The (true!) longing of the Rich & Famous

Claudia Roth, Founder & Managing Director, Soul Luxury

A shift in consumer mindset is rapidly evolving and there is a new definition of luxury today; the entire idea of luxury is evolving, and the affluent traveller is looking for an experience that takes them deeper into their psyche.

I’ve been talking about a shift in the mindset of the luxury traveller for some time. I had the privilege of a conversation with Stacy Fischer-Rosenthal – the internationally known head of what is arguably the most elite travel agency in the world – on stage at the recent HEALING SUMMIT in Berlin.

To hear Stacy talking about the longing of those who have everything is fascinating! It confirms this shift in the luxury travel mindset I talk about, bringing to light her first-hand experience with the needs and desires of the ultra-rich.

Back when I worked as a senior executive for an international luxury hotel company, all of my hotel clients wanted to build a relationship with Fischer Travel, for one reason only: getting a share of the profitable luxury traveller.

In business in New York for the past 50 years, Fischer Travel isn’t just any elite travel agency – you’ve got to know someone who’s a client in order for them to consider taking you on, and even then, first, you’re vetted to see if you’re the right fit. Adding to that, you have to pay a joining fee of $100,000 plus $25,000 a year membership plus service fees – which gets her clients, as Stacy says: “what they want, when they want it – as long as it’s legal.”

While Stacy says that her clients still expect every detail of their travels to be taken care of – the thread count of their linens, the temperature of their personal plunge pools – BUT what’s shifted is what they’re really seeking: transformational experiences, self-actualisation, deeper meaning, and sincere human connections.

“They want experiences that speak to the heart, and they want to share them with people they love,” she explained. And while Fischer Travel’s clients are truly the top 1% in terms of wealth, there’s a real craving for something more profound than accumulation of more material wealth.

“It might be a new culinary journey, or to transform their eating habits, or a restorative voyage that will realign their spirit, or maybe forest bathing and reconnecting with nature,” Stacy explained.

Going to a spa and moving from one room to another doesn’t create a narrative for truly transformational experiences. The luxury traveller wants to be challenged on a deeper level, to experience a profound emotional change.

Stacy said one of the first things she asks her clients these days is how they want to feel during and after their trip. Then she looks at what they’re seeking and how she can give them a journey to nourish their soul – while at the same time continuing that luxury experience of comfort and service.

There is a new definition of luxury today; the entire idea of luxury is evolving, and the affluent traveller is looking for an experience that takes them deeper into their psyche, so that they emerge from their holiday changed, often with a greater sense of purpose and place in the world.

“My clients want to take an educational and experiential journey, and they want to connect with people and cultures around the world,” Stacy said.

And while Stacy’s clients are extremely privileged, we all know that money alone is not the key to happiness. These days health is the new wealth – and the way that the luxury traveller understands health is shifting; they seek a profound wellbeing

We are all seekers on this path we call life – admittedly to varying degrees. However, this begs the question: are you, as a provider in the realm of luxury hospitality, helping the seekers seek? How will you help them replace the feeling of emptiness and answer to their longing? How are you speaking to today’s affluent customers? Have you set your business and service strategy up to help them open up to forming new connections, trying new experiences, or bettering themselves? This is what we do at SOUL LUXURY – we help our global clients understand the shift in consumer awareness, and help them to speak to the consumers’ need for personal transformation, and even self-actualization in the context of a meaningful and profitable business strategy.