look at work/life balance to how they define luxury,” Amex said.

The two new travel mindsets were classed as Luxury Travel and ‘Second-City Destinations’.

Luxury Travel

The report found that the pandemic has changed people’s perception of luxury travel, with personalised services (82%), high cleanliness standards (81%) and privacy (79%) now the most desirable luxury amenities among 3,000 respondents from the US, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico and the USA.

Eighty per cent also indicated they were willing to travel to destinations during the offseason to avoid crowds.

Crowdless Venice, Italy | credit: Ricardo Gomez/Unsplash

More than half of respondents (59%) are wanting to use a travel advisor to assist with customising their next holiday due to the “particularly complex” travel landscape right now.

“Privacy and exclusivity, as well as wellness, have been pushed to the forefront as consumers look for more intimate, impactful and purposeful travel,” said Dino Michael, SVP and Global Category Head, Hilton Luxury Brands.

“Luxury travel continues to blur the lines between the desire for privacy and experiential opportunities as consumers look for those safe yet unique travel moments that will make lifetime memories.”

“Guests staying at properties within Hilton’s luxury portfolio want to know that we will go above and beyond to meet and exceed their needs – whether that be health and safety, travel coordination or simply providing an unforgettable and personalised experience. We expect to see more and more of this as we look ahead to the ever-evolving luxury travel landscape,” Michael said.

Wellington, New Zealand | credit: Guillaume Lebett/Unsplash

‘Second-City Destinations’

Nearly 70% of respondents said they were keen to visit lesser-known destinations, a response backed up by American Express Travel data showing a rise in reservations for second-tier cities.

Examples supplied, based on booking requests by American Express Travel consultants, included smaller cities such as Wellington in New Zealand (rather than Auckland) and Porto in Portugal (instead of Lisbon).

“Some customers are open to going “anywhere” they can safely travel right now,” the Amex report said.

Travelling with Purpose | American Express Travel Global Travel Trends Report - March 2021

Other key findings

The Global Travel Trends Report also found a strong increase in interest for Sustainable Travel, with 68% of those surveyed agreeing to being more aware of “sustainability-friendly travel brands to support”.

Culinary Tourism was also a big-ticket item, especially in the US market, with American Express Travel booking data showing popularity for “foodie centric cities”, such as Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston.

Additionally, consumers are becoming more conscious travellers, with around 70% saying they would both support businesses in local communities, as well as support travel brands that prioritise diversity and inclusion.

Audrey Hendley, President of American Express Travel concluded, saying: “While individual sentiments differ, one thing is clear: there’s a pent-up demand for travel and a clear appreciation for the benefits that it can bring. In fact, people miss traveling so much that 76% of respondents surveyed are creating their destinations wish list for future travel even though they might not be able to travel yet.”

To view the full American Express Travel Global Travel Trends Report, click here.

Lead image: © Ooralba Estate, Kangaroo Valley, NSW

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