What’s hot in luxury this summer, Virtuoso has the answers

Virtuoso has analyzed intel from its data warehouse exceeding $63.6 billion in transactions to unveil the prevailing destinations and trends for the summer season and beyond.

And it reports that luxury travellers are making some surprising choices this season as they shake off inflation and seek out cultural immersion, new experiences and ways to beat the heat and the crowds.

What’s more, Virtuoso found that they’re willing to pay to get exactly the experience they want. From refreshing coolcations and riding the wave of the cruise industry’s newest ships to itineraries and embracing sustainable and adventurous travel choices, the common thread is that they’re turning to the guidance of professional travel advisors.

Virtuoso’s ‘Hot 10’ destinations based on the largest percentage of year-over-year growth in bookings for summer 2024, include:

1. Thailand (+162 percent)

2. Japan (+126 percent)

3. Anguilla (+70 percent)

4. Singapore (+52 percent)

5. Belgium (+50 percent)

6. Bermuda (+50 percent)

7. Iceland (+49 percent)

8. Saint Barthélemy (+49 percent)

9. Sweden (+47 percent)

10. Netherlands (+33 percent)

Virtuoso points out that travellers are returning to Asia (which has 3 countries in the top 10) as they look for cultural experiences, hospitality and service.

As for Europe, Virtuoso found that the well-travelled are still headed there this summer, “but are foregoing traditional favourites to beat the heat and the masses, opting instead for the cooler climes of the north.”

And there’s no doubt that the cruise industry is heating up. A recent survey of Virtuoso advisors found that 58% anticipate cruising will emerge as the strongest tourism sector in 2024-2025, surpassing land-only experiences.

Among the cruise categories with the highest anticipated bookings, Premium Ocean takes the lead at 34%, followed by Luxury Ocean at 27%, River at 22% and Expedition at 15%.

Some of the biggest trends shaping the industry include destination immersion with more nights in port or overnights on land; cruising to cold-weather climates like Alaska, Antarctica and the Arctic; and a rise in female solo cruising. With new cruise lines, including those that more closely mirror hotel stays, and vessels joining the market, there’s an option to suit every traveler.

Of note as well is that according to the Virtuoso Brand & Traveler Trend Tracker Study — a proprietary Virtuoso survey of high-value travellers across 15 countries conducted by YouGov — the current travel landscape is evolving.

In 2024, Millennials and Gen Z are significantly increasing their travels, while demand for travel among Gen X and Boomers remains steady.

A notable trend among younger travellers is their emphasis on sustainability. They exceed other generations in their prioritization of travel experiences that promote environmental responsibility and benefit local communities, and they are willing to pay more for them.

Additionally, Millennials and Gen Z are twice as likely to seek an adrenaline rush or participate in social impact activities. This shift is also evident even at sea. Fifty-nine percent of Virtuoso advisors have noticed a demographic transformation underway in the cruise industry, with 36% attributing this change to increased bookings from Millennials and Gen Z.

Travel plans – whatever their destination, size or length of stay – are improved with expert guidance. Between navigating flights and chaotic airports, complex travel insurance policies, securing access during one of the busiest travel seasons on record, and creating tailored, one-of-a-kind experiences, travellers rely on advisors for their invaluable advice, exclusive access and unwavering support.

And the demand remains strong: Virtuoso global sales made between January and April 2024 for travel in 2025 and 2026 are up 49%, while future cruise sales are up 52%, compared to transactions made over the same time period in 2023 for travel in 2024 and 2025.

Hotel average daily rates (ADRs) also continue to climb, with a nine percent year-over-year increase in rates this summer. July marks the peak, with rates exceeding $1,750 per night. Average global booking windows have increased 10% to 112 days. Planning their vacations earlier allows travellers sufficient time to incorporate the critical guidance of a Virtuoso travel advisor and ensures their advisor secures them the most desired hotels and room categories.

Go to www.virtuoso.com for more.