Ready To Go: Virtuoso Identifies Trends For Affluent Travellers In 2022

Affluent travellers are ready to hit the road in 2022, optimistic and eager to mark celebrations delayed by the pandemic. They’re ready to spend too, planning once-in-a-lifetime trips to make up for lost time.

That’s the word from Virtuoso, the global network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. To find the most compelling trends, Virtuoso gathered insights from its travel advisors, partners and high net worth/ultra-high net worth clientele, conducted ongoing surveys, and tapped into its data warehouse of more than US$49.5 billion in transactions.


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Good To Go

With omicron cases on a downward trajectory, what was a deterrent for travel only weeks ago is now a motivating factor, Virtuoso says. People who have contracted and recovered from the virus are viewing their “antibody window” as the ideal time to get away.

Virtuoso advisors are reporting that clients have contacted them to plan their next vacation while they are still in quarantine. This aligns with a January 2022 poll by Virtuoso, where 85% of travellers said they are in a ‘ready to travel’ mindset.

The intent to travel is strong, with 86% of travellers polled saying they plan to travel internationally this year, and Virtuoso anticipates bookings will continue to trend upwards at the end of Q1 and into the second quarter as the omicron wave subsides.

Over-water bungalows in Bora Bora
Affluent travellers are willing to spend to make their dreams come true.

Going Big

Virtuoso experts say 2022 will be the year of once-in-a-lifetimetrips. Tapping into their advisors specializing in exclusive excursions, Virtuoso found that 76% have seen a recent increase in ultraluxe travel with African safaris, Caribbean islands, international city destinations, and ocean cruises as the top preferred experiences. Full findings of the survey can be viewed here.

The luxury network says the uptick in high-end travel is the result of pent-up demand and expanded financial means. The ability to spend more is important since travel inflation means costs are on the rise. Virtuoso bookings show future hotel rates are up 91% internationally and as much as 104% within Canada.

This spring, Canadians are eyeing closer-to-home destinations such as the U.S., domestic escapes and Toronto in particular, and Mexico. Longer term they are looking to return to Europe in 2022, with Italy, France and Greece on the list of top destinations selected on Virtuoso’s travel dreaming and planning site, Wanderlist.

Travel Advisor Value Reinforced

Peace of mind is hard to come by in the midst of a global pandemic, but travel advisors continue to prove their value to both their clients and the overall travel industry, Virtuoso says. The group reports that requests from people seeking an advisor grew 50% last year compared to 2020.

With international travel rules in flux, Virtuoso says it has never been more important to turn to an advisor to plan, book and, most importantly, ensure there is a backup plan in the event of travel disruptions.

Marking Missed Milestones

Making up for the lost year (or two) of missed milestones has become a priority for those seeking to reconnect with loved ones, Virtuoso says. Seventy-eight percent of Virtuoso advisors have seen an uptick in celebration travel, with anniversaries and notable birthdays being the primary motivators.

Multi-generational travel continues to drive family gatherings with Mexico and Caribbean islands holding the top spots for preferred destinations. When asked, 95% percent of Virtuoso advisors said they believed celebration travel will continue to be a top trend through 2022.

Seeking Sustainability

The pandemic is leading people to be more cognizant of their impact on the world, and this has led to what Virtuoso calls “the conscious comeback.”

In a recent Virtuoso survey, 82% of travellers said the pandemic has made them want to travel more responsibly in the future and 78% said it’s important to choose travel companies that have a strong sustainability policy, moving them to seek out companies committed to what Virtuoso calls the three pillars of sustainability: protecting the planet, supporting local economies and celebrating cultures.

Complete insights can be found in the Virtuoso Sustainability White Paper available here.