Exclusive experiences rank highest with luxury travellers

 width=A recent survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group reveals that luxury travellers are most interested in exclusive access and experiences, particularly VIP tours, private cars and drivers, and customised culinary experiences.

These findings were taken fromÊthe annualÊTravel Trends SurveyÊconducted byÊTravel Leaders Group, one ofÊNorth America’sÊlargest travel agency companies, encompassing thousands of travel agents across the continent including luxury travel advisors from Protravel International and Tzell Travel, part of Travel Leaders Luxury Brands.

“Luxury travel today is all about access and experiences and our agents excel in providing clients with individually tailored once-in-a-lifetime experiences made possible through relationships they have built all over the world,” saidÊGail Grimmett, President of Travel Leaders Luxury Brands. “The survey results confirm that this high level of service, expertise and personalisation is exactly what consumers are seeking.”

Examples of private, VIP-level experiences Travel Leaders Luxury Brands advisors have provided to clients include:

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  • “In London, I like to send clients to a behind-the-scenes experience with the Queen’s Guard while they prepare to take their posts at Buckingham Palace before the Changing of the Guard. It’s a way to experience British pomp and circumstance up close.” ÐÊJosh Alexander, Protravel International
  • “In Florence, I planned an exclusive guided tour of the Vasari Corridor at the top of the famousÊPonte Vecchio, the closed-to-the-public corridor used by the Medici family to travel from the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace.” ÐÊAnn St. Hilare, Protravel International
  • “I arranged for a private audience with one of the last remaining Samurai swordsmiths inÊJapanÊfor a family who arranged their whole trip around his availability. There are not many Samurai swordsmiths left so it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn about this ancient art firsthand.” ÐÊLeslie Tillem, Tzell Travel Group
  • “In Morocco, I arranged for clients to take an Arabic calligraphy lesson in the home of an artist in Essaouira, a hike through the Atlas Mountains and then eat with a local Berber family in their home.” ÐÊHenley Vazquez, Passported, a Tzell Travel affiliate
  • “In Canyon Point, Utah I arranged for my clients to take a sunrise helicopter ride to the top of Tower Butte. An experienced yoga specialist guided a private yoga and meditation session, one my clients will truly never forget, and afterwards, the helicopter took them on a scenic flight back with views ofÊLake PowellÊand the vast landscape of theÊUtahÊdesert.” ÐÊJonny Drubel, Protravel International
  • “I’ve arranged for clients to experience life as a Viking in Roskilde, one of the oldest towns inÊDenmark. They got a private tour of the Viking Ship Museum then boarded a replica Viking ship for a private sail on the Bay of Roskilde where they were able to assist the crew and feel how hard it was to sail in that era.” ÐÊJody Bear, Bear & Bear Travel, a Tzell affiliate

Private villa or homestays and private beach or island bookings also ranked in the top five most sought-after experiences by clients in the survey of Travel Leaders Luxury Brands travel advisors.

The 2018 ranking of top luxury experiences

  1. Exclusive (VIP) Tour Ð 66%
  2. Private Car and Driver Ð 51%
  3. Custom Culinary Experiences Ð 46%
  4. Private Villas or Homes Ð 39%
  5. Private Beach or Island Ð 25%

The survey also found the top three international destinations among luxury travellers to be European (river) cruising,ÊCaribbeanÊcruising, andÊItaly, with European/Mediterranean cruising andÊMexicoÊrounding out the top five.

“River cruising continues to grow in popularity among our luxury travellers,” said Grimmett, “and we’re seeing the cruise industry rapidly expanding this year with new ships, routes and more family and singles-friendly options, to meet the demand of these high-end travellers. There is truly a ship for every type of luxury traveller, but seeking the advice of a travel advisor is essential in choosing the right company and ship, as they each have distinct personalities.”

Here are the top 10 international destinations from Travel Leaders Group’s 2018 survey:

Top international destinations for 2018

  1. European (River) Cruise
  2. Caribbean Cruise
  3. Italy
  4. EuropeÊ(Mediterranean) Cruise
  5. Mexico
  6. Dominican Republic
  7. Jamaica
  8. Australia
  9. EuropeÊ(Baltic) Cruise
  10. France
  11. Ireland
  12. Costa Rica
  13. Aruba
  14. Bahamas
  15. Iceland
  16. South Africa
  17. England
  18. St. Lucia
  19. Australia/New Zealand Cruise
  20. Panama Canal Cruise

More than 1,300 travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents fromÊTravel Leaders NetworkAll Aboard TravelCruCon Cruise OutletCruise SpecialistsNexionProtravel InternationalSinglesCruise.comTravel Leaders Corporate, andÊTzell Travel GroupÊunits participated in theÊannual Travel Trends Survey, which provides an authoritative barometer for what consumers from acrossÊNorth AmericaÊare booking most frequently.

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