The Top 5 Myths Of Luxury Travel
Most believe luxury travel is simply Cristal Champagne, 1000 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets and Gulfstream private jets. Luxury travel is exorbitant prices, contrived experiences, and only for the celebrities and billionaires of the world. Right?……well whilst this perfectly fits the definition of luxury travel for many people, it is also much more personal and varied than this.
With almost 21 years of developing unforgettable Australian travel experiences, The Tailor has been a pioneer in the landscape of Australian luxury travel, and the travellers who walk this landscape are not to be stereotyped.
MYTH 1 – LUXURY IS SIMPLY CRISP WHITE SHEETS IN AN UBER-LUX CITY HOTEL
One of the biggest myths of luxury travel is how we actually define it.
Luxury travel is no longer solely defined by expensive furnishings of a hotel room situated on the top floor of a city-based hotel. In reality, luxury travel is about enriching these refinements with meaningful experiences and personalised interactions. Increasingly we are seeing more and more luxury travellers who are as much, if not more motivated by the experiences of place at a destination, as they are by the beautiful room they return to each evening.
Of course 5-star city hotels such as the Park Hyatt Sydney have an undeniably important place in the heart of luxury travel, but for many lovers of luxury, they are not exclusively what define it. In fact in our experience, a significant segment of the luxury market are willing to forgo the uber-lux accommodation, for the 5-star experience provided by destinations such as Haggerstone Island.
The accommodation at Haggerstone Island is off the beaten path, it is rustic, and the tropical environment permeates through the rooms. It is not what a novice may expect from a luxury property, however the Robinson Crusoe inspired island experience is undeniably extraordinary, and unstoppably brilliant.
The destination is incredible, there’s no two ways about this, but there is still more to it than the accommodation and the destination. It is also the person to person connection forged at a location like Haggerstone that makes it so deserving of the 5-star experience label. Sitting by the fire as freshly caught crayfish cooks in a pan, Roy and Anna Turner regale guests with fantastical tales of setting out for a tropical island with a barge full of building materials and a larger than life dream to build the very property they now sit in. Again, it is not just the accommodation that makes this luxury, it is the experience of place, and importantly, the life-long connection created between guest and host, as they cross paths.
When we consider luxury, it is the authenticity and excitement of the location combined with the identity of the hosts, guides and owners imparting their personalities on the journey that we should look to for definition. It is layers beyond the external appearance of the crisp white sheets in a city hotel. Luxury travel is a diverse playing field of 5-star experience and 5-star accommodation – These elements are not in opposition, they are both powerful players in the game.
MYTH 2 – LUXURY MEANS TRAVEL AT ABSOLUTELY ANY COST
A popular misconception of luxury travel is that money is no object, sky’s the limit, and no price is too high for the sophisticated luxury traveller.
While by its very nature luxury travel involves a higher price tag than other forms of travel, this does not mean there is no regard for cost. For some, price isn’t necessarily a consideration and the journey itself is the sole focus, but for many luxury travellers, price is not only considered, but it is a part of the decision-making process. Our travellers are still conscious of how their money is used, and how the travel budget can be allocated towards certain activities or locations with the most importance to them. Luxury travel is in many cases a question of priorities, and a question we ask our clients from the very beginning of the relationship.
Take a couple with a keen interest in the outdoors and native wildlife as an example. In this case they may be more than willing to put more of their budget towards unparalleled access to nature and wildlife on Kangaroo Island at Southern Ocean Lodge and touring with Exceptional Kangaroo Island and spending time with the likes of Dr Peggy Rismiller a world-renowned echidna researcher. In this situation, they may opt for a slightly lower category of room in their city hotel to better accommodate the incomparable experience of Kangaroo Island. For them, the promise of a wildlife encounter with an expert local guide is dream fulfilling.
MYTH 3 – LUXURY MEANS A SANITISED AND ‘CLEAN’ EXPERIENCE OF PLACE
Much like it is assumed luxury is crisp white sheets in a city hotel, it is similarly assumed luxury travellers only want “highlight” experiences. Over the years it is showing this is quite the contrary.
Our clients are looking for real experiences of place, for authenticity and cultural engagement. More and more luxury travellers are gravitating towards privileged access to people and places, as well as acquiring true knowledge.
