TORONTO — With travellers looking for more privacy, more space and more personalized service nowadays, many experts are anticipating a quick comeback for luxury travel. Leading the way will be Canlink Travel Representatives, which represents some of the world’s most ultra-luxe hotels. We asked President Elaine Carnegie how she foresees the market to evolve post-pandemic and what agents need to know to better sell luxury moving forward.
What kind of winter season are you anticipating?
Forward bookings are very good and inquiries keep coming in. This winter will be one of the busiest in a long time. The main message is to book the luxury product now in order to secure the dates, hotel and the suite type or villa that you want. It does not take long for a luxury hotel with 30 or 50 rooms to fill when booked by travellers worldwide. If there is a promotion, book it when you see it as it likely will not be available at a later date.
Do you think luxury travel will be in greater demand post-pandemic?
Luxury travel will continue to be in great demand – it is now and will continue to be. Our luxury hotels have a fewer number of suites in total than the larger hotels, which allows them to offer a tremendous amount of space. The luxury traveller really wants to catch up on the travel they have missed and no longer put off any bucket-list trips. Many have decided “let’s do this now” as you never know what the future may bring.
Are you seeing more private group bookings?
Yes! Families and small groups of friends want to reconnect and also love to travel, so why not do both at the same time…together! Our hotels that offer large two-, three- and four-bedroom suites and, of course, our villas are very popular for these small groups. A group of 20 friends can book a few villas and create a very personalized experience with a chef, dine-arounds between villas and more. Plus, families can book a couple of two-bedroom suites for their small group. We even have two-bedroom villas that are fantastic with a cook, housekeeper and more. Families and friends love these options and can truly see the amazing value as the cost is shared.
Do you think new health protocols will take away from the luxury experience?
Not at all because clients and their agents are getting used to the new requirements for various destinations, plus luxury hotels have fine-tuned how they handle this on property. Luxury hotels handle everything about the guest experience with great detail, and they also realize that the health and safety feature is very important to the experience. The client realizes this is part of the experience now and will definitely notice the attention to detail. They will feel very comfortable, relaxed and pleased.
What do agents need to know about booking luxury travel right now?
They need to stress to their clients to book their vacation now to avoid disappointment. Waiting could very likely mean that their clients will not be able to get their first choice. Also, suggest luxury options to clients you may have previously thought were not a luxury client. We are seeing the new luxury client is one who has now changed the importance of some things in their life and luxury travel is a new choice for them. They want to experience this now and create new special memories. We are happy to help agents any time to provide information to help them close a sale to any of our very special hotels and villas.
For more information go to canlinktravel.com.