What does the luxury traveller expect today?


In December 2023, Pelorus Co-Founder Jimmy Carroll was invited to speak at Skift Global Forum East, on his expert views on the changing expectations of the luxury traveller.  

His discussion highlighted the Pelorus’ trends in hyper-personalisation, inspiring and being inspired by the youngest generations, and the importance of gamma destinations and emerging travel regions. Full of rich insights and stories of the trips planned, we’ve pulled together some key takeaways from the talk.

gamma destinations

“The world is getting busier and busier for sure. I think a lot of our clients want world-firsts, areas that have been untrodden. So right from the beginning of Pelorus we’ve been looking at areas where we can break new ground.”

At Pelorus, we spend 20% of our resources developing and promoting Gamma Destinations which has led to a significant return in enquiries for these new frontier experiences. One example is Saudi Arabia which, while being a hub for ultra-luxury, was lacking a true experiential travel operator. Through a joint venture with a Saudi-based agency, ROAM DMC was created to offer just that. 

“Another example is Socotra, a phenomenal place, a complete oasis. Also: Chad, Gabon, Eritrea. We do use a lot of the traditional travel networks, DMCs and other people, but it’s really about our black book of contacts, government links, military links, people who have worked on David Attenborough shows or a professor from a university for example. I’ve just hosted a New Zealand trip where we brought in a volcanologist and a glaciologist, so it’s things like this that give a different perspective and mean the client is taking something away completely different.” 

gen alpha

“A massively growing trend we’ve seen since the end of the pandemic is Gen Alpha wanting to get fully involved in the planning process. I was recently on a trip in New Zealand with a client and his 12-year-old daughter, and the entire planning process was with both of them. These children have more information than we’ve ever imagined people could have at the fingertips of her hand, and she’s coming to the planning session talking about what she’s learning at school, what she’s reading online, the David Attenborough program she’s watched. She’s picking apart the itinerary to then drill me. It really pushes our bounds of creative activity.”

We’ve seen a 200% increase in conservation-led experiences since the pandemic, with clients requesting more purpose to their travel experience.​ This is often led by the children, inspiring Generation Alpha (those born after 2010) to foster a continued care for the planet.​

“The kids are the ones really driving the conservation level. We did a heli-ski operation in Antarctica where we had two yachts, a super yacht, and a support yacht with two helicopters on it. Because of that support yacht, we were able to take five scientists down with us to help Antarctica study the penguin colonies, tag whales, and there’s an 11-year-old going out scooping up penguin poop with the scientists. And then they’re studying it back on the ship. They are driving that, and it’s great to see.”


“Clients are now looking for more and more, and that is hyper-personalisation. We’re seeing it now with luxury brands at every element, but what does that really mean when it comes to going on a trip? While technology is brilliant and we absolutely embrace it, we actually want to slow down and really drill into our clients and understand them. We go to their houses and see how they live their lifestyle, and from that we can really personalise trips.”

40% of new client bookings in the past year were from travellers who felt no other company understood their real needs. This means that we’re really focusing on hyper-personalisation at every possible stage, from the initial meeting to the trip delivery, resulting in a completely bespoke tailored experience.

“A particular client in California two months ago, I was walking around the house and noticed a common theme of coastlines in her artwork. She never brought this up in travel planning sessions, but when we were creating a three-year travel plan for her to go to all the different environments, we started looking at coastal regions around the world, from where the jungle meets the coastline to Alaska where the glaciers are carving into the ocean. When we were pitching to her, she was blown away by it. She’s like, “How did you pick that up?” That would never have come about without going and visiting her at her home. I think when you’re getting into that level of granularity, that is true luxury personalisation.”

jimmy's favourite trips

“One trip earlier this year [2023] we had an 86-year-old who’s a massive motorbike fan, his son who’s 57 and a world Iron Man champion, and then his grandson who’s 22, and we took them on an epic biking road trip around Portugal.

Another we did was in October [2023] to British Columbia for a client who is a big Burning Man fan. They want to have the greatest sensory experience that you could imagine, so we had an IMAX sound technician to record the sounds of the water, the animals, the rainforest. When the client came for the trip, we had headphones laid out on a floating pontoon that we put out into the ocean. When they were in the water, they could watch orcas whilst listening to these amplified sounds, or in the rainforest hear the sounds of a bear catching a salmon. For the client, that natural experience is now driven into their ears in the most intense way.”


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