Virtuoso report reveals trends for 2022

On the comeback are African safaris, oceans cruises and using a travel advisor

Credit: Sebastian Canaves/Unsplash

Virtuoso has released insight on when, where and why affluent travellers will be venturing in 2022.

The global luxury travel network gathered insights from its travel advisors, partners and high net worth/ultra-high net worth clientele, conducted ongoing surveys, along with its own data warehouse of more than US$49.5 billion in transactions.

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Top revelations from the research include delayed celebrations as a driving motivator for travel, people increasingly eyeing international destinations, and while the pandemic continues to impact mobility, the optimism and appetite for travel remain strong.

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A Travel State of Mind

Virtuoso says that as omicron cases are on a downward trajectory, what was a deterrent for travel only weeks ago is now a motivating factor. People who have contracted and recovered from the virus are viewing their “antibody window” as the ideal time to get away.

Virtuoso advisors are reporting that clients have contacted them to plan their next vacation while they are still in quarantine. This aligns with a January 2022 poll by Virtuoso, where 85% of travellers said they are in a ‘ready to travel’ mindset. The intent to travel is strong, with 86% of travellers polled saying they plan to travel internationally this year, and Virtuoso anticipates bookings will continue to trend upwards at the end of Q1 and into the second quarter as the omicron wave subsides.

Where to Next? Hint: Globetrotters are Going Big and Spending Big

Virtuoso experts say 2022 will be the year of once-in-a-lifetime, Wanderlist trips. Tapping into their advisors specialising in exclusive excursions, Virtuoso found that 76% have seen a recent increase in ultraluxe travel with African safaris, Caribbean islands, international city destinations, and ocean cruises as the top preferred experiences.

The uptick in high-end travel is the result of pent-up demand and expanded financial means. The ability to spend more is a plus since travel inflation means costs are on the rise. Virtuoso bookings show future hotel rates are up 54% internationally.

Travel Advisors vs. DIY: No Contest

Peace of mind is hard to come by in the midst of a global pandemic, but travel advisors continue to prove their value to both their clients and the overall travel industry, Virtuoso reported.

“Even during ‘normal’ times, planning travel isn’t always straightforward.

“With international travel rules in flux, it has never been more important to turn to an advisor to plan, book and, most importantly, ensure there is a backup plan in the event of travel disruptions,” the luxury network reported.

Advisors continue to show their worth, driving demand for professional planning as Virtuoso reports that requests from people seeking an advisor grew 50% last year compared to 2020.

Celebration Travel: Grab the Gang

Making up for the lost year (or two) of missed milestones has become a priority for those seeking to reconnect with loved ones. Seventy-eight percent of Virtuoso advisors have seen an uptick in celebration travel, with anniversaries and notable birthdays being the primary motivators. When asked, 95% of advisors also believed celebration travel will continue to be a top trend through 2022.

The Conscious Comeback

The pandemic is leading people to be more cognizant of their impact on the world, and this has led to what Virtuoso calls “the conscious comeback.”

In a recent Virtuoso survey, 82% of travellers said the pandemic has made them want to travel more responsibly in the future and 78% said it’s important to choose travel companies that have a strong sustainability policy, moving them to seek out companies committed to what Virtuoso calls the three pillars of sustainability: protecting the planet, supporting local economies and celebrating cultures. And 70% agreed that travelling sustainably enhances their holiday experience. See the previously released Virtuoso Sustainability White Paper here.

2022 Hotel Openings to Watch

Virtuoso’s 2021 hotel bookings were up 87% over 2020, and the momentum continued with January 2022 bookings up 119% compared to the same time last year. City hotels led the way, with January 2022 bookings soaring 240% over January 2021. Tracking the hottest hotels opening around the globe, Virtuoso has named these as the ones to watch:

The Madrid EDITION – Opening Q2, 2022: Set near Puerta de Sol in the heart of the Spanish capital and within walking distance to The Golden Triangle of Art – one of the most highly regarded art museums in Madrid – the hotel will offer 200 guest rooms and suites.

The Fifth Avenue Hotel – Opening Autumn 2022: Housed in one of New York City’s architectural masterpieces from 1907, the Martin Brudinski-designed hotel masterfully mixes the old and the new. Two contrasting yet complementary structures comprise the hotels: “The Mansion” which houses 24 guestrooms and The Tower with 129.

Waldorf Astoria Cancun – Opening 29 September 2022: Spanning 40-hectares of secluded palm-fringed coastline, the resort will offer a blend of traditional Mexican heritage and modern elegance. The 178 guestrooms and suites will feature private swim-up pools, while the spa will offer treatments that harness the healing power of local ingredients.

Atlantis The Royal Dubai – Opening Q3, 2022: The city’s newest icon will be home to 795 rooms and suites – including some with their own private pool – plus a Michelin-worthy selection of dining venues and a 300-foot-high infinity-edge sky pool.

Fifth Avenue Hotel New York
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