UHNWIs are spending extravagantly on travel; and high-end tour operators are seeing an unprecedented rise in trips with price tags of $100,000 or more.
Travel has proven to be a post-pandemic priority for many, and the luxury sector in particular continues to see unprecedented growth thanks to spend from the ultra-wealthy.
Exclusive tour operator cazenove+loyd has seen a 50% increase in trip with price tags of six-figures or more in the last year. With a boutique ethos and a coterie of small, local suppliers to hand, the company’s typically six-figure booking is for four to five people. One recent examples include a booking for a round-the-world trip for a family of four, including stops in Latin America and Asia, which costs $300,000. (The trip will see the family ‘living’ in some places such as New Zealand where cazenove+loyd has arranged private home for a few weeks, while in other places, like Indonesia, the family will be fully traveling.)
While cazenove+loyd has seen bookings double, it only accounts for 10% of the total trips they curate. London-based Untold Story Travel, also cite a 50% year-on increase in six-figure bookings; however, for this ultra-luxe operator this means up to 40% of their bookings are now six-figure trips: “Generally, these are trips that clients will undertake at least twice a year, and tend to be family or extended family trips… between two to eight guests,” says Chris Brunning, Untold Story Travel’s Co-Founder and MD. “They are not necessarily one-off events but often they mark a family milestone such as an anniversary, birthday or graduation.” Brunning notes a trend for going off the beaten track, and some of the most impressive Untold Story itinerary includes a very wild jaunt to Costa Rica ($126,000 for two people) and a mega-trip to Tahiti on an island designed by co-founder of Cirque du Soleil ($1,265,0000 for up to 32 people). “Clients are choosing more adventurous destinations like Latin America, South East Asia and Africa where a six-figure booking tends to yield something truly extraordinary,” says Brunning.
It’s not only the adventurous destinations that are drawing in big spenders. “The type of six-figure bookings that we are making is the main increase, as we are seeing a wider variety of trips being in demand.” says Henry Morley, Founder and CEO of True Travel, a tour operator for which around 15% of bookings are above six figures. “We service around five six-figure bookings each year, mainly in Africa and Asia; however, an interesting thing to note is that post-pandemic, we serviced a number of six-figure itineraries in Europe also,” says Morley.
Cartology Travel is booking an impressive 30 or more six-figure trips a year, accounting for 20% of all trips booked. “We have always done high value trips; however, we have definitely seen an increase,” says Justin Huxter, Cartology Travel’s Co-Founder and Luxury Travel Advisor. “The focus is shifting to spending more on the experiences rather than the primary focus being on the accommodation. Hence, we are crafting really unique itineraries with a strong focus on distinct activities and wow experiences.”
Some of those experiences include touring the workshops of fashion designers in Hyderabad on their India itinerary or going out on patrol with an anti-poaching unit in Tanzania on an East African trip. Another trend Huxter has noticed: “There has been an increase in clients using private charter flights both to get to a destination, as well as within the destinations to maximise efficiency and get the most out of their trip.”