A year OutThere 2023:
Luxury and experiential travel insights

We’re OutThere

Each year at OutThere, we compile an annual luxury travel insights report that helps both our editorial and commercial teams plan out content and partnerships for the year ahead. It provides valuable predictions from data collected from our most engaged OutThere travellers about their travel behaviour, decision-making and spending habits in the luxury and experiential travel space. Over the last few years, we have released the findings to our partners who have found them incredibly useful. We’re pleased to be able to do so again this year. 

Since the pandemic began in 2020, the landscape of travel has been highly changeable, causing OutThere travellers to act in ways that we had never seen before. We are all more than aware of the post-pandemic-driven industry trends; and we have even found that in some cases, longer-term forecasts were accelerated… while there is some evidence of levelling out and a return to pre-pandemic conditions, it seems travellers have gotten used to being impulsive and have become far more discerning… savvy even, playing the demand-side swing to their advantage. As such, patterns of behaviour – on the whole – remain somewhat unpredictable.

And even as we steadily emerge from pandemic times, we’re more than aware that travellers will face new and uncertain factors impacting their travel: economic and cost-of-living / cost-of-travel challenges (and with that price elasticity and rapid changes in demand), a war in Europe, enduring Covid ‘PTSD’ and even restrictions, among other ‘anxieties’ that may impact the way they book and travel.

Thus, this year’s report will focus on the macro-factors around luxury and experiential travel: the ‘why’ and ‘how’ we will travel this year and beyond, rather than just the ‘where to’ and ‘with whom’ that we’ve focused on in the past. It is in this data, that we have seen more enduring insights, over circumstantial or fashion-driven movements or inclinations.

This year, we have also deliberately concentrated on horizon-based insights, things that will impact the very near future, rather than those that are blue-sky and longer term. We have gone deeper to explore what OutThere travellers are thinking now, especially when it comes to travel’s much bigger questions, brought about by everything that has happened in the last few years and what we continue to face.

This year’s sample consisted of 5% of our readership: all affluent, opinion-leading and worldly OutThere travellers who share in our values of diversity, discovery and discernment. These travellers are redefining what luxury travel means in the new ‘roaring 20s’. While the sample is small, the value of the insights that we have received is significant. We hope that they will prove as useful to you as they are to us and help you to further understand the needs and wants of our unique audience base at this time and as we navigate the coming year.

If you have any questions, or would like to find out more about how we can help you engage with our audience, please don’t hesitate to let us know. 

Uwern Jong & Martin Perry
Founding Experientialists, OutThere

Email us or request OutThere’s 2023 media-kit

Photography by Martin Perry at V Villas Phuket M Gallery, from OutThere’s Thailand Revisited Issue

Take me to the trends or continue scrolling down to browse.

< Return to OutThere.travel

The future’s OutThere


Travel behaviour
Notable patterns from our research into OutThere consumer behaviour.

Insight 1: Inclusion and transparency are core values
OutThere travellers are proactively looking to travel providers who are transparent and can outwardly demonstrate inclusivity in their outlook.

Insight 2: It’s all about me
Self-indulgence will be the primary motivating factor for OutThere travellers this year.

Insight 3: Protagonists, not tourists
OutThere travellers are looking to be at the very centre of storytelling when they travel.

Insight 4: Connection, reconnection and community
OutThere travellers will travel overwhelmingly to connect and reconnect with ourselves, the people around us and the global communities that we’re part of.

Insight 5: Let’s get truly personal
OutThere travellers will continue to redefine luxury and are looking for enhanced personalisation, or ‘true personalisation’ when they travel.

Insight 6: Tales of the city
Bucking the trends still evident in mainstream travel, OutThere travellers will lead the charge back to urban destinations.

Insight 7: Preserving culture
OutThere travellers are looking for cultural immersion, particularly those showcasing cultural sub-sectors, creative economies, living heritage and community-based cultural expressions.

Insight 8: Let’s really get OutThere
OutThere travellers will be looking for ‘liberated luxury’: unbound experiences that challenge the parameters of traditional luxury travel expectations and well outside their comfort zones.

Insight 9: Cruises are OutThere
2023 will see a rapid return to the luxurious experiences on the water.

