What luxury travel will look like in 2022
Long stays, wellness retreats, extended family excursions and adventures to the test of limits will define travel in 2022.
A battered travel industry began to spring to life in 2021. Suppressed demand has fueled a tourism renaissance, as people are eager to explore – whether planning a trip to their home country or to reconnect with loved ones in a distant place.
Until now, exotic or unexplored destinations have been the obvious choice during the global health crisis, as remote locations mean fewer people and less risk of exposure to Covid.
“Travelers come to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, for sport fishing,” says Angie Licea, president of Global Travel Collection, a division of Internova Travel Group, based in New York. “There is also a huge buzz around Zanzibar and Roatan, Honduras.”
But travel to big cities is back, whether people are looking for the neon lights of Times Square or the urban bliss of the Jardin du Luxembourg.
Meanwhile, climate change is also a priority and indeed influences where and when people will travel. Tom Bartholomew, owner of SmartFlyer, a luxury travel design and booking service, says extreme weather conditions at home make it hard to ignore the climate crisis.
“This has always been a topic of discussion for longer term planning; let’s say with a family that wants to plan the next decade of travel, ”he adds. “However, this year it’s more of a discussion around, will this place even be next year?”
Without a doubt, luxury travel has evolved and the pandemic has brought this fact to the fore. Catherine Heald, co-founder and CEO of Remote Lands, a New York-based company specializing in luxury travel in Asia, says her clients are “increasingly interested in being more present and immersed in destinations than they visit, rather than just ticking off a box and collecting countries.And with people traveling more conscientiously than before Covid, many are having personal life-changing experiences.
We turned to a group of luxury travel experts who note continued growth in the following niches and expect their momentum to continue through 2022.
Freedom has long been a draw for solo travelers, and travel alone has been all the rage in recent years. In 2018, Skift, a New York-based travel industry news website, reported that “going alone is no longer a tragedy, it’s an asset.” These days, solo travel is more the norm than the exception.
“People have spent time alone locked in and seem to have regained the confidence to navigate the world on their own,” says Melissa Biggs Bradley, Founder and CEO of Indagare, a members-only travel planning company at Manhattan. Bradley reports that solo travelers are constantly looking for wellness, adventure, and educational travel, as well as connecting with like-minded people, often creating a community of friends for future trips.
Interest in wellness has skyrocketed during the pandemic, and it’s no surprise that it has spilled over into the luxury travel industry.
“People are looking for what’s really important to them, including mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality,” says Heald. She says outdoor activities are essential to the total wellness experience, with travelers regularly requesting hikes and forest baths in their itineraries.
According to Bartholomew, the wellness trend has also seeped into upscale hospitality, with brands such as Six Senses opening additional properties next year. He says demand is so high that “securing spa and wellness treatments can be as difficult as booking an exclusive dinner.”
Since health and safety are paramount during a pandemic, private niche experiences are reserved until 2022 and 2023, says Licia.
“Private jets, yachts and villas are becoming the normal mode of transportation for luxury travelers,” she says. It’s all about access, flexibility and isolation for jet-setters with the money to spend. “Being able to have a plane, a villa or a tour that is on your schedule is now the norm.”
Grandparents, parents and kids book vacations together, whether they’re taking a road trip through national parks or heading overseas for a memorable celebration.
“People really crave shared experiences and quality time together because of the time spent apart or isolated in one place,” says Bradley. “I think this will also continue in 2022.”
Heald explains how 80-year-old travelers are eager to make up for lost months in quarantine. Families separated by the pandemic are finally uniting to take the long-awaited journey, from visiting the valleys of Bhutan to jumping on the high-speed train to Kyoto, Japan.
If there’s one travel trend that Covid has definitely stimulated, it’s extended travel. Many people working remotely can set up a desk in a hotel, on a beach, or in an off-grid retreat with Wi-Fi access.
Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso, one of the world’s leading travel consortia,
said the booming demand for larger suites and villas is linked to extended stays. “The average length of stay for a hotel booked in January 2022 is 63% longer than in January 2020,” he explains.
Due to the longer trips, people will no doubt face availability issues in the near future. Bartholomew says many luxury properties are already booked for the coming months.
Travel bucket list
The inability to travel the world has fueled travelers’ appetites for unique trips, with bucket list ranking experiences, Heald says. “Since they haven’t spent any money on travel in some cases for 18 months, they have bigger budgets,” she says.
Bradley says the same thing. “People don’t want to put off those dream trips that they’ve delayed or postponed, whether it’s to Machu Picchu, Egypt or Petra,” she says. “Many understand that there is probably no better time than now to leave, in part because much of the world is still closed or cautious.”
A revival of tourism in Europe
Before Covid, France was the first tourist nation. The country attracted nearly 90 million visitors in 2018, followed closely by Spain, according to weforum.org. It is therefore not surprising that the figures for tourism in Europe are on the rise.
“Even before Europe started to reopen its borders, the demand was there, and it has only increased in recent months,” Upchurch said. Usually winter is the slowest season, but more and more people are heading to the mainland during the colder months of this year.
“Paris, Rome, Florence and Venice have been particularly popular,” adds Bradley. Right now we are seeing a lot of customers heading to France and Italy. In fact, they are more eager than ever to return to the European cities they love, knowing that they are much less crowded, or even more excited to discover them for the first time. time at this rare moment.