At the close of 2023, in our annual trend predictions piece, I wrote about what I believed 2024 held in store for luxury travel.
“[A]fter a tough few years of travel — operational meltdowns leading to an overabundance of cancellations and delays, the subsequent crowds, lost luggage, etc. — people are going into 2024 willing to spend a little bit more for the conveniences that typically come with, well, spending more,” I prophesied. “And that goes beyond just air travel. Think travel agents and guided trips, too. Forget the DIY TikTok-inspired itineraries that often lend themselves to mishaps and just general disappointment. People are going into 2024 more prepared to spend in exchange for more seamless travel.”
Now, just four days into the new year, experts are confirming this much is true: 2024 is going to be a watershed year for luxury travel. According to Skift, luxury travel advisors are already seeing “an uptick in bookings, driven by a demand for remote destinations, exclusive group travel and passion-centered experiences.”
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Virtuoso, a global network of travel agencies specializing in luxury and experiential trips, said more than half of its network of travel advisers — over 20,000 in total — have reported that their clients intend to spend more on trips this year. In the first half of 2023, Virtuoso outpaced pre-pandemic global sales by 69% and already booking trends seem to be moving in a similar direction.
There are a number of reasons why this is true, though, per a luxury travel market report from the IMARC Group, it comes down to “demand for personalized travel experiences, a proliferating population of high-net-worth individuals seeking luxury options and a greater emphasis on wellness and sustainability in travel offerings.”
Further, there’s been a massive pivot from quantity to quality over the course of the past two years. The return to travel coming out of the pandemic could only be described as a mad dash, but now, going into 2024, travelers are slowing down, concerning themselves instead with bigger bucket list items, and with little to no regard for cost.
Among the biggest anticipated luxury trends? Skift points to group outings, multi-generational adventures, wellness travel, unexplored frontiers, memory lane trips and small vessel cruises. And the more extravagant, the better.
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