Photography by Martin Perry on location in Glenartney / Gleneagles, Scotland for OutThere’s Spellbinding Scotland Issue

Travel behaviour

While patterns of travel behaviour are becoming less erratic, it remains challenging to gauge how OutThere travellers will behave in 2023. In our quantitative research, for example, we saw a much more even spread across responses, as opposed to clear-cut answers. While there is undoubtedly an insatiable demand for travel, it seems that OutThere travellers will be far more spontaneous, savvy and perhaps even gratuitous in the way they approach their travels. These are some notable takeouts:

Travel is a firm spending priority (especially for the wealthy) in 2023

87% of OutThere travellers have said that travel will be a ‘high’ (43%) or ‘very high’ (44%) priority this year; a 7% increase as compared to last year. This demonstrates increased confidence and an appetite for travel. Despite continued uncertainty in 2022, 92% of OutThere travellers travelled internationally. These respondents have unanimously stated that the cost-of-living crisis or economic uncertainty will not affect their travel spend. However, we have noted from this data that there is a correlation to wealth. Of these respondents, those in the highest income or household wealth bracket see travel as a ‘very high’ priority, whereas others see it as a ‘high’ priority.

It seems that the wealthy will continue to travel indiscriminately. Of the wealthiest of OutThere respondents, 61% plan to ‘spend more on travel’ in 2023, to ‘upgrade the quality of their experience’, or ‘go further’ and ‘travel deeper’ … an increase of 8% as compared to last year. This means that this already high-spending traveller will have an even greater economic impact and is looking to expand their travel horizons in 2023.

Both long-haul and domestic travel are on the up

83% of OutThere travellers will travel ‘long-haul’ in 2023. They are planning to take four international leisure trips on average this year, a volume increase of one trip as compared to last year’s research. This is still below the pre-pandemic average of five trips per year. For OutThere travellers, it seems domestic holidays are here to stay, contrary to what the industry in the mainstream is reporting.  Last year, OutThere travellers took two more domestic trips than they had done in previous years and our research shows that they intend to do the same this year.

The renaissance for travel experts continues

This year, 66% OutThere travellers will book their travel with a recommended travel advisor or tour operator, a staggering increase of 29% since 2019. We had anticipated that as the challenges and restrictions of the pandemic subsided, people would steadily return to self-booking, but were pleasantly surprised to find that they will continue booking with travel advisors having experienced the benefits of doing so over the last couple of years.

In addition, 88% of OutThere travellers will seek their inspiration from trusted commentators and mediums – websites, print mediums and specialist blogs being the ultimate source, now outperforming social media and influencer-led activity that had burgeoned in recent years. They are looking to those who can demonstrate a comprehensive understanding and moreover have an opinion of the state of travel today. 64% are looking to be led by travel experts on their choice of destination or travel provider, over proactively researching or picking one for themselves … a significant behavioural lean to the supply side.

Travel better, savvier, further and deeper

OutThere travellers are overwhelmingly looking to ‘increase the value of their holidays’. Value in this case does not mean price, deal or offer-seeking. Instead, these OutThere travellers seek to reprioritise their spending on experiences that allow them to ‘go further’ and ‘travel deeper.’ In essence, they will spend the same amount of money (or in some cases, more), but they are looking for more bang – better experiences – for their buck.

They are also looking for a greater ‘spirit of generosity’ from their travel providers: meaning those who can go the extra mile, personalise the experience, and deliver added perks, amenities and little surprises, will see a competitive advantage when working with these travellers. In addition, they are still looking for things that came as standard during the pandemic to remain: flexibility, greater hand-holding and dedicated customer service being important examples.

OutThere travellers will also be increasing the duration of their trips on average to between 7-10 nights. In previous years, the average stay was 5-7 nights. It seems that they are planning to travel for longer and perhaps also less frequently, making bigger journeys to allow them to ‘travel further’ and ‘go deeper’.

While there may be some correlation, we do not feel that this is just due to the sustainability-driven needs of those who want to ‘travel less, stay longer’ that we have been hearing a lot about in the industry. This is more based on hedonism-driven travel and an appetite for better experiences, stemming from a desire for self-indulgence. Also, in an era of more flexible working conditions and self-defined business hours, OutThere travellers feel empowered to make much more of their holiday time. This presents an opportunity for destinations and travel providers to engage travellers better and get them more invested in the destination during their stay. It also provides destinations and travel providers that neighbour popular OutThere destinations the chance to draw in travellers who traditionally would only consider a single-destination vacation into booking a multi-destination trip.

