In the first global temperature check of the travel advisor community, the results of international research among global luxury travel agents have been released.  Timed to coincide with the ease of lockdown in many parts of the world, the objective was to understand the key drivers and the early trends of how, where and when wealthy consumers plan to start travelling again.

From a sample of over 1000 private planners, individuals and agencies across Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East, Russia and Africa, the following trends were some that emerged:

  • Since the outbreak of COVID-19, two-thirds (64%) of those surveyed said they had taken travel bookings from their clients
  • Over 50% of these bookings are due to take place before December 2020
  • 72% of Concierge Companies received substantial bookings
  • Of the air travel already booked, 39% is domestic and 27% is long haul trips
  • Over 50% of all the planners and agents surveyed said they were confident the industry will rebound within a year
  • Of those yet to take a booking, 72% anticipate a climb in bookings within 3 months

Luxury Travelers are already setting new trends with 59% personal travel advisors saying that their clients are wanting information on luxury automobile travel as their preferred choice for their first holidays shows a trend for domestic luxury travel as a priority in the early stages of the return to leisure trips.

More key travel trends post COVID-19 revealed from the survey include:

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  • Of those considering other kinds of travel, 25% are considering cruises for their clients.  These include river, sea and international trips.
  • The need to not take unnecessary health risks is key for high end travellers wanting to spend their first leisure time with family. More than half have already booked family travels, as some occasions for travelling include visiting relatives and family celebrations.  Key shifts in behaviour include almost 73% planning to stick closer to home.
  • Over half – 57% – are also wanting their personal travel agents to look for luxury private villas – another indication of family and small close groups connecting again
  • As destinations start opening up this early research showed a cross-section of choices for international travel with Greece, Italy, Maldives, Caribbean, and Europe as the most popular destinations.

When asked what their top choices would be for their next leisure trips, respondents chose:

Beach Escapes, Family Travel, Private Villas, Natural Wonders, Road Trips, Cruises, Cultural & Unique Excursions/experiences.

At the same time over 20% showed preferences to focus on sustainability, and conscious travel with health and wellness related travel itineraries also featuring as a first choice.

The survey also outlined how agents believe the keys to encourage client bookings are: the availability of a vaccine, the lifting of travel bans and borders opening, health, security and safety standards (both in flight and at hotels) the relaxation of quarantine/self-isolating, and the flexibility of booking and cancellation terms.

Some positive changes have come from the lockdown with agents saying the time allowed them to “re-structure businesses and adapt to the changes in the travel industry and their customers”.  Others said they benefited from the opportunities to learn from the many webinars and online conferences, whilst the time was also spent “strengthening client relationships, with time to touch base and just chat”.