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Fairmont Ajman, UAE (photo: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts)

Gaps closing between travel client groups

Travel companies must be aware that gaps are narrowing between millennial and older travellers, or backpackers and luxury seekers.

The gap between what affluent older travellers and millennials want from a luxury travel experience is narrowing, a new report by Canada-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts concludes.

“These groups are not as dissimilar as we may once have thought”, Sharon Cohen, the AccorHotels-owned brand’s vice-president tells TTG.

“And I also think millennials are actually more risk-averse than people think, because they have led more protected lives. They pick more predictable destinations than you would think.”

There are still some distinctions between groups, but these are also a surprise. For example, 73% of millennials prefer the same comforts they have at home, while only 54% of the 55-plus respondents want them.

And 90% of millennials are willing to pay more for an exclusive experience, more than the 79% of travellers aged 55 plus.

Another widely perceived gap – between “backpackers’ travel experiences” and those of luxury travellers – is also obscure.

“The two worlds are converging – the luxury traveller wants more grit, to go out and have street food, to explore more, but also to enjoy safety and comfort,” Cohen said.

Sustainability wanted
The research also reveals that a vast majority of luxury travellers (84%) think it is important that the hotel gives recommendations of experiences that are not detrimental to the local community. Families especially want sustainability, Cohen said.

“More people are connecting their desire to be sustainable with actually behaving that way, and they expect hotels to do the same,” she said.

Fairmont’s Global Luxury Traveller Insights Study quizzed 2,725 travellers from seven of the brand’s key source markets.

It is vital that Fairmont is in line with affluent consumers’ demands, Cohen explained, as it enters its biggest-ever expansion from 76 properties to 96 in three years. Openings in 2019 include properties in Morocco, Egypt, Rio and Los Angeles.

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