A more spontaneous traveller

36% of OutThere travellers have already booked one holiday in 2023, departing in the first 3 months of the year. A further 38% plan to book before March 2023, for a holiday departing in the following 3 months of 2023.

There is still a great level of spontaneity in the market. 42% have said that their booking window will be within a month of departure (a 7% increase from last year), with another 41% within three months of departure. We do expect this behaviour to change as the year goes on, as travellers find availability more challenging as more international visitors re-enter the market. At the start of last year, OutThere travellers were mostly looking to book their trips for year-end. The good news is that they are now looking to book more evenly across the year, albeit closer to the date of travel than before.

Traveller types

Each year we ask our respondents to choose which of the six OutThere traveller types they identify as most. It’s a barometer and indicator of the sort of travel they seek to do this year. Culture, hedonism and escapism came out on top for 2023.

1. Culturalist (25%)
2= Hedonist (20%)
2= Escapist (20%)
4. Adventurer (15%) 
5. Sophisticate (12%)
6. Insider (8%)

1. Culturalist (25%)
2. Sophisticate (19%)
3. Adventurer (17%)
4. Insider (15%)
5. Escapist (13%)
6. Hedonist (11%)

Photography by Charl Marais on location in Cape Town, for OutThere’s Captivating Cape Town Issue

< Back to contents

Inclusion and transparency are core values

For the first time this year – and in line with our brand values – we asked our readers a set of ‘diversity and inclusion’ based questions. What we learnt shocked us, but didn’t surprise us.

73% of respondents did not feel that luxury travel marketing is inclusive of today’s diverse traveller demographic, predominantly feeling that visual communications in the industry are not representative of them or today’s luxury traveller; nor did they feel that travel brands proactively target, market and promote directly to diverse community groups.

66% of respondents did not feel that luxury travel providers provide products and services that are tailored to the needs of a diverse traveller demographic.

62% of respondents did not feel that those employed by luxury travel providers are adequately trained to be sensitive to the needs of a diverse traveller demographic.

57% of respondents did not feel that travel providers are transparent about their diversity policies when it comes to non-discrimination or a diverse and socially conscious supply chain.

OutThere travellers are this year, proactively looking to destinations and travel brands that can outwardly demonstrate inclusivity in their outlook, good social responsibility and ones that value diversity and difference.

Over the last few years, we have seen a rapidly growing awareness among OutThere travellers of their impact when they travel. They put their money where their values lie and that will continue into this year and beyond. OutThere travellers truly understand their purchasing power. They have been successful in toppling conservatism in travel through boycotts and activism. They are much more aware than ever before about ownership and governance and will hold destinations and travel brands accountable.

Interestingly though, what we have noticed, is that while sustainability and environmental impact has long been a concern for OutThere travellers, this year it seems that they will initially deprioritise when it comes to choosing their holiday in lieu of hedonism and self-indulgence.

While there may be a contradiction between a desire for greater environmental stewardship and hedonism, this does not mean that there is any change in expectation. They may prioritise fun first, but they remain passionate about travelling with a purpose. 70% of OutThere travellers said that they will pay more to travel sustainably.

What we are also seeing this year is an increase in demand for supplier-based advocacy; and with that greater transparency in how travel providers go about their business. Previously more demand-driven, OutThere travellers are now looking to work and book with those who are completely open about how they work, the quality of the supply chain and whose products and services see sustainable and regenerative travel coming as a brand standard. Ultimately, they want suppliers to do the hard work for them.

“If you aren’t fully transparent, and most aren’t, now is the time for you to start the journey towards it. In France, comprehensive end-to-end supply chain accountability legislation has been brought into law: the Droit de Vigilance, a statute requiring large companies operating in France to monitor and remediate human rights and environmental risk across their global operations, and their suppliers. It’s all part of a culture shift toward transparency across supply chain industries. Further legislation will come but it’s better to be ahead than behind.”
Positive Luxury

Photography by Martin Perry, on location in New York City, USA for OutThere’s Monumental New York Issue

< Back to contents

It’s all about me

Self-indulgence will be a major theme for OutThere travel in  2023. We are seeing our respondents opt for lavish, resort-based holidays with hedonism and celebration high on the cards as a matter of immediate priority; as compared to previous years where transformative or values-based travel was in the highest demand from the outset.

