Baby Boomers better watch out because here come the Millennials ready to grab even more of the spotlight as they get older, more settled and have the means to go on luxury vacations.
During this past week’s The Affluent Traveler Collection (ATC) Symposium, which took place in glitzy Miami at the Kimpton EPIC Hotel, Recommend learned that the luxury market as a whole is worth $1.2 trillion and is expected to grow by 7.6 percent annually through 2030.
“Premium and luxury is growing,” Nicola Mazza, ATC’s CMO, said during the Symposium’s press conference. “[There’s] fantastic growth year over year, with consumer spending up 25 percent and up 40 percent for Millennials. The largest growth we are seeing within the luxury market is with Millennials.” She added, too, that research shows that Millennials are looking for experiences rather than material items, more so than other generations.
ATC, an invitation-only luxury marketing group that’s solely focused on luxury travel, was founded 28 years ago when American Marketing Group, its parent company, saw a need in the marketplace to carve out a luxury collection. The group offers advisors access to, among other things, the Affluent Traveler Collection Hotel Program, a value-added amenity-based program with a little over 1,100 hotels globally. Luxury clients can expect such added values as complimentary breakfast, comped WiFi, early check-in, late check-out, upgrades and hotel credit.
“We figure that for an average stay [those added values] come out to about $1,000 in additional benefits,” said Ed Donaldson, v.p., sales, ATC. The collection has grown its portfolio by 20 percent this year, adding properties in sun markets such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic, exotic locales such as Morocco and Cambodia and luxury mainstays including New York, London and Paris. ATC has recently brought on hotels and resorts from luxury brands including Raffles, One&Only and Waldorf Astoria. “In 2024,” added Donaldson, “we’d like to include villas and residences as well as wellness properties that have an [in-depth] wellbeing program. We’re looking at a strategic growth with unique, authentic boutique properties.”
To cater to the authentic experiences affluent clients are craving, ATC’s OnLocation program relaunched earlier this year. The program, which tripled in size to 33 partners, offers hyper-personalized experiences in 65 destinations throughout the world.
Trending in the Luxury Space
As we learned after the pandemic when travel surged, forget about bucket lists, today’s luxury travelers are focused on to-do lists. “People want to go to those Instagram-worthy destinations,” said Mazza. Two other trends that continue to soar and make for quite a nice commission check are multi-gen group bookings and celebration travel. This is great for advisors, noted Mazza, because of the volume when it comes to booking groups [of this scale]. Among other top travel niches, you’ll find, no surprise, wellbeing, culinary and expedition travel. For the latter, Mazza noted that Antarctica and the Arctic are no longer “that aspirational one-time trip.” And, of course, off-the-beaten path is at the top of affluent clients’ minds. “Millennials,” pointed out Mazza, “want to go to Coachella not buy a Coach bag.”
Catering to Millennials’ Tech Savviness — AI & Crypto
As Mazza noted during the conference, ATC is upping its game when it comes to technology and innovative tools. “We know the next generation needs to be serviced and we want to ensure that our advisors have the right tools to be able to manage this growth in the market,” she said.
In fact, ATC is introducing AI into several of its proprietary platforms, with Mazza telling the press, “I think it will change our industry for good; it’s a powerful tool if used properly, [thus] we’re integrating it into a lot of our marketing tools.”
ATC will incorporate AI into its social media platform Social Connect and booking engine tripXpress. The network is also developing AI strategies for content creation in its website platform and lead-generation solution, OnlineXpress.
“One of our advisors’ greatest needs is time,” said Mazza. “Within minutes, AI can produce customized content that will drive more business. This will free advisors to focus on their strength: delivering excellent client service.”
And not seen anywhere else in the industry yet, advisors will be able to accept cryptocurrency as payment through tripXpress, ATC’s proprietary booking platform. The cryptocurrency market is currently valued at $1.17 trillion, with travel being a highly desirable spend option, noted the ATC execs during the conference.
Additionally, ATC is adding the ability for advisors to create their own affiliate link program within tripXpress. Clients will enter the tripXpress booking process with one easy click from advisor-built digital marketing content on web pages and social media.
And no matter which generation you are servicing, the demand for travel advisors is surging and that demand, pointed out Mazza, isn’t diminishing.
For more information, visit theaffluenttraveler.com.