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“Quiet Luxury”: A New Travel Trend Among the Super-Rich

“Quiet Luxury”: A New Travel Trend Among the Super-Rich

Instead of choosing luxurious, famous destinations, the super-rich are turning to discreet places that ensure both high-quality service and privacy.

Little Light, More Experience

“Quiet luxury” refers to high-end, expensive fashion items that typically do not display brand names prominently. This trend is now entering the tourism industry. The world’s wealthiest 1% are shifting away from popular destinations in favor of more secluded retreats. Examples include a $2.2 million helicopter trip to Antarctica for skiing, a $300,000 polar bear hunting trip in Svalbard, Norway, and a $100,000 expedition tracking snow leopards in the Himalayas with famous explorers.

Types of Quiet Luxury Travelers

Phạm Hà, Chairman and CEO of LuxGroup, categorizes discreet luxury customers into three groups: those who express their wealth through their homes, those who prefer high-end products, and those who seek luxurious and unique experiences such as staying at 5-star resorts or flying business class or on private jets. Quiet luxury travelers fall into the latter group, favoring high-quality, unique services.

“Rich travelers are not necessarily sophisticated and refined. Quiet luxury travelers are often sophisticated with deep cultural knowledge, requiring service providers who understand their tastes,” Hà said.

Evolving Priorities

Jaclyn Sienna India, founder of the ultra-luxury travel company Sienna Charles, considers herself a long-time devotee of the quiet luxury trend. While many wealthy individuals may enjoy Parisian boulevards or the Monaco coast, she prefers to visit Ho Chi Minh City annually. Her clients are increasingly focused on spending time with family and caring for their physical and mental health. This shift is reflected in their travel choices, emphasizing meaningful experiences over glamorous destinations.

According to the 2023 Henley & Partners report, there are 28,420 millionaires worldwide, each with at least $100 million in investable assets, marking a nearly 12% increase from 2022 and double the number in 2003. This wealth increase has shifted their priorities towards privacy, tranquility, and unique experiences, while still seeking luxurious services that affirm their wealth, power, and status with a refined appreciation for cultural and heritage values.

Erica Jackowitz, founder of Roman & Erica, a luxury lifestyle company for the super-rich, likened the “quiet luxury” travel trend to the subtle elegance of cashmere, contrasting with the previous trend of overtly displaying wealth. She noted that the pandemic has fueled the desire for meaningful experiences, from custom yacht cruises to private tennis sessions with world-renowned players like Roger Federer.

Opportunities for Vietnamese Businesses

Experts believe Vietnam has great potential to attract quiet luxury travelers due to its diverse and rich natural landscapes and unique, yet-to-be-discovered destinations. Vietnam offers a rich cultural and historical backdrop, allowing visitors to enjoy natural beauty and deep cultural experiences simultaneously.

Safety and security are crucial for luxury travelers, making Vietnam, with its stable political and social environment, a preferred destination. In recent years, many international celebrities, billionaires, and prominent business figures have opted for private travel experiences in Vietnam. For instance, in March 2024, billionaire Bill Gates and his girlfriend took a private jet to Da Nang for a four-day trip, engaging in activities such as sightseeing, meditation, and tennis at a resort.

Despite the growing number of luxury-focused travel businesses in Vietnam, the challenge lies in reaching these high-spending yet discreet clients. Vietnamese businesses need to establish partnerships with luxury travel agents and companies in various markets to better access this target audience.

Nguyễn Đức Hạnh, CEO of All Asia Vacation, which organized Bill Gates’ trip, shared that it took five years to connect with a high-end travel company based in the US. They had to pay an initial fee of about $150,000, plus annual fees, and waited five years for a meeting, which then opened up opportunities to reach more potential clients.

Phạm Hà, CEO of LuxGroup, emphasized the importance of personnel in creating unique and private experiences for clients. Having served 80-90% of quiet luxury travelers, he noted that the most memorable experiences, both positive and negative, often stem from human interaction. Therefore, he stressed the need for Vietnamese tourism businesses to train staff in good communication skills and cultural, linguistic, and service nuances for clients from different countries.

Quiet luxury clients are typically very knowledgeable about their needs and preferences. Thus, to serve them well, staff must not only be dedicated but also become connoisseurs and experts in their fields.

“Businesses can only provide the best of the best experiences for their clients if they have a corresponding high-caliber team,” Hà emphasized.

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