luxury travelsurveyThe Goldman Group A new survey conducted by Goldman Group, Australia’s premier luxury travel advisory group, with AccorHotels has tapped into the wants and needs of Australia’s luxury travellers in 2019.“This survey proves that the Aussie adventurous spirit is alive and well in the luxury travel sector, especially with retiring Australians making the most of their additional free time to traverse the globe and enrich their lives with new experiences,” said Anthony Goldman, Joint Managing Director of The Goldman Group.The survey results have revealed that luxe-loving travellers have no issue with committing significant sums to support their global roaming but do seek value and look for discounts and special offers when booking accommodation.Europe remains the most popular destination, followed by North America, with 93% of respondents stating they travel specifically to experience new places and cultures. Luxury travellers are keen to visit a new destination on each trip (79%) with historical sites and heritage at the top of the hitlist (53%).Despite falling house prices and consumer confidence on the decline, 22% of luxury travellers are planning to increase their travel spend, in comparison to last year and 19% plan to spend over $50,000 or more on international travel. While luxe-loving travellers have no issue with committing significant sums to support their global roaming, 76% do seek value and look for discounts and special offers when booking accommodation.Immersive travel is also important to luxury travellers with 49% stating they “travel to have experiences that are transformational.” More traditional travel motivators such as rest and relaxation (27%), beaches (14%) and romance (8%) were lower priorities, compared to experiencing historic sights (53%), destination dining (48%) and cultural pursuits (36%).Nearly half of respondents (46%) agreed food is a principal reason they travel, but just 25% said restaurants with well-known chefs were important.Twenty percent of respondents enjoy ‘leisurely outdoor activities’ on vacation, such as walking, hiking, cycling and boating, with just 5% keen on strenuous outdoor activities. Only 4% were interested in wellness programs or spas.Although 45% of respondents plan to spend at least $30,000 on travel this year and 19% will spend over $50,000, price was still the number one answer for 63% when asked about factors influencing travel decisions. Seventy-six percent look for discounts and special offers when seeking accommodation, with four out of five respondents saying benefits of booking through travel agents, such as room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and late check-out were important. Nearly half (49%) attempt to stick to a budget when travelling.Long-haul trips remain popular with Australian luxury travellers, with multiple destination – and multi-continent journeys common among this demographic. The most popular recent international travel spots among respondents were Europe, USA, Italy and New Zealand. Europe also took out the top spot for the next trip on respondents’ radars, followed by multi-destination, the US, Japan and Asia. Europe – particularly Italy, was the ‘favourite’ international holiday destination for 17% (and 12%) of respondents, with Italy top of the international wish list for luxe travellers in the future. Other wish list destinations a little more ‘off the beaten track’ included Africa, Antarctica, Scandinavia, Alaska, Iceland and the Maldives.Australian travellers are largely undeterred by concerns over security and politics, with only 33% saying they worry about personal safety while travelling overseas. Just 29% mentioned security issues as a factor in picking a destination, and the US political climate is also a relative non-issue.The expanding cruise sector is now valued at US$5 billion, with 1.34 million Australians boarding a cruise in 2017. A significant 72% of respondents had taken at least one cruise in the past five years, with 21% saying they cruise annually. The Mediterranean is the most popular cruising destination (44%), followed by Australia/New Zealand (32%), the South Pacific (31%), Alaska and the Pacific Coast of North America (29%), and the Baltics (29%). Looking ahead, 42% are interested in river cruises, 41% in expedition cruises and 31% keen on cruising on a small yacht. The most sought-after future itineraries include the Galapagos Islands (43%), European river cruising (42%), the British Isles (42%) and Norway (42%), Antarctica (39%), and the Baltics (38%).A significant 58% of respondents prefer to use a face-to-face travel advisor when booking their next overseas adventure compared with booking directly with airlines and hotels, or using an online agent or app (28%). In addition, four out of five respondents said the benefits of booking through travel agents, such as room upgrades, complimentary breakfast and late check-out were important.Qantas was easily the local luxe travellers’ favourite airline (41%), followed by Singapore Airlines (20%), Emirates (12%), Cathay Pacific (5%) and Qatar (3%). AccorHotels came top of the hotel list with 12.4% of respondents naming it their favourite brand, followed by the Four Seasons (5.3%), Marriott(4.6%), Hilton (4.2%) and IHG (3.9%). Twenty-three per cent of respondents cited no hotel brand allegiance.ABOUT THE SURVEYDistributed to well-heeled travel consumers in Australia by the Goldman Group in November 2018, the Australian Luxury Traveller 2019 survey questions asked about motivations for travel; sources of inspiration; booking methods; favourite destinations, airlines, and hotel brands; and more. The survey received 316 responses. The respondents are typically affluent, mature, and retired from full-time work, and take between one and four international holidays each year.