However, once this desire for hedonism is satiated, we predict that they will start to seek out values-driven travel and experiences that push their boundaries and takes them out of their comfort zone. But even in those circumstances, self-indulgence will still be the prime motivator.

With self-indulgence key in the decision-making process, travel providers will easily persuade OutThere travellers to upgrade their experiences. This could be going up in airline class, even flying private, or improving or upgrading accommodation. This could also involve pushing the boundaries of existing experiences or adding-on higher-value experiences to itineraries. But while travellers are looking to purchase more to enhance their experiences, they are also seeking greater generosity from their travel providers.

One of the key priorities for OutThere travellers in this new world of unrestricted travel will also be to fulfil all the plans they had to postpone during the pandemic or didn’t fulfil because of ongoing uncertainty. They are highly likely therefore to ‘go bigger’ on these trips than originally planned. Celebrating a special occasion (both missed and current) is one of the top reasons why OutThere travellers travel: 71% will travel to mark a momentous occasion this year.

“It’s all about me” isn’t just about celebration travel. We have noted a significant increase in demand for wellness-based travel this year as well. Aligned with self-indulgence is also self-care, particularly for the mind, self-discovery and reconnection with the world and society around us, but also for body and soul.

“There has been a lot of talk about how, post-pandemic, this decade will be known as the Roaring Twenties. Just as the 1920s saw an explosion of conspicuous hedonism, Globetrender predicts that citizens of the 2020s will seek the sensual pleasures they have been denied during the Covid-19 crisis. Mindfulness and responsible travel will not necessarily be front of mind.”

Photography by David Edwards on location at Amanjena in Marrakech for OutThere’s Marvellous Marrakech Issue

< Back to contents

Protagonists, not tourists

We are seeing a distinct culture shift in the way OutThere travellers are exploring the world. At first, they wanted to cease being tourists to become travellers. No longer just content with being travellers they’re now seeking to be protagonists.

Much like OutThere travellers wanting to see themselves in luxury travel marketing and are looking for greater personalisation, these travel neo-opinion leaders and re-imagineers are demanding products and services that put them front and centre of the storytelling. They are all now part of a very well-established and developed experience economy, it is in everything and is everywhere, so they expect narratives when they travel, not just itineraries.

Moreover, stories help people contextualise their place in the world. But especially during the pandemic, they relied on stories to escape and now they can get back out into the world again, they crave it as they travel. And this isn’t really a new thing: the Insta- and TikTok-fication of travel existed even before the pandemic… but is now further exaggerated post-pandemic, there is a heightened belief that they are all, in some way, ‘micro-influencers.’ Thus, the ‘storification’ of travel has become important.

Travel brands can capitalise on this, particularly in how they communicate with travellers, but also in the way they present their products. We have seen keen interest among OutThere travellers in providers who ‘storify’ or ‘game-ify’ the guest experience… from deeply interactive websites and apps, to themed luxury train journeys, futuristic polar camps, to experiential money-can’t-buy adventures, to educational expeditions, to something as simple as ‘floating breakfasts’ at resorts. We have also seen travel providers scramble to reposition themselves: many luxury hotels are now lifestyle hotels, city properties are urban resorts, and cruises are expeditions, all working hard to develop a story for their guests.

At OutThere we have always believed in inspiration over information. During the pandemic, we had to lean into the latter for obvious reasons, to help our travellers navigate restrictions and access. But now things are far less constrained, we are back in the business of inspiration and storytelling. Our travel content is far less about lists of things to do and see; and much more about how it feels to be at the centre of a story.

“At Black Tomato, we are seeing more travellers embracing characters and narratives as they explore the world… immersing themselves in sprawling imaginative worlds, be they plucked from the silver screen or the pages of their favourite novel – escapist, playful, page-turning. During Covid, stories helped us escape, but now that we can escape for real, we’ve seen a 30% increase in interest in these narrativized approaches to the world, blending fact and fiction, this is travel with all the drama and intrigue of the world’s most enduring movies, novels, myths and legends.”
Black Tomato

Photography by Martin Perry on location in Gleneagles, Scotland for OutThere’s Spellbinding Scotland Issue

< Back to contents

Connection, reconnection and community

In 2023, OutThere travellers will travel to connect and reconnect with ourselves and the people around us. Education and engagement with communities and among people will be very important to us, a natural desire after the two years that were.

