Luxury travelers look for unique experiences, charming hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and amazingly, pampering for their pets. New worldwide survey now reveals some of the most preferred services and extravagant interests among high-end holidaymakers. The results show significant changes in travelers’ habits, as well as it indicates the favourite brands and defines the leading trends in luxury travel.
The survey was conducted by Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) in May and June 2014, identifying what matters the most on the road for the richer people. More than 13,000 customers from around the world participated and ranked their favourite destinations, brands, and services. 13% of them chose Italy and various destinations across Italy as their favourite luxury holiday destination, followed by France with 11.1% of votes, and the Maldives, selected by 8%. However, travelers from the USA, Latin America and Australia said Paris was their No.1 luxury destination, while the Maldives was chosen by the wealthy citizens of China, Germany, and the UK.
When it comes to luxury brands, French fashion icon Chanel is leading followed by the researchers SLH themselves and Hermes. Other deluxe brands, loved by travelers are Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, not much of a surprise really. The respondents also ranked the most necessary in-room hotel accessories, saying Nespresso or a coffee machine is their favourite (58% of them). The iPod docking system is also a must-have, at least according to 22.8% of the travelers. Looking at the mini bar, the top choice beverage across all markets were wine, beer, and champagne. However, 38.7% of Germans prefer soft drinks over spirits, beer or even snacks. Coca-Cola is the most referred brand in the mini bar, although a large portion of Russians say they would opt for Evian. Brits on the other hand love Bombay Sapphire, while Australians prefer the more exquisite Moet & Chandon.
But how do wealthy travelers pick up a hotel? The most important feature of the perfect luxury hotels for them is “character/charm”, followed by a 5-star rating. German and Russian holidaymakers say they also prefer a hotel that provides privacy and intimacy, while for tourists from China and Hong Kong, the personal experiences are more attractive. Most of the travelers (51.5%) say a Michelin star restaurant is needed, while 48.5% of all markets and the majority of Russia and Germany will pick up a rooftop bar. Hotel guides or concierges are more important than in-room destination guides, showing that luxury travelers appreciate the personal attitude and the attention. In addition, most travelers prefer Wi-Fi access over complimentary breakfasts.
The survey also reveals some of the bizarre habits and interests of rich people – 7% of them admit they would travel with their pet whenever possible, and 15% say they are willing to pay extra for their dog, cat, or canary to be pampered. Some of the strangest requests originate from China and the USA, and include luxury bedding, food, pet grooming, unlimited playtime and pet girlfriends. Some of the suggestions note “blueberry facials” and bird-watching at a zoo” for cats, as well as personal butlers. And a member of the staff has to tell the pet how beautiful it is.
From Wi-Fi access and champagne to massages for pets, the survey shows how extravagant rich people can be sometimes. While some of their expenses are merely unreasonable, others are clearly outrageous, but we are discussing trends in luxury travel after all.