Image for Interview: Virtuoso Travel CEO on the Future of the New Luxury Traveler – Skift

What is the definition of luxury travel in 2017? It depends.

The future of luxury travel revolves around the fluidity of the digitally-connected consumer mindset, who is comfortable fluctuating between a wide spectrum of accommodations and experiences depending on the context.

“It’s become nearly impossible to profile the luxury client today, because travelers are seeking deeper experiences, inspiration, personalization, and self-discovery,” says Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch. “But they’re achieving it by traveling in a variety of ways, including business, leisure, romantic getaways, family or multi-generational, and personal enrichment.

“These motivations aren’t mutually exclusive, and consumers don’t want to be pigeonholed as a particular type of traveler,” he continues. “They self-identify based on how they view themselves. Their perceptions of themselves and their expectations from their travels vary based on who’s with them and where they’re going.”

The luxury consumer psychographic is so much more bifurcated today than even a few years ago, partially because of the rise of experiential one-upmanship on social media. In effect, luxury travelers want to upload everything stored in their personal devices into their physical IRL (in real life) travel experiences.

Today, our networks, to a large degree, define our lifestyle value systems and priorities. As the high-end Monster audio electronics company promotes: “You are who your friends are.” Or, as Peter Vidani, founding creative director of the micro-blogging Tumblr platform, posits: “We are what we share.”

Luxury travelers have the resources to accomplish living out their social media dreams. However, according to Upchurch, with so many opportunities available at the click of a mouse, high net-worth travelers are relying more on travel brands and travel advisors to guide the individual consumer journey from conceptualization to conversion.

That personalized stewardship, he says, provides a continual feedback loop between the advisor and client over the long-term, which develops the kind of trusted relationship that Virtuoso has always tried to promote.

On – 16 May, 2017 By Greg Oates