Editor’s Notes: February 2012

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You’ll find more than a few value-laden luxury properties in our semi-annual spa & luxury issue this month, along with, of course, some high-end pricing that only the truly elite can afford. Swain Tours, for example—which specializes in luxury “experiential” travel—is celebrating its 25th anniversary by offering value-added programs all the way up through November. And speaking of anniversaries, Virtuoso is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Hotels & Resorts Program and at the same time releasing its largest ever Best of the Best: 2012 Guide to the World’s Best Hotel Experiences, which features hotels, resorts, spas, lodges, villas and private islands and retreats in every corner of the world, and this year, adds 80 new properties. Additionally, clients will find amenities for each property valued at up to $450 per stay—there’s that value-added benefit again—as well as insider tips from Virtuoso’s expert advisors.

Amazingly, when the program started in 1992, there were only 21 luxury hotels; 20 years later, they’re boasting a portfolio containing 924 hotels. Four Seasons—which, by the way, has more than 50 properties in Virtuoso’s portfolio—recently released its Four Seasons Luxury Trend Report that explains that growth in luxury properties. The Trend Report affirms that luxury consumers are seeking more opportunities to travel at an elite level.

According to the report, “2011 was the year of luxury’s rebound. Almost all regions saw at least 6 percent year-over-year growth in the luxury travel sector—a key indicator of luxury in general. This surge is projected to continue; industry experts project 10 percent growth in luxury overall in 2013. At Four Seasons, revenues are projected to grow 9.2 percent in 2012.”

The company cites technology and social media as the main growth factors in the increase of luxury vacation activity, pointing out that 78 percent of the affluent participate in social networking sites, with more than half using social media to connect with a brand, with one-third of wealthy consumers owning a tablet or e-Reader, with Four Seasons revenue generated from the iPad and other tablets growing 200 percent from 2010 to 2011 and predicted to grow significantly in 2012.

The report accompanies the launch of a new Four Seasons website, fourseasons.com, an $18 million investment that offers an immersive and user-friendly experience combined with “…rich global content and impactful design,” bringing digital media to the forefront of Four Seasons’ marketing efforts.

And, according to Susan Helstab, executive v.p., marketing, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, “As luxury consumers embrace digital media on a larger scale, luxury brands that do not commit to a holistic digital media strategy will not survive; it is no longer a nice-to-have but an essential pillar of branding and marketing,” So there you have it luxury travel sellers—wire up to up your profits.

Let’s Get Social

And speaking of getting all social, Recommend has lots of great information to share, so to help you sell even more travel, we’re now on Google+. If you want to connect with us, make sure to add “Recommend” to one of your circles. And because there’s such a vast wealth of travel information out there beyond the pages of Recommend, we’re constantly scouring the web, looking for great stuff to share with you—if you want to check out what travel stories we’re reading, follow us on Twitter @WorthTravel.

Next Month

For all of you who love to sell all-inclusive properties, you’re not going to want to miss our all-inclusive resort guide to Mexico & the Caribbean, where we’ll list all of those pay-one-time properties in those very popular destinations where all-inclusive is king. And in keeping with the popularity of small ship and river cruising, we’re going to bring you hot new information on river cruising in Europe, as well as small ship cruising in the U.S., plus a whole lot more. In the meantime, have a great read.