With so much uncertainty, it’s still hard to imagine what travelling will look like as restrictions lift, but things will be different. Hotels are already creating specialist hygiene teams and programmes, whilst airlines and airports are implementing social distancing, temperature checks, blood tests and the wearing of masks.
Affluent travellers will be willing to pay more for trips that offer greater protection of their health alongside a greater protection of their time as they look to avoid lengthy queues in airports. As they re-join the world, it may be with a more compassionate approach. Making personal shifts to travel better; to visit those destinations and communities that need tourism the most; to travel with those they have missed the most, and to embark on experiences that have a more fulfilling and positive impact long after they return.
The experts at bespoke travel company Carrier outline their top five predictions for luxury travel post Covid-19.
1. Humans will become the new luxury
This crisis has exposed the value of booking with a reputable tour operator which can offer a human voice to share the kind of emotional intelligence needed during a crisis. Luxury consumers will look beyond price and will seek out those who have built trust and provided service excellence during the crisis. They’ll be wanting to engage with brands that humanise the booking and travelling process, requiring empathy, honesty and flexibility – behaviours that are extremely difficult to emulate through technology. Gone are the risky purchases, buyers have become more cautious. Trust will become the most valuable asset of any travel brand.
As the world of travel becomes more complex – destinations with entry requirements, new airport procedures and policies, and resorts that are only partially open – travellers are going to need more expert help and guidance than ever before. Travellers will look to those with the expertise and knowledge, the right contacts and connections and above all a customer focus to guide them through a changed world.
2. A growing need for private airport experiences
The journey to a destination and the airport experience may become more challenging. Affluent travellers are already concerned about wasted time in airports and post-Covid there will be additional concerns about safe distancing, crowds and cleanliness. For many of Carrier’s clients, minimising time at airports and on planes is something they already facilitate and it is expected that this will become a priority for many more.
Carrier already partners with a number of exclusive airport service providers, used by discerning travellers, A-listers, royal families and heads of state alike. This offers a more time-efficient, luxurious, private and safer option for travellers; arriving by private chauffeur, being greeted kerbside by a personal agent and baggage porters, being quickly and efficiently escorted through a private check-in entrance and security, relaxing in a departure lounge with no-one else around. There is even the choice of boarding first or last.
3. Affluent travellers will seek isolation, seclusion and an abundance of natural beauty
Having been confined to our homes, people will crave escapism more than ever once restrictions are lifted. From indulging in laid-back luxury fused with an abundance of natural beauty to finding a place and pace where travellers can maximise their time outside, away from screens in the dreamiest of settings, destinations and hotels that offer more isolation, seclusion and privacy surrounded by stunning scenery will be highly sought-after. Being enclosed in the four walls of our homes for months on end leaves us wanting to embrace a life outside of our own and to experience a very different environment. The Maldives, Seychelles and smaller Caribbean islands such as the British Virgin Islands are destinations we expect travellers will want to escape to, along with private islands that can be exclusively hired such as Tagamago Private Island, Ibiza.
4. Travel with loved ones
Months of isolation has meant we have not been able to see close family and friends. Months of missed conversation, human contact and quality time together. A holiday away is the perfect antidote to reconnect – uninterrupted – with loved ones from all generations. The holiday is much less about the ‘where’ and ‘how’, and far more about the ‘why’ and ‘with whom’. It is likely this will also be extended to groups of friends looking to reconnect and do something special. They will want expert knowledge and help in finding and securing the right accommodation; resort villas that provide the ample space, private residences with butlers, chefs and curated experiences or a boutique hotel buy-out to offer an elevated level of privacy and exclusivity. Carrier works closely with clients, partners and connections around the world to ensure complete customisation to everyone in the party, removing the stress of organising and ensuring everything is planned to perfection with the right amount of relaxation and recreation.
5. A move to more meaningful and thoughtful travel
Travel has fast become a much more precious commodity to us all. When this luxury returns, time away from home will need to feel really worth it; a simple visit to a new destination or days spent relaxing on a beach may not be enough. Affluent travellers will want more from their future travels, they’ll want them to be more thoughtful, meaningful and purposeful, as well as sustainable. Spending time on the right experiences, in the right places will be key. Consumers will look forward to spending more time planning and relishing every moment of the travel experience and appreciating the memories in full afterwards.
It might be a day in the clouds swimming and kayaking in a private mountain lake, living like a local with a Grecian family pressing grapes and helping with the olive harvest or exploring Brooklyn’s hidden eateries by bike with a local food blogger – exploring sights through private access with knowledgeable experts or locals creates a different, more authentic perspective of a place. Learning something new takes the experience to the next level and provides many reflective moments to look back on.