This isn’t something new per se, as it’s the very tenet of transformative travel, but this year it seems that the connection we are looking for will be more human and aligned with positive humanity.

This ties together many of the other trends this year, from the desire to be in populated cities, to the need to engage with culture and the hunger for inclusivity and transparencyIt also explains why spiritual wellness beyond physical wellness is also in great demand this year.

This is reflected in our continued appetite for transformative travel. 86% of us are interested in holidays that will help us ‘change our outlook on the world’ and ‘enable us to get a better handle on the challenging structures that still shape our society today’. As well as having fun, 77% want to get truly out there, experience and learn something that is lifechanging on their next adventure.

In 2022, social and community-based engagement – in part linked to sustainable travel – was popular, with OutThere travellers interested in destinations, properties and experiences where suppliers are giving back to the community, or to the greater good of social advancement in the destination. This year, this has developed into wider people empowerment, tied to a desire for deeper connections and reconnections. The pandemic had prevented us from engaging with our own communities on a local level, as well as with people in other countries. It has reminded us of the power of humanity and the importance of mutual understanding in travel.

Demand has shifted from just meeting locals, to community-based cultural experiences. OutThere travellers are looking for special aspects of local life that community members feel proud and comfortable sharing with guests, ideally owned, led and run by local people. Moreover, this is about ensuring that communities will directly benefit from the social-economic impact of our ‘showing up.’

This is not just about experiences that bridge a social-economic gap between travellers and locals. Event-based travel, driven by local communities – and communities that we feel part of – for example, Pride celebrations for LGBTQ+ OutThere travellers, carnivals, music festivals, fashion weeks, restaurant weeks and other live events, are also in demand.

OutThere travellers really understand the power of community. We thrive in the support, belief, collective wisdom, togetherness and success of communities around the world.

‘Luxury group travel’ is also something that OutThere travellers will be seeking this year (66% have said that they are interested in group travel this year) whether privately, as part of a chosen family or friendship group… or as part of an organised group with others. More than before, there is a desire to deepen relationships, share experiences and meet other like-minded people.

“To achieve what we’re looking for and capable of as individuals, we need to seek deeper connections and self-discovery when we travel – more clarity, purpose and joy in the miracle of being and how we interact with ourselves and those around us. At The Luminaire, we believe in the power of travel to nurture personal growth. Our goal is to identify and build upon the interests of our guests while igniting newfound passions along the way. Through visceral learning, our journeys this year endeavour to cultivate a deeper, more profound connection with the world and spark a desire to protect it.”
The Luminaire

Photography by Martin Perry on location at Amangalla, Galle, Sri Lanka for OutThere’s Seductive Sri Lanka Issue

< Back to contents

Let’s get truly personal

OutThere travellers will continue to redefine luxury and are looking for enhanced personalisation when they travel, we’re calling it “true personalisation”.

True personalisation is not just about making a tweak to accommodate a special request from an OutThere traveller, it’s about taking the time and effort to create a dialogue to understand and engage with specific wants and needs, hopes and fears. Technology can help on a rational level, but the human connection on an emotional level is also important.

The pandemic has made us much more discerning as a traveller group – we’re far less patient with accepting the status quo when we travel and more insistent that travel products and services are tailored to us, at all levels. In addition to us wanting to work with travel providers that match our values, we are going to be less tolerant of those who don’t understand us and our needs, which means providers will have to pay far more attention to the detail than before.

In 2023, travel providers will quickly see that personalised experiences will be a powerful differentiator within a rapidly hypercompetitive travel space. Those who are critically reappraising their customer management protocols or strategy will be able to optimise operations, exceed the needs and wants of customers, and see a greater return on investment, retention and loyalty.

“The pandemic may have changed travel, but what’s even more important is recognising that the pandemic has changed people. It’s changed the way people live day-to-day, their priorities and their passion points.”
Hilton International

Photography by David Edwards on location at Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy for OutThere.travel

< Back to contents

Tales of the city

Bucking the trends still evident in mainstream travel, OutThere travellers will lead the charge back to urban destinations. While over the last two years, people have sought open spaces in rural environments, 88% of OutThere travellers headed to cities instead, as well as its places to stay, eat, play and see.

OutThere travellers thrive in urban environments, away from the conservative gazes in more rural destinations. They want to be where they can meet and interact with other members of their communities. They also want to be able to engage in high-quality cultural experiences, that are endemic to urban centres.

