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Decoding the European Luxury Traveller: Insights and Trends

Luxury travel is all about indulgence and personalized experiences, designed for those with discerning tastes. In this article, we'll use our data to break down who these luxury travellers are, what they like, and how they travel. So, let's dive into the world of luxury travel and discover its secrets together.

General Demographics and Budget Analysis

Luxury travellers represent a distinct segment, comprising 8.2% of the adult population across selected markets, equating to approximately 25,653,600 individuals. Within this group, the age range of 25-34 years stands out prominently, constituting 20.51% of the sample. Moreover, the majority of luxury travellers hold a bachelor's degree or similar qualification, accounting for 38.35% of the sample. In terms of civil status, cohabiting or married individuals dominate this segment, representing 61.04% of the sample.

Household incomes among luxury travellers have remained relatively stable, compared to our August 2023 survey, but we see some interesting fluctuations in travel budgets. The lower budget brackets, such as “10.000-19.999 Euros” and “20.000-29.999 Euros” saw a 1.5-point decrease, which was transferred to the higher budget brackets such as “30.000-39.999 Euros” and “50.000 Euros and more”. Also, 51.8% of European luxury travellers have a travel budget of 10.000-19.999 Euros in 2024.

Despite these variations, a significant proportion (46.84%) of luxury travellers plan to maintain their travel budgets at the same level as the previous year, indicating stability within this segment.

How Luxury Travellers Get Inspired

Luxury travellers draw inspiration from a variety of sources, each contributing to their decision-making process. Among the top channels influencing their travel choices are:

  • Friends and Family: A significant 56.43% of respondents cite recommendations from friends and family as a key source of inspiration. Personal referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations carry considerable weight in shaping the travel preferences of luxury travellers.

  • Instagram: With 44.78% of respondents turning to Instagram for inspiration, social media emerges as a powerful tool in influencing travel decisions. The visually captivating platform offers a glimpse into luxurious destinations, experiences, and lifestyles, igniting wanderlust among luxury travellers.

  • Search Engines: Approximately 43.93% of luxury travellers rely on search engines such as Google and Bing to gather information and ideas for their next adventure. The ease of access to a wealth of travel-related content online makes search engines an indispensable resource for planning bespoke luxury experiences.

  • Youtube: Video-sharing platform Youtube holds sway over 42.35% of luxury travellers, providing immersive visual content that showcases destinations, accommodations, and activities. From virtual tours to travel vlogs, Youtube offers a diverse array of content tailored to the discerning tastes of luxury travellers.

  • Online Review Sites: Renowned platforms like TripAdvisor, trusted by 41.5% of respondents, play a crucial role in the decision-making process of luxury travellers. Reviews and recommendations from fellow travellers offer valuable insights into the quality and reputation of luxury accommodations, restaurants, and experiences.

Moreover, TikTok, a rising star in the realm of social media, has shown remarkable growth (4.6%) among luxury travellers in our latest survey.The prevalence of online travel inspiration channels reflects a broader trend among luxury travellers, particularly the younger demographic aged between 25 and 34 years old. As digital natives, these individuals are accustomed to leveraging technology and online platforms to curate their ideal travel experiences, seeking authenticity, exclusivity, and unparalleled luxury.

Travel Catalysts and Enablers

For premium travellers, certain factors serve as catalysts, igniting their desire to explore new destinations and embark on enriching experiences. Among the top travel catalysts identified are:

  • Food Experiences: With a resounding 70.98% of respondents prioritizing food experiences, premium travellers seek to tantalize their taste buds with culinary delights unique to each destination. From savoring local delicacies to indulging in fine dining, food plays a central role in shaping their travel itineraries.

  • Visiting Small and Unique Towns: Delving beyond the tourist hotspots, 66.99% of premium travellers crave the charm and authenticity of small, off-the-beaten-path towns. These hidden gems offer a glimpse into local culture, traditions, and way of life, providing memorable experiences away from the crowds.

