One of the biggest trends coming out of the pandemic has been what I like to call the luxification of luxury travel.
Whether it's adventure companies, four-star players or long-standing traditional luxury tour operators, most are upping their game in order to meet the demands of post-pandemic travelers looking for the privacy and safety of higher-end accommodations over a bargain.
Among those expanding their luxury offerings is the active travel company Backroads, which has just announced five new small group adventure tours in North America featuring less-traveled destinations with bucket-list worthy lodging.
Hotels featured on the multi-adventure trips to Newfoundland, Vancouver Island, the Canadian Rockies, Yellowstone and Tetons national parks and Aspen include Fogo Island Inn, Fishers' Loft Inn, Long Beach Lodge Resort, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, the Bobbie Burns and Bugaboo lodges, Hotel Jerome, Kimpton Armory Hotel, Sage Lodge and Hotel Jackson.
"We've heard from our guests how much they've enjoyed staying at some of the best hotels on the planet while traveling with Backroads to other continents," said Tom Hale, president and founder of the company. "These new North American trips are in a league of their own, with adventurous activities and amazing hotels that reflect the character and style of their regions."
In addition to bike trips in Aspen and to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, itineraries include a heli-hiking tour in the Canadian Rockies, a multi-adventure trip in Vancouver and a walking and hiking tour in Newfoundland.
While companies like Backroads, which offers both "premier" and "casual" lodging, expand on those premium offerings, more traditionally pure-luxe players like Abercrombie & Kent have been focused on adding to their super-luxe products, particularly those offering everything private.
And all signs indicate many of those venturing out early are indeed the affluent who are willing to pay up to stay safe.
Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the luxury playground of Los Cabos, Mexico, says private jet arrivals from international destinations are up 140% this year.
"We are definitely seeing a more affluent type of visitor coming to the destination," he said.
And Esponda said the increase in private jet travel and the upgrading of luxury in general is a trend that he thinks will continue.
"There are four or five luxury hotels being built right now, and those projects have not slowed whatsoever, and I think with this trend they will be more encouraged to keep building in the destination," he said.