Survey: Exclusive Experiences Tops with Luxury Travelers

NEW YORK—A recent survey reveals that luxury travelers are most interested in exclusive access and experiences, particularly VIP tours, private cars and drivers, and customized culinary experiences.

These findings were taken from the annual Travel Trends Survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group, a North American travel agency company, encompassing thousands of travel agents across the continent, including luxury travel advisors from Protravel International and Tzell Travel, part of Travel Leaders Luxury Brands.

“Luxury travel today is all about access and experiences, and our agents excel in providing clients with individually tailored, once-in-a-lifetime experiences made possible through relationships they have built all over the world,” said Gail Grimmett, president of Travel Leaders Luxury Brands. “The survey results confirm that this high level of service, expertise and personalization is exactly what consumers are seeking.”

Examples of private, VIP-level experiences Travel Leaders Luxury Brands advisors have provided to clients include an array of encounters. “In London, I like to send clients to a behind-the-scenes experience with the Queen’s Guard while they prepare to take their posts at Buckingham Palace before the Changing of the Guard,” said Josh Alexander, Protravel International. “It’s a way to experience British pomp and circumstance up close.”

Meanwhile, Protravel International’s Jonny Drubel said, “In Canyon Point, UT, I arranged for my clients to take a sunrise helicopter ride to the top of Tower Butte. An experienced yoga specialist guided a private yoga and meditation session, one my clients will truly never forget, and afterwards, the helicopter took them on a scenic flight back with views of Lake Powell and the vast landscape of the Utah desert.”

The 2018 ranking of Top Luxury Experiences in order:

  1. Exclusive (VIP) Tour – 66%
  2. Private Car and Driver – 51%
  3. Custom Culinary Experiences – 46%
  4. Private Villas or Homes – 39%
  5. Private Beach or Island – 25%

Here are the top 10 international destinations from Travel Leaders Group’s 2018 survey:

  1. European (River) Cruise
  2. Caribbean Cruise
  3. Italy
  4. Europe (Mediterranean) Cruise
  5. Mexico
  6. Dominican Republic
  7. Jamaica
  8. Australia
  9. Europe (Baltic) Cruise
  10. France
  11. Ireland
  12. Costa Rica
  13. Aruba
  14. Bahamas
  15. Iceland
  16. South Africa
  17. England
  18. Lucia
  19. Australia/New Zealand Cruise
  20. Panama Canal Cruise

More than 1,300 travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents from Travel Leaders Network, All Aboard Travel, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, and Tzell Travel Group units participated in the annual Travel Trends Survey, which provides a barometer for what consumers from across North America are booking most frequently.