A recent survey conducted by CPP Luxury Industry Consultants Ltd among the leading travel agencies in four Eastern European countries revealed important new trends in luxury travel. The survey was conducted in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine during the month of May. Among the most important findings are the change of destination for the two main yearly holidays and downgrading on hotels during city breaks and shopping trips.
Over half of the wealthy clients of the travel agencies surveyed have traded former popular summer destinations of Spain (Tenerife, Mallorca etc), Italy (Sardinia, Portofino etc) and France (South) with Turkey, Croatia and Egypt where five star holiday packages are cheaper and sometimes for even longer stays. Wealthy consumers who used to take two longer holidays during the summer season (usually one long haul such as Asia or the US and the other one as a beach holiday), this year only take one such holiday, the preference being given to beach holidays which are cheaper because of the distances.
Affluent consumers still take at least one weekend city break every two months, irrespective of the season, one being for shopping and the second one for visiting. The top destinations are Milan, Paris and Vienna. Most wealthy travellers prefer to downgrade on the hotels they stay, to allocate a ”reasonable” budget for shopping and entertainment. Top prestige deluxe hotels in the major capital cities are usually replaced by five star chains such as Sofitel or Marriott.
The new trends seem to be extending towards the upcoming winter holidays season. Beach destinations such as the Caribbean, Florida or Seychelles are likely to be replaced by holidays at a shorter distance such as United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Morocco and Egypt. The most popular destinations for this winter holidays seasons is likely to be Dubai, which combines both beach/sun with shopping.
Another important change in consumer preferences is the downgrading in car type both for rentals and airport transfers. For instance, wealthy traveller give up an S Klasse Mercedes for an E Klasse, or a 7 Series BMW for a 5 series BMW.
When it comes to air travel, with few exceptions, the majority of wealthy travellers fly economy on short haul and look for special fares for business class on long haul flights. As for private jets, less and less Eastern Europeans rent them for leisure trips and that is why, they are more and more prefferred for business trips proving cost effectiveness, especially when several executives of the same company travel on the same trip and for last minute trips.
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