Though travelers may increasingly seek slow/simple in their sojourns, they have not lessened expectations for quality experiences. Exceptional service captures a range of aspirations – from flying first class to wining and dining in exquisite restaurants, cozying up under sheets with high thread counts to indulging in massage treatments and relishing the scents and sounds of an exotic bazaar.

Exceptional service provides access to simple pleasures and moments, but also opens doors to rare, indulgent ones that engage the senses. Because travelers often feel they have just one chance to create the ultimate experience, exceptional service also refers to growing consumer demand for exceptional provider-side experience curators.

A resurgence of luxury

Although the recent financial crisis has impacted discretionary spending, there are pockets of optimism for luxury travel. Forbes recently reported on Luxury Institute findings that identify luxury travel as the top category in which affluent consumers plan to spend more. The international outlook is promising, with affluent consumers in China (58%), Italy (28%) and Germany (22%) all indicating intentions to spend more on luxury travel in the coming year. The research also notes that affluent Chinese adults exude the most upbeat attitude toward luxury spending overall, with 75% equating luxury consumption to “prudent expenditures” (versus 75% of wealthy adults in the US/UK/Germany who would characterize such outlays as “extravagant”).

Adjusting travel tastes

As consumers navigate the volatility resulting from global recessionary conditions, their tastes for travel have adjusted. A recent Economist blog post on luxury travel notes, “the era of ‘bling,’ with gold taps in every 5-star bathroom, is now passé.” Consumers are focusing more and more on “seamless service” as integral to quality travel.



Channeling the spirit of exceptional service in your communications  

Travel marketers spanning a range of services can capitalize on the trend of exceptional service as described within this report. The following guidelines suggest ways in which travel brands can create successful visual communications to reflect the aspirational idea of exceptional service.

  • Extend the visual representation of exceptional service to include all elements of the travel experience, from amenities to personal concierge services to exclusive access to premier sightseeing.
  • Leverage heritage brands’ commitment to service by infusing iconic imagery into visual executions, such as national symbols/insignia and legacy logos.

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