Luxury Travel Brands Rise Again
As the worldwide recovery from COVID-19 lockdowns continues apace, the American Express Global Travel Trends Study reveals that 78% of consumers polled have indicated a desire to travel in 2021 to offset the stresses of 2020, and many luxury travel brands are rising again to meet the growing demand in the luxury leisure travel market.
- Vacation options to extraordinary places expanding
- Hyatt Hotels building up largest portfolio of luxury resorts in the world
- Lifestyle brands commit to sustainable tourism & authentic travel experiences
- Beyond Green grows trend towards sustainable luxury getaways
- Google adding travel tools insights to help accelerate recovery
- Expedia Brand takes new direction in return of travel demand
Vacation options to extraordinary places expanding
The very definition of a characteristic “dream vacation” differs widely, of course, from person to person, and a luxurious stay can take many forms—from palace to private villa, from yacht to Trans-Siberian train.
Original Travel offers considerable expertise helping travelers expand vacation options, particularly to extraordinary places such as a lodge hidden in the savannah of Botswana, a spa tucked away on a tiny Indonesian island, an oasis deep in Oman, or a retreat perched high in the Himalayas.
Original Travel’s menu features trips such as a design-focused holiday to Barcelona with accommodation centered in the heart of the city in an urban and contemporary style with a rooftop swimming pool, and a Lisbon city break extending the singular charm of the capital of Portugal.
A family holiday to Spain offers delights from Seville to the Donana National Park, while “Secrets of Venice: a backstage tour” brings charming and tranquil accommodation by the Santa Maria della Salute with a guided tour of the Guggenheim Museum, or an evening of opera at the Fenice Theatre.
Touted as a masterclass in urban design, the travel portal also offers a journey to the ancient city of Porto, Portugal, with itinerary highlights that include a stay at a hotel with a contemporary atmosphere close to the historic town center facing the Douro River.
In this city every bit as “old-fashioned cosy” as it is lively and generous, the trip is chaperoned by a local, and capped by dinner of contemporary Portuguese cuisine. A local concierge recommends places to visit based on particular tastes, while private transfers see to all movements.
”Marrakech for two” includes the atmosphere of a riad—select accommodation in the heart of the medina (old town)—where the energy of Marrakech, the wealth of handicrafts for sale, the atmosphere of the Palmeraie, and the ever-changing colors of the Atlas Mountains are yours to savor. Relax in a traditional hammam steam room with argan oil treatment, and finish the day with an intimate dinner for two in the desert—it’s all included.
Hyatt Hotels building up largest portfolio of luxury resorts in the world
Headquartered in Chicago, U.S.A., Hyatt Hotels – the leading global hospitality company, offering 20 premier brands including more than 1,000 hotels and all-inclusive properties in 68 countries across six continents—is making huge expansions to its product offerings, rooted in data, insights, and member feedback.
The corporation has announced sustained growth in its boutique of luxury and lifestyle brands, including Alila, Andaz, Caption by Hyatt, Hyatt Centric, Park Hyatt, and Thompson Hotels, and is expecting to open 35 properties more than anticipated across these brands through 2022, while eight have already opened in 2021.
Hyatt said it is expanding its luxury and lifestyle portfolio to provide guests with “best-in-class offerings unique to each destination’s local fabric to deliver compelling experiences designed to excite and inspire”, and says its luxury and lifestyle hotels will satisfy the desires of global travelers and guests looking for experiences that reflect and benefit local culture.
What’s more, the company announced a move to acquire leading luxury resort-management services, travel, and hospitality group Apple Leisure for $2.7 billion in cash. The acquisition will expand Hyatt’s presence in luxury leisure travel, adding approximately 100 hotels and a pipeline of deals in Europe and the Americas to its portfolio.
Once completed, this amalgamation will see Hyatt’s global resort footprint double, making it the largest operator of luxury hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean, and expanding its European footprint by 60%.
Hyatt has also entered into six new management and franchise agreements for hotels in Europe, expanding its brand presence in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. Among the facilities joining the Hyatt stable are the charming boutique hotel Rhodania in the Swiss Alps, which will join “The Unbound Collection by Hyatt” in 2023.
The 41-room hotel is located on the third tee of the famous Severiano Ballesteros golf course in one of the most prestigious and well-established year-round mountain destinations in Switzerland. The region is also well known for its wealth of sporting options, including skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and golfing. The hotel is expected to deliver on the brand’s mission of “providing experiences that inspire unforgettable memories for guests seeking elevated yet unscripted service when they travel.”
In Bordeaux, France, the JdV by Hyatt brand is expected to open its first hotel in a city rich in architectural and cultural heritage, with destination highlights including its famous harbor, Port de la Lune—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The independent hotel is being positioned as “a true reflection of the local neighborhood, enabling guests to immerse themselves in Bordeaux’s culture and connect with its communities.”
Lifestyle brands commit to sustainable tourism & authentic travel experiences
The growth of lifestyle brands is reflective of a contemporary demand for authentic leisure travel experiences, according to Hyatt’s Global Brand Leader Crystal Vinisse Thomas. “Hyatt is committed to delivering thoughtful and immersive stays and experiences in top-tier destinations all over the world to meet the needs of our guests as they begin planning vacations again,” she said in a company statement.
