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UK Luxury Travel market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Short and City Breaks market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

What you need to know

Some 41% of all holidaymakers have fallen into the definition of ‘All luxury travellers’ (see below for definition) at some point in the past five years. The overall net for luxury travel is therefore potentially very broad. However, the majority of luxury travel specialist brands are likely to concentrate on a much smaller target group. Mintel’s Big-ticket spenders account for an estimated 14% of all holidaymakers, while Five-star big-ticket spenders account for an estimated 7% (see below for definitions).

The specialist luxury sector appears to be thriving with a wave of corporate investment driving new product development, marketing activity and revenue growth, although a slowing economy, the rising cost of living and Brexit uncertainties may put the brakes on in the coming months, particularly among premium travellers under the age of 45. Beach resorts and five-star hotel/ city breaks still form the core of the market but luxury cruises, escorted touring holidays, premium adventure and luxury holiday rentals are dynamic segments, while the nature of luxury itself is becoming increasingly intangible, diverse and personalised.

Covered in this Report

For the purposes of analysis in this Report Mintel has defined three luxury traveller groups:

  • Big-ticket spenders – these are consumers who have spent either £1,000+ per head for a break of one to six nights, £1,500+ per head for a holiday of seven to 13 nights or £3,000+ per head for 14+ nights in the past five years.
  • ‘All luxury travellers’ – these are consumers who either fall into the above spending groups, or who have stayed in five-star or above accommodation, or spent £250+ per hotel night in the past five years.
  • Five-star big-ticket spenders – these are Big-ticket spenders (as defined above) who have also stayed in five-star or above accommodation in the past five years, since this is likely to be seen by most specialist brands as a core element of luxury travel.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by John Worthington, a leading analyst in the Travel sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Travel brands can curate an annual portfolio of regular trips for an emerging tribe of multi-short breakers, offering a mixed programme of holiday types including R&R, hedonistic, activity/adventure and special interest, and a variety of destinations in the UK and abroad. John Worthington
Senior Travel Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The luxury traveller market
            • Figure 1: Luxury traveller groups, August 2017
          • Under-45s most likely to reduce luxury spending as economy slows
            • UK falls down HNWI table
              • Figure 2: Top 10 nations for number of HNWIs*, 2016
            • Strong growth seen across many specialist brands
              • Figure 3: Leading luxury holiday specialist operators, by turnover, 2016
            • Getting personal
              • Wellness and gastronomy key elements
                • Figure 4: Elements of luxury travel, August 2017
              • North America and Asia are top luxury choices
                • Figure 5: Destinations visited for luxury holidays, by luxury traveller groups, August 2017
              • Cruise/escorted tours are key growth areas for specialist brands
                • Figure 6: Types of luxury holiday taken, by luxury traveller groups, August 2017
              • ‘Comfort’ and ‘feeling special’ are most popular meanings attached to luxury travel
                • Figure 7: Meanings attached to luxury holidays, by luxury traveller groups, August 2017
              • Analogue luxury
                • Figure 8: Attitudes towards holidays, by luxury traveller groups, August 2017
              • What we think
              • Issues and Insights

                • Targeting new-generation luxury clients
                  • The facts
                    • The implications
                      • Potential for celebration breaks
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • Incomes squeezed even in top quintile
                              • UK HNWI growth has been overtaken
                                • Leading long-haul destinations
                                  • Mauritius, India, Vietnam and Japan among trending luxury destinations
                                    • Luxury cruises on crest of a wave
                                      • LGBT and mini-moon opportunities
                                      • Market Background

                                        • Top household quintile sees real-term fall in income…
                                          • Figure 9: Average annual household income after tax and benefits, by quintile, 2008/09-2015/16
                                        • …but older travellers are less likely to reduce holiday spend
                                          • Figure 10: Agreement with the statement ‘Concerns about the UK economy mean that I am likely to spend less on holiday in the next 12 months’, by demographics, August 2017
                                        • UK HNWI growth has stalled
                                          • Figure 11: Top 10 nations for number of HNWIs*, 2014-16
                                        • Overseas holidays still up but growth rates slowing
                                          • Figure 12: Trends in the number and value of overseas holidays taken by UK residents, 2011-16
                                        • The hybrid long-haul traveller
                                          • Figure 13: Long-haul, short-haul and total overseas holiday volume by UK residents, 2011-16
                                        • Holidays to Spain and Italy booming
                                          • Figure 14: Top 20 overseas holiday destinations, by number of trips, 2012-16
                                        • Holidays to Caribbean up 18% in 2016
                                          • Figure 15: Top 15 long-haul holiday destinations, by number of trips by UK residents, 2015 and 2016
                                        • Maldives and Mauritius top Kuoni’s destination ranking
                                          • Japan currently a high-growth luxury destination
                                            • Figure 16: Top 20 luxury holiday destinations, Kuoni Annual Trends report, 2012-17
                                          • Ultra-luxury cruise enjoying surge in demand
                                            • Figure 17: Volume of UK ultra-luxury cruise passengers, 2010-16
                                          • Weddings in decline but spending is rising
                                            • Figure 18: Number of marriages in England and Wales, 2000-14
                                          • Same-sex marriage opportunity
                                          • Companies and Products – What You Need to Know

