Luxury travel bookings are increasing over 2012 a new survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group. Based on responses from 536 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline agents who book luxury travel, well over 80 percent indicate “bookings are higher than or on par with last year” for luxury tour bookings (86.2 percent), luxury hotel bookings (85 percent) and luxury cruise bookings (84.4 percent). In addition, bookings for suites aboard cruise ships are “higher than or equal to last year” according to 88 percent of survey participants, Travel Leaders Group says.
“With gains charted across major luxury travel categories, this underscores the genuinely positive economic trends Travel Leaders Group has seen over the past year across the board in virtually every segment,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben, who also indicated that luxury travel is not strictly limited to those of a certain socio-economic status.
“Thanks to the extensive resources we’ve been providing to our travel agent experts, we’re placing luxury travel in reach of even more discerning travelers who simply want to enjoy the very best in travel. Our clients are increasingly confident in booking more high-end, experiential travel vacations," Liben says.
According to Liben, Travel Leaders Group’s increased focus on the luxury travel segment has been far-reaching in ways to further meet consumer demand. That focus not only includes last year’s merger of its Tzell Travel Group with Protravel International, one of the industry’s leading luxury travel agencies, but it also extends to advances being made through Travel Leaders Franchise Group’s “Luxury Center of Excellence” and other initiatives across the $18 billion a year enterprise, Liben said.
“From our ultra-luxury publication Ultratravel to our proprietary ‘Select Hotel Program’ that features several hundred of the world’s most prestigious hotel and resort properties and our exclusive In-Country Partners program with destination marketing companies around the world, we’re ensuring that our travel agents experts focused on luxury travel can continue to excel in serving this segment,” Liben added.
“We’re also very proud to offer exclusive training opportunities that enable our agents to better appreciate how luxury properties – including ones like The Cosmopolitan and Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, the top domestic destination being booked this fall, according to our agents – can provide the levels of experience affluent travelers desire. This increasingly positions our travel agents to surpass their clients’ luxury travel expectations," Liben said.
Luxury Trends: Travel Leaders Group’s luxury-oriented survey participants were asked to compare bookings in various luxury categories to this time last year:
· Luxury Hotel Bookings: A vast majority (85%) indicate that their luxury hotel bookings are higher than or on par with this time last year.
· Luxury Cruise Bookings: Over 84 percent of those polled state their luxury cruise bookings are equal to or better than this time last year.
· Cruise Suite Bookings: When asked “Compared to this time last year, have your year-to-date bookings of cruise suites increased, remained the same or decreased?” a full 88 percent state their bookings have either increased or remained the same.
· Luxury Tour Bookings: When asked how luxury tour bookings have fared this year, a significant majority (86.2 percent) indicate that these bookings are higher than or the same as this time last year. That’s an increase of 4.6 percent over last year.
· First Class/Business Class Airline Bookings: Again, a significant majority (82.7 percent) of those polled state their first class/business class airline bookings are higher than or the same as this time last year.
These results are part of the larger 2013 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from August 5-25, 2013, in which 946 travel agents from the flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with Travel Leaders Group’s Luxury Travel Network, Nexion, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com units participated.