1. Many luxury consumers intend to travel through the recession – 56% indicate that the recession has not had an impact on their travel plans. For a small percentage (15%), the current state of the economy may be an incentive to travel more. Conversely, the majority of business travelers surveyed said their company has changed travel policies to reduce travel expenditure and to avoid any hint of extravagance.
2. All geographies are not created equal – Travelers from many countries in Europe (e.g. Spain, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands) seem to be less affected and report fewer modifications to their travel patterns than travelers from America, Canada, Middle East and Africa. This may be attributed to the social safety net in many European countries.
3. Use of the internet is growing fastest among luxury hotel guests –Nearly eight of 10 respondents said they have read user-generated reviews online and one in three has posted a review. As a result, more managers are focusing on the guest experience and engaging customers during their stays. Additionally, luxury hotel guests have shown the largest increase in internet bookings over the past two years.
4. The luxury guest is changing – Luxury travelers are demanding less pampering, more entertainment. The current economic climate is shifting the mood and type of experience travelers are seeking. Intercultural pursuits and opportunities for personal growth, such as shopping at village green markets, practicing foreign language skills and receiving a local gift at turn-down, now surpass the desire to be pampered.
5. Hotels are protecting the guest experience and ADR – With staff failures having the biggest negative impact on guest loyalty, hotels are being careful to not make hasty staff reductions. In unavoidable situations, managers will likely displace back-office employees or restaurant staff before cutting front-of-house, guest-facing staff.