                                            • Kuoni remains largest luxury specialist but revenue growth is flat
                                              • Audley and ITC have become second and third-biggest players
                                                • A&K rethinks strategy in wake of Chinese investment
                                                  • Leading French specialist enters UK market
                                                    • ‘Adventure plus comfort’ and wellness are key trends
                                                    • Luxury Travel Specialists

                                                        • Figure 19: Leading luxury holiday specialist operators, by turnover, 2010-16
                                                      • Kuoni expanding its touring programme
                                                        • Fast-growing Audley positions itself as tailor-made specialist
                                                          • ITC emerges as a leading player following acquisition
                                                            • Scott Dunn revenues have tripled since 2010
                                                              • Kenwood has the highest six-year growth rate
                                                                • Destinology to open second store following full Saga takeover
                                                                  • A&K targets new breed of traveller following Chinese takeover
                                                                    • French group Voyageurs du Monde enters UK market
                                                                    • Luxury Travel Product Innovation

                                                                      • A simpler luxury aesthetic
                                                                        • Luxury adventure
                                                                          • Cruise targeting younger premium travellers
                                                                            • All-inclusive wellness
                                                                              • Airbnb-deluxe
                                                                                • Self-exploration
                                                                                  • A taste of the high life
                                                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                    • Big spenders
                                                                                      • Spa and fine dining are key elements at top end of market
                                                                                        • North America and Asia are leading destination choices
                                                                                          • Beach/city are most popular but cruise/escorted tours offer huge opportunity for specialist brands
                                                                                            • Millennials more likely to value experiences over stuff
                                                                                              • Feeling special is key at top end of market
                                                                                                • Real luxury
                                                                                                  • Human values
                                                                                                    • Hibernation mode
                                                                                                    • Defining the Luxury Traveller

                                                                                                      • One in 20 consumers spend £3,000+ per head on holiday
                                                                                                          • Figure 20: Amount spent on most expensive holiday taken, 2016 and 2017
                                                                                                        • One in 10 consumers take luxury short breaks
                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Duration of most expensive holiday taken, August 2017
                                                                                                        • Almost three in 10 holidaymakers have stayed in five-star accommodation
                                                                                                          • Figure 22: Use of premium/luxury holiday accommodation, August 2017
                                                                                                        • Luxury traveller groups
                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Luxury traveller groups, August 2017
                                                                                                        • The Luxury Traveller – Products and Services

                                                                                                            • Wellness and gastronomy are key elements
                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Elements of luxury travel, by luxury traveller groups, August 2017
                                                                                                                • Figure 25: Number of luxury travel elements in most expensive holiday, August 2017
                                                                                                            • The Luxury Traveller – Destinations

                                                                                                              • North America and Asia are leading luxury destinations
                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Destinations visited for luxury holidays, by luxury traveller groups, August 2017
                                                                                                            • The Luxury Traveller – Holiday Types

                                                                                                              • Cruise and escorted tours have big luxury travel potential
                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Types of luxury holiday taken, by luxury traveller groups, August 2017
                                                                                                              • Experimental luxury group
                                                                                                                • Figure 28: Number of luxury holiday types taken in past five years, August 2017
                                                                                                              • Dream holidays
                                                                                                              • The Luxury Traveller – Meaning of Luxury

                                                                                                                • Millennials value luxury experiences more than products
                                                                                                                  • Comfort, feeling special, unique experiences and memories are leading associations
                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Meanings attached to luxury holidays, by luxury traveller groups, August 2017
                                                                                                                  • Escape, surprise and adventure are important themes for younger luxury travellers
                                                                                                                    • Room with a view
                                                                                                                    • The Luxury Traveller – Attitudes

                                                                                                                      • Authenticity the new luxury?
                                                                                                                        • Specialist advice highly valued by luxury travellers
                                                                                                                          • Unconventional self-image
                                                                                                                            • It’s not what you own but where you’ve been
                                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Agreement with attitudinal statements towards holidays, by luxury traveller groups, August 2017
                                                                                                                            • Luxury as an analogue experience
                                                                                                                              • Luxury Occasions
                                                                                                                                • Under-45s most likely to reduce luxury spend
                                                                                                                                • CHAID Analysis – Attitudes

                                                                                                                                  • Methodology
                                                                                                                                    • A bucketful of memories
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Target groups based on statements about holidaying – CHAID – Tree output, August 2017
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Target groups based on statements about holidaying – CHAID – Table output, August 2017
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix

                                                                                                                                    • Definitions
                                                                                                                                      • Abbreviations