At the end of 2022, our friends at Elegant Resorts conducted their annual client survey. Following extensive research to determine thoughts and and attitudes towards travel in the cost of living crisis, analysing clients’ current travel trends and reviewing their future plans for luxury travel, we are pleased to share some of the key findings.
Amongst the current economic uncertainty, travelling with a tour operator remains a crucial trend due to the financial security that offers. As the cost of living crisis continues, luxury travellers remain fairly resilient with the majority not willing to compromise on their holidays, and even spending more per booking. And clients are looking to travel as much, if not more, than previous years, prioritising their mental wellbeing above anything else.
Travel choices are inspired by their friends and family. Traditionally popular destinations remain core choices, with service and quality of food and beverages being a key driving factor. Luxury travellers are now also seeking more cultural and immersive experiences via multi-centre stays, self-drive holidays and above all, city breaks. This year, Europe is leading the booking numbers, with destinations such as South Africa, America and Australia also seeing continual growth.
The Importance of a Tour Operator
Want to speak to someone about their holiday
Financial protection when booking
Want to book with a trusted brand
The Cost of Living Crisis
When reflecting on January 2022, Elegant Resorts’ clients found themselves in a strong financial position due to Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions inevitably leading to savings from spending less on luxuries. This, and the inability to travel as frequently, subsequently led to an expected surge in demand and larger budgets for holidays.
increase in booking value vs 2019
average booking value
not planning to reduce their holidays
The financial protection provided when booking a luxury holiday with a tour operator will be a key consideration going forward. With so much uncertainty, 94% said they were more likely to book through a tour operator for this reason. And when reflecting on the current cost of living crisis, 66% of Elegant Resorts’ clients value the expertise of their luxury travel specialist.
Top Destinations & Holiday Styles
When it comes to our clients’ travel wishes, the traditionally popular locations are still firm favourites. However, Europe has now taken the top spot from The Caribbean in terms of booking numbers. Other destinations which feature highly are the Americas – in particular Canada and the USA, Africa and Japan.
The top booked destinations for 2022 were Barbados, Spain, Greece, Italy and The Maldives. Early bookings for 2023 place Dubai firmly back on the map.
When it comes to travel lead times, a high proportion of bookings are made within 3 months or less (35%) and as clients revert to pre-pandemic timelines when planning their travels, this percentage is slowly increasing.
40% of clients have said that they are likely to take a multi-centre holiday for new cultural experiences. 38% indicated that they are interested in self-drive holidays, and 48% said that they would like to combine a city with a beach holiday, which was the biggest growth trend that we saw.
Whilst on holiday, the key factors of importance remain unchanged, clients are looking to relax, and impeccable service is a given. But what has significantly changed is the increased importance of culture and experiences, and 92% of clients said that the quality of food and drinks on offer is of most importance.