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We all enjoy the finer things in life. But with the current global economic downturn, how much are consumers really willing to spend on luxury travel in 2023?
Turns out, the future’s looking bright for the industry, with many people continuing to prioritise those once-in-a-lifetime vacations even if it means cutting back on day-to-day luxuries. At least, that’s what the latest data is showing us. Here’s the highlights:
Surprised? So are we. But this presents a major opportunity. How can travel marketers overcome consumer hesitation and help sell more dream vacations and luxury experiences? What marketing tactics are luxury brands deploying to make this possible?
Luxury is a very broad concept, it varies depending on the vision of each individual. There is not only the classic luxury of premium accommodations but a unique or an authentic experience, more tailored and personalised. Hospitality companies, such as Marriott or Accor, adapt themselves to those views by developing specific brands to cover all the range from luxury to premium to create a perfect experience for each of their publics and their approach to luxury." – Andrea Trillo, Global Marketing Director at AIRE Ancient Baths Group.
In this month’s spotlight, we’re examining the luxury travel industry. We’ll explore what type of consumer makes up the luxury travel audience, what they’re interested in, and how brands are using different marketing tactics, including influencer marketing, to sell the finer things in life. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s jet!
We wanted to understand what the typical consumer looks like. We wanted to answer questions such as: What experiences are they interested in? Which luxury brands do they currently follow? What drives them to make purchase decisions and how are they spending?
To help us answer these questions, we built an affinity report based on consumers who follow a range of luxury brands including InterContinental, Waldorf Astoria, Marriott International, Four Seasons, Shangri-La and others. We then cross-referenced this with specific behaviours and interests such as an interest in luxury travel. We applied this criteria across our wide range of available platforms, including Meta. Explore the full report here.
Looking broadly at our audience of luxury consumers, we can see that both men and women enjoy the finer things in life, with an almost 50/50 split.
While younger consumers do spend on luxury travel and experiences, it does tend to skew older, with the majority of this audience aged between 25 and 44, but the audience with the most spending power being 35 plus. The majority of this online audience are based in the US, but we also see that luxury travel is of interest to consumers in India, Indonesia, Brazil and other countries consisting of high-net-worth individuals in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China.
While we can make general assumptions about the entire audience based on this, as our regular readers know, your audience is not a monolith. So, we’ve broken down our luxury travel consumers into three bite-size segments to help us drill down into individual interests.
Based on our data and the wider travel trends, it’s safe to say that luxury travel is thriving. When planning B2C campaigns, marketers need to factor in the mindset and behaviours of this audience. For example, luxury travellers expect premier experiences, and they won’t settle for anything less. Here are four ways luxury travel brands are tapping into consumers.
One of the strongest marketing tools at the luxury travel industry’s disposal is user-generated content (UGC). The ability to influence the creation of, and repurpose, authentic and organic social media content can be hugely influential in reaching more consumers.
Why? Because travellers are increasingly relying on their smartphones when it comes to making purchase decisions. According to Skyscanner, three out of four UK consumers are using their mobile devices to plan their trips at work, at the pub, and even while already on holiday. Plus, one in two people say that social media influences where they’ll go next.
Conrad Hotels and their Instagram Butlers campaign is a sterling example of putting UGC at the heart of your marketing strategy. Their Maldives property perfectly tapped into word-of-mouth by deploying social experts to help travellers capture picture-perfect moments in their little slice of paradise.
Their butlers took guests on Instagram worthy experiences, sharing iconic spots such as the world’s first undersea restaurant, and going on special tours. Plus, they could advise on the best time of day to take sunset selfies and show them the perfect positions for a sun-dappled yoga pose.
Not only did this campaign add a little something extra to their guest’s vacation, it allowed them to capture likeworthy moments that would help spread the reach of the Conrad Maldives and bring more visitors in the future.
Providing premier experiences relies on understanding your customers on a deeply personal level, enabling you to offer personalized service. Bespoke travel agency Travel Edge tapped into this desire for bespoke service with a consumer facing campaign that promised to deliver exceptional personalization and customer care throughout the travel experience.
How did they deliver on this? They launched a new web platform which allowed their advisors and concierge team to support clients on a 24/7 basis, providing access to a wide range of exclusive properties, experiences, insider perks and amenities – perfectly personalized to the traveller’s needs and wants.
Given that this was launched post-pandemic, this gave them a competitive edge in a hesitant consumer marketer where travel restrictions made vacations a little more chaotic than usual. Their platform also showcased curated itineraries to encourage consumers to get in touch with one of their team and start planning their ideal getaway.
Executive VP Gavin Miller said, “Our new website is the first step in ensuring travellers get access to this higher standard of service. By the end of this year, that’s where they’ll find a wide range of curated travel experiences to aid their decision making and connect with the right expert for them—someone who listens, who is knowledgeable, and who can offer thoughtful suggestions for creating a truly personalized travel experience.”
If you don’t have the time or capacity to help your customers generate UGC, then partnering with the right influencers is definitely the way forward. Influencer marketing campaigns are particularly effective within the affluent travel sector, given how much power word-of-mouth recommendation has over each of our segments.
Instagram is a particularly powerful platform for influencer marketing campaigns, but any visual channel is helpful, with YouTube and TikTok influencers quickly gaining massive followings. Micro-influencers can also play an important role in generating attention for luxury travel brands, as their content often comes across as more authentic and trustworthy.
The Safari Collection and their Giraffe Manor property is a particularly inspirational example of influencer marketing. The Safari Collection comprises of four boutique properties spread across Kenya, focusing on high-end, sustainable tourism.
They teamed up with multiple Instagram micro-influencers in the luxury travel space to promote the resort to their ideal audience, high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth consumers. They worked with influencers such as blacktravelpassport and girlstravelmagazine to create adorable content with the resort’s famous giraffes, showcasing just a few of the many attractions at the resort.
This clever influencer marketing campaign helped spread the word about Giraffe Manor further, faster, by highlighting the unspoilt beauty of the resort and its five-star credentials. The million-dollar question is, how can you identify these perfect influencers? In addition to being able to identify audiences and break down into actionable segments, Audiense is able to help you find the most influential accounts in your chosen industry to help you reach more consumers.
We’ve covered a lot of ground today, so let’s take a moment to remind ourselves of the key takeaways for luxury travel brands.
Ready to take the next step in audience intelligence for your marketing? With tools like Audiense, conducting in-depth audience analysis and discovering actionable takeaways makes creating tailored marketing strategies easier than ever.
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