Selling Luxury: Transformative Wellness, Staffing Shortages and More

Ahead of our recent Navigating Your Travel Business virtual event—themed “Crystal Ball into 2023 and Beyond,” we spoke with Erica Jackowitz, co-founder and CEO of Roman & Erica, Inc. about “revenge travel,” transformative wellness travel, hotel staffing and pricing, and more.

“I would be remiss not to mention revenge travel because I think that it is ever-present, it is not going away; people are seizing the day—carpe diem—and they are taking those moments and trying to make meaningful experiences with time off,” Jackowitz said.

Among the top destinations that clients of the New York-based luxury lifestyle agency are requesting are those “bucket-list” experiences, yearly favorites and those that are close to home in the States. Among those she mentioned were: Saudi Arabia (as far as a bucket-list destination) and the French and Italian Rivieras (among client favorites).

Jackowitz also mentioned the evolution of wellness travel. “The one thing people don’t seem to want to talk about is the more transformative experiences. We’re getting questions about plant-based medicine and journeys, and psilocybin and ayahuasca. [It’s] not just changing the world outside and experiencing it, but people are wanting to take a look inside, and within, and see how they can challenge their own minds and expand, then embrace the world outside.”

In the end, it comes down to experiences. “The passive experience—the idea of just sitting there, watching the waves roll is not enough, or at least not enough for our clients. They want more enriching experiences, even outside of wellness.”   

A hot button remains the continued staffing challenges at hotels, along with increased rates. “I think it’s important to also mention you should expect to pay more and get less. If we’re not talking about that, we’re not being real either,” said Jackowitz. “If someone is paying $4,000 a night, their expectations are going to be at that level, but the service staff isn’t there, the concierge desks are overwhelmed.”

She adds that some of this—such as long wait times when dealing with hotels directly—is playing into agencies’ hands, meaning travelers are seeing the value in having an advisor book their travel for them. That said, Jackowitz adds, “I hope enough people start speaking out to say this is not acceptable.”

For more of our conversation with Erica Jackowitz, check out the video above. 

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