Luxury tourism is focusing its efforts on delivering memorable experiences. Traditionally, the focus of this type of holiday was on first or business class travel, enviably located accommodation and a range of exclusive services during the trip. In contrast, today's guests prefer to prioritise experiences, even if this means compromising a little on transport or accommodation.


Perceptions have changed

The concept of ostentation and wealth is changing in the world, within a much more humanistic society where other values and preferences are sought. In addition, the use of technology, the change in the way we communicate and the ethics and sustainability of tourism are doing the rest. Luxury tourism as a sign of status is starting to be frowned upon, and what has become fashionable is to live unique experiences that can be told and put in the mouths of others, whether through the traditional channel of friends and family, or new channels such as Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat.

Los viajeros buscan y seguirán buscando un servicio impecable y refinado, que les mime y les haga sentir bien; sin embargo, hoy en día la clave de éxito es la personalización, materializada a través de pequeños detalles que los clientes aprecian y recuerdan. Este es el valor añadido que define al sector en la actualidad.  En lo que respecta a destinos, los viajeros siguen buscando el camino fuera de lo común, optando por lugares remotos y exóticos donde mimetizarse y vivir como un nativo. El mundo es un lugar cada vez más accesible, por lo que estos destinos remotos son más «fáciles» de alcanzar, incluso si la finalidad es un breve descanso de pocos días. Este es el momento actual que vive el turismo de lujo, una modalidad que se apoya en estos 5 pilares que nos ayudan a entender como las experiencias se están imponiendo al estatus:


Specialised travel agents acting as "influencers" 1.

Tastes and preferences in luxury tourism have changed, but so has the market, with a wider choice and the complexity of the information available, the great variety of offerings and possibilities requires the unique advice of professionals in the sector. This has given new value to travel agents, who, supported by technology, with their knowledge and expertise, can help their clients understand what experience will be right for them.


2. Personalised itineraries based on data analysis.

The creation of itineraries based on an in-depth knowledge of the clients is proving to be a fundamental pillar. Many operators offer tailor-made trips, adapted to all kinds of profiles and with detailed guides. Luxury tourists want to connect with the locality they are visiting, through experiences tailored to their needs. Studying customer data becomes critical to personalise the offer and build loyalty with an increasingly savvy, connected and demanding customer.


3. From product focus to experience focus.

The focus on the customer must be essential for all travel agencies, and move from the product concept to the experience concept, gathering feedback from travellers and transferring it to wholesalers so that they coin the "just in time" concept and stop manufacturing the product and then placing it with customers, who demand different, flexible trips adapted to their requirements. Also due to growing global concerns (those related to geopolitics and climate change that is affecting many environments), tourists are shifting their priorities to include experiences that must be had today, because in the near future they may not be viable. Therefore, luxury tourism must be aware of these demands and respond immediately, as these are one-time trips.


4. Impact on social networks.

Social media plays a huge role and luxury travellers want powerful images to share with their followers. They want to showcase their exclusive trips, showing that they have had access to unusual places. As a result, high-end hotels and restaurants are creating their own hashtags to share and disseminate these images, while optimising their social media marketing campaigns to improve visibility, prestige and loyalty.


5. Sustainability and nature.

The luxury world has become increasingly interested in ecotourism, sustainability and experiences related to places, without deteriorating them but rather supporting their development. Some clients request visits to animal shelters and activities aimed at observing animals in the wild, or to marginalised populations to help improve their quality of life. Others, in addition, prefer to interact directly with them.


For Ángel García Butragueño, Co-Director of the BRAINTRUST Tourism Barometer, "Luxury tourism is increasingly based on intangible, experiential and emotional elements. As a result, brands in the sector are promoting messages that revolve around community, diversity and personal achievement. Customers want to move from buying travel to designing their own journeys.

According to José Manuel Brell, Co-Director of BRAINTRUST Tourism Barometer, "Today's luxury is adding the notion of personal development and transformation to its repertoire. Travel is an important conduit to achieve these goals, and herein lies the paradigm shift. Society has become more humanistic and is not looking for the concept of the journey but of the experience".


At BRAINTRUST we can help you to better understand this market niche. We have the best means to advise you on the configuration of value propositions that will optimise your brand presence in the Premium and/or Lifestyle travel segment.

Do you want detailed information? Contact us and ask for our Tourism Barometer, the methodological support that determines the market's willingness to travel, as well as the trends that allow all travel industry suppliers to identify business opportunities and adjust their offer to consumers' preferences.