SLH: Affluent, “Travel Ready” Advocates Driving Demand This Year

A survey by Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) shows that an affluent group of “Travel Ready” advocates are driving demand for luxury holidays this year; however, the group comprises about one-third of all travelers. The survey, conducted in partnership with Liz Hall Hotel & Travel Consulting, looked at the current sentiment towards travel from over 6,000 members of the luxury brand’s Invited program. The results show an increasing desire to travel now that travel restrictions have been slightly relaxed, a willingness to travel internationally by plane and a preference for smaller hotels where their experience can be managed and customized.

The survey results split the recipients into three groups: the Travel Ready, those who have already booked and maybe even travelled taking increased safety precautions in their stride; the Travel Reserved, those who are keen to get away but still cautious about potential risk; and the Travel Reluctant, who are unlikely to travel until things have returned to “normal.” 

What did the survey find? Most travelers fall in the “Reserved” group and are looking towards 2021. With over 46 percent of recipients expecting that they will be in the same position financially next year, it comes as no surprise that over 30 percent fall into the Travel Reserved group and are currently planning a holiday in 2021. In North America, 29 percent are Travel Ready and are planning a holiday before October this year, with an additional 24 percent looking at getting away in Q4. In total, 74 percent of respondents said that they were willing to fly, agreeing almost unanimously (93 percent) of being in favor of additional health checks at the airport to ensure the safety of all travelers. 

Of North Americans surveyed, 43 percent are initially planning to travel domestically and 38 percent are prepared for international travel. SLH says reservations data for bookings originating from North America since August 1 reflects these numbers, with 42 percent of reservations for U.S. hotels, primarily in New York and California. International bookings made in August were mainly for Q4 visits, with top destinations being Sweden and Finland. 

In terms of selecting accommodation, over 90 percent of recipients stated that they would feel most comfortable in a small hotel, while private residences were also popular. Tip: SLH’s “Exclusive Use” reservations option allows guests to turn over 250 SLH hotels, ranging from five to 200 rooms into a fully serviced private residence. Of these, 36 hotels have fewer than 12 rooms. 

As expected, location, flexible booking and cleanliness were the most important considerations. SLH has recently launched a “Stay Small, Stay Safe” program, ensuring third party accreditation for all member hotels with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC). Hotels offering discounts and special promos were of least importance to SLH guests.

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