As a Luxury Tour Operator, part of our job is to identify travel trends. Over the past few years, we have pinpointed certain essential elements that make up a luxury travel experience. While each clients’ needs are unique and requirements vary, there is always one or more common denominators, amongst others:
- Gorgeous accommodation in far-flung places and exotic cities
- Exceptional food and wine – the best cuisine available
- A stylish and fashionable designer experience
- Shopping opportunities
- Experiences only money can buy, or ones only you can buy
- Exclusive and private transfers via charter aircraft, helicopters and luxury vehicles
Then, 2020 happened! I am sure everyone will agree that the COVID pandemic has changed our world view. So how does this affect what the Luxury Traveler will be looking for going forward? The million-dollar question:
At Timeless Africa Safaris we have made use of our forced downtime to reassess what luxury means to us and what we anticipate luxury travelers will be looking for going forward. While the aforementioned elements still apply, we feel additional requirements will now influence travelers. Our aim is to adjust our product offering to meet these changing needs.
- The need for remote and wide-open spaces – choosing destinations that entail less interaction with other people and more with nature. Think of the Serengeti, Maasai Mara, Okavango Delta, South Luangwa, and many even more remote reserves to explore.
- Time to design your own journey with more flexible and unstructured itineraries to set the pace of the day. While many safari experiences are very structured e.g. a set time for morning and afternoon game drives, now you will be able to set the pace of when and how long you want to be on safari. You will have an option to choose more conservation-based activities to go behind the scenes for a deeper understanding.
- More family-orientated, exclusive-use accommodation – private villas or lodges. Many lodges now offer exclusive or partially exclusive use for small groups and families. These could be stand-alone or part of a larger lodge. Usually with a private chef, ranger, and game vehicle.
- Ease of travel to get from A to B with the least impact on you and your environment. This entails chartering to avoid large airports and multiple stops. Direct flights from destination to destination.
- While still luxurious, accommodation will ideally be in remote locations and offer a more natural element – glamping, treehouses, mobile camps etc.
- Experiences that change you, the way you view a destination and provide you with the opportunity to give back. This could entail getting involved in rhino tagging, deep-diving into local cultures and underprivileged communities to make a difference or engaging local experts to get a more holistic understanding of on-the-ground issues.
- The security of a partner that will “have your back” when you’re travelling. Being on the ground, in Africa, your personal Travel Manager at Timeless Africa Safaris will be there for you every step of the way.
No one has a crystal ball, but one thing is for certain, travel as we know it has and will change going forward. Our goal is to be there for our guests and to constantly adapt to the new!