5 Disruptive Luxury Travel Trends Shattering The Status Quo

With the global luxury market collectively growing at 4 percent to an estimated $1.15USD (€1.08) trillion in 2016, according to a recent “Bain & Company Luxury Study,” coupled with optimistic forecasts that the luxury goods market will pick up this year, the hospitality industry is gearing up for elevated demand among both leisure and business travelers. This amid evidence that, despite widespread geopolitical uncertainties, luxury consumers are redirecting their spending toward new and more personalized high-end experiences like luxury travel, food and wine.

“The luxury market has reached a maturation point,” said Claudia D’Arpizio, lead author of the study. “Brands can no longer rely on low-hanging fruit. Instead, they really need to implement differentiating strategies to succeed going forward. We are already starting to see clear polarization when it comes to performance with winners and losers emerging across product categories and segments.”

D’Arpizio also underscored that personal luxury market brands that “take an omni-channel, customer-centric approach will rise to the top.” Such is the prevailing wisdom for both the B2C and B2B luxury travel sector, specifically, with personalized experiences, quality of service and private booking options serving as primary distinguishing factors for luxe brand positioning throughout 2017 and beyond.

Here how these key drivers will converge with evolving luxury travel trends to greatly influence various vertical sectors—and, in doing so, the marketplace at large—in the months ahead:

1. Small group cultural immersions loom large.
Group Courtesy TheLuxeList.com.jpgTravelers are increasingly seeking exclusive and regionally-authentic itineraries that cater to small groups. Tour companies like Fort Washington, Pennsylvania-based Gate 1 Travel are capitalizing on this trend with offerings that provide the convenience of an escorted tour with the intimate view of local cultures that large groups just can’t provide. “Our small group tours option has seen, by far, the most significant increase in booking volume–up 50% in 2016,” the company reports.

A City Lodge Hotel Group report concurs that the trend of being “connoisseurs of local culture” will boom this year. It emphasizes that indigenous tourism experiences and cultural immersion will remain a big factor whether traveling within your own home country or jaunting to faraway lands. “We’ll see more people wanting to visit more than the big landmarks and monuments of their destination,” it says. “Rather people are more likely to be interested in knowing about the locals–those that call that place home. Trips to the rural communities will become popular, and travelers are likely to be more interested in private guides that teach them about the traditional ways of life.”

2. Private villa travel surpassing leading luxe resorts.
Today’s breed of private villa rentals have become the ultimate in luxury travel lodging for vacationers and business travelers, alike. This is due to the vast array of benefits and creature comforts it proffers for couples, families and small groups. While maximized privacy and security, uber-tailored guest service and 5-star accommodations and amenities are chief reasons the trend toward private villa lodging is exploding, an elite few have offerings far beyond that don’t just rival, but far exceed, those offered by high-end resorts, including their elite Penthouse suit options.

Courtesy Casa Dos Cisnes.jpgAccording to luxury travel agent Sandy Webb who books elite vacations all over the world “private villa residences offering first class, one-of-a-kind services are ushering in an entirely new era of bespoke hospitality around the globe. They are, in fact, single handedly setting a new and decidedly elevated standard for luxe travel worldwide.”

One private villa exemplifying this new standard is Casa Dos Cisnes–Puerto Vallarta’s foremost premier private oceanfront villa vacation experience. This  10,000 square foot Casa Dos Cisnes property, a five-bedroom colonial style home with breathtaking views of the Pacific that can accommodate up to 10 adults, goes well over-and-above to ensure each guest’s needs, desires, hopes and expectations for an extraordinary private villa vacation are fulfilled.

According to owner Cathryn Arnell, this includes proffering a bevy of premium benefits, including an authentic and stylishly-appointed residential setting, custom-prepared gourmet meals from an on-site private chef, 24/7 bilingual butler service and multiple staff, monitored security, housecleaning services, private infinity-edge ocean view pool, fully equipped state-of-the-art gym, large media-entertainment room, concierge and spa service, musicians for hire, sports and boating excursions, VIP treatment at the city’s leading beach club and most renowned restaurants, and more. “Given that guests enjoy complete privacy and security in the most exclusive area in Puerto Vallarta, commandeering the entire 10,000 square foot space with all of the relaxation, solitude and discretion that affords, the result is a one-of-a-kind holiday providing an unparalleled culinary and luxury living experience.”

3. Higher caliber private jet jaunts.
Jet Courtesy TheLuxeList.com.jpgAccording to Sergey Petrossov, founder and CEO of JetSmarter—an industry-leading private jet company based in Dubai, people are increasingly growing accustomed to personalized experiences, so much so, that it isn’t a demand anymore; it is now an expectation that needs to be met.

