The Luxury Landscape Now: What's Hot in 2019

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Where would you like to go in 2019? That was the question one local news station recently posed to several little children. “Japan!” said one little girl. “It looks like it’s filled with amazing art and scenery.”

At just six years old, this child is already building a formidable bucket list and I don’t doubt she’ll get to Japan before long if she has any influence on her family’s vacation decisions. She’s also on trend; Japan is topping the list of many “must-go” hot spots for 2019. Most recently, Strategic Vision released its Pulse of the Industry Survey and cited Japan as buzzworthy, particularly as it prepares for the 2020 Olympics. Strategic Vision, run by industry visionary Peter Bates, surveyed 50 top influencers in December to get the results of the report; these influencers were top executives at some of the leading luxury travel management firms and meetings & incentive buyers in the U.S.

What else is hot? “Africa, particularly Namibia, Botswana, and gorilla-trekking regions like Rwanda; Egypt, where security improvements have released pent-up demand; Ireland, seen as safe and welcoming; and Southeast Asia, for its perceived good value and the influence of Singapore-set Crazy Rich Asians,” said the report.

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Ruthanne Terrero
Ruthanne Terrero

Then there’s Iceland, thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations from the many, many folks who have now been there.

The report also indicates that social media has become a useful tool for luxury travel advisors. In fact, two thirds of the respondents said they had secured new clients as the result of social media, most likely from a post the travel firm or one of its advisors had personally uploaded.

Instagram is the runaway preferred venue for this group, with nearly half citing it as their favorite social platform. Almost a quarter of respondents said they like to use Facebook to lure in new clients.

Back to that little girl who wants to go to Japan… children have always been influential in planning family trips and now their choices are getting more sophisticated. Affluent families are likely to follow the desires of their children and so it’s important that luxury travel advisors have access to good destination management companies across the world that can personalize experiences for family travelers.

While we’re looking at statistics, another recent survey shows that “younger” people are willing to postpone traditional life events so they can travel instead. In fact, 44 percent of 1,000 randomly selected men and women between the ages of 30 and 49 said they would like “to have amazing experiences before getting married or having children.” That’s from a research report conducted for Flash Pack, which provides small group adventures for solo travelers aged 30-49. Major reasons for wanting to travel afar now are that these younger consumers fear they won’t have the good health to travel post-retirement, nor the financial means. Waiting for the good things is no longer a viable option for many.

In this issue, we focus on several of the hot destinations mentioned in Strategic Vision’s report, including Namibia and Iceland. We even trekked to the Maldives and Nepal. We also focus on a perennial metropolitan favorite, New York City. I asked several top advisors who live here to name their favorite Manhattan pastimes. What I loved is that their dining tips and things to do with kids aren’t based around how many Michelin stars a place has; rather, it’s all about authenticity, serenity and simply having fun, like riding a bike around town and stopping in at a familiar place for a meal or a nightcap. In this article, you’ll most definitely learn to live like a local luxury travel advisor.

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