16 Jun 2012
While spur-of-the-moment backpackers and last-minute adventurers may scoff at planned holidays, traveller profiling by marketing experts, brand innovators and trend specialists is serious business.
Earlier this month, a forum of experts at the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Asia 2012, held in Shanghai, unveiled "breeds" of up-market travellers based on analysis by Future Poll, the research division of The Future Laboratory. The tribes include status-seekers (who prefer privileged access and behind-the-scenes experiences); luxe packs (large groups of friends or family who travel in house-party style); green shoots (the environmentally aware, who seek cultural engagement, typically in upcoming destinations such as Cambodia and regional China); and ultra-honeymooners (who spend more than $250,000 on destination weddings and honeymoons).
The most influential people in Sport
The term single saris has also been identified for professional women from India travelling solo, while China's so-called frugal millionaires apparently are challenging top brands to deliver "elements of economy".
Many companies have been savvy enough to anticipate these trends. Abercrombie & Kent has tailored packages for cashed-up families and group celebrations, while Banyan Tree and Six Senses properties offer
top-drawer lodgings with keen green credentials. Hoteliers in fashionable Asian quarters such as Georgetown in Penang and Galle Fort in Sri Lanka are targeting mature "flashpackers" who want high style on an achievable budget.
Adelaide-based "travel stylist" Kerry Schmook from Luxury Life Travel, who attended ILTM Asia, says the trends data shouldn't come as big news for high-end agents. "I've always responded to the individual, whatever their personality," she says. "The labels should be less important."
The Three Valleys:
Courchevel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens, France. les3vallees.com
Stay: Hotel Le K2, Rue des Clarines
A new hotel with spacious alpine chalets on Courchevel's Cospillot slope; hotellek2.com.
Altapura, Rue du Soleil, Val Thorens
Opened last year, this well-located hotel offers the luxury of ski-in, ski-out access; altapura.fr.
Le Melezin, Rue de Bellecote, Courchevel
Set amid conifer-clad slopes a stroll from one of Europe's most popular ski hubs; amanresorts.com.
After dark: Night tobogganing, Val Thorens
This 6km, 45-minute run is the longest in Europe; hire head-torches and helmets, and enjoy mulled wine and cheese served at the bottom of the run; valthorens.com.
Dine: La Bouitte, St Marcel, 5km from Les Menuires
Rene and Maxime Meilleur are popular father-and-son chefs at this Michelin-starred restaurant. Try the house speciality of foie gras; la-bouitte.com.
The Medzery Cabaret, Preyerand, Les Menuires
This lively alpine restaurant serves French and Savoyard cuisine; there's a colourful post-dinner show; cabaret.le.medzery.free.fr.
Late: Le Malaysia, Place Caron, Val Thorens
With the biggest dance floor in the area and open until 5am; lemalaysia.com.
Ice driving: Val Thorens
A 980m Alain Proust-designed circuit (below the resort) allows beginners (and experts) to test their Top Gear skills on ice. Cars provided; icedrivingacademy.com.
Shop: Escobar, La Croisette, Les Menuires
This chocolate-maker creates homemade chocolate, nougat and genepi (liqueur) specialties; nougats-escobar.com.
Relax: La Folie Douce Club, top of Plein Sud chairlift, Val Thorens
A late-afternoon outdoor meeting place for the resorts' hippest skiers. Philippe Starck-designed decor mixed with vibrant DJ music at "the highest open-air club in Europe"; lafoliedouce-valthorens.com.
See: Cime de Caron, Val Thorens
Don't miss this 3200m peak with its amazing views of about 1000 French, Swiss and Italian summits. Better still, dine at one of the lofty restaurants; valthorens.com.
ACCESSORY OF THE WEEK
Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster, $100
THIS intensive moisturising treatment is ideal for revitalising dehydrated skin after, say, a long flight or exposure to dry climates. Each purchase helps women across the world achieve financial independence through entrepreneurship. Enter your packaging donation code at joinFITE.org and Dermalogica will contribute $US1 to qualified small-business recipients. More: 1800 659 118; dermalogica.com/au.
THE previous owners of Millhouse on the Bridge in historic Richmond, 20 minutes from Hobart, have opened charming self-contained loft accommodation at their new property. Loft Over the Vines is a studio-style apartment with a well-appointed kitchenette on the Furneaux acreage overlooking the Coal River Valley and Tolpuddle, the oldest vineyard in the valley. There's an antique queen-size brass bed and a single, plus lounge seating, reverse-cycle heating/cooling and flat-screen television. Continental breakfast consists of generous provisions and poached fruit from the estate, including rhubarb and apples. There is a two-night minimum stay: $150 a double a night. More: loftoverthevines.com.au.
Hotel: This fly-on-the-wall doco series is set at the Damson Dene hotel in England's Lake District. Manager Wayne lives in a caravan on site, new waiter Amos, from Romania, mixes up orders (rye bread becomes fried bread), and who on earth decided this would be a good marketing idea, unless the aim was to deter anyone from ever setting foot in what has to be a new version of Basil Fawlty's Torquay madhouse. Tonight, 10.30pm, LifeStyle.
Caroline Quentin: A Passage through India: Caroline Quentin tends to be annoying in her comic roles (think: Dorothy in Men Behaving Badly) but she's altogether more measured when tackling an ambitious trip the geographically diverse length of India, via national parks, deserts and plantations. She has a game-for-anything charm and looks thinner -- but India does that to you. This is episode two (of three). Friday, 7.30pm, SBS.
OUTDOOR Travel has selected deals on its 2012 luxury barge cruises through the waterways of France or Britain, such as a 25 per cent discount on crewed charters aboard Magna Carta between July and October through England. More: outdoortravel.com.au.
ECO Queenslander Holiday Home and B&B, a small, stylish Fraser Coast rental property at Maryborough, was the only tourism operator to get a gong at the recent Queensland 2012 Premier's Sustainability Awards. More: ecoqueenslander.com.
THE MetroView app morphs your smartphone into a portable Australian GPS with all the functions of a more expensive stand-alone system, such as route planning, spoken directions and speed alert warnings. Ideal for road-trip enthusiasts. $14.99. More: metroview.com.au.
EMIRATES has launched a Facebook page (facebook.com/emirates) and YouTube channel (youtube.com/emirates), plus revamped its website, attracting more than 300,000 fans in the first few weeks. The sites have weekly specials and interactive videos and quizzes.
MICHAEL Frayn's Skios (Faber & Faber, $29.99) is just out and could be the best laugh-aloud book of the year. The British playwright has a lovely, light touch, and this novel of comic hyperbole, set in Greece, revolves around mistaken identities (mostly involving playboy Oliver Fox, international man of mystery and roguish purpose) and preposterous coincidences set against the ridiculously highbrow Fred Toppler Foundation (which he sends up with a wonderful wit). If you're unfamiliar with Frayn's work, seek out his Towards the End of the Morning (1967), about working (and lunching) on a Fleet Street newspaper, for a glorious insight into the British press of the day. Back on Skios, can Fox the impostor really deliver a lecture on Innovation and Governance: the Promise of Scientometrics?