In order for brands to be memorable, they need to remember their customers and offer unique customized experiences. For its part, this JetSmarter achieves by placing a heavy emphasis on member relationships, with each assigned a relationship manager who is responsible for creating personalized and customizable private travel experiences.

JetSmarter also cites that there’s a very thin line between high-end and luxury, with the difference barely noticeable. “The travel industry is inundated with both high-end and luxury brands, however the distinction is relatively minor,” Petrossov said. “People often confuse high-end brands for luxury ones. Luxury brands essentially need to heighten their levels of service to be able to distinguish themselves from their high-end counterparts.”

4. Next-gen travel tech eases and expedites.
Smartphone Courtesy TheLuxeList.com.jpgArtificial Intelligence (AI) is another tech trend that will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. According to Advito’s 2017 Industry Forecast, AI has already enabled a range of apps, bots and software that makes it easier for industry purveyors to interact with travelers at every step of a trip to expedite, ease and enhance. AI automates computer processes to work in the same way as the human brain. Natural language processing (NLP) helps computers understand human speech or typing, and AI then applies machine learning to provide a useful response.

Advito reveals that the travel industry is “well-positioned to embrace AI,” and also that the wider travel industry is adopting AI as, for example, KLM passengers are now able to use Facebook Messenger to confirm bookings, get boarding passes and flight status updates. “AI is still in its infancy, but it is in our immediate future,” the report asserts. “As it develops, it will help simplify complex travel decisions, shorten the buying process and deliver a more personalized offering.”

5. Game changing smart suitcases solve perennial problems.

Courtesy Diego Cespedes.Bluesmart.jpgTravel is tough enough in the best of circumstances and is all-too-often replete with challenges. From crowded freeways, overbooked flights, Wi-Fi downtime and generally not having necessary items at hand, getting from point A to point B can be fraught with more than its fair share of frustrations.  Not surprisingly, technologists have responded with problem-solving gadgets and gear that exemplify tremendous innovation and ingenuity both in concept and execution. One glowing example of this is the Bluesmart Suitcase. Billed as “the world’s first smart suitcase,” this carry-on keeps traveler’s belongings tracked, devices charged, bag secure and trips hassle-free thanks to integrated technology that syncs to an associated mobile app that’s compatible with both iPhone and Android.

The suitcase features a built-in battery/charger with 2 USB ports. The substantial 10.000 mAh battery can charge your phone up to six times, juicing up this and any other USB-connectable device from the USB port on the back or the inside. The bag also boasts a 3G+GPS tracker with global coverage to track the suitcase anywhere in the world; a scale built right into the handle that interfaces with the app to tell you the approximate weight of your suitcase; and a remote digital lock that can be set up to lock itself when you step away and to unlock when you return. The TSA- approved smart lock provides distance alerts, notifying you if you leave it behind. Of course, the bag needs to carry you belongings, so the main compartment does provide large space for clothes, shoes, and coats, while a secondary TSA-friendly compartment is able to accommodate up to a 15″ laptop.

Despite the fact that luxury sales fell flat in 2016 as consumers shunned traditional products, it’s experiences—namely travel and entertainment—that are predicted to drive sector sales growth up ahead.  “There is a progressive shift from physical products to experiences, especially in the last year,” Federica Levato, partner at Bain & Company and co-author of the study, told Reuters, predicting that trend would continue. With the world economy poised to regain momentum this year and the penchant among wealthy consumers to spend on travel and gourmet food and wine rather than clothes and accessories, the future is bright for high-end hospitality. For the Silo, Merilee Kern.

MAIN-RT-LO-Tight-2.jpgAbout the author: Branding, business and entrepreneurship success pundit, Merilee Kern, MBA, is an influential media voice and lauded communications strategist. As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List International News Syndicate,” she’s a revered consumer product trends expert and travel industry voice of authority who spotlights noteworthy marketplace change makers, movers and shakers. Merilee may be reached online at www.TheLuxeList.com. Follow her on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/LuxeListEditor and Facebook here: www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList.






Spotlight image- centraljetcharter.com

Montreal’s top chefs prepared gourmet menu supporting Quebec Cancer groups

Olivier Perret (Executive Chef), Fisun Ercan (Barbounya & Su), Alexandre Gosselin (Chez Victoire), Christophe Morel (Chocolatier), Antonio Park (Park), Matthieu Saunier (Osco) and Olivier Potier (Pastry Chef). Click here
Olivier Perret (Executive Chef), Fisun Ercan (Barbounya & Su), Alexandre Gosselin (Chez Victoire), Christophe Morel (Chocolatier), Antonio Park (Park), Matthieu Saunier (Osco) and Olivier Potier (Pastry Chef).
Click here


Brief – An exceptional event at Sofitel Montreal’s Renoir restaurant which organized a special evening combining gastronomy, entertainment and generosity to benefit the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation and The Cedars Cancer Institute, on January 22nd  2014.

