According to a travelocity comment reported by travelmole, travelers are increasingly looking beyond price to book their dream vacations where they can combine activities and services (hotel, air, car) with the requisite customer service to address questions, prepurchase and post-purchase. Travelocity might have a point. The number of affluent travelers and luxury vacation seekers is on the rise in America. These are the folks who don’t spend hours comparing deals or rates and prefer their travel agent to arrange their perfect vacations. The Internet has made travel a multi-faceted and research-heavy experience and more and more people are looking to save time over money.
According to a report by The Conference Board reported by the Center of Media Research, “about 73 million US households now have discretionary (spendable) income, up from about 57 million in 2002″ . The key point – ” majority of all discretionary income is held by households earning more than $100,000. Average discretionary income for this segment, $66,451, is 2.7 times the national average.” The super-rich have the abundance of purchasing power required to propel a luxury travel boom. CA, New England, Florida, New York are among the states with high discretionary income.
While it seems that the middle class in the US is always battling high gas prices, high telephone bills, skyrocketing medical and educational costs, the rich are doing well and hold the key to a new kind of travel experience – an unforgettable vacation that’s put together by experts with price being irrelevant. It’s like shopping for luxury goods or designer labels – price was never a factor. Exclusivity, luxury and making a statement are important – take that idea to travel – exclusivity can really come about only through high prices like a $35,000 roomnight or privileged flying perks. Books like 1000 places to see before you die have made the concept of global wanderlust very cool and people who can afford to splurge are enjoying their moment.