Virtuoso Travel Week presents the main trends in luxury travel

The 34th annual Virtuoso Travel Week was held August 13-19 at the Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino, and Vdara Hotel & Spa.

The luxury travel industry “Fashion Week” brought together 5,000 industry professionals from 100 countries, with more than 4,300 of those 5,000 attending in person.

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More than 180,000 one-on-one networking meetings between advisors and travel agencies took place, helping to fuel the tremendous human connection that is the travel industry.

Other highlights included the Under One Sky Roundtable on Sustainability, the new Travel Tech Summit and Globetrotting sessions which allowed for a closer look at specific brands in various categories such as cruise, adventure, well-being -to be, etc.

“We believe that the strength of the relationships between our advisors and all of these incredible suppliers around the world directly affects travellers’ journeys, so the better the relationships, the better the trips,” Matthew Upchurch, president and CEO of Virtuoso told TravelPulse. .

More than 180,000 one-on-one networking appointments took place during the 34th annual Virtuoso Journey Week (photo by Eric Bowman)

The CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, Mr. Fahd Hamidaddin, described the event as “inspiring”.

“There were a lot of things I didn’t expect, especially with the growth that luxury travel has witnessed. [Also] the virtuoso network – exceptional performance. The new initiatives the network has announced and launched, and the commitment of commerce to go the extra mile to capitalize on the journey of vengeance they are witnessing, it has been very inspiring. I came thinking of recovery, now I’m thinking of exponential growth.

Some of these initiatives and announcements include the launch of Hospitable Me training, which will provide members with diversity and inclusion training, an overhaul of email marketing campaigns for advisors, a renewed partnership with Virgin Galactic and the world’s largest consumer. campaign for Virtuoso (the exact launch date will be announced later).

Lindsey Epperly, Founder and CEO of Jetset World Travel, stressed how valuable it is to be able to reconnect with the industry.

“Virtuoso Travel Week is such an important event for me and my entire team,” said Epperly. “First of all it’s a great team bonding opportunity, we love coming here and interacting with our team. And then seeing and re-interacting with our favorite vendors, especially following what this industry has just been through, I think it’s really important to bring everything else in person.

To reveal the latest trends in luxury travel, Virtuoso, which averages $25 billion to $30 billion in annual sales, tapped into its extensive network that includes 20,000 travel advisors around the world – who advise all people wealthy and wealthy. customers – as well as their privileged relationships with more than 2,200 of the best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour operators and major world destinations.

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Luxury market fuels travel recovery

Foreign leisure travel sales rebounded strongly for Virtuoso. The United States has already exceeded 2019 figures for 2022 by 122%, Australia by 113% while Canada, at 80%, continues to catch up. “Overall, we topped 2019 for outbound travel booked January-July at 102%,” Virtuoso said.

76% of travelers have accepted a “new normal” and only 12% say there is still too much uncertainty and volatility.

Will this strong rebound be maintained?

“Maybe that immediate pent-up demand will slow down, but I think the travel lifestyle and the concept we’ve all learned from the pandemic that we only have one life to live, if you want to do the journey, this is the time to take it – I think it’s going to stick and I think it’s through the generations,” said Beth Washington, Founder of Getaway Guild.
“I think it’s well documented, especially with millennials and younger, travel is a big part of their way of life. It’s something they’re not ready to give up, it’s is something they’re willing to spend money on before they spend money on other luxuries or other lifestyle purchases, so I really think the high demand for travel is the normal.

20% of millionaire households in the United States are millennials. Those who can afford to travel are willing to spend it.

74% of all Virtuoso travelers who responded to the survey said that creating a travel experience that best matches their expectations is more important than price. Virtuoso data shows that their travelers plan to increase their spending from the previous year by 34% from $20,700 per person to $27,800 next year.

2023 is shaping up to be “a record good year,” said David Kolner, senior vice president of strategy at Virtuoso. Travel sales in 2023 increase by 47% compared to 2019 for Virtuoso.

Globally, the travel industry is not expected to fully recover until 2024, but luxury travel in key markets continues to grow in strong numbers.

What’s up now

Across all countries, on-site hotel and leisure booking volume is 157% of 2019 levels.

Traveling with a spouse/partner is the most popular form of travel, followed by travel with friends in second and family travel with children under 18 in third.

“What’s trending in luxury travel for our agency is probably what we’re seeing across the board, like so much of Europe this summer [and] traditionally, for our agency, we book a lot of the Caribbean, but also just the type of trip,” Epperly said. “We’re seeing our travelers still slowing down a bit from 2019 in terms of how quickly they pace when traveling – they’re still American travelers and ‘go go go’ is normal, but we’re seeing multi-generation too. I think families really want to come together and be together, that’s a big trend.

Solo travel is also on the rise, with the highest level of interest coming from the 65+ age group. 78% of travelers say they are ready to travel now. For 87% of respondents, the parity of the dollar with the euro plays a role, and only 35% say that the complications of air travel this summer caused them to cancel or postpone their plans.

Virtuoso also revealed where their travelers go the most. The main summer destinations are the United States in first, Italy in second, France in third, Canada in fourth and Greece in fifth. The UK, Spain, Mexico, Ireland and Switzerland complete the top 10.

Virtuoso's best summer destinations, summer trips,
Virtuoso’s Top Summer Destinations

In anticipation of autumn and the end of year celebrations

Booking trends through July show a strong fall season with volume above 2019 levels, Virtuoso said.

Hotel bookings for fall and holiday trips (September 1 to January 15) made through July this year are 173% of where they were at the same point in 2019.

The United States, Italy, France, Mexico and Canada are among the top international destinations for September-December 2022.

This holiday season, 71% of Virtuoso travelers will travel for vacation, while 21% will travel to see family and friends.

Islands and beaches top travelers’ lists for vacations, followed by trips with a feel-good element, an ocean cruise, and cities outside the United States. destination. Additionally, wellness travel was the only category to see a year-over-year increase, from 13% in 2021 to 24% in 2022.

“If you’re not planning it, you better plan now,” Upchurch said. “It’s almost too late. I mean, that’s one of my main messages is [to] plan ahead. Many of our top travelers have started something that has only just begun, which is to think longer ahead. A lot of our most sophisticated travelers, what they do is they think about their big, important trips, two to three years in advance or more. We find that travelers who have a more conscious plan are actually able to have better overall experiences and take advantage of last minute stuff because it’s in the context of a larger plan.


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