The newly commissioned study found that hotels are perceived as pillars in their community, connecting guests, whether from abroad or locally, to the true character of the destination. Luxury travelers view the role of a hotel beyond curating authentic local experiences. It is the combination of destination expertise and recreating the comforts of home that creates this trusted relationship and positions the most desirable hotels in the world at the very heart of the travel experience.
“Fairmont properties share a special connection to their communities and part of our brand promise is to preserve these diverse and picturesque locations while enhancing their overall welfare,” said Sharon Cohen, Vice President, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. “This guiding principle is inherent to our brand’s culture and was the impetus for us undertaking this study to further inform and validate the important role a hotel, specifically a Fairmont property, plays within the local community and how guests, whether abroad or local, perceive them.”
Fairmont’s Luxury Insights Report is based on data uncovered from Fairmont’s 2018 Global Luxury Traveler Insights Study, an online survey of 2,725 luxury travelers from France, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, China, and United Arab Emirates. Industry leaders across the globe – including consumer experience futurists, sustainability strategists, association leaders and travel company presidents – also shared their perspectives on the findings to round out the report and facilitate a discussion around innovation leadership and the integral role of experience in the travel sector. Their insights and perspectives will also be explored further in a new Leaders on Luxury video series, which will feature a mix of Fairmont, AccorHotels and other industry experts commenting on the state of the luxury market.
The study reveals that guests look to luxury hotels as a key aspect of their travel experience. The influence of hotels goes beyond the traditional expectation of having a place to sleep at night, with guests looking to hotels to provide immersive experiences that are sustainably viable and meet the needs of their entire family.
Report highlights include:
- Exclusive experiences: travelers prioritize experiences over brands, with two out of three considering it important to have experiences not readily available to everyone (65%).
- Destination insiders: eighty-nine percent of those surveyed said that the best hotels have colleagues that are familiar with the area and can provide the inside scoop on things only the locals know.
- The hotel factor: ninety-three percent of luxury travelers consider the hotel an important part of the vacation experience – so much so that over half (59%) feel that hotel options influence their choice of destination.
- Generation green: eighty-four percent of respondents consider it important that the hotel provides recommendations of experiences that are not detrimental to the local community. Guests recognize overtourism as a growing concern and that changes need to be made if the beauty that attracts them to worldwide destinations is going to last; travelers look to luxury hotels to help drive change that is positive and sustainable.
- No flight required: luxury hotels are not just for the jet-set. For 77%, these remarkable properties provide a memorable option for social and business occasions in their hometown. As pillars in their communities, locals seek these institutions to celebrate momentous occasions and create family traditions.
- Community connection: seasoned travelers understand the impact of tourism within a destination. Four out of five think environmentally sustainable practices and locally sourced kitchen ingredients are important.
QUOTES FROM LUXURY THOUGHT LEADERS
- Blake Morgan, Customer Experience Futurist
“The millennial customer values access over ownership. They crave authentic experiences they can share with their friends and curate the narrative of their digital lives.”
- Costas Christ, Global Sustainability Strategist, Virtuoso Travel Network and Senior Advisor for Sustainable Tourism, National Geographic Travel
“Protection of cultural heritage is a pillar of sustainable tourism, including both the preservation of historic buildings and support for living culture, such as contemporary music, art, dance, and cuisine. Fairmont was founded with a mission to restore, protect and celebrate historical sites and cultural heritage.”
“Sustainability is not a trend, it is a transformation of travel as we know it. We are headed to a future where hotel companies that are doing it right are not the exception, but rather the rule, and we have hospitality leaders like Fairmont to help us get there.”
- Anne Dimon, President, Wellness Tourism Association
- Carolyn Kremins, President, Skift
- Keith Baron, President, Abercrombie & Kent USA
“The very definition of luxury is changing. It is much more about the luxury of experience, rather than just thread count. It’s no longer only about having the top suite in a hotel, flying first-class or dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant. It is increasingly about privacy, exclusivity and customization.
“Today’s most compelling luxury hotels embody the character of a destination through their history and style, combining distinctive architecture with expressive decor and artistry. Each of these hotels is true to its place and its traditions, incorporating elements of the past and reflecting the local culture.”
- Sharon Cohen, Vice President, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
“Travel is an opportunity for growth. Luxury travelers are looking for personal enrichment experiences with a lasting impact that extends beyond their journey. For instance, guests at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club have the unique opportunity to visit the animal orphanage. Experiencing the rescue and rehabilitation of these animals firsthand creates a memorable connection that lasts a lifetime.”
“Fairmont properties are more than just hotels, they are a home away from home – a place to reconnect with family and build new memories.”
- Chris Cahill, Deputy CEO, AccorHotels
- Rick Harvey Lam, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Marketing, Luxury, AccorHotels
- Arnaud Herrmann, Vice President, Sustainable Development, AccorHotels
- Matthew D. Upchurch, CTC, Chairman, and CEO, Virtuoso
“This year, I had an incredible weekend with my eight-year old, Benji, at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver. Watching him gambol through the lobby to receive a hug from the hotel’s general manager, Jens Moesker, sharing a plate of their locally and sustainably sourced sushi and snuggling together to watch a movie in bed at night made this a trip that neither of us will ever forget.”