Luxury leisure sales soaring, advisors report

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Luxury leisure travel sales continue to soar, with rising demand for domestic trips, particularly last-minute getaways, eclipsing growth of international sales, according to the Ovation Travel Group.

The New York-based company, one of the largest independently owned travel management companies in the U.S., recently reported that it has seen a 20% year-over-year increase in bookings across all travel segments and a 40% year-over-year-increase in luxury leisure sales.

“Bookings for international and domestic travel are both on the rise among Ovation’s clients, but for a large cross-section of our advisors, interest in domestic travel has seen exponential gains,” said Paul Metselaar, CEO of Ovation Travel Group. “In addition to organic growth in the overall marketplace along with Ovation’s heightened market share, one of the principal reasons for the dramatic boost has been the rise in demand for last-minute getaways among our clientele.”

The most favored destinations domestically for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020? Florida, California and Hawaii, Ovation says.

Florida is the most popular of the three states, with Miami, Miami Beach and Palm Beach attracting the largest numbers of Ovation’s clientele. While most clients enjoy Florida’s fun-in-the-sun experiences, it is also a popular embarkation point for cruises.

“For my clients, Miami is an easy destination to get to,” stated Andrew Steinberg, a New York City-based Ovation travel advisor. “Beyond offering value and beautiful weather, Miami is popular because of its great food scene, fun nightlife with emerging artists and inspired collections at museums.”

Second-place California’s most-visited cities among Ovation’s clientele are San Francisco and Los Angeles, yet there are gems that charm the company’s clients in less populous areas like Big Sur, Napa Valley and Montecito, the company.

Hawaii comes in at No. 3, with Kauai being particularly popular because of its more exclusive feel, Ovation said.
Internationally, the company says, Italy is the hands-down favorite, followed by France, United Kingdom and Spain. Ovation is also seeing increased demand for key markets within Africa and Asia, as well as Barbados.

“Barbados has entered the all-inclusive market, which has contributed to its demand,” said Wayne Davis, a New York-based travel advisor with Ovation. “Another contributor has been the negative headlines out of Dominican Republic.”

Ovation’s advisors also identified several top “emerging” international destinations where they have seen significant spikes in demand, including  two southern Italian regions – Puglia and Sicily – as well as Croatia, Israel, Japan, Rwanda and Tanzania.

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