Selling Luxury: Luxury Trends and All-Inclusive News From Marriott International

Welcome to Selling Luxury, a podcast/video series produced by the editors of Luxury Travel Advisor. This series aims to inspire and educate travel advisors who want to enter the luxury arena and provides great insights for those advisors who are already successful in this niche.

Matt Turner, editor for Luxury Travel Advisor, recently spoke with Louise Bang, Regional Vice President, Sales + Distribution for Caribbean and Latin American for Marriott International. Bang was able to share insights about what Marriott’s luxury guests are seeking, as well as why the company is making such a push into the all-inclusive market. Top tip: Marriott will even be opening an all-inclusive Ritz-Carlton, which Bang was able to share a bit about.

Among the top trends, Bang says length of stay is increasing, as is the length of the booking window (although exceptions to both rules still apply). In fact, while Bang admits that bookings are “all over the place,” when it comes to securing top suites, especially at festive, people are booking one year out or further. Sustainability is also “coming across as a focus area, whether it’s luxury, premium or select,” she tells us, adding, “there’s really a desire among travelers to have a positive impact in the destination.”

Bang adds that a traveler’s destination of choice is still a bit determined by what destinations are open and/or easy to visit. And although many people recently sought out beach vacations—especially in light of the COVID pandemic, as they just wanted to get outside—urban leisure vacations are making a comeback. “I need a dose of culture, I need a dose of gastronomy,” Bang recalled clients saying. One such destination that fits this need is Mexico City.

Another trend, she says: While we’ve all heard the term “bleisure” travel, Marriott is seeing plenty of “gleisure” travel, which combines group and leisure travel, in addition to “workations” and “digital nomad” lifestyles. In essence, group attendees are either extending their stays or they’re bringing family and friends to enjoy the destination with.

When it comes to all-inclusives, Bang tells us leisure travel and the demand for all-inclusive experiences has been on the rise since before the pandemic—even in the luxury space, which, she says “is really, really interesting.” Tip: “In many cases, travelers and even luxury travelers, have already been staying at all-inclusives, whether that was down in South Africa [on safari] … or in the Indian Himalayas, glamping under the monastery, we’ve all tried [all-inclusive products] in different experiences,” Bang says. And don’t forget the all-inclusive cruise model. So, even if your client hasn’t booked an all-inclusive resort, they likely have experienced the concept in some fashion.

For the full conversation, check out the video above.

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