The Shifting Luxury Travel Market

ITB Berlin increasingly spotlights high-end travel

There’s a growing focus on the high-end market at ITB Berlin, this year with the new Loop Lounge @ ITB and the ITB Luxury Late Night, and luxury travel topics at the ITB Berlin Convention.

High growth rates in the luxury travel market are driving the interest in the sector. According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2017/2018, luxury travel accounts for only 7% of all international trips but as much as around 20% of global travel spending due to high prices. The US-based International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA) forecasts the luxury travel market could grow to US$1,154bn by 2022. It says that luxury travellers spend six times more on trips than regular travellers, and make 5.6 trips a year compared to 3 for regular travellers.

Luxury travel is booming, while general attitudes towards this market are changing. Affluence is no longer defined by glitter and exhibiting wealth. Non-material forms of luxury are replacing status, and values such as selfdiscovery, personal experiences, authenticity and time are becoming more important. These challenges, as well as the opportunities, concern the industry and from 7 to 11 March 2018 will be key topics at ITB Berlin.

The premium travel market, traditionally focused on affluent consumers and senior business executives, is undergoing major changes at present. ILHA president Barak Hirschowitz told the Pisa forum: “Luxury hospitality has experienced a seismic shift in consumer preferences.”


Today’s affluent consumers are global, digital and discerning, trade up and down, and are not brand loyal, he explained. Luxury consumers, and in particular millennials, are now purchasing more experiences and fewer products, and are shifting from “owning” to “being”, he said. This means that instead of “universal and consistent” hotels, guests are now seeking “unique and personal” experiences from luxury hotels.


Hall 9 will be the place to head and a must for all interested visitors. With the new Loop Lounge @ ITB organised in collaboration with Loop, the trade show for luxury products, ITB Berlin has created a new platform for networking in an exclusive atmosphere with a select group of exhibitors. On the Thursday of the show, the first ITB Luxury Late Night will provide an opportunity to cultivate the contacts made. At this new outstanding networking event at Orania.Berlin, a new Boutique Hotel, exhibitors will be able to meet leading buyers from the global luxury travel market. The event will be opened by Dietmar Müller- Elmau, the managing director of Schloss Elmau. Participation is by special invitation only.


The ITB Berlin Convention is in touch with the latest industry trends too. International experts will be explaining the real needs of the high-end travel market. On 7 March at the ITB Future Day, two sessions will take a look at luxury travel. In her keynote speech, Jane Jie Sun, CEO of International Ltd., will talk about “The gateway to global peace and prosperity”. The new mission of tour operators is to make travelling easy and trouble-free and turn tourists into ambassadors of their cultural identity, says Jane Jie Sun. On the same day Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc. (HTT), and founder and CEO of Jump Starter Inc, will talk about the transport systems of the future such as flying taxis, hyperloops and supersonic airliners. Travelzoo will present the findings of a survey conducted exclusively for ITB on consumer opinion regarding revolutionary luxury transport of the future.

What lies behind the trend known as hidden luxury? The ITB Marketing & Distribution Day on Thursday, 8 March will attempt to give an answer. Insiders including Al Merschen of Principal Myriad Marketing/MMGY Global, and Alex Newinger, a butler with Industrial Dynasties, will reveal the secret of the hidden luxury phenomenon. They will analyse how “new luxury” awareness is shifting towards “hidden luxury” awareness, a parallel universe where there are no paparazzi, people are incognito, and they live a life of genuine luxury.