‘Luxury travel is no longer a niche’

Premium Travel offers a unique experience

ACCORDING to a new report entitled from The Future Foundation, The World of Travel in 2020, luxury will no longer equate to the most expensive.

People increasingly want to be differentiated by what they do, not what they buy and this will drive a desire for experience- driven travel. As people book more short holidays a year, they are looking for the exclusive experience factor – and Premium Travel 2006 provides the ultimate showcase for the travel industry’s most exclusive, most exciting and most visually attractive products.
In its second instalment this year, Premium Travel takes place at London’s Royal Albert Hall on April 27 and 28 and is the UK’s only dedicated business forum for the luxury end of the travel industry. This year, the entire show is centred around back to back, prescheduled meetings between buyers and suppliers with consent from both.
Research conducted on the show’s website,, earlier this year among those registering for a place, revealed that 59 per cent of individuals are handling travel budgets in excess of £1 million ($1.74 million) and 19 per cent look after budgets in excess of £500,000. TTN caught up with Helen Arnold, event presenter for Haymarket Exhibitions, Premium Travel 2006 to find out more about the luxury market:

What can we expect from this year’s show?
Exhibitors and buyers showed at Premium Travel 2005 that the world of luxury travel is no longer a niche, it’s growing exponentially and there is a market for our event. The luxury brands participating at the show are looking to generate business in a highly competitive environment. The show offers them this year again the opportunity to dedicate time to meet with hosted buyers and discuss how they can work together to generate a tailor-made experience for highest spending customers.
We have attracted most of the world’s leading luxury travel brands and The Leading Hotels of the World will be one of the largest exhibitors with representation from more than 15 member hotels across Europe and the USA. Exhibiting companies have also increased by over 100 per cent with luxury brands representing hotels, tourist offices, cruise lines, destinations, and spas. We have over 135 participants at Premium Travel this year and every sector of the luxury travel industry will be represented. A full list is on our website.
The Royal Albert Hall has certainly given Premium Travel the edge – private rooms to handle one-to-one meetings with hosted buyers allow privacy, but also elegance, enabling participants to dress the area in keeping with their own environments for their products.
What is the worldwide market for luxury travel?

Unfortunately, worldwide luxury travel is an area that has not been researched yet. In the UK last year (according to the Association of British Travel Agents) 44 million holidays were taken abroad. At the moment bookings worth £2,500 or above for two people are considered to be in the luxury range.
What are the hottest destinations now?
There is a strong interest for Middle East at the moment with Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman all attracting an increasing number of tourists from European markets. Germany is hosting the World Cup and no doubt there will be a strong focus on the destination this summer. Other trendy European destinations for this year are Spain, Croatia, Slovenia and Poland. Asia remains very attractive for travellers with its perfectly balanced combination of beaches and cultures and this year’s favourites include Sri Lanka, Thailand, Maldives, India and China. Other sought-after destinations are Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania and Brazil.
What are the luxury market trends of the moment?
People are continuing to spend money on top-end holidays and every week new luxury and boutique hotels – often now design-led and eco-friendly – are opening up. Luxury clients, whether they have time and money on their hands or are cash rich but time poor, want both value for money and excellent service. As a result personal concierge services have started to appear alongside the huge variety of holidays appealing to this sector.
One of the top reasons clients buy luxury holidays is for special occasions – whether that’s a wedding, honeymoon, anniversary or landmark birthday.
Beaches for relaxation are the number one request for luxury seekers, whether that’s ‘barefoot’ or ‘glitz’, but often clients want something more exciting for secondary breaks. Big sporting events have become popular along with luxury skiing, diving, sailing, golf and spa breaks. Increasingly, ‘experiential’ holidays that are aspirational, exclusive and unknown are also being sought.
What experiences do luxury buyers most look for?
Luxury buyers are looking for unique experiences that will cater for all their client needs. It is important that the product and services offered addresses the traveller’s exact expectations. Travellers want to enjoy the ultimate in luxury with exceptional service, fine dining, activities and pampering in a gorgeous and unrivalled environment.
What differentials will determine with which service provider a luxury traveller chooses to spend his money?
Service, choice, value for money, the ability to answer the needs of the traveller and of course the right location all become important when making reaching the decision process.