Elegant Resorts sees ‘significant changes’ in travel habits

The pandemic has led to “significant changes” to affluent consumers’ lifestyles and travel plans, according to a luxury trends report from Elegant Resorts.

The tour operator surveyed its high-net-worth clients in June and November 2021 and found that 43% have altered their bucket-lists.

Elegant Resorts’ average booking value so far for 2022 has increased by 46% compared with 2019, while the average number of passengers per booking has risen by 10%, and the duration of their stays on average is 25% longer than before.

More than three quarters of respondents (76%) said their travel budget remains the same, but 16% said they intended to spend more on luxury holidays over the coming year.

Beach holidays remain the most popular type for 94% of respondents. Traditionally popular destinations continue to be firm favourites, with 42% of clients travelling to the Caribbean, 27% visiting Europe and 14% travelling to the Indian Ocean in the next 18 months.

One of the most significant trends from the Future of Luxury Travel Trends Report 2022 was the increased interest for city breaks, with 80% now wanting to take a city break in the next six months.

The top five destinations booked since January 1, 2022, are Barbados, Spain, Dubai, Maldives and Antigua.

Japan topped consumers’ wish lists, followed by French Polynesia, the US, Africa and Thailand.

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Lisa Fitzell, managing director at Elegant Resorts, said: “While 2020 and 2021 have been very challenging years, our clients have remained incredibly resilient and are keen to travel the world again.

“This pandemic has changed us; as a business we have learnt to be more flexible and agile to adapt to all the complex rules and changes.

“Our clients have changed too, their priorities have evolved, spending time with loved ones has taken centre stage.

“They are more conscious of their impact the environment and more cautious when it comes to booking holidays with the expertise of travel specialists who can offer guidance and financial protection has become their top priority.

“2022 has started very well for us, and we are full of optimism.”

Demand for staycations remains high and 58% of respondents were still interested in luxury homes and experiences within the UK.

Responsible travel continues to be a key trend and 90% of respondents said they want to book a holiday with a company that supports responsible travel.

A further 73% want to fly with a company that has a lower carbon emissions and 56% want to offset their carbon footprint.

Elegant Resorts said Covid-19 testing and airport disruption were the most off-putting factors for travel but the risk of contracting the virus was of low concern.

Flexibility to amend without charge, financial protection and hygiene of the destination were ranked as the top three factors that are more important than before Covid.

When all restrictions were lifted for vaccinated passengers at the end of last year, the operator saw sales demand increase by 70% versus 2019 and its weekly sales between September and November 2021 exceeded 2019 by an average of 65%.

When the US opened its borders in November, sales and enquiries for the operator reached a record high, up 222% compared to 2019.

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