Will 2014 be the year travel companies figure out a way to offer affluent consumers an ultra-premium, door-to-door travel experience?
The answer remains unclear, but the question has been getting quite a bit of