Results from a Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) survey revealed that affluent travelers are spurring demand for luxury vacations in 2020.

a living area with a sunset in the background: Panoptis Escape Villa, Mykonos, Greece

© Small Luxury Hotels of the World
Panoptis Escape Villa, Mykonos, Greece

The survey, which was conducted in partnership with Liz Hall Hotel & Travel Consulting and gleaned results from 6,000 members of SLH’s INVITED loyalty program, also found that upscale travelers are willing to fly and are seeking out vacations at smaller hotels “where their experience can be managed and customized.”

In all, the survey found that 43 percent of North Americans polled were planning to travel domestically and 38 percent internationally this year.

SLH said its reservations data for bookings originating from North America since Aug. 1 “reflects these numbers, with 42 percent of reservations for U.S. hotels, primarily in New York state and California.”

Meanwhile, “international bookings made in August were mainly for Q4 visits, with top destinations being Sweden and Finland,” according to survey results.

The survey divided travelers into three groups: Travel Ready, those who already booked vacations; Travel Reserved, those who expressed interest in traveling but are still cautious about doing so; and Travel Reluctant, those who are not planning vacations until the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs.

“With over 46 percent of recipients expecting that they will be in the same position financially next year, it comes as no surprise that over 30 percent fall into the Travel Reserved group and are currently planning a vacation in 2021,” the survey said.

“In North America, 29 percent are Travel Ready and are planning a vacation before October this year, with an additional 24 percent looking at getting away in Q4. In total, 74 percent of respondents said that they were willing to fly agreeing almost unanimously (93 percent) to additional health checks at the airport.”

On the accommodations front, more than 90 percent of respondents said they “would feel most comfortable in a small hotel,” the survey said.

Not surprisingly, flexible booking policies and strong health and safety protocols were top considerations for respondents when determining vacation plans.

“Our members have always shown great resilience and an enduring appetite for travel so it’s encouraging to see that they are Travel Ready, looking at options both close to home and abroad for 2020,” said Richard Hyde, managing director of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. “Our small hotels are able to offer so many solutions from their location in low-key destinations and neighborhoods, to their versatility to become essentially a private residence.”

SLH recently unveiled the Stay Small, Stay Safe program to work toward ensuring third-party accreditation for all member SLH hotels with the Global Biorisk Advisory Council, which specializes in biological threats and biohazard situations and real-time crises.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s portfolio includes 520 properties in upward of 90 countries.

Continue Reading