A recent report from the International Luxury Travel Market states that ‘The luxury travel industry will continue to recover from the financial crisis and demand is expected to grow… sparking a gradual rise in both advance booking time and rates’.
What will also grow however, is the number of companies who offer luxury travel experiences. Some who had previously focused on general travel consumers have taken necessary steps to protect themselves through the recent financial crisis; they have re-evaluated their business plans and are now specifically targeting this resilient market. As a result, competition is set to get fiercer than ever over the next few years.
If travel operators are to succeed they will need to firmly establish themselves as authentic brands that consumers can trust.
A very different kind of market
As this luxury sector recovers, a very different kind of consumer will emerge. Companies will not be able to rely on a large pool of customers ready and willing to buy with little thought to cost. Today’s luxury consumers have higher expectations, they expect impeccable quality and service, they understand value better and research their purchases much more thoroughly. There is also evidence to suggest that luxury travellers are getting younger, explained in part by a rise in affluent young people and young executives worldwide.
Luxury travel operators will need to work hard to engage with this more discerning market. Post recession success will be dependent not only upon superb quality of service, but also strong, authentic branding and a strong online presence and reputation.