The industry is evolving rapidly and agents need to keep on top of the latest trends in order to stay relevant for their clients.
Regardless of how much you sell, this is the future of luxury and it’s going to change the way you inspire luxe travel.
1. Virtual reality
Though it has its roots in gaming, virtual reality technology is set to reshape entire industries – including travel. It’s the ultimate ‘try before you buy’ and will let travel advisors show their clients the world from inside their office.
Rick Xie from ZANADU, China’s No. 1 online travel agency, recently opened the world’s first VR travel concept store. It combined 360 degree virtual reality travel experiences with digital POS terminals as well as a seamless integration of mobile application, e-commerce and social media.
The Space demonstrates the future of travel, from how we experience travel inspiration and retrieve information, to how we choose and purchase our vacations and bespoke journeys.
2. Customised apps
Big data is going to shape the way agents deal with clients as the travel industry becomes more technologised. It will enable them to map out trends and habits based on buyer behaviour so they can then create custom personalised user experiences.
As the technology evolves further it will allow for real time profiling of the customer. Using apps like Tripscope, Axus and Umapped, agents will be able to adapt their clients’ journeys in real time.
Ultimately, this technology will allow for a constantly evolving, real time travel experience that will meet the needs of the client every step of the way.
3. Connecting with new clientele
There is a growing a shift towards a younger clientele in the luxury space, which means providers and agents need to think of new ways to connect with them. Successful travel brands are connecting through social media, viral campaigns, fashion bloggers or online influencers.
And while conventional industry wisdom will tell you that the new generation of travellers don’t use travel agents, studies out of the US have found the opposite.
Millennials use travel agents more than any other age group because they are looking for the guidance, insight and in-depth knowledge only an agent can give.
4. The new balancing act
Luxury megabrands will need to find the perfect balance between exclusivity and accessibility, according to industry expert Patrick Esangga, Director of PJE Marketing.
As the market is reshaped by social media, globalisation and the post-recession economy, brands need to adopt strategies that allow them to be both highly desirable and highly commercial at the same time.
The key is, striking a balance that doesn’t push them too far into the mass market.
5. Extravagance on demand
The on demand sector has fundamentally changed the way we travel, with brands like Airbnb and Uber reshaping how people book. In the luxury sector, this trend is being expressed as a desire for extravagance on demand – private jets that can be ordered with the press of a button or exotic sports cars that can be booked through an app.
Luxury travellers are looking for functionality and convenience combined with exceptional products and service.
6. Casualisation of luxury
“Historically, luxury has been rare therefore it’s been equated to formality,” according to Melinda O’Rourke, Chief Business Development Officer with Emerald Group Investments.
But that’s changing and she believes that new understandings of what luxury means will see some clients move away from the traditional white-gloved style and into more casual offerings.
It’s essential to remember, however, that casual doesn’t mean scrimping on quality or service. It’s about tapping into the way people want to travel now and understanding that classic ideas of luxury don’t suit ever traveller.
7. Experiential marketing continues to rise
At Luxperience, we’ve pinpointed this trend for some time but it bears repeating as it shows no sign of showing down.
As Esannga said, “consumers are less concerned about brand and value, therefore luxury is instead measured according to the unique experience and emotional impact delivered”.
And this applies across the whole spectrum of luxury from designer brands to travel. Experiential marketing is here to stay.
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