The idea of luxury has evolved and what used to be all about owning property or top brand goods is now about experiencing a product or service.
The neoluxury traveler has emerged in recent years and some say they are “taking democratization of luxury to the next step.”
Speaking during the Forward_MAD event last week, Chris Pomeroy, director of tourism marketing agency ITG, says neoluxury was an important concept in travel because it “adds components that mega trends and important in the discourse of tourism generally such as sustainability.”
He added that the idea of luxury has moved from ownership to experiences to feelings.
“Everyone wants to have the premium traveler because everyone wants the maximum value from them. Luxury has come out of the niche exclusive boutiques, it is actually reaching into the streets and as consumers are demanding experiences and authenticity then destinations have to walk the walk.
"Just as you cannot say you are a sustainable destination without being one, you cannot say you’re a luxury destination without being one because you’ll be found out.”
According to Pomeroy, destinations can really benefit from the neoluxury traveler, who wants the experience through every aspect of the journey from trip planning to arrival at the airport and when they go out of their hotel or other accommodation.
Know your traveler
There are three aspects to marketing to this group of travelers - know who they are, tailor the mesage or product accordingly and allow for co-creation.
It’s not just a categorized, standardized, pigeon-holed package.”
Pomeroy shared data from traveler intelligence platform Travellyze to support the view that these travelers are not just a new segment but one which is leading the recovery of the industry.
The platform crunched data from a survey across European countries looking at the demographics, the perception of travel and how travelers are inspired as well as how they book.
It pinpointed households spending €30,000 a year on travel to reveal that more than 70% plan to spend the same or more on travel in 2022.
Participants were also asked to identify from a list of 35, the most important elements to them for travel with health and hygiene and living new experiences coming top.
Gastronomic experiences were also important but not necessarily the fine- dining restaurants in a destination and nature and the outdoors were also highlighted.
The study also dispelled the misconception that wealthy travelers are not sustainable travelers with 31% highlighting sustainability and environmental concerns as very important.
In addition, more than a fifth, 22%, had taken part in a rural or community tourism activity as part of a trip compared with only 10% of those spending less.
Further sessions during Forward_MAD also focused on the neoluxury traveler.
Nick Pilbeam, founder and managing director of Reficere Consulting International, said traditional leisure travelers, having been cooped up in their homes for so long, were now trading up to the premium segment.
“I think that trend is going to stay for a few years because people are thinking life is short and I need to do this while I can. The luxury segment needs to go and look for these premium and leisure upgrade travelers.”