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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Australian Luxury Travel Survey: How the other half travel

Insights from the inaugural 2015 Australian Luxury Travel Survey revealed

High net worth travellers unveil the true definition of Australian Luxury

Sandy Oatley, Bob Oatley (sitting) and Nicki Oatley Photo: Louis Douvis

Australia’s luxury travel market is evolving. According to the 2015 Australian Luxury Travel Survey, as commissioned by qualia and Virtuoso, 74 per cent of high net worth (HNW) travellers believe Australia has become more of a luxury travel destination over the past five years.

No longer is luxury travel defined purely by the level of opulence or an expensive price tag. According to the research, 85 per cent of HNW travellers believe luxury travel is defined by a property’s personalised attention to detail, followed by understated elegance, exclusivity and privacy (75%) and an extraordinary natural location and sense of place (59%) respectively.

Hamilton Island Chairman, Sandy Oatley said it is gratifying to know more than seven years on, the family’s vision for qualia continues to align with what luxury travellers are looking for today.

Sandy Oatley
“When opening qualia in 2007, our aim was to create an understated luxury oasis which maximises the sheer beauty of its Great Barrier Reef location along with a uniquely Australian standard of service that would meet and exceed the expectations of the most discerning travellers from around the world. The 34 accolades the resort has received over the past three years are testament to our qualia team who continue to perfect this vision daily,” Sandy continued.

An ardent vision of this nature is essential for Australian luxury property owners as competition strengthens within the domestic luxury market. When it comes to researching the abundance of luxury travel options, close to 1 in 2 (47%) HNW travellers rely predominantly on the power of word of mouth, secondly to inspiration found in traditional media outlets such as newspapers and magazines (44%) and thirdly to online travel reviews (41%) such as Tripadvisor and Mr + Mrs Smith.

Interestingly, whether the rich and famous have graced a particular resort is neither here nor there to HNW travellers with 58 per cent of respondents revealing they aren’t influenced at all by celebrity endorsements when researching a luxury holiday.

Furthermore, the research revealed luxury lodges (less than 60 rooms) as Australian HNW travellers’ accommodation type of choice (42%), followed by boutique hotels (less than 20 rooms) (25%) and luxury hotels (100+ rooms) (16%) respectively, with Australian owned properties preferred over those backed by a global brand. Only three per cent of travellers nominated this latter style of property as their preference when travelling in luxury domestically.

Sandy Oatley said: “Our family is exceedingly proud to be Australian and as such, we want every qualia guest to savour an authentic and extraordinary Australian experience. From the use of Australian materials and native plants, to encouraging our guests to explore our renowned Great Barrier Reef backyard, from the wallabies frequently spotted around the resort to the Australian food and wine gracing our menus, every detail contributes to qualia’s Australian heart and soul – a point of difference which we feel sets the resort apart.”

This attention to detail is becoming increasingly imperative with Australian luxury properties no longer able to solely rely on their lavishly appointed and generously sized rooms to woe potential guests.

As revealed in the 2015 Luxury Travel Survey, 22 per cent of HNW travellers identify a luxury property’s authentic, unique experiences as the factor holding the greatest influence on their final booking decision, followed secondly by a property’s established reputation and/or award winning history (20%) and thirdly by an impeccable standard of service (19%). Only four per cent of travellers believe the size and design of the property’s rooms hold the same weight.

The research revealed HNW travellers are craving these unique travel experiences often with 1 in 4 exploring their own backyard in luxury on average 4 – 5 times per year. Hamilton Island’s CEO, Glenn Bourke says over the years, this number has been on the rise.

“At qualia, we’re noticing the quick 2 – 4 day luxury getaway becoming increasingly popular. The 2015 Luxury Travel Survey revealed over the past five years, 2 in 3 people have found themselves taking shorter domestic luxury holidays more often. We’re noticing for many, the cost of these short breaks simply isn’t an issue with the majority willing to spend big to ensure each getaway is memorable,” said Mr Bourke.

According to the 2015 Luxury Travel Survey, 46 per cent of travellers allocate an average annual luxury travel budget of $10,000 – $30,000. One in 10 (10%) travellers allocate $30,000 – $50,000 per year, topped only by the expenditure of the fortunate 8 per cent who revealed they’re prepared to spend $50,000 or more on travelling the world in style.
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