Travel is changing rapidly as digital technology plays an ever-larger part in the lives of consumers. People now have access to a far wider range of information, including reviews from other travellers and virtual reality tours of resorts.
But change isn’t just about better information. People are becoming more demanding as ordinary tourism become commoditised. They want experiences they would not be able to have at home and service levels they are unused to. And, in an Instagram world, they want to feel exclusive and show off that exclusivity to their friends.
How about chartering an underwater submersible to view marine life beneath the waves in Antarctica? Or waking up to a private sunrise yoga session at the top of the Empire State Building in New York? In today’s world of tourism, this type of exclusive experience no longer needs to be a fantasy.
Travel in a rapidly changing world
As the pandemic recedes and we move away from its worst effects, people are again looking to book that much-needed break. And some, with money saved from previously cancelled holidays, can afford to spend a little more to generate those memories beyond the ordinary. But in a time of amber list uncertainties, people want something very special to tempt them to travel.
Most of all, people want a little luxury, and this starts with planning a holiday. Inspiration can sometimes be hard to find. Specialist holiday planners can find you places you might not know about or think are inaccessible – perhaps places where celebrities are going or that have been in the news.
Once inspired, travellers want to be confident that the details of their trip have been planned: a short, private transfer; an accessible hotel room; restaurants that understand their food intolerances; the little things that will keep children happy (and quiet), which can be a simple as their favourite snacks.
They also want to know that everyone in their party will have an enjoyable time. Elderly or disabled travellers will need special attention, while people with particular interests such as music or photography will want to experience the best opportunities the trip can bring. Parents may want to introduce their children to opportunities beyond the Xbox, such as making their own wildlife safari documentary.
Personal service and exclusivity
Luxury and personal service go together. Travellers want to make the most of every second of their long-awaited trip. So who wouldn’t want to be met at the plane door and whisked through immigration and security, avoiding the crowds and the airport queues?
Even more important is exclusivity – the feeling that you are privileged in a way that few others are by experiencing front row tickets to New York Fashion Week, a meet and greet with the lead cast from a Broadway show or afternoon tea with royalty in India.
As well as these ‘hero moments’, travellers want the basics of their holidays to be personalised and exclusive. The little details are important, such as securing premium rooms where others can’t, arranging exclusive use of a private hideaway or obtaining tables in fashionable restaurants that are booked up months ahead.
Sustainability is key
Sustainability is central to the requirements of many travellers – and especially regeneration. “Leave nothing but footprints” is no longer sufficient. People increasingly want to leave an environment that has been improved in some way by their visit.
Truly sustainable travel isn’t about carbon offsets. It protects animals from poachers. It provides education to the children of hotel workers. It increases the biodiversity of forests and oceans. Luxury travellers can be part of regeneration – joining a patrol protecting endangered rhinos or even helping to build a school.
Travellers who are concerned about contributing to damage caused by over-tourism should look for alternative destinations that can be equally inspiring. They could swap India’s Golden Triangle for Kerala, for example. The waterways of Ljubljana in Slovenia are just as romantic as those in Venice. And the Indian Ocean coast of Mozambique offers sun, sea, sand and silence, unlike a standard package holiday where solitude is in short supply. You won’t miss out on anything by considering the alternatives.
Future of travel
As the world slowly reopens, more people have more to spend on holidays. Cheap and frequent city breaks are making way for occasional luxury travel that builds real lifetime memories and experiences and gives a wow factor that can be shared with friends. Travelling in today’s more complex world doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right inspiration and detailed planning, you can have the ultimate holiday.
Never A Wasted Journey is an award-winning travel consultancy specialising in luxury, tailor-made holidays and adventures worldwide. When you book with Never A Wasted Journey, everything is bespoke, including your booking conditions