It’s been some time since luxury travel was all solitude, champagne and caviar.

The hospitality industry, as a whole, has experienced wave after wave of “disruption” in recent years, with major changes to high-end travel patterns. Today’s luxury traveler expects more from their experience than ever, including emotionally rich getaways, wellness woven into unique itineraries, and much, much more.

Hospitality intelligence company Skift has released a new report titled “Building Brand Love and Loyalty in Luxury Hospitality” offering a deep dive into the current state of luxury travel.

The full report is worth a read for hospitality professionals catering to today’s rapidly evolving audience and battling for brand loyalty.

Here’s a quick look at the report’s major takeaways.

“Experiences” are beginning to lead the greater luxury market.
While the whole market grew throughout 2016, consumption in the luxury market has shifted decidedly away from “goods” and toward “experiences” like travel and food, which experienced a 5% gain.

The demand for meaningfulness is also increasing in the travel market.
Most consumers now gravitate to brands they believe in. It’s less about the thing that brand produces, and increasingly about the corporate choices that shape that brand. They want to learn about the world around them, see more of it, and support companies that promote positive change in the world along the way.

Simplicity is important to luxury travelers.
They want to know exactly what to expect, when to expect it, and what will be asked of them throughout the travel experience.

Transformational travel is becoming key.
Can a weekend getaway change a traveler’s life? The data suggests many people believe it can, and luxury travelers are searching for those experiences.

Brand loyalty rests in the hands of the customers.
With the internet at their fingertips, customers have the power to quickly change the shape of a brand’s online reputation. As a result, many luxury travel brands are shifting their focus heavily toward increasing customer loyalty, locking them into the loyalty cycle earlier in the journey.

Memorable events shape customer appreciation.
Brands that are able to build memories have a stronger hold on consumers, making it more likely that they’ll come back in the future. Creating those experiences is critical for luxury brands who are trying to maintain their hold on their corner of the market.

Multigenerational travel places unique demands on the luxury travel market.
This is caused by several things, from adults who are waiting longer to have children to parents who want their children to have deeper, more meaningful experiences while traveling as a family. Savvy luxury travel brands are finding new ways to include children and teens in their offerings by broadening their experiences to include all generations.

Wellness opportunities matter.
More than 50% of millennials allow available wellness offerings to impact their travel decisions. Many hotels are seeking to partner with leading wellness brands in order to offer wider wellness opportunities for their clients. Travelers are also seeking athletic opportunities, turning their leisure time into healthy endeavors.

AI is rapidly changing the face of travel.
Advances in technology will soon shift the flow of travel so that artificial intelligence (AI) agents are responsible for booking flights, arranging for accommodations, and setting up vacation activities.

“Typical” has been redefined.
According to the report, there’s no such thing as a “typical” luxury traveler. Instead, you have a strong focus on providing unique experiences to each traveler, meeting their needs individually instead of creating a generic experience.

It’s time to look for something new.
Right now, the luxury travel market is filled with words like “authentic” and “immersive.” The new generation of luxury consumers, however, are looking for something completely different, and savvy travel brands will find a way to provide it. Thinking outside the box will be critical for producing the types of transformational experiences today’s consumers are looking for.


The face of luxury travel is evolving. Maintaining brand loyalty and courting new guests means keeping up with the latest changes.

Read the full Skift report to deepen your understanding of the changing needs of luxury travelers and how it will impact the travel industry as a whole in the coming years.