February 29, 2024

How premium travel is rebounding post-pandemic: Forbes

Major luxury brands including Hermes (RMS.PA), Tapestry (TPR), and Ralph Lauren (RL) reported earnings this week that suggest the impact of the pandemic is in the past. Another sector of luxury could also soon be set to see a boom: Travel.

Amanda Frasier, Forbes Travel Guide President of Ratings, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the uptick in luxury travel and experiences. “2024 is predicted to have as much boom as 2023,” states Frasier, who expects premium travel to fare the same.

Frasier notes that premium-payers generally want “frictionless travel,”—experiences that have more offerings that allow travelers to plan less. Frasier sees “a lot of activity” in the US south for luxury travelers due to increased domestic travel and more luxury hotels in cities such as Nashville and New Orleans.

The Middle East appears to be seeing strong demand, notes Frasier, despite geopolitical tensions—with travelers visiting Dubai frequently. The most “instagrammable” hotel, according to Forbes Travel Guide, is the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, which Frasier notes is a “beautiful destination.”

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Editor’s note: This article was written by Eyek Ntekim

Video Transcript


JULIE HYMAN: Hermés, Tapestry, Ralph Lauren, all out with earnings this week painting a positive picture for the luxury sector. All of them seeing a boost in revenues seeing the pandemic in the rear view mirror and China boosting demand. That’s how the other half are spending on stuff, but what about travel? Our next guest thinks we will see an uptick there, too.

Joining us now, Amanda Frasier, Forbes Travel Guide president of ratings. And Forbes, by the way, just out with the top six picks for 2024. Thank you so much for joining us. So what trends are you seeing? How are the high net worth folks spending their money on travel?

AMANDA FRASIER: Good afternoon. Thank you for having me. A great way to start the weekend. You know, it’s been a busy year in travel the last 12 months.

And we’ve got a really busy year ahead. 2024 is predicted to have as much of a boom as 2023. And when it comes to luxury, people are going to continue to pay premium pricing. But the thing that everyone’s talking about is that experience better beat those expectations.

So what our list aims to do is kind of cut through that clutter of online opinions. And some of the trends that we’re seeing is really frictionless travel. So I think we’re going to see a lot of attention paid to properties that are offering that inclusive experience, properties that can give you everything that you need without having to think about additional planning on top of all the planning that it takes to book a trip and obviously get to the destination that you’re going to.

JOSH LIPTON: And Amanda, one really interesting trend that you called out was how the American South has become so popular with the luxury consumer and traveler. What exactly is going on there?

AMANDA FRASIER: We’re seeing a lot of activity, some great properties performing at great levels across Nashville, and Charleston, and New Orleans. There’s a Conrad in Nashville that earned a rating. The Hermitage just recently had a renovation that’s now finished. That’s added to the list. There’s a Four Seasons in New Orleans.

So the South is really showing a strong performance against luxury standards. And we’re also seeing a lot of uptick in domestic travel that gets to those destinations that really started to pick up throughout the pandemic. I think people were looking for easy drive destinations.

And when they started to go to those resort locations across the East Coast and across the West Coast, we really started to see that those destinations also paid attention to their infrastructure and really started to invest in more hotels. There’s a lot more opening, but also the airports as well. So these are really easy destinations to get to. The South particular, having a great location close to Atlanta here.

JULIE HYMAN: And then in a very different geographical location, the Mid East is also seeing strong demand, which is particularly interesting right now. Obviously, there is a war going on in the Middle East, Israel-Gaza. So is that affecting demand at all or are people sort of just circumventing those areas?

AMANDA FRASIER: It’s circumventing. I mean, we’re seeing a lot in the Middle East that came out of the results this year. And we started to see this trend quite early on actually as we started to see performance particularly in Dubai.

I mean, if you haven’t been to Dubai, it’s an incredible city. The weather’s wonderful. It’s clean. The culture is amazing. And we had 20 new additional winners come out of Dubai that got added to the region this year.

And the Middle East, in general, even with the Waldorf Astoria, Kuwait, which is now a double five star hotel for its hotel and spa, just doing a fantastic job. And it’s really a destination to get to, especially in the winter as well. So they’ve got a great climate for the winter.

JOSH LIPTON: And Amanda, you also have for us here the most Instagrammable hotel, Amanda. Which is it and why?

AMANDA FRASIER: The most Instagrammable– the most Instagrammable, that’s a hard word to say, right? This is the Waldorf Astoria Pedregal in Los Cabos. So it’s in Cabo. It’s a fantastic hotel, beautiful destination, amazing staff, and a beautiful leadership team as well that really put their passion behind delivering an upscale experience for their guests.

JOSH LIPTON: Amanda, I’m sold. Let’s book it. Thank you so much for joining us, Amanda. Have a great weekend.

AMANDA FRASIER: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.

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