Global luxury travel network Virtuoso reveals when, where and how the affluent are traveling for the remainder of 2023. Respected as an industry-leading trend forecaster, Virtuoso gathered data and insights from its network of travel advisors, preferred partners and high net worth/ultra-high net worth clientele based on its data warehouse of more than $63.6 billion in transactions and an ongoing series of surveys. The results were shared at luxury travel's leading event, the 35th annual Virtuoso Travel Week. Running August 12-18 in Las Vegas at Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa, the event is recognized as the Fashion Week of luxury travel for its presentation of the latest news and trends affecting the industry before thousands of industry leaders, as well as the multi-million dollars in travel sales it drives.
The lead story: travel shows no signs of slowing down, despite inflation and global economic challenges. In the first half of 2023, Virtuoso reported a 69 percent uptick in sales versus 2019 numbers, with hotel and cruise segments leading the way, up 173 percent and 122 percent respectively.
Luxury hotels in the U.S. have seen a 57 percent increase compared to 2019, while luxury international hotels have soared to a 58 percent uptick.
Future leisure travel sales leading into 2024-2025 are equally strong. When comparing sales leading into 2020 from 2019, considered to be luxury travel's highwater mark, 2023's future sales are pacing 107 percent higher. Future sales for 2023 into 2024 are also pacing 44 percent higher than they were in 2022 leading into 2023.
Likewise, 2023 future cruise sales are 44 percent higher than they were in 2022 and 106 percent higher versus 2019.
Travelers are heading abroad in record numbers. Paris, London and Florence ranking among the most-booked cities this fall. When it comes to the hottest travel trends, Virtuoso advisors have noted continued demand for exclusive-use experiences, such as private aviation and yachting along with itineraries that incorporate next-level stimulation and engagement (think scientific expeditions in Antarctica). The wellness sector continues to thrive, with 94 percent of travelers incorporating self-care into their travels and a rising interest in programs that incorporate creative and performance art. Iceland has emerged as a wellness destination, as has Thailand, as travel to Asia returns. What hasn't changed, but is even more pronounced following the pandemic, is the importance travelers place on genuine, personalized service and their willingness to invest in collaborating with a travel advisor to arrange VIP treatment and access, to have reassurance, accountability and save time, and to ultimately have the experience they want.
An overview of the information is below, with complete findings here.
Booking analysis is based on transactional data sourced from Virtuoso's travel agency members; wellness and culinary travel insights were based on surveys conducted with Virtuoso advisors; and sustainability findings are the result of a recent in-depth analysis of Virtuoso partners resulting in its Virtuoso Impact Report, Sustainable Travel, 2023.
About Virtuoso Travel
Virtuoso is the leading global network of travel agencies specializing in luxury and experiential travel, with more than 20,000 travel advisors. We partner with over 1,800 of the world’s best companies such as hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, and more. Our advisors use their personal connections and firsthand expertise to craft bespoke trips for clients, including unique experiences, special values, complimentary perks, VIP treatment and rare access.