Luxury operators predict upturn

Luxury operators predict upturn

Luxury travel companies are predicting an upturn in business next year – but expect to deal with a markedly different customer, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Internet-savvy deal hunters who will not stint on cost but do demand value for money will be the norm in 2010, the report, released at this year’s Abta Travel Convention stated.

It also found that luxury tour operators have managed to maintain margins and market share despite the economic downturn.

Guy Gillon, leisure director, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, said:

“The vast majority of businesses expect trading conditions to improve in 2010.

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“Luxury is chartering a new course through these turbulent trading times with a resourceful and deal savvy consumer requiring value for money.

“Despite being a big ticket item - this consumer preference has partially insulated luxury travel operators from the discretionary spend cull felt elsewhere in the market.”

In a survey of more than 7,000 luxury club members when asked what items they would cut back on during the recession, only 18% cited their main holiday, which fell ninth in the selection behind designer labels, electronics, and restaurant meals.

And only a fifth of respondents said they would downgrade to a cheaper destination despite the squeeze on their investments.

In a similar survey, polling all demographics, 41% said they would cut back on holidays and weekends away first. Holidays came second only to dining and nights out.

“The difficult economic climate has led all customer demographics to reassess their travel habits,” said Gillon.

“The high net worth individuals and ABs are not moving to packaging or changing length of stay, but they are utilising the internet to scour the landscape for the right deal and right location at the right price.

“While some of these changes may be temporary the ‘buying clever’ trend is here to stay,” he added.

“To make it to the finish line, luxury travel businesses need to improve and develop their online presence and increase their portfolio of products in 2010,” he stated.