Last updated: 03:45 PM ET, Tue October 11 2016

What Are The Hottest Trends in Luxury Travel?

Travel Agent | Travel Leaders Group | Robin Amster | October 11, 2016

What Are The Hottest Trends in Luxury Travel?

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Italy, European river cruises and the U.S.—either by country or cruise itinerary—were the top three luxury travel destination for the coming year, according to a Fall Luxury Travel Trends survey from the Travel Leaders Group.

Following the top three were Mediterranean cruises, and Australia respectively. The survey is based on responses from 758 of the Group’s luxury agents across the country.

In addition, 84 percent of the agent experts surveyed reported their luxury travel bookings are higher than or on par with this time last year. According to the agents, the top resort amenities their clients expect include fine dining, private concierge-level access, spas, personalized or private check in/check out, and butler service.

“The allure of Italy is stronger than ever, particularly with affluent travelers who are seeking authentic, enriching experiences paired with a multitude of very high-end accommodations. Add to that the favorable exchange rate, and Italy is a huge magnet within the luxury sphere for American travelers,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko.

“There are so many culturally and geographically intriguing destinations that made our list – from Cuba and South Africa to New Zealand and Iceland, and even the U.S., which has a rich diversity of top drawer, discreet destinations for VIP travelers.”

Upwardly-trending destinations such as Iceland, New Zealand and Cuba were included in the top 15 destinations:




Cruise – Europe (River)


United States


Cruise – Europe (Mediterranean)








Cruise – Caribbean



10 (tie)


10 (tie)



South Africa


New Zealand




Costa Rica



When Travel Leaders Group’s luxury travel agents were askedWhat are the Top 3 expectations for your luxury travel clients when it comes to resort amenities?” the leading responses included: fine dining, private concierge-level access” and a spa, closely followed by personalized or private check in/check out and butler service respectively.

“Selecting the right destination is just the beginning of what affluent travelers desire,” said Gail Grimmett, president of Protravel international and Tzell Travel Group, both part of the Travel Leaders Group and both known for their luxury travel advisors.

“Sophisticated local cuisine offers a culturally-immersive experience and is important to a significant number of our high-end clientele, including millennial travelers,” she added. “Our survey also clearly identified that simplifying and personalizing aspects of the trip with private check-in and check-out, private concierge-level access and butler service are musts for our clientele. In fact, each is expected, and that’s important for our industry partners to recognize.”

For luxury travel clients seeking land-based accommodations, the top selections booked by their agents include  five-star hotels and resorts, suites within five-star hotels and resorts, and suites within hotels and resorts with a rating of five-star plus or higher.

The agents were also asked what they are booking most for clients seeking a  luxury ocean or river cruises. The top responses were:  luxury cruise ships, suites on luxury cruise ships, and river cruises.

When Travel Leaders Group luxury travel agents were asked to compare their overall 2016 luxury travel bookings so far to their luxury travel bookings at this time last year, 84 percent of those surveyed said bookings are higher than or on par with 2015:

Bookings are Higher


Bookings are Even


Bookings are Lower


These findings on luxury travel bookings are part of the larger 2016 Fall Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group from July 28  to Aug. 24, 2016.

Participants in the full survey included 1,145 travel agents from the Travel  Leaders Group’s flagship Travel Leaders brand, along with those affiliated with the Group’s Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders Corporate, Tzell Travel Group and units.

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