A vast majority of OutThere travellers have already travelled to cities. Less densely populated cities that have access to open space, nature and beaches will continue to be popular, but the data indicates that in 2023, OutThere travellers will continue to lead the charge back to major metropoles. That said, we have noted a significant interest in ‘secondary cities’ this year – ones that are not country capitals but offer a unique, perhaps more relaxed take on the urban experience.   

OutThere travellers are also overwhelmingly more compliant with any remaining health ordinances and are more mindful and respectful when they travel. They also understand the power of community to rebuild after a time of crisis. Moreover, often considered opinion leaders, OutThere travellers can really set the benchmarks for urban tourism of the future and drive the mainstream back into cities.

In line with the desire to increase the average duration of their stays, city-based destinations and travel providers should consider how they can turn the traditional ‘city breaks’ into fully-fledged vacations or ‘living like a local’ trips; or work with other neighbouring partners to create greater value from regional, multi-centre holidays. Conversely, destinations and travel providers within easy reach of major city destinations should work harder to attract these travellers and expand their horizons.

In addition, with ‘bleisure’ firmly on the rise (77% of OutThere travellers are looking to add some ‘me time’ to their work trips and bring travelling companions with them), there is a significant opportunity for hoteliers to turn traditional business travellers into loyal leisure guests.

“Diverse travellers are returning with confidence to the world’s top cities. In the pandemic we’ve missed their bustling beauty, they are the heart of everything we crave. Like us, urban centres have changed too, demonstrating their resilience, inspiring difference and evolving with fresh new ideas. While new city destinations are firmly on traveller bucket-lists, there are also new hotel and attraction openings and new opportunities everywhere, so even the cities that we already know and love feel fresher than ever.”

Photography by Martin Perry on location in Budapest, Hungary for OutThere’s Beguiling Budapest Issue

< Back to contents

Preserving culture

88% of OutThere travellers profess to be culture vultures this year (an increase of 9% from last year). Of our six traveller types, “Culturalist” continues to poll highest this year. Live art and culture are among OutThere travellers’ primary interests when travelling. After Covid, they are desperate for live culture – museums, shows and cultural attractions in the immediate context – but also experiencing wider culture in general; be it interacting with people of different backgrounds, or other culturally-linked experiences like food and drink, as well as history and heritage. This is also heavily linked to their desire to return to cities and their surroundings that provide access to such experiences.

87% of OutThere travellers have said that they have tried to access global cultural experiences from home during the pandemic. Of those, 71% have admitted that they struggle with the depth and quality that virtual cultural experiences have given them. Live events will never be replaced.

We anticipate that there will be a surge in demand for cultural experiences in travel during 2023. 86% of OutThere travellers had visited a cultural attraction or event in person in 2022.

Tourism providers should look to provide an integrated approach, to include and even centralise cultural immersion within their offerings. In line with OutThere travellers’ desire for connection/reconnection and community, there is an opportunity to build on diversity and inclusion, particularly involving local communities in showcasing cultural sub-sectors, but on a micro level, creative economies, living heritage and community-based cultural expressions.

“Cultural tourism UNWTO as tourism centred on cultural attractions and products –is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry. At its highest potential, it accounts for an estimated 40% of all tourism worldwide. It intersects with heritage and religious sites, crafts, performing arts, gastronomy, festivals and special events, among others. Post-pandemic, cultural tourism will be a continuously growing and evolving sector, which continues to be transformed by changing lifestyles, burgeoning forms of culture and creativity, and traditional and digital innovation. It has also become an increasingly complex phenomenon… taking on greater political, economic, social, educational and ecological dimensions. The pandemic presents the opportunity to experiment with new models to shape more effective and sustainable alternatives for the future. While it has dramatically shifted the policy context for cultural tourism, it has also provided the opportunity to experiment with integrated models that can be taken forward in the post-pandemic context.”

Photography by BJ Pascual on location in Manila, the Philippines for OutThere’s Modern Manila Issue

< Back to contents

Let’s really get OutThere!

In 2023, OutThere travellers will also be looking for ‘liberated luxury’. These are unbound experiences, outside the parameters of traditional luxury travel. As pandemic PTSD subsides, a new mindset has emerged, centred around footloose living and with that, deepening curiousities and flexible, more open-minded lifestyles. With this comes greater demand for personalised, tailormade holidays that are not cookie-cutter itineraries: to fulfil bigger dreams, burgeoning imaginations and the hunger for the unique. In order to meet these new priorities, travel providers and their suppliers will need to break free from the traditional expectations of luxury travel.

