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Audley Travel reveals new research into the premium travel market

Published: 11/20/2023   /   Updated: 11/20/2023

In a first-of-a-kind report by the tour operator, the premium market appears to be standing strong.

Bespoke travel operator and luxury specialist Audley Travel is today sharing compelling insight into the premium travel market following research into the space, unveiling consumers’ current and future travel preferences in an industry that appears to be thriving.

Researchers for the ‘Premium Travel Report’, the first report of its kind commissioned by Audley, spoke to travelers in the US spread across all ages and locations. The research revealed that despite the current economic climate the average spend on a two-week trip (including travel, accommodation and activities) was over $10,000 per person ($10,767), with 59 percent expecting to spend more on trips than in the past, and 22 percent expecting this to be more than double their spend five years ago.

When asked what was important about their vacation, 59 percent want to travel to destinations they haven’t been before, with almost half (48 per cent) preferring to be around as few other groups as possible, and 36 percent placing importance on wanting to only spend time with their travel companions. Intrinsically 77 percent of those asked want to spend time with local guides on their trip and grow their destination knowledge from an authentic source.

Zoning into flight class and hotel ratings, 32 percent traveled in economy on their last trip, 33 percent in premium economy, 17 percent in business and 19 percent in first. With regards to accommodation, 45 percent stayed in a four-star hotel, and 37 percent in a five-star hotel on their last trip. Unsurprisingly at the uber-lux end of the scale, only four percent stayed in a six- or seven-star hotel.

Western Europe has been the most popular region for trips over the last five years for US travelers (49 per cent) and remains so for intended trips in the next two years. Whilst a beach break was the most popular vacation type with 45 percent of those asked preferring this option, 38 percent traveling to visit family and friends and 36 percent having taken a luxury break.

Current trends show that all respondents have traveled at least once every two years. Ninety-five percent had taken a domestic trip, 72 percent taking a short/mid haul international trip, and 61 percent traveling long haul at least once a year. Looking ahead to future travel, 33 percent expect to travel long haul within the next year and 55 percent plan months or years in advance.

Placing importance on having advice from someone with specialist expertize on their chosen destination when they book was mentioned by 84 percent, and 68 percent want sustainable travel options — a key component of an Audley trip.

Heather Heverling, President & Managing Director (North America) at Audley Travel said, “Our approach to expanding our offering and service is centered around listening to our clients and designing trips around their needs – something that has long been the Audley way.

“In the bid to continue our search for excellence in this area, we were intrigued to conduct a wider insight piece into the premium travel industry to help broaden our overview of the space and anticipate what might be next on the horizon.

“The results are certainly encouraging for the industry as a whole - showing that investment in a trip is still a priority for travelers, with a large proportion (59 percent) still expecting to spend more on trips than in the past, and that wanderlust is still strong with over half wanting to travel to destinations they haven’t been to before.”

Notes to Editors

The research was designed by Audley Travel and PA Consulting and was conducted with 2,000 respondents aged over 18 who taken a vacation abroad in the last five years and plan to in the next 12 months and be willing to spend at least $2,500 per person on a two-week international vacation. Past travel with Audley was not a requirement to take part in the research, and the majority have not traveled with Audley. The research was conducted in March 2023.