• Toucan Insights Staff

Luxury Hospitality: The Big Shift in The High-End Travel


luxury hotel with ocean view

With the development of modern technology and the introduction of more flexible travel possibilities, the days of traditional luxury travel are coming to an end.


Modern luxury travellers are changing their preferences on what constitutes a perfect holiday experience. Fading away are the days of displaying glamour and abundance.


One reason is that the market of affluent individuals is changing too.


Nowadays, more people than ever have the means to go on luxurious trips because of higher levels of disposable income.


At the same time, luxury travel agencies are making it more affordable to go on high-end trips.


Due to the growing number of affluent people, luxury brands have widened their audience reach to increase sales.


Therefore, it is key for luxury marketing agencies to be up-to-date with the latest changes in the luxury hospitality industry.


Read on to know how the mindset of luxury travellers is shifting and to learn how digital marketing agencies for hospitality are adapting their strategies.


Transformative Travel


Compared to casual travelers who mostly want to enjoy warm beaches and some tourist hotspots, luxury travelers have a more sophisticated desire when going abroad.


Both require different approaches when targeting them in digital marketing strategies.


Nevertheless, the different target audience, hotels that accommodate affluent travelers have similar metrics to measure than hotels for the mass audience.


Here, the most important numbers are being presented for both hotel types: The 10 hotel KPI’s that matter the most.


With the growth of the luxury travel industry in recent years, there has been an increase in new destinations, unique activities and other experiences to offer a high-end experience.


However, for many high-net-worth travellers, this is not enough.


Nowadays, modern travellers seek more than just going on an expensive trip with glamour everywhere. Instead, a growing number of them want to achieve personal fulfilment while going on new adventures.


High-end consumers slowly move away from the traditional idea of luxury that includes enjoying extravagant environments and showing off status.


Modern luxury travellers are seeking unique experiences that fulfil distinctive desires.


According to Skift research, the biggest priority for luxury travellers is to have experiences that change their view of the world.


Furthermore, Skift states that personal fulfilment is the new ultimate luxury. This means having lasting impressions from personal experiences is the new trend in luxury hospitality.


The focus lies less on travelling to specific destinations but more on achieving personal goals.


As many affluent travellers want to leave a positive impact on the world, they have a desire to reduce their excess lifestyles and to rather give back to local communities.


This goes together with travelling consciously as the new trend is to be environmentally friendly when commuting to new destinations.


Hotels and other luxury hospitality companies that support these causes are catering towards these emerging desires from modern luxury travellers.


Following this, the next paragraphs explain the most valuable characteristics that modern travellers are looking for in luxury travel brands.


Luxury travel agencies must-have services


performance results on a desk

Excellent Customer Service


In luxury hospitality, customers still prefer to have face-to-face communication when doing transactions.


As an example, in 2016 the majority of business transactions over $2000 were conducted offline.


The reason is that brands in the hospitality sector are focused on building trust between themselves and their clients.


Therefore, having personal contact with the customer is the best way to develop a real connection with them.


When communicating with a potential client, answering consumers' questions in real-time is key to connecting with them.


Not only that but luxury clients also value having a positive interaction with the customer service.


That means answering all of their questions in detail and showing the highest level of respect towards their concerns.


It is important that luxury brands can be reached via social media like Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp to increase the accessibility towards the growing Generation Z.


For some communication channels like chat functions on websites, it is possible to let it run by an artificial intelligence system.


However, it is more appropriate to have a person manage the communication with potential customers to ensure the highest quality during the interaction.


Authentic Experience


This trend is growing in popularity within the modern travel community. Luxury customers appreciate getting a local experience when travelling to a new destination.


People want to become part of the culture that they are visiting. The trend shifts from booking luxurious five-star hotels to having local and more personal accommodations.


Authenticity means also being transparent and honest towards consumers. This can be done by giving a behind-the-scenes look to customers.


Sharing honest opinions when answering guests’ questions is also a strong way to show authenticity towards them.

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Personalized Journey


Modern luxury travellers are more sophisticated when it comes to their travel wishes. They seek to go on adventures that match their personality and values.


