Where Do You Want to Go? Survey of Sophisticated Travelers


As with so many things in life, the travel industry is guided by money. More wealthy (read Business and First Class Travelers) tend to set the trends and their preferences have historically determined which destinations are hot. Understanding these emerging travel patterns helps us all when we plan, book and live travel experiences.

And hey we’re starting a new year so it’s time to start thinking about bucket list travel experiences and planning your adventures for the year ahead.

The travel agency network Virtuoso conducted a study of what they called sophisticated travelers to find out where they plan on traveling to and our editorial Team at Going Global thought some of the responses were pretty interesting so we poured through the data to bring you this summary. OK we had an unpaid Intern working 18 hours a day while the Editors drank champagne in our private jet but that’s just how we roll. We wish!

The survey of over 8,000 respondents identified five distinct travel personalities based on travel styles. It’s a good look into the psychology of those who travel and why.

The Go-Getter (23% of respondents)

  • The Go-Getter is active, adventurous, and wants to see and do it all on their vacations
  • Trips of a Lifetime: Taking a world cruise, photographing the “big five” on an African safari, calling on all seven continents
  • Dream Destinations: Australia, Italy, New Zealand

The Connoisseur (23%)

  • The Connoisseur likes the best of the best and will indulge in food, wine, art, and architecture while traveling
  • Trips of a Lifetime: Taking a world cruise, renting a European villa, dining at Paris’ starred restaurants
  • Dream Destinations: Italy, Australia, New Zealand

The Classic Traveler (20%)

  • The Classic Travelers are loyal to the places they love and will return multiple times to their favorite destinations
  • Trips of a Lifetime: Taking a world cruise, touring Italy’s Amalfi Coast, riding the Orient-Express
  • Dream Destinations: Italy, Australia, Ireland

The Relaxationist (17%)

  • The Relaxationist travels to get away from it all – to relax, restore, and rejuvenate
  • Trips of a Lifetime: Renting a private island in the Caribbean, taking a world cruise, sailing the Mediterranean on a private yacht.
  • Dream Destinations: Italy, Australia, the Caribbean

The Trendsetter (17%)

  • The Trendsetter is all about what’s new and next, and is an early adopter of emerging destinations
  • Trips of a Lifetime: Taking a world cruise, going on safari, calling on all seven continents
  • Dream Destinations: Australia, South Africa, Italy

So what does all this marketing-speak really mean? Well here’s what the survey results revealed about what locations and experiences were most coveted.

Top Trips of a Lifetime

  1. Taking a world cruise
  2. Renting a European villa
  3. Photographing the “big five” on African Safari
  4. Renting a private island in the Caribbean
  5. Calling on all seven continents
  6. Galapagos Islands expedition
  7. Staying in Europe’s top hotel suites
  8. Antarctic cruise
  9. Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage
  10. Chartering a private jet

Top 10 Dream Destinations

  1. Australia
  2. Italy
  3. New Zealand
  4. Ireland
  5. France
  6. South Africa
  7. The Caribbean
  8. Greece
  9. England
  10. French Polynesia

Fantasy Islands                                                        

  1. Greek Islands
  2. Hawaiian Islands
  3. Fiji
  4. The Caribbean
  5. Galapagos Islands

Where to Make Dinner Reservations

  1. Paris
  2. Rome
  3. Florence
  4. New York City
  5. New Orleans

Cities That Excite                                                    

  1. Paris
  2. Rome
  3. London
  4. Sydney
  5. Barcelona

Best Trips For Two

  1. Mediterranean cruise
  2. Paris in April
  3. Caribbean resort stay
  4. Roman holiday
  5. California wine country

Where to Set Sail                                                      

  1. European river/canal
  2. The Mediterranean
  3. Alaska
  4. Australia/New Zealand
  5. World cruise

Ultimately there’s not too many surprises here but we still think it’s worthwhile understanding what destinations are hot and which ones are not. Knowing how and why travelers want to have experiences helps all of us who are passionate about traveling to focus on how the industry will evolve in the next year or so. When you’re on the road 50% of the time, this is good information to have.



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