  • Beach Destinations: For 64.21% of respondents, the allure of pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters beckons, offering a serene retreat and opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation. Whether basking in the sun or engaging in water sports, beach destinations hold undeniable appeal for premium travellers seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

  • Cultural & Historical Experiences: Immersing themselves in the rich tapestry of culture and history, 61.93% of premium travellers prioritize exploring cultural landmarks, heritage sites, and museums. From UNESCO World Heritage sites to ancient ruins, these experiences offer insights into the past and foster a deeper appreciation for diverse cultures.

  • Nature & Outdoor Experiences: With 59.24% of respondents expressing a penchant for nature and outdoor adventures, premium travellers seek to reconnect with the great outdoors. Whether hiking through scenic landscapes, embarking on wildlife safaris, or enjoying adrenaline-pumping activities, these experiences provide a sense of wonder and exploration.

In addition to travel catalysts, certain enablers play a pivotal role in facilitating premium travel experiences. These include:

  • Health and Hygiene Standards: With an emphasis on wellness and safety, 76.24% of premium travellers prioritize destinations that uphold high health and hygiene standards. Cleanliness and sanitation protocols ensure peace of mind and enhance the overall travel experience.

  • General Cleanliness: Similarly, 76.05% of respondents value destinations known for their cleanliness and sanitation practices. Maintaining pristine environments and hygienic facilities contributes to a positive and enjoyable travel experience for premium travellers.

  • Safety Standards and Low Crime Rates: Safety is paramount for 75.09% of premium travellers, who seek destinations with low crime rates and robust safety measures. Feeling secure and protected allows travellers to fully immerse themselves in their surroundings and enjoy peace of mind throughout their journey.

  • Direct Flights: Prioritizing convenience and efficiency, 73.17% of premium travellers opt for direct flights to minimize travel time and maximize time spent at their destination. Direct flights offer convenience and comfort, allowing travellers to arrive at their desired location promptly and without hassle.

  • Flights from Local Airports: Lastly, 63.42% of respondents prefer flights departing from their local airport, eliminating the need for additional travel to distant hubs. Accessible flight options from local airports streamline the travel process and enhance overall convenience for premium travellers.

These are the top 5 destinations on the Short-Term Demand Ranking for Luxury Travellers in 2024

Luxury Traveller Behaviour Analysis

Understanding the behavioural patterns and preferences of premium travellers provides valuable insights into their travel habits and decision-making processes. Here's an analysis of their holiday types, booking preferences, and accommodation choices:

1- Holiday Type:

  • Sun and Beach Holidays: The allure of sun-kissed shores and tranquil waters attracts a significant portion of premium travellers, with 75.49% opting for sun and beach holidays as their preferred holiday type.
  • Relaxing Retreats: Seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life, 55.1% of respondents gravitate towards relaxing retreats, where they can unwind and rejuvenate amidst serene surroundings.
  • Cultural Events and Festivals: Embracing cultural immersion and vibrant celebrations, 41.5% of premium travellers express a keen interest in attending festivals and cultural events during their travels.

2- Booking Preferences:

  • Direct Booking: A majority of respondents (51.82%) prefer to book separate accommodation and transportation directly through providers' websites, indicating a preference for personalized booking experiences and direct communication with service providers.
  • Package Trips: For international travel, premium travellers often opt for package trips (flight+accommodation) booked online through travel agency websites, particularly online travel agencies (OTAs). This streamlined approach offers convenience and peace of mind when planning complex itineraries.

3- Accommodation Choices:

  • 3 or 4-Star Hotels: Preferred by 57.16% of respondents, these upscale accommodations offer a balance of comfort, amenities, and value for discerning travellers.
  • Holiday Homes: Notably, 33.37% of premium travellers opt for holiday homes, providing a sense of privacy and flexibility during their stay.
  • Private Rentals: Platforms like Airbnb, Homeaway, and house swaps appeal to 33.25% of respondents, offering unique and personalized accommodation experiences tailored to individual preferences.
  • Luxury 5-Star Hotels: Exuding elegance and sophistication, luxury 5-star hotels are favored by 32.04% of premium travellers seeking unparalleled comfort and indulgence.

By understanding the characteristics and insights behind premium travelers' decisions, travel industry professionals can tailor their offerings to meet the evolving needs and preferences of this discerning segment.

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Market intelligence Travel/tourism insights