As millennials become successful enough to afford luxury travel, it’s helpful for businesses to pinpoint precisely what makes it appealing to this generation of 22- to 37-year-olds. Enter Valentino Danchev, founder and president of Fidelis Marketing Group, a travel marketing firm that specializes in luxury travel. According to Danchev, the following travel trends will continue to drive the travel and tourism industry in the foreseeable future for reasons that might surprise you:
1. Transformative Travel
People travel for different reasons, such as experience, adventure, novelty, or philanthropy. Some (like the narrator in Robert Frost’s oft-quoted poem) wish to take the road less traveled by, while others prefer to tread the safer travel route that has more amenities.
The current travel emphasis is on transformation. millennials are hungry for boutique travel experiences that will transform them from the inside out. It’s a tall order, but companies like Fidelis have stepped up to the plate with the quality of the services that they and their affiliates provide. Luxury accommodations are designed to surround guests with a high level of beauty and comfort. Full-service salons and spas and pro-level golf courses give health-conscious millennials opportunities to maintain or improve their physical well-being in a milieu that’s likely less crowded than their local gym. Guided daytrips allow visitors to soak up the local culture without having to worry about directions or language barriers.
2. Safe Travel
Safe travel implies mental, emotional, and physical security and stability. Practically speaking, this means that an increasing number of millennials are retreating to safe havens to “get away from it all.” While this may seem childish on the surface – i.e., the stereotypical perception of millennials – it can’t be denied that modern life leaves little room for serious thought or genuine relaxation. This is compounded by the perception that success can be measured by visible achievements, which require a constant and sometimes increasing amount of activity and busyness. Those who don’t get on board with this view are apt to feel left behind in their careers, if not in life. The ability to find an oasis of peace – seemingly inaccessible to an often harsh, judgmental world – can be a huge relief to those who experience this kind of pressure in their day-to-day lives.
3. Simple Travel
One of the results of living in an overstimulating world is that having to make even simple choices can feel more tiring than it’s worth. Many people are thirsty for fewer options or someone knowledgeable and professional who can make decisions for them. Those who don’t want to sacrifice luxury for simplicity typically choose the latter. That’s why travel agents and marketing firms like Fidelis are on the rise. Travel agents can be expensive, but for many people, the extra expense is worth not having to do all the travel planning themselves. However, it’s important to note that the available options, though fewer, are still expected to be of a superior quality. Luxury vacations don’t need to be complicated to provide high-end results. This is part of the reason that safe havens are often associated with high-end resorts in far-flung locations, such as the pristine Alps or the exotic Caribbean.
4. Interactive Travel
The desire to place the decision-making process in more capable hands doesn’t necessarily extend to lying down, inert, in a chicly decorated suite. Once millennial travelers are on vacation, they want to be doing something, even if it’s a quiet massage at the resort’s full-service spa. Hands-on, immersive activities or classes in the fields of art, cooking, fitness, or entertainment are just a few of the selectively curated pursuits that luxury travel providers should consider if they want to attract millennial consumers. The more the activity allows the participant to experience the host culture, the better.
5. Virtual Travel
A somewhat recent trend is the ability to view destinations, accommodations, and venues in 360° “reality” from the comfort of your own bed, desk, or recliner. Perhaps the best-known example of this is Google Maps’ “Street View” feature, which allows viewers to drag and drop the little yellow “person” into the map to see what the surroundings look like in real life. This not only provides valuable insights into a location’s ambiance, parking arrangements, etc., but also cuts back on marketing tactics that could result in disappointment once the traveler reaches their destination. Again, a travel agent is helpful in this respect, as most of them personally visit the places that they recommend. Needless to say, the ability to peep into places hundreds or thousands of miles away in no way discourages people from actually visiting those places in real life. Virtual reality isn’t, after all, a satisfying substitute for physical reality.
These are just a few of the current travel trends that travel experts like Kaloyan Valentinov Danchev predict will continue to be popular in the near future. Other technologies such as artificial intelligence will surely come into play as the field progresses.The ability to foresee what travelers will embrace is partly a result of extensive knowledge in the travel and tourism industry and partly dependent on the fact that people’s primal needs and desires tend to be universal and unchanging. We may place a great deal of emphasis on individuality in Western culture, but the reality is that people’s feelings and desires are almost universally and timelessly constant. Outward environments may change and provide internal stimuli, but everyone shares thoughts and emotions. And that’s what makes traveling such a universally timeless adventure.