For example, an experience such as a tour with North West Safaris exploring the ancient Daintree Rainforest with a traditional indigenous owner is becoming the highlight of an already extraordinary trip. Cathy Wharton, owner and operator of North West Safaris, and her good friend and Indigenous elder Mooks, tell the stories of the land, and the deeply personal relationship they have with the region. This is privileged access to not just the highest quality guides, but the people whose cultures, histories, and lives have been defined by the very land the travellers walk on.
When it comes to luxury travel, forging real experiences such as this is taking precedence over exceedingly polished activities and tours that only scratch the surface. Luxury travellers as a group are conscious of meaningful, unique and fundamentally special experiences.
MYTH 4 – LUXURY IS ALL PRIVATE JETS, BILLIONAIRES AND CELEBS
You would not be remiss for thinking luxury travel is only for the A-listers of the world. Social media constantly showing our favourite celebrities sun-baking on a far-off island or zipping around the world via private jet certainly give this impression. In truth, the luxury travel market is far more diverse than this.
Our clients come from far and wide, are of all ages, and interests. Sure, we see patterns and commonalities in many of our travellers’ requests, but the market is multifaceted. Young and old couples, multi-generational families, solo travellers and groups, luxury is not exclusive to a type of person. And we now see the rise in the Millennial as a lover of luxury travel. We experienced firsthand the power the millennial son or daughter has in the multigenerational family trip, or indeed travelling in their own right. They are becoming major decision-makers and drivers when it comes to destination choice.
Now we would be lying if we said we didn’t look after the financially elite, this is something we lead the Australian market in. It would also be untrue if we said we didn’t see the merits of including a private jet into an itinerary where time is of the essence, or a super yacht or luxury villa for those needing that level of lavishness with the guarantee of complete privacy. With this being said, the point remains, while this is a part of what we do, luxury travel is surprisingly more inclusive than many realise, and the luxury traveller cannot be hemmed in by a limited definition.
MYTH 5 – LUXURY IS ONLY FOR THE GROWN-UPS
For the casual observer it would appear luxury may not be for the little ones, being far more appropriate for, say, a discerning couple, but this is not necessarily the case.
Families make up a significant portion of our clients, and with the ability to create a handcrafted journey for each individual family, children are not dragged along kicking and screaming to experiences suited to grown-ups. Luxury travel means that offerings are handcrafted and created to suit the family perfectly; their interests, ages of children, pace in which they like to travel and even a few little (or sometimes not so little) surprises thrown in along the way.
Consider a private surf lesson with Layne Beachley, 7 times world champion surfer at an iconic Sydney beach – This is perfect for the luxe family. It is undeniably a luxury experience with privileged access to an iconic personality, but is also a fantastic experience for the whole family. Even Lizard Island, one of the most highly regarded resorts in Australia welcomes children 10 and up. The activities of Lizard Island focussing on the Great Barrier Reef and aquatic adventures, are fitting for the whole family.
Of course it warrants mentioning that many high-end lodges and certain indulgent tours have restrictions on child ages, but there are still many options suitable for the whole family. Check out our Ultimate Oz for Kids for some inspiration.
At the end of the day the truth is that luxury may be Cristal Champagne, it may be 1000 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets and Gulfstream private jets, it may mean a higher price tag, and let’s face it, luxury travel is rife with celebrities and billionaires, but there is so much more to it than this. Luxury travel should be understood for what it is; diverse, filled with extraordinary offerings, laden with possibilities and above all, a form of travel where experience reigns supreme and lifelong memories are created.
Luxury travel isn’t cold, it isn’t detached, and it isn’t contrived. At the very heart of luxury travel are real people and true person to person connection with individuals whose identity become synonymous with the experience of place. We consider our role in this facet of luxury travel of great importance, we match people to people, client to destination, and create unforgettable experiences using our black book of connections as our guide. To us people are at the centre of each experience, and are the secret elixir that enhance and elevate a journey; people are what take a good trip to great.
We couldn’t be happier to be leaders in this field of travel in Australia, and to time after time create unforgettable journeys for our travellers. Get in contact if we can help you explore Australian in style.