Our Executive Chef, Olivier Perret, who was touched by cancer, gathered his Montreal Chef friends who each prepared a dish as part of the 6-course gourmet menu served that night: Fisun Ercan (Barbounya & Su), Alexandre Gosselin (Chez Victoire), Christophe Morel (Chocolatier), Antonio Park (Park), Matthieu Saunier (Osco) and Olivier Potier (Pastry Chef).  See Supplemental below for menu listing CP 

The success of that evening was due, for the most part, to the participation of our guests of honour, Ms. Mitsou Gélinas, spokesperson for the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, Mr. Andrew Carter, spokesperson for The Cedars Cancer Institute, Ms. Heidi Hollinger, Canadian photographer and Ms. Gabrielle Destroismaisons, Quebec singer.

Many sponsors also took part in the event, including Moët & Chandon, Ogilvy, Maison Birks, Porter Airlines and Pro-Staging, as well as generous donators who contributed prizes for the raffle and auction: Atout France, Club Med, and Air Canada Rouge.

Montreal Golden Mile Sofitel Luxury Hotels

We would also like to thank the Azrieli Foundation for their generous donation, as well as our Sofitel Ambassadors whose fantastic work and involvement to this cause were instrumental in the success of this evening.

All the profits from this event as well as the money raised by the silent auction, more than 27,000$, will be donated to the two foundations.

Foundation Cancer du sein du Quebec

A registered charity, the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation has a mission to fund research and innovation, support women affected by the disease and their families, and promote their interests, as well as making breast health a priority through education and awareness initiatives. In the past five years, the Foundation has granted more than $17 million for the fight against breast cancer.

Situated in Montreal, Quebec, The Cedars Cancer Institute is a hospital-based charity whose mission is to provide comprehensive cancer-care and funding to patients and health care professionals at the McGill University Health Centre specifically adult sites the Royal Victoria Hospital and Montreal General Hospital and, through its Sarah Cook Fund to Pediatric Oncology at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. For the Silo, Stéphanie Segoura


From left to right: Mitsou Gélinas (spokesperson for the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation), Andrew Carter, (spokesperson for the Cedars Cancer Institute), Francine Cléroux (Chief Executive Officer, Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation), Sharon Azrieli Perez (Soprano), Stephanie Segoura (Sofitel Montreal General Manager) and Jeff Shamie (President of The Cedars Cancer Institute).
From left to right: Mitsou Gélinas (spokesperson for the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation), Andrew Carter,
(spokesperson for the Cedars Cancer Institute), Francine Cléroux (Chief Executive Officer, Quebec Breast Cancer
Foundation), Sharon Azrieli Perez (Soprano), Stephanie Segoura (Sofitel Montreal General Manager) and Jeff Shamie
(President of The Cedars Cancer Institute).
From left to right: Olivier Potier (Pastry Chef), Christophe Morel (Chocolatier), Fisun Ercan (Barbounya & Su), Olivier Perret (Renoir), Alexandre Gosselin (Chez Victoire), Matthieu Saunier (Osco), Heidi Hollinger (Canadian photographer), Gabrielle Destroismaisons (Quebec singer) and the Chefs joined by Armelle Tardy-Joubert (President Atout France in Canada)
From left to right: Olivier Potier (Pastry Chef), Christophe Morel (Chocolatier), Fisun Ercan (Barbounya & Su),
Olivier Perret (Renoir), Alexandre Gosselin (Chez Victoire), Matthieu Saunier (Osco), Heidi Hollinger (Canadian
photographer), Gabrielle Destroismaisons (Quebec singer) and the Chefs joined by Armelle Tardy-Joubert
(President Atout France in Canada)


Supplemental- Menu as served-





Sofitel, World Class Hotels & French Elegance

Sofitel is the only French luxury hotel brand with a presence on five continents with 120 addresses, in almost 40 countries (more than 30,000 rooms). Sofitel offers contemporary hotels and resorts adapted to today’s more demanding and more versatile consumers who expect and appreciate beauty, quality and excellence. Whether situated in the heart of a major city like Paris, London, New York, Shanghai or Beijing, or nestled away in a country landscape in Morocco, Egypt, French Polynesia or Thailand, each Sofitel property offers a genuine experience of the French “art de vivre”.

Sofitel Legend and & Sofitel So are two labels that come to enrich Sofitel Luxury hotels. Sofitel Legend hotels are iconic and mythical; they are often centuries-old listed heritage buildings: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam and Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan.

Sofitel So hotels are new « boutique hotels » characterized by a stylish focus on contemporary design by famous architects and/or embellished by international celebrities from the world of fashion, design or art: Sofitel So Mauritius Bel Ombre, Sofitel So Bangkok and Sofitel So Singapore (2013). Discover Sofitel on www.sofitel.com