NEW YORK—A recent survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group reveals that luxury travelers are most interested in exclusive access and experiences, particularly VIP tours, private cars and drivers, and customized culinary experiences. The North American travel agency’s annual Travel Trends Survey encompasses thousands of travel agents across the continent including luxury travel advisors from Travel Leaders’ luxury brands: Protravel International and Tzell Travel.
Gail Grimmett, president of Travel Leaders Luxury Brands, says that luxury travel today is about access and individually tailored experiences delivered with a high level of service, expertise, and personalization. The travel agents surveyed shared that these private, VIP-level experiences range from going behind-the-scenes with the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace in London as they prepare to take their posts to a sunrise helicopter ride to the top of Tower Butte in Canyon Point, Utah, for a private yoga and meditation session.
The survey findings show that the most popular luxury experience is an exclusive, VIP tour—66 percent of agents survey reported arranging these for travelers. The second most popular luxury experience was a private car and driver (51 percent) followed by custom culinary experiences (46 percent). Private villas or homestays (39 percent) and private beach or island bookings (25 percent) also ranked in the top five most sought-after experiences by clients in the survey of travel advisors.
The survey also found the top three international destinations among luxury travelers are European river cruising, Caribbean cruising, and trips to Italy, with European/Mediterranean cruising and Mexico rounding out the top five. “River cruising continues to grow in popularity among our luxury travelers,” Grimmett adds. “We’re seeing the cruise industry rapidly expanding this year with new ships, routes, and more family and singles-friendly options, to meet the demand of these high-end travelers.”