Near, Far, and Everywhere in between for 2017: Amex Travel Unveils Destinations & Discoveries for the Global Traveler

Experts Share Top Luxury Travel Trends for the New Year

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–From a more concierge-like approach to travel servicing and an increased
focus on hotel design to the implications of a post-Brexit surge,
American Express Travel experts have uncovered trends that will likely
impact the state of luxury travel in 2017 based on qualitative, in-depth
industry observations and internal data analysis.

“Today, affluent consumers are more knowledgeable, are often in control
of their travel experiences and across all ages, are in pursuit of
curation, comfort and convenience,” says Claire Bennett, executive vice
president, American Express Travel. “Whether they seek added
value from a flight upgrade, a recommendation for the best new
restaurant in London or are traveling more often and for longer stays,
consumers know what they want, and are becoming savvier about making
their needs known to travel brands.”

According to American Express Travel experts, the following are trends
likely to continue into 2017:

TRAVEL AGENTS, THE NEW CONCIERGES

Personalization and streamlined service are key motivators for today’s
luxury traveler – who expect immediate, one-stop-shop, customized travel
experiences. “We’re seizing this growing demand by cultivating a team of
lifestyle experts with unparalleled relationships and in-depth industry
knowledge that can offer today’s savvy global traveler elements of the
trip beyond air and hotel – from VIP access to local insights on the
newest restaurants to one-of-a-kind, extraordinary experiences,” says
Bennett.

A MOVE TOWARDS THE FRONT

As increasing elements of the flying experience have become revenue
streams for airlines, from boarding times and seat preferences to lounge
access and baggage allowance, there has been a significant uptick in
first-class bookings, increasing 208% YOY. “We’ve noticed that weary air
travelers are opting for the convenience and value of paying one
first-class fare to get it all, enhancing their overall experience and
making first-class air travel the new version of the luxury
all-inclusive frontier,” says Bennett.

EXTENDED EXPLORERS EMERGE

“Four times per year, for four nights – in and out – has been the tried
and true American travel pattern. Today, however, we’re seeing a new
American traveler emerge and a mélange of factors are contributing to
the trend,” says Bennett.

Although Boomers may have the time and the money to travel for longer
stays, they join travelers across generations who increasingly seek
extended, immersive journeys packed with authentic, local experiences.
American Express Travel booking data indicates an average 26% YOY
increase in length of stay for advanced bookings among the top 20
international destinations. But Bennett says age is not always a factor
here. “As travel experts, it is imperative that we start defining
travelers by psychographics and not solely demographics.”

“Technology and the ability to remain connected is a key factor why this
is possible; it enables all travelers to plug in on location, making it
easier to extend vacations, and business trips into longer getaways.
When you can work wherever you are, these super explorers are saying:
let’s go,” says Bennett.

HOTELS AS LIFESTYLE BRANDS

“Niche is nice. Lifestyle, fashion, fitness, culinary and design brands
are latching onto the growing demand of customized travel and highly
personalized experiences based on their founding product and catering to
fans of their brand aesthetic and promise in the travel space,” says
Bennett. Equinox, West Elm, Baccarat, Bulgari, Nobu and Restoration
Hardware are among the brands breaking new ground in the travel and
hospitality space to offer innovative ways to further engage their
customer base in an age of bespoke travel. These companies join
established hoteliers who have created their own design-focused brands,
such as Marriott’s Edition and Hyatt’s Andaz. “According to American
Express Travel booking data, we are seeing a more than 30% spike in
bookings for lifestyle-inspired, design-focused hotels in the US for
2017.”

NEAR, FAR, AND EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN FOR 2017

From a post-Brexit surge to a centennial celebration, these are the top
trending destinations for the upcoming year according to American
Express Travel experts:

  • Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
   
  • Goa, India
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Bozeman, Montana
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Vancouver, Canada
  • Fogo Island, Newfoundland
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • London, England
  • Paris, France

About American Express Travel

American Express Travel is a global full-service travel and related
lifestyle services provider. For over 100 years, American Express has
helped those who love to travel customize and elevate their trip
experience through world-class service, exclusive programs and premium
benefits. Customers have many options for accessing these services and
can travel with confidence by having support from American Express
whether booking online at www.amextravel.com
or speaking with travel and lifestyle experts on the phone or in retail
locations.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with
access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build
business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com
and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress,
foursquare.com/americanexpress,
linkedin.com/company/american-express,
twitter.com/americanexpress,
and youtube.com/americanexpress.

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Contacts

Charlotte Fuller
Charlotte.Fuller@aexp.com
212-640-6841

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