Thoughtful and immersive stays and experiences in top-tier destinations all over the world are on the rise as travelers begin holidaying again. Today’s traveler is focused on safety measures, well-being, unique food and beverage experiences, as well as opportunities to give back to local communities. Hyatt’s innovations range from pop-up movie theaters and outdoor exercise classes to interactive, private dining experiences, and hotel-led volunteering opportunities, completing high-end offerings.
Among new experiences premiered by Hyatt is the Alila—meaning “surprise” in Sanskrit—a brand which features luxury hotels in unique locations offering environmentally-friendly designs and a commitment to sustainable tourism.
The Alila Hinu Bay in Salalah, Oman, established in the Andaz brand stable, is described as “global in scale while local in perspective”. Hyatt says the luxury lifestyle brand weaves together the sights, sounds, and tastes of each property’s surroundings for a distinctively local experience. “Every Andaz hotel is a unique expression of the culture that surrounds it and enables guests to go beyond the familiar and satiate their curiosity,” reads the marketing material.
Beyond Green grows trend towards sustainable luxury getaways
Capitalizing on this trend towards sustainable luxury getaways, digital newcomer Beyond Green offers travelers thoughtful resources and original travel stories through its “Good Stories blog”.
The brand is inviting travelers to engage in dialogue around sustainable tourism on social media by following its newly-launched Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn channels, and dropping “#StayBeyondGreen” and “#TravelGently” into online conversations.
Beyond Green is a curated guide for travelers seeking a more purposeful way to explore the world and offers up a global portfolio of 27 properties that “exemplify sustainability in action”. Mobilizing in a post-COVID-19 space, the portal is attempting to establish itself at the forefront of a new era of travel, inviting travelers to plan and experience adventures that align with their responsible travel values through a variety of tools.
For a limited-time, travelers can grab a “Journeyer’s Pick Package” featuring the best available rate plus a unique local experience or memento and “I Prefer” bonus points at 15 participating properties, including a forest therapy session at AndBeyond Vira Vira in Chile, a guided walking tour of the Monastery of Panagia Spileotissa in Greece, and a wellness experience at Borgo Pignano in Italy. Bookings must be made by September 30, 2021 for travel through December 31, 2021.
Google adding travel tools insights to help accelerate recovery
For its part, search giant Google has dropped its latest offering into the mix, “Travel Insights with Google”, serving two free tools that provide data and insights giving travelers, travel businesses, governments, and tourism boards a clear picture of top sources of demand per destination.
As the travel industry shows promising signs of recovery and vaccination programs continue world-wide, Google reports that search phrases like “where to travel,” “can I travel”, and “Covid travel restrictions” are near all-time highs.
Google says it is listening carefully to customer feedback in the light of this and tailoring its tools and services towards ensuring travel businesses and tourism officials have the information needed to continue to recover.
The “Hotel Insights” tool helps hoteliers analyze search trends so they can understand where interest is coming from and attract new guests by tooling their marketing accordingly.
“Destination Insights” paints a picture of the top sources of travel demand per destination, helping users understand where potential travelers may hail from, and allowing them to adjust marketing campaigns accordingly.
Google says it has helped hoteliers and government tourism officials across Asia and Europe, including Spain, Greece, France, Italy, Croatia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Expedia Brand takes new direction in return of travel demand
25 year-old, full-service travel company Expedia announced a “new direction” as the world prepares for the return of travel demand. Positioning itself as “the ultimate travel companion”, Expedia says it is launching “a new global positioning grounded in the understanding that who you travel with matters.”
A new product package provides “pre-bundled products”—flights, accommodation, and activities—presented with upfront total pricing, shifting the stress out of sifting through a plethora of options. Packages can also be easily customized by adding or removing travel components.
Along with these product enhancements, Expedia is set to unveil a marketing campaign featuring American actor, writer, director, and producer, Rashida Jones, while the U.K. and European campaign will spotlight English actor Naomie Harris, both serving as ambassadors of Expedia’s new brand attributes: intuitive, travel-savvy, and positive.
The campaigns debut the new tagline “It matters who you travel with”, conveying to travelers the idea of Expedia as the ultimate travel companion through unique ways across various channels, “creating a cohesive message that will resonate as people start traveling again.”
The advertising aims to center companionship at the core of its narrative with the relatable and empowering individuals of Jones and Harris leading scripting and song-writing designed to engage with travelers to inspire and support in an upbeat and uplifting way.
“For the past 25 years, we’ve been focused on volume and transactions as our way of growing our business. What we’ve found, however, over the past year, is that our customers want more from a travel company. They want a trusted partner who is there with them every step of the way, supporting them to ensure they get the most out of their trips,” says Expedia’s Shiv Singh, Senior Vice President and General Manager, in a press release.
“Our new brand positioning acts as a promise to the traveler who wants to be engaged by possibilities, but now more than ever needs to feel supported throughout their journey. We know that people want to get back to travel, we want them to feel confident in the travel experience they can have with Expedia,” Singh concludes.
The past year has been one of the most difficult years for the travel industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Expedia says its commitment to travelers stems from months of conducting deep customer research to understand and address critical traveler pain points.
The company says the new positioning marks a pivotal moment for the brand as it looks to overhaul its business to better cater to travelers who value maximizing their time and want to get the most out of their overall travel experience. “From an updated look and feel to enhanced product offerings, Expedia is looking to double down on efforts to deliver on travelers’ evolving wants and needs in a post-pandemic world,” states the release.