International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Asia is holding an exhibition on Shanghai to highlight their latest research that offers new perspective on Asian travelers. The expanding economies of the Asian countries have given birth to increasingly young and affluent populations. With large disposable incomes they have become demanding and have a growing desire for rare and rewarding experiences. Alison Gilmore, Exhibition Director of ILTM Asia believes that the new, young and affluent travelers represent enormous potential for brands in the industry. However, it is a challenge for them to meet their sometimes contradictory demands. The new Asian traveler is better informed as he is connected to his peers in the region and researches with their help before taking a purchase decision according to the luxury travel report.
At the ILTM Asia 2012 Opening Forum, Future Poll, the research division of The Future Laboratory presented the overview of these new luxury travelers. The Future Laboratory is a leading consultancy for trend forecasting, brand strategy and consumer insight. The well researched paper presented some major points and findings. China, India and Indonesia are the major economies in the region and the travelers from these countries value experiences above status. They opt for brands who can offer behind the scene glimpses. The luxury travelers travel around the world with friends and extended family. Professional women from India have started traveling alone for the first time. Travelers going on religious pilgrimages are also looking for travel brands that offer Five Star hotel and spa treats in India.
The young population of the region is very aware and hooked to the social media. They read reviews and compare before shopping around the world. They don’t blink even while booking £200,000 wedding/honeymoon packages. However, the Chinese millionaires are frugal. They want Five Star luxury but want value for money. There is a substantial growth in environmentally sensitive and culturally aware travel movement. The traffic to destinations such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia and rural China has witnessed a jump.
Ms Gilmore clarified that more than the region it is the cultural behavior and needs that is the most important influence on the luxury travel choices. The Chinese luxury traveler opts for curated travel experience but with familiar foods and lifestyle elements. There is a new cultural curiosity about ethnic heritage and it is driving the Singaporean Chinese to explore China which they couldn’t do earlier. The pilgrim travel in India is on the rise touching 650 million in 2010. The Luxury Pilgrims, though committed to their simple religious practices now want more from the travel experience. Abercrombie & Kent and Cox & Kings India are at the forefront of devising specialist family luxury holiday packages that is designed to meet the growing demand for large multigenerational experiences. You now have entire families traveling to celebrate 50th Birthdays or weddings or commemorative reunions. The Indian travelers are not only traveling more but spending more on their travels. They are opting for luxury travel packages much earlier than their Western counterparts. They are increasingly going online to enquire from their peers as to which brands can be trusted to deliver what they promise. It has become very important for the brands to interact with their customers and communicate effectively to earn their trust and business.