More Australians choosing luxury weekends

By Greg Bell

Investors interested in luxury apartments and high-end hotels will have something to chew on after the release of a new survey of high net worth travellers, which reveals that the nature of luxury travel in Australia is changing. 

Commissioned by Hamilton Island resort Qualia and travel agent network Virtuoso, the 2015 Australian Luxury Travel Survey provides an in-depth snapshot into travel trends and the preferences of wealthy individuals. The results give an fascinating insight into luxury travel in Australia and will give those interested in commercial property for tourism plenty to think about. 

The weekender

Domestic tourism is already big business in Queensland. According to figures from Tourism and Events Queensland, domestic overnight travel to the sunshine state increased 2.5 per cent over the year to September 2014. Intrastate travel is also a big driver of the tourism industry, growing 4.2 per cent over that same period, and 70 per cent of all domestic visitors to Queensland actually live locally. 

Budget accommodation and activities remain popular in the local market, but Australians with money to burn are increasingly choosing luxurious weekend trips away to destinations like the Gold Coast. The respondents indicated that they are more likely to splash out in hotels and resorts domestically than spend a fortune on international travel.

This trend towards local getaways is reflected in the travel survey. The survey revealed that of the 2500 cashed-up travellers questioned, around two-thirds were taking more two- to four-day short breaks than they were five years ago, choosing domestic destinations over extended overseas trips. Indeed, 74 per cent of wealthy travellers believe that Australia has become more of a destination for luxury stays than it was five years ago. 

Commercial investors should be keenly aware of developing travel trends in the tourism market. Domestic travellers can have vastly different requirements than those from overseas, which is something to consider when gearing your property towards a certain audience. 

Virtuoso chairman and CEO, Matthew D Upchurch, said that Australians have always been interested in travelling, with holidays an important part of their lifestyle. However, busy individuals have to balance this desire to see the world with their increasingly time-poor lives.

"Australians have always been big travellers with holidays being a critical element in their lifestyle. They often invest more time than others to explore the world and there is a clear movement towards cultural authenticity and connectivity," he said.

Personalisation over opulence

Not only more people selecting Australia as their high-end destination of choice, but the survey found that how people define luxury has changed significantly. Eighty-five per cent of cashed-up travellers now believe luxury encompasses a highly personalised attention to detail, while another 75 per cent think it factors in exclusivity, privacy and a feeling of understated elegance.

Australian respondents have also changed their sentiments on luxury. Sixty per cent of people surveyed said they believe luxury is no longer based on an expensive price tag. Factors that drive the luxury market are now connectivity, authenticity and how connected visitors feel to place. This presents an opportunity for prospective investors. Properties that offer these elements are likely to appeal to the wealthy traveller, meaning higher levels of demand and better returns. 

"The elements driving the luxury market are a feeling of connectivity, authenticity and a sense of place. People want genuine, personalised experiences and whilst this is a global trend, it is more prevalent in sophisticated markets like Australia," Mr Upchurch said, according to Travel Monitor. 

"Personalised attention to detail is highly desirable in this 'new' luxury market, the individual needs of clients must be recognised – we are entering the era of bespoke tailored travel, away from the cookie-cutter programs sold on mass."

Whether you are investing in hotels or resorts on the Gold Coast, or have any questions about commercial property investment in Surfers Paradise, get in touch with a real estate professional. 

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