Luxury customers want to have the freedom to create their own experiences. With the desire to escape their daily routine, high-end travellers want to live experiences that they can fully control.


The focus lies on delivering a seamless experience for the customer. By eliminating any possible inconvenience, luxury hospitality services aim to create a memorable experience.


Personal fulfilment is a keyword here since luxury travellers want to develop their personal growth during these high-end trips.


These unique trips help travellers to differentiate themselves from others. They want to get access to activities that are closed to the public like travelling to space and experiencing 0 gravity.


In the end, it is less about showing off your wealth but more about gaining knowledge or a memorable experience to look back on.


With the integration of online technology, the customization possibilities took on a whole new level.


Luxury marketing agencies can for example personalize the design of the advertisements or the copy of emails.


Conscious Travel


As travellers are getting increasingly more conscious about global issues, they are becoming aware of the consequences of their actions.


Also called guilt-free luxury, high-end consumers engage in environmentally friendly behaviour. They choose products or services that have a positive impact on the world.


Regarding luxury travellers, more people stay in hotel brands that give something back to the community surrounding them.


In a sense, this new trend of conscious travel doesn’t exclude a group of people anymore as traditional luxury travel did.


Hospitality companies can work together with luxury marketing agencies to promote this new sustainable initiative.


This will attract high-end clients as well as gain the attention of locals who could cooperate with the hotel brands.


How to advertise for the modern high-end traveller


old advertisements

It would be a mistake to adopt the same marketing strategy approach for casual travellers and luxury travellers.


Affluent travel customers: Key characteristics to pay attention


Persuasive Language


In luxury hospitality, it is widespread knowledge that it is often more important to know how you sell than what you sell.


The most influential factor that should be included in luxury copywriting is emotions.


As mentioned before, affluent travellers don’t have high concerns about the price or utility of products.


Luxury travellers are mainly concerned with the emotional value that these experiences can produce.


The copywriting expert Eugene Schwartz explained that the main goal of all copy should be to intensify the desires of people.


This causes a strong emotional response that triggers a purchase decision.


In the case of luxury travel, affluent customers have the desire to go on a unique adventure.


Therefore, it is the job of luxury marketing agencies to capture that desire and use smart copywriting in order to provoke a strong urge to jump on that memorable journey.


Strong Imagery


Similarly to language, luxury marketing agencies have to be more sophisticated when they want to attract an affluent travel audience.


The emotional connection that is established from the right copy should be matched with strong images.


Furthermore, the next generation of luxury travellers is more globally conscious than previous generations.


Due to never-ending news cycles through online technology, people are more aware of global issues.


Therefore, it is the most appropriate decision to use culturally-informed visuals while still being aesthetically pleasing to look at.


Technological assistance


Affluent travellers prefer to have a more convenient way of booking their trips compared to regular travellers.


While the mass audience makes their own reservations for hotels, restaurants, car rentals, etc., luxury travellers expect more personal support and advice during these steps.


The luxury customer usually receives help from a personal travel agent.


Their job is to facilitate the customers’ decision making by being reachable through multiple communication channels like social media or video calls.


This way travel agents can close the physical gap between them and their customers by being available for help and advice at any time.


Luxury travel agents manage the booking process for the customer with an array of tools.


These tools make it easy for travellers to access important information or to let them know what the next steps are (calendar tools).


Due to the high personal contact, experienced luxury marketing agents use their knowledge about customers to facilitate future interactions.


That data can be travellers’ preferences of means of transportation or their favourite restaurant, etc.


Gathering a large amount of personal information allows luxury marketing agencies to customize ads for specific individuals.


By including a customer relationship management (CRM) system it becomes easier to provide more targeted cross-selling or up-selling opportunities for the visitors.


Final thoughts


It is important for luxury travel brands to recognize that people want to experience adventures that they cannot find anywhere else.


This focus has shifted from a materialistic perspective to an experiential one.


As a result, modern luxury travellers want to gain new insights about the world and themselves from their unique journeys.

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