Agents say clients are looking at destinations and experiences that blanket the globe
Once the pandemic subsides, luxury clients are considering a wide range of destinations and experiences that virtually blanket the globe, travel advisors said.
“My clients are looking for all sorts of off-the-beaten track vacations,” said Gloria Hobbins of Global Village Travels. “They have been reading and watching lots of virtual stuff and now want to experience hot-air ballooning in New Mexico, the Orient Express to Istanbul, sailing the Grenadines, climbing Mount Kenya and onlaire Schoeder of Elevations Travel, an affiliate of Signature Travel Network, said she is booking and providing quotes on villa vacations and luxury resorts that will not be operating at full capacity and include condo/home options. “Some clients are inquiring about cruises for 2022, as they have specific interests such as Norwegian fjords, the Galapagos and Antarctica,” she said.
Holly Lombardo of Holly Lombardo Travel Co., a Travel Experts affiliate, said her clients are leaning toward restorative vacations. “This means less demand for stimulating trips where you might learn about history and architecture or include multiple destinations in an itinerary and more toward resort-centered destinations,” she said. “Travelers will seek a resort, villa or boat charter and use it as a home base for whatever they might like to do or just ‘be.’”
“Folks are optimistic about resuming travel but they are cautious and not rushing into it,” Hobbins said. “My clients are serious travelers but primarily seniors. They are also depending on my opinion so I have to have the facts about their chosen destinations.”
Schoeder noted that her clients are anxious to resume traveling. “Many of my luxury clients have been telling me they have received the vaccine shots and are ready to explore when the world opens back up to them and the virus is truly in retreat,” she said. “Travel is part of their lifestyle and they are ready to put the past year behind them.”
Lombardo said her business began to pick up in October and since January she’s seen record sales. “It ranges from bucket list trips such as sailing with Lindblad to Antarctica, to a U.S. ranch with friends, to families looking for a beach stay.”
Bookings for 2022 and 2023
Schoeder said she is booking a generous number of trips for 2022 and has received a number of inquiries for 2023 – and that some travelers are very optimistic that they will be able to travel abroad – especially to Europe – in fall 2021.
“There is definitely pent-up demand for travel,” said Becky Lukovic of Bella Travel Planning Services. “My clients pop their heads up every once in a while to touch base and let me know they are dreaming of travel – even if they aren’t ready to book anything yet. Once travel is back in full swing, I anticipate being very, very busy.”
2020 Luxury Bookings
Travel advisors noted that although bookings were significantly down in 2020, some of their luxury clients did indeed travel.
“All of my bookings early on were domestic hotel-only bookings, but now I’ve been confirming more air/land packages to the Caribbean and Mexico,” said Becky Lukovic of Bella Travel Planning Services. “Most of my travelers tell me they’ve been cooped up in the same location working from home for almost a year now, and they desperately need a change of scenery.”
Claire Schoeder of Elevations Travel booked domestic trips for luxury clients within driving distance of their homes. “A couple of clients said the companies they worked for required a two-week quarantine if they traveled anywhere by air – even by private jet,” she said. “So driving trips within a number of hours of home became the preferred choice of my luxury clients.” and on.”