For the Luxury Travel Industry, Biking Is the New Golf
Published by Skift | By Greg Oates
An excerpt of the The Changing Business of Selling Luxury Travel
Heading into its 50th anniversary year in 2016, Butterfield & Robinson is a high-end tour operator specializing in “slow” biking and walking itineraries with upscale dining and accommodations. CEO Norman Howe says the idea of biking tours for the luxury segment is surprising to some people, but the trend toward wellness over the last two decades has spurred demand for active luxury travel for small groups and customized independent consumers. Biking and walking also inject affluent visitors more directly into communities in new and unsuspected ways.
“The appetite has shifted from what we might call trophy hunting, or that kind of blatant aspect of luxury travel, to one that’s more about the experience,” says Howe. “In newer markets like Russia and China, you still see consumers very much focusing on the bling aspect. Latin America, particularly Brazil at the very top end of the market, is moving into that space of really valuing the experience over hard luxury goods. In the American market, it is probably the most advanced in terms of where the market is focusing looking at the future.”