ETW Staff – Mumbai
Affluent travellers want access to internet banking while on holiday – a requirement less important to the general traveller according to Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study 2013. Affluent travellers apparently do not “switch off” on holiday. They require constant contact with others with 64 per cent accessing their emails and 45 per cent accessing instant messaging platforms during their travels.
While still used, activities like sharing photos and surfing the web for leisure are less important among the affluent when they travel – dropping to 34 per cent and 31 per cent respectively.
Predictably, this group also loves their devices, carrying higher-end gadgets such as DSLR cameras (32 per cent) and lifestyle devices such as e-book readers (12 per cent) and tablets (37 per cent) when they travel.
While upscale travellers have a particular destination in mind while planning for their trips, they are becoming bolder when it comes to exploring unchartered terrains with eight out of 10 affluent travellers indicating in Visa’s Study that they will visit new destinations in the future.
They will be trendsetters in growing visitor numbers to beach destinations in East Africa. When asked which countries in East Africa they would consider traveling to 44 per cent chose Mauritius and 40 per cent listed Madagascar – compared to the global average of 33 per cent.
Considering the affluent take more holidays a year – an average of four trips a year – despite the propensity to explore new destinations, modernised cities of the USA, UK and Australia still top their holiday destinations for the next year. Affluent travellers enjoy independent holidays and are more willing to pay extra for someone to help arrange a customised holiday.
James Lim, head of consumer products, Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, Visa said, “The definition of luxury has evolved, and today it is more about experiences than about possessions. While exclusivity and high quality service remain essential in reaching out to the affluent, the new tide of affluent travellers who are bolder in their choices demand a sense of adventure and personalised experiences to meet their individual interests. They want to discover places, cultures, and experiences unknown to others. Understanding their needs, Visa designs bespoke travel itineraries and exclusive privileges at luxury hotels and resorts for our premium cardholders.”
Good weather (35 per cent), rich culture (31 per cent) and good attractions (31 per cent) rate as the affluent traveller’s three most important reasons for destination choice. The world’s wealthy also travel further (35 per cent take long-haul trips compared to the global average of 29 per cent) and for longer, as they are more likely to spend at least five to seven nights at their destination.
Spending habits once they reach their destinations are also evolving, with average spending per trip expected to jump almost 30 per cent from US$ 3,465 to US$ 4,501 for future trips.
Like most groups, they spend heavily on retail (30 per cent), dining (25 per cent) and activities (22 per cent), but spend significantly higher than the global average at medium and large retailers, high-end restaurants and on entertainment and nightlife. 52 per cent use payment cards to make these purchases – well above the global average of 40 per cent.