5 minutes with an expert on luxury

CIM spoke with Michelle Papas, event director at Luxperience, about the reasons behind the growth in the luxury sector.

What factors are behind Luxperience’s continued success? Luxperience is the only luxury travel focused business event of its kind in the region and the demand for premium travel experiences continues to rise from the consumer bases in our region. This increasing interest is the reason Australian premium travellers are recognised for having the capacity to provide high yielding business for many suppliers both locally and abroad. The ever-growing interest for premium travel also means we increase market share year on year.

How do you think trade shows in the travel sector are changing? Trade shows are becoming increasingly boutique and niche, recognising the specialised nature of travel and the ‘wants’ of consumers. The growth in tailor-made and more immersive travel experiences amongst consumers has driven the emergence of more specialist shows either by region or style of travel. With exhibitors becoming increasingly savvy and aware, there is also a greater focus on providing ROI as the competition grows.

What do you think buyers are looking for now when it comes to luxury? First of all, buyers are seeking a wider variety of luxury experiences. With faster and improved communication methods, buyers are dealing with heightened awareness from potential consumers with even more options available. Their demands are focused toward more conscious and immersive travel experiences and, as a result, we are seeing the growth in wellness travel, socially responsible travel and travel to reach diverse cultures.

What new destinations are appearing on the luxury destination radar both locally and abroad? It is perhaps less about what new destinations are appearing on the luxury radar and more about how the existing luxury destinations are growing and adapting to meet the needs and wants of the modern high-end traveller, that is, an emphasis on authentic and immersive experiences. With destinations becoming more and more accessible thanks to new and extended airline routes as well as the continued popularity of cruising, the market is dispersing.

Is there such as thing as affordable luxury? It really depends on what lens you are viewing luxury under. Authentic luxury is about excellence, exclusivity and exceptional (sometimes rare) elements and understandably this comes at a premium cost. I would say that there are some areas of luxury travel that are becoming more accessible to consumers, especially with the rise of online aggregators and the ever-increasing competition.