Luxury Travel Trends: Targeting Demographics

By Lola Pedro

Children, women and members of the LGBT community are, of course, long-standing consumers of luxury-travel experiences. However, that luxury travel brands are paying specific attention to, and aiming their services at, these three timeless demographic groups is a more recent occurrence. Looking at these market segments, let's see how high-end travel brands are targeting specific groups in order to secure lucrative returns.


As is the case with adults, children are navigating increasingly complex social hierarchies where status can be acquired by developing niche skills and enjoying exclusive experiences. Parents, meanwhile, are realising that holidays can serve as an opportunity to not only provide their children with enriching encounters but to assuage guilt they may feel due to working away from home. Take a look at how some resorts are addressing this phenomenon by offering packages for children that are as indulgent as those traditionally created for adults.

In Dubai, the Burj al Arab – one of the world's most expensive hotels – runs the Turtle Rehabilitation in Jumeirah project, whereby sickly turtles are cared for locally and then temporarily homed in the Burj al Arab aquarium. When the turtles are back to adequate health, they are released into the waters surrounding the hotel, with young hotel guests and local schoolchildren coming together to assist in the process. It is also possible for some of the turtles to be named after children staying in the hotel at that time.

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The Rosewood San Miguel de Allende hotel in Mexico launched the week-long ‘Little Picassos' programme in 2012. Children aged between three and 12 could study the work of artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso and then create art of their own. Workshops were priced at MXN1700 (£90) per week or MXN 350 (£19) per day. The course was part of the hotel's wider family programme, offering its younger guests pottery, dance, language and history lessons.


The traditional luxury traveller is a 50-something, successful American male executive. Now, however, luxury travel brands are waking up to the fact that their traditional services aimed at this demographic often completely ignore women's needs. Today women are responsible for nearly four times as much consumer spending as China and India combined; it only makes sense that travel brands are starting to pay very close attention to their wants and desires. The danger is that some of the services they dream up for this market can appear unimaginative and patronising.

To celebrate International Women's Day in March, the Dorchester Collection held a series of wine-themed evenings for women curated by three of the hotels group's female sommeliers. The events took place at the Dorchester's hotels in London, Paris and Milan, with sommeliers discussing female winemakers, wines that women might enjoy and the experience of working as a female sommelier. Tickets for the one-hour presentations were priced at £100 per person, or participants could opt to book for all three for a cost of £1,600 which included accommodation.

2012 saw the opening of Korean Air's expanded Prestige Lounge at Incheon International Airport, with an area exclusively dedicated to female travellers. The 160-seat airport lounge extension includes ladies-only powder rooms and ‘sleeping rooms' fitted with reclining couches. Since 2007, Korean Air has also catered to female travellers needs by offering women-only toilets on board its long-haul flights, which are decorated in pink and provide extra beauty products.

The LGBT community

In the UK, businesses have been providing tailored services to the LGBT community for a while now. However, it seems that as ‘mainstream' luxury travel operators become more LGBT-friendly, there are also luxury travel brands that are dedicated to providing wholly LGBT-focused luxury-travel services. Members of the travel industry that are boldy and accurately meeting the needs of the luxury-inclined gay traveller are being rewarded with the market's significant support and patronage.

To celebrate New York's 2012 gay pride week, gay hotel Lords South Beach opened a pop-up hotel within Manhattan's Hotel on Rivington for seven days. Lords rebranded the lobby with bright pink paint and transported a selection of the Miami hotel's furniture to transform the interior. An itinerary of parties and events also took place at the Lords New York pop-up, and guests staying at the hotel were treated to special goody bags.

Opened in Palm Springs in February 2013, Random Haus is a luxury condominium hotel designed to cater to the LGBT market. The property includes an option to purchase a fractional interest, which buys an annual 28-day stay on site (to be taken in single or multiple visits). Facilities include private pools and an integrated social area; the hotel also offers honeymoon packages to gay couples. Prices start at $395 (£260) per night.

With 2013 being a pivotal time politically for the gay community, this trend will crossover into more traditional luxury travel services. We expect to see even the most conservative luxury travel brands awaken to the fact that the payoff from catering to this demographic is vast and an opportunity not to be missed.

Ultimately, the market is ripe for winning the loyalty of these evolving communities, tribes, groups and demographics. Beyond children, women and the LGBT community, 2013 will also see a host of exciting new travel offerings aimed at other groups, as luxury travel brands continue to re-examine themselves and their holiday offerings. For some, this will mean a complete brand overhaul with niche services that solely meet the needs of a specific demography. For others, it will mean adding tailored features to currently generic services. At the very least, this trend should finally see the eradication of any holidaying practices that are unfavourable to certain communities.

Source: The Telegraph

About the author

Lola Pedro is a senior industry analyst at London-based trend firm One of the world's leading trend firms, it monitors and reports on emerging consumer trends, insights and innovations. You can follow its latest reports on Twitter @trendwatching

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