Traveling trends, already altered since the COVID outbreak, have also changed for those who enjoy a certain level of financial wealth. Even the affluent, who travel extensively, want first and foremost to seek an experience that is truly authentic. Hear then, what an industry review of wealthy Americans (with an annual income of at least $100,000) reveals how their rich lifestyle impacts their travel choices.
Where the rich want to stay on vacation
It turns out that about 81% want a personalized experience above all else. 73% are willing to exceed their budget in order to live an authentic experience in the local reality. And when it comes to knowing where wealthy travelers want to be when they’re on vacation, it’s even clearer.
They no longer prefer lodging in the traditional luxury hotel room, but in structures focused on the area lifestyle. This has led to a 30% increase in bookings for this type of hotel. Where you can taste the same food the people in town eat, take part in the art scene, and go where the locals meet. With Airbnb, travelers can do this easily. The lodging that best connects affluent people according to their needs, offers unique experiences, not a generic room.
Experiential tourism is more popular
Many traditional hotels see this as a challenge to the way they do their business. The trend can be defined as “experiential vacation,” and now has a strong impact on the hospitality sector. It was surely one of the determining factors for creating viability for Airbnb. In fact, rich travelers increasingly want to have novel trip environments, and another way that can be done is by exchanging residences. By hosting people from all over the world at home, it extends the timeshare concept internationally. This way of traveling is not immune to complications, as people from the same country may not agree on the local cuisine or the exact setting, for example.
But above all, when places where fascinating experiences are then discovered, then populated by affluent tourists, this can start to distort the location’s atmosphere and become “inauthentic,” as per the needs expressed by the tourists themselves. The hotel industry has responded to this change in perspective in various ways.
In the last ten years, many chains have made sure to also offer a variety of boutique options in which to find unique local products and services. And they are concentrating to favor culture and design, thereby becoming places where travelers can fully customize their experience.
Where do the rich spend their money?
The extremely rich prefer to spend their money on vacations, entertainment, and collectibles, often in some combination. According to a 2016 study, Americans who have a fortune of more than $25 million may claim to be modest, but in reality, they spend a lot. 60% spend more than $10,000 a year on vacation or leisure, more than any other category. More than a quarter of them spend more than $25,000 on travel and 14% spend more than $50,000.
In contrast, jewelry, cars, and boats were not so popular. More than three-quarters of the rich surveyed do not spend money on boats. Only 30% spend more than $ 10,000 on jewelry a year and less than one in five of them spend more than $ 50,000 on a car. (Note that the few rich people who love cars spent large sums of money—10% said they spent $ 100,000 or more).
As for the cost or the ambiance, most can’t even grasp it. This closed community of the tourist elite sails on its yachts sunbathes in tropical paradises and private islands or roams on until morning. Still, others enjoy their Dom Pérignon in private jets, to destinations that others can only dream of. For the millionaire and billionaire club, relaxing next to Richard Branson on Necker Island is not madness, after all, but a petty reality. This 1% of the world seeks exclusivity and sophistication, but also authentic experiences with meaning. But where do they find them?
Everything is possible for the man who has high demands, who he is willing to pay dearly for them. For example, to cater to those who do not want to share an exotic paradise with others, there is a resort on the coast of Belize that is essentially a personal playground. The level of isolation it offers for 2-4 people at a time is such that all staff retire to a nearby island and come by speedboat there every time they are called by customers.
But the favorite escape of many in the elite who do not love the sea is a train or even a horse-powered carriage. And while 7 days in a wagon does not exactly look like the definition of luxury, this is not the case when it comes to some rides, for instance, the Belmond Grand Hibernian. The amenities stand out here and the journey seems to be taken from the luxurious trains of another era. This exclusive tour of the natural beauties of Ireland is the great secret of the European ruling class, with prices reaching as high as 10,000 euros per person.