OutThere travellers will also want to ‘go further’ and ‘travel deeper.’ With life in the pandemic (and also a rapid return to normalcy) having had a numbing effect on their senses, it’s no wonder that there is a desire for reinvigorating, must-see, eye-opening trips.

We have seen significant interest, particularly for bookings later in 2023, in immersive expeditions and  ‘journeys of discovery’. They are interested in voyages that go beyond the norm – perhaps even those outside their comfort zones  – anchored in a sense of adventure and discovery, but still rooted in luxury.

73% of OutThere travellers are interested in going on an expedition holiday before the end of 2023. This includes small-ship and expedition cruises, epic train journeys, safaris and adventures that push limits, be it physically or mentally. They are also looking to go to the farthest reaches of the earth (and now even perhaps beyond our own planet): in terms of distance, elevation, climate extremes and seclusion. They want to see – with their own eyes – things that are ‘once in a lifetime’. They are no longer content that things are ‘out of their reach’, they are willing to make the long journeys to do so. They are also willing to spend high for the pleasure of doing it in luxury and comfort; they’ll “go big or go home”.

This sense of adventure and desire for experiential travel will also be a motivating factor when choosing and booking hotels and places to stay. We note that OutThere travellers are not just looking at hotels and resorts that offer unadulterated luxury, hospitality and a sense of place, but are also interested in what hotels can do to create a truly experiential and unique stay. They are looking for memorable experiences that help them explore more of the local area, see natural and modern wonders of the world, expand their horizons and aid personal growth.

“Whatever fears our guests are facing in 2023, this will be the year to step out of the comfort zone and ‘go wild’ – rediscover old favourites, explore new destinations, try new things, reconnect with the world and most importantly, with ourselves. For some, it’s embarking on that first solo trip post-divorce or taking their teenagers on an intrepid adventure through Central America. For others, it’s hiking through the Himalayas without any phone signal or braving a polar plunge in the ice-cold waters of Antarctica. In 2023, we’re going beyond the luxury tour operator remit of planning holidays to prescribing journeys for personal growth, each one as unique as our individual guests, no matter what stage of life they are at.”
Scott Dunn

Photography by Martin Perry on location in Galle, Sri Lanka for OutThere’s Seductive Sri Lanka Issue

< Back to contents

Cruises are OutThere

We are seeing a rapid return to the experiences on the water. 59% of OutThere travellers call themselves cruise travellers and are considering a cruise holiday in 2023 and beyond.

New, luxurious, sustainability-conscious ships, itineraries and expeditions are leading this trend, but OutThere cruisers are primarily looking at out-of-the-ordinary cruise products and adventures, as well as educational and transformational on-vessel and on-land experiences. They are also being drawn by some of their favourite, usually landlubber luxury hotel brands, taking to the high seas and rivers.

Additionally, with ‘blue health’ (heralding the restorative properties of time-out on water) being a much-touted buzzword last year, it’s no wonder that private yachting trips are already on the up, with 37% of OutThere travellers actively researching VIP yacht journeys. 

We have also noted a significant increase in interest in river cruising, which has surged ahead in interest as much as ocean cruising has.

OutThere travellers are also looking to redefine cruising’s relationship to their ports of call. With a greater desire for transparency and we are interested in looking at how cruise companies can contribute better to the local communities on their stopover destinations, as well as addressing economic leakage, tax avoidance and their impact on the environment.

“Ultra-luxury and elevated cruise concepts are revolutionising the way cruising is done, and the industry has little choice but to respond accordingly. We will launch Explora 1 in 2023 and far more shortly after. In the next five years, we’ll have hydrogen-powered ships, making sailings more environmentally conscious. Our ships will all offer oceanfront suites and private terraces to around 900 passengers, as well as unparalleled luxury facilities and amenities, with a dedicated focus on guest well-being and ocean state-of-mind. We are also creating far more immersive experiences in destinations as well as aligning with local communities, spending more days in one port of call rather than blowing through.”
Explora Journeys

Photography by Martin Perry on location in Comino, Malta for OutThere’s Majestic Malta Issue

< Back to contents