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What will 2020 hold for the luxury travel market? We were recently invited to a delightful lunch at Botanist Dining hosted by CIBC Aventura VISA Infinite to find out with renowned travel trend forecaster Cecile Poignant.

The concept of luxury (think high-end cars, watches and private jets) is now shifting to a new definition, that of time, experience and memories. As luxury travellers, we’re taking an interest in what we learn and who we meet over what we’ll buy at the boutique.

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[Sipping on Aventura cocktails ahead of lunch at Botanist Dining Vancouver]

20 years ago, luxury was synonymous with material goods – items that were easily accessible on the mass market but held exclusivity through price. Today, the definition of luxury has shifted towards intangibles that have value based on human emotion.

According to Cecile, there are four key paths that bridge these new experiential travel trends.

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We need to have contact with others and become part of a global community. Sustainability is the new norm. Doctors can now actually prescribe the outdoors to their patients to help them reconnect with nature.

No big surprise here: Slow tourism is making a comeback along with the renaissance of overnight trains. Words that peppered Cecile’s conversation included openness, analog, seasonability, sustainability, nature — and vegetables (Urban farming is also gaining ground).

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This new, modest approach leans toward the handmade and away from industry-made products (we value with emotion).

Travellers will discover a more modest approach in interior spaces, including imperfection, raw goods, such as wood, patina and linen, breathing life into repetitive chain properties. Hotels are becoming more holistic spaces, rooted in their location. As we become more aware of our senses, the goal is to break from the monotony of globalism!

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Creativity is rooted deeply in all of us, so make your way to the off the beaten path. Collect memories, not things. Over 75% of millennials are interested in the experience over the tangible possession.

The unique, bespoke experience is now working its way into the travel industry. In vogue are secret bars — you search online (or via tips from fellow travellers) for a password to unlock entry into these cool new spaces, marrying tech with creative, immersive experiences.

An Orange One
[Photo by Tim Haynes on Flickr]

Wabi Sabi, the Japanese philosophical concept that refers to the beauty of imperfection, will play a large role in the design of spaces in the travel industry as the desire for local, craft and bespoke amenities increases among luxury travellers.

Swiss watch brand Audemars Piquet is designing a new hotel, Hôtel des Horlogers d’Audemars Piguet, to open next year in the Vallée de Joux (30 miles north of Geneva, the birthplace of Swiss watches) where skiers will be able to sky along the hotel’s rooftop, a sloping five-ramp zigzag to add some zip to their experiential winter escape.

The hotel will be located next to the Audemars Piguet Museum, which will tell the story of the brand and its history.

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[Le Ferme du Vent]


Something we can definitely get behind: taking things down a notch! Silence is quickly becoming the new luxury. There are only a handful of spots remaining around the world that are void of man-made noise. This trend focuses on finding serenity in the outdoors. Agritourism, a niche concept, is just one way to connect with nature.

Located close to Mont Saint Michel in France’s Britany is Le Ferme du Vent. Owned by the Roellinger family, this super relaxing property is surrounded by water. Local materials are used, the large windows allow a ton of natural light, and if you’re lucky, some of the rooms have large bathtubs facing the sea. There’s even a unique spa onsite located in a converted barn with a huge fireplace, indoor pool and sauna. Taking care of your mental health is key, and here’s one example of a hotel doing it right.

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In all, luxury travellers want less, but better. Cecile’s takeaway here: Let’s slow down and disconnect in order to better connect with ourselves.

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Visit CIBC Aventura online for more info Images by Zooropa Video Agency.

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