One can define modern luxury in different ways. Those who give their travel brand clever storytelling can benefit from it in a variety of ways.
Have you ever noticed that status symbols of the past have often become mainstream and affordable for everyone? Cashmere is available at the discounter, caviar anytime. Of course, there are still many luxury brands, and these are doing well.
But, “from the point of view of the rich”, it seems that demonstrative opulence is not only frowned upon but has long since ceased to be linked to brands. Apple founder Steve Jobs had shown the way: the billionaire manager presented the latest products, mostly in a simple turtleneck and jeans. Small designer brands are much cooler than global luxury brands anyway, which are often copied and worn by every nouveau riche.
In the travel world, too, the concept of luxury has long been tied to conventions such as designer clothes, luxury cars, champagne & caviar as well as over-the-top architecture and omnipresent lackeys. That has changed. Those who can really afford something are not looking for what they can buy at home without any problems when travelling. They are looking for what you just can’t have at home: Peace, freedom, wilderness, simple food, yes why not: simple life!
Somehow the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau comes to the surface again: Back to nature! Be simple! These are the maxims for modern happiness and modern luxury.
However, conveying such things requires competence, because even if the experience can be simple, everything must work out perfectly and usually a minimum of comfort must be guaranteed. Like in the remote tent camps at the Australian Ningaloo Reef, where the night in the wilderness costs thousands of dollars and you only have 20 liters of water daily for shower & toilet – but the top red wine has to be available chilled in the evening of course.
But there is another component: health. This has also become almost a luxury item. If you can, you don’t eat junk food, and even in business class you don’t just drink red wine and eat steak on the plane, but rather eat a healthy diet and avoid dehydration. Of course, wellness per se is not directly related to luxury, but those who deal with luxury customers must be prepared to be familiar with wellness issues and offers.
Likewise, it has become good manners to pay attention to the world and the environment. A journey should be meaningful, and it can be so by giving back. Cynics say that you could simply send money, but for your own mental hygiene, it is, of course, better if you can help, support and experience on-site. And most of the time it is also more goal-oriented. In short, mindfulness, frugality and respect can also be understood as a “modern luxury” and no longer just as traditional virtues. However, being able to link the needs and expectations of the “rich” with those of the “poor” in the destination area is delicate.
Last but not least, it is also true that time is not only money, but also luxury. That goes into the domain of “sabbaticals”: Many well-heeled people, but also many “normal earners” like to take time out from 3 to 12 months, and that can cost a lot. Not everyone is able to organize their sabbaticals themselves. Anyone who organizes a six-month sabbatical trip for a couple, a family, a group of friends, is already in the luxury segment, at least as far as the price of the dossier is concerned. Here it is important to meet exactly the expectations. Even trips for women only or solo sabbaticals can be arranged and to a certain extent fall under this luxury definition.
In short, the luxury segment is one of those niches where advice and service are of the highest quality and where good money can still be made. But only if the travel company is willing to do everything possible to provide the best service and the highest level of consulting competence, and ideally can provide certain proof of performance.