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Unveiling the Future of Luxury Travel with Expert Agents.In the years following the pandemic, people were grateful to travel again. Now, travellers are raising the bar. The demand for travel is higher than ever before, and so are the budgets. Travel agents are seeing a higher demand for luxury travel experiences, and research shows that it’s only expected to increase with time.

Luxury travel takes many forms.

What does luxury travel involve? It depends on who you ask. When people think of luxury travel, most think of extravagance, pampering and indulgence. And while that may be true, luxury travel is far more complex than five-star hotels and white-glove service. Nowadays, luxury travel embodies a unique, holistic experience tailored to the passions and interests of the traveller. This isn’t just hearsay; it’s a core principle our network of expert luxury travel agents echoes.

“Clients are looking for unique and personalized experiences,” said Tara, owner of Resfeber Travel, Inc., in a recent Expedia survey. “When they travel, they just don’t want a hotel. They want something unique and different, and they will pay for these experiences.”

For travellers who want to lounge and relax, a luxury experience is something like a private bungalow perched in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean. Every aspect revolves around comfort, ease, and having everything in one place. However, a luxury experience might look like an African safari for the more adventurous traveller. In that case, it’s all about immersing in nature and exploring the terrain.

The devil is in the details.

Two key aspects make a travel experience genuinely luxurious regardless of individual preferences.

The first is acute attention to detail. Travelers want to feel known and want their preferences to be understood and reflected in the service they receive. To provide an actual five-star experience, every detail, down to the mints placed on the pillow and the fold of the towels, must be considered thoughtfully and carefully.

The second aspect of any luxury travel experience is unparalleled service. The trip could be in the centre of a massive city or a remote mountaintop. Regardless, luxury travellers expect to have their every whim catered to. Whether arranging last-minute reservations at the most in-demand restaurant or organizing a helicopter tour of some remote landscape, the hallmark of any luxury experience is the seamless execution of every request.

Anna-Lisa, owner of the travel agency Just Pack, told Expedia TAAP her luxury clients expect “head to toe service, itinerary customization, and planning all logistics: accommodations, transfers, flights, activities (unique ones like Balian healers or Samurai lessons in Japan) … even down to restaurant booking.”

Planning is everything

Above all else, planning is the most important (and often least talked about) aspect of a luxury travel experience. Meticulous planning is the driving force behind any travel experience. The planning that goes into creating a luxury travel experience takes a lot of time and energy dedicated to meticulous research, not to mention a vast network of trusted resources and service providers curated for these luxury travellers.

That’s where travel agents come in. Without the assistance and expertise of travel agents, luxury vacations would be almost impossible to plan. And the more exotic or obscure the destination is, the harder it is to prepare. A Phocuswright survey of travel agents revealed that most (55%) of their clients are affluent travellers seeking personalized service and expertise, typically those with a six-figure income. The survey also found that travel agents seem to have the most success when they have a particular niche or area of focus, making luxury travel an emerging specialization.

The role of travel agents

Travel agents not only have time to plan these vacations, as it’s their full-time job, but they also have the expertise and connections to ensure premium quality throughout the vacation. Most clients seem to agree, as 85% of luxury travellers view travel agents as the best way to book personalized luxury travel experiences.

Luxury travel often goes beyond what a quick Google search can uncover. Exclusive tours, private dining experiences or hidden gem accommodations might not have a flashy online presence, but a seasoned travel agent will know how to find them. Their connections with these high-end destinations grant travellers personalized entry to experiences beyond the reach of a typical traveller.

One of the most important aspects of a travel agent’s role is their unmatched level of support throughout the entire traveller’s journey. Most travellers value their ability to nimbly navigate schedule changes and last-minute adjustments to plans, considering this can be extremely difficult for a traveller operating alone. The relationships that travel agents build with their networks significantly contribute to the seamless travel experience and support from which their customers can benefit.

These trusted networks are the cornerstone of a travel agent’s value proposition. Expedia TAAP’s program provides luxury travel agents with a wide selection of 4- and 5-star properties, over 600,000 luxury room types, including suites and villas, and exclusive rates for travel agents. Expedia TAAP covers all major luxury providers, making it a one-stop shop for travel agents to make bookings within one platform. Expedia TAAP’s expansive network and range of luxury partners have made it the platform of choice for many luxury travel agents.

Looking ahead

Luxury travel has exploded with possibilities, which gives us hope that demand will continue to rise. There are endless options now for creating a custom travel experience. As options increase, travel agents will become even more crucial in making that trip a reality.

Their resources and knowledge base are genuinely the magic behind the curtain of these luxury experiences. As demand grows, it’s essential to support travel agents with access to premiere networks and advanced tools to make their jobs as seamless as their customers’ vacation experiences.




Written by Robin Lawther, VP of Expedia TAAP