Aussie travellers are prioritising customised trips and have a thirst for new destinations, according to the 2020 Virtuoso Luxe Report.
The luxury travel network’s annual report surveys its agency members and their advisors across 50 countries to predict what lies ahead in the coming year.
This year’s stand out finding is that “carpe diem” travel is fuelling Aussie travellers to seek out new destinations and experiences in more authentic ways and their definition of luxury is changing.
While they still want to journey in comfort, personalised adventures with friends and family are more important than traditional elements of luxury.
Japan is continuing its reign as Australians’ top emerging destination, jumping from fourth to the top slot as global favourite and appearing on this year’s lists for Millennial, family and solo travel destinations. Antarctica tops the adventure destinations list and places as an emerging destination – with more cruises available now to carry travellers to the pristine continent. Croatia also finished strongly this year, taking the top spot in the Millennial destination category again, while appearing on the top global, emerging and adventure lists.
The Luxe Report unearthed six trends highlighting how upscale globetrotters continue to assert their influence in the travel-sphere for 2020.
Untouristed and Unexpected: With some favourite destinations seeing an untenable rise in demand, the well-travelled luxury set is seeking remote, unspoiled destinations to avoid crowds at over-touristed locales. Virtuoso advisors report a rise in requests for places ranging from the culturally distinct to those steeped in nature, including Borneo, Greenland and Oman.
Country Coupling: Trips that mix locales are trending, especially ones with surprising combinations. Travellers may pair a ski adventure with a beach finale, or a city stay with a jungle adventure or a well-travelled place followed by a little-known spot to mingle with locals. The focus is on varied experiences that enrich the trip with each stop.
Tasty Travels: Cooking classes, eating in private homes, Michelin-starred restaurants, farm-to-table visits, truffle hunting – culinary experiences are as varied as travellers themselves, and allow foodies to go beyond just having a seat at the table. Dining has become such a focus that some travellers are requesting restaurant reservations at the same time they book their flights – sometimes even before.
Group Getaways: Gen X-ers, boomers and even matures are travelling to bond with friends and others who share their passions or are at the same life stage. Women’s travel is on the rise as well, including soft adventure trips and affluent girl getaways to unplug, relax and play. Groups of couples are also travelling together, including buddymoons, where newlyweds bring pals along for the fun.
EQ Encounters: Foregoing the usual attractions, Virtuoso clients are instead opting to tap into their passions, such as a tasting with the owner of a local winery, a motorcycle tour or a personal shopper to guide them through the latest pop-up stores. They also want accommodations that reflect the destination – inns full of character, small neighbourhood hotels and private homes.
Enjoying the Journey: Embracing the philosophy that the journey is half the fun, upscale voyagers are using exclusive services including meet-and-greets plane-side to avoid the stress of changing terminals, locating gates, or waiting in customs lines. The Private Suite at Los Angeles International Airport offers a members-only terminal where travellers are escorted through TSA screenings, driven to and from aircraft in BMWs and provided a room to relax in between flights.
Here are some more key findings from the report:
Top Travel Trends
- Adventure cruising
- Ocean cruising
- Multigenerational travel
- Active or adventure trips
Top Global Destinations
Top Millennial Destinations
Top Family Travel Destinations
Top Solo Travel Destinations
- New Zealand
Top Emerging Destinations
Top Adventure Destinations
- New York City
Top Honeymoon Destinations
- French Polynesia
Top Travel Motivations
- Celebrating a milestone
- Spending time with loved ones
- Excitement of discovering new destinations
- Rest and relaxation
- Crossing off Wanderlist items