Expanding economies, increasingly young and affluent populations, a growing desire for rare and rewarding experiences and an explosion of digital peer-to-peer research is breeding new and exciting groups of luxury travellers across Asia, according to the latest research from International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Asia which takes place this week in Shanghai (4 – 7 June).
Alison Gilmore, Exhibition Director of ILTM Asia says, “The latest ILTM research offers a new perspective on Asian travellers that challenges preconceptions and brings down borders. These new luxury travel ‘tribes’ represent huge opportunities for brands to meet their challenging, sometimes contradictory demands.”
The overview of these new luxury travellers was revealed today at the ILTM Asia 2012 Opening Forum by leading consultancy for trend forecasting, brand strategy and consumer insight, Future Poll, the research division of The Future Laboratory:
• New Sophisticates from China, India and Indonesia value experiences above status;
• Status Hunters seek brands who can offer ‘behind the scenes’ glimpses;
• Young Guns are online aware and affluent, from China and India and read social media reviews to comparison shop their way around the world;
• Luxe Pack travellers tour the globe with friends and extended family
• Single Saris are professional women from India travelling alone for the first time;
• Luxury Pilgrims look for travel brands that offer 5* hotel and spa treats in India for their religious pilgrimages
• Ultra-honeymooners are booking £200,000 wedding/honeymoon packages
• Frugal Millionaires are from China and are challenging brands to deliver 5* luxury with elements of economy
• Green Shoots lead the environmentally sensitive and culturally aware travel movement to destinations such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia and rural China
Ms Gilmore continued, “Culture is undoubtedly one of the most important influencers on luxury travel choices. The new groups of high end travellers we have now identified are not necessarily defined by region but by their cultural behaviour and needs.”
Experienced Chinese luxury travellers – from Status Hunters to New Sophisticates – will seek a curated travel experience, yet also look for familiar foods and lifestyle elements in their travels as a matter of respect. Luxury Pilgrims are increasingly aspirational, yet committed to their simple religious practices - more than 650 million Hindus and Sikhs embarked on pilgrimages in India in 2010, a rise of 15.5% on the previous year. In addition, cultural curiosity about ethnic heritage is fuelling ‘Green Shoots’ Chinese Singaporeans for example, to explore China itself.
Asian Luxe Pack travellers travel in groups for a myriad of reasons: 50th birthdays, weddings, re-unions – providing many opportunities to tailor dedicated programmes. Both Abercrombie & Kent and Cox & Kings India offer specialist family luxury holiday packages to meet the growing demand for large multigenerational experiences.
“Indian luxury travellers’ spend has risen from $475 per person to over $1000 and we are seeking double digit growth in our outbound business,” says Vikram Madhok, Managing Director, Abercrombie & Kent India.
Young Guns from China, India and Indonesia are a younger demographic than their Western counterparts and define the trend across Asia to go online to ask their peers to help them decide where to travel and which brands can be trusted to take them there. Customer interaction and communication is becoming increasingly vital to ensure each luxury travel experience maintains market distinction.