What luxury tourism means
What luxury tourism means
“Luxury is essential for its ability to stimulate and encourage markets”
Luxury refers to all that can be obtained that is differentiated, unique and exclusive. It does not respond to the demand, it does not satisfy the desires of the masses nor seeks positioning; it is a product or service that is offered to all but not all of them can reach.
Likewise, luxury in the field of tourism takes shape to the extent that, rather than price, puts the emphasis on value, in what is now measured through the experience of the consumer.
Certainly one of the most important activities that have excelled in luxury travel in recent decades is shopping tourism. According to the report published in 2015 by the Spanish Luxury Association, Spain is a European reference in this segment of the market, being the fifth country in the European Union to lead sales behind France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland. “More and more Spanish firms are valued abroad for their quality, innovation and tradition.” 30% of total sales correspond to foreign tourists, according to the first Observatory of the Premium Market and Prestige Products of IE, which also positions the arrival of more tourists from Asian countries.
Luxury tourism in Spain
According to the global wealth report published by the consulting firm Capgemini, in Spain there are a total of 193,000 millionaires and it is the country of the EU in which this segment of population has increased more since 2015, which makes it an excellent target niche to offer tourists of high purchasing power who demand exclusive services to the international destinations.
Meanwhile, new tour operators and travel agencies are born exclusively to serve this luxury-oriented sector and many destinations are looking for the necessary means to connect with this public, specializing their services and tourist products, personalizing them even to the taste of each customer according to the origin market of reference.
But it is not only about outbound tourism. Spain is, in turn, a destination well positioned in the minds of foreign tourists seeking exclusivity, luxury and unique experiences.
But what does luxury tourism mean to new tourists and especially to millennials?
Luxury tourism will open itself to a new field where the exclusive and unique will mean that which is unexplored, unspoiled, where not everyone can get to, away from the mass and with ability to share unique experiences. This tourist will look for emotional, experimental and, if possible, non-Google search trips and destinations, moving away from what everyone wants and taking advantage of the new trends that allow them to have a little space to enjoy it. It is here that the luxury tourist reconceptualizes its search and commitment to unique natural destinations, products and services with standards that respond to sustainability (green planes and sustainable hotels, eco-friendly cars, etc.) and with the aim of consuming less unnecessary goods and services.
At the same time, we find a tourist of this era, the millennial, who values the whole experience and for whom technologies are an important part of it, because although they want exclusivity, they also want to have fun and communicate it to the world. They wish to give importance to the singularity of the moment and tell their own story, looking for extraordinary but natural places that in turn are tech-friendly and make life easier, allowing them to connect all their senses to the experience (the so-called “senseploration“), fulfilling the maxim of “less is more”, providing all kinds of transactions from a mobile phone (payments, searches, photos, videos, hotel registrations) and, most importantly, leaving them connected at all times. Conveying their experiences through the social networks, these same users are those who create and reinforce the notoriety of destinations and brands, influencers and bloggers who become the most powerful voice in the luxury sector.
Here is the challenge of the industry for the next few years: to follow the speed of these changes but even more to have something differentiating, to make the simple, exclusive and to turn to technologies to capture the attention of consumers, as well as adjust to the many channels that allow customization to the client. A good example of this, increasingly demanded today, is a personalized concierge, which breaks the common barriers of time and space thanks to an expert in the resources needed to meet any requirement of an exclusive client, anytime and anywhere, turning the seemingly impossible into something unique and unforgettable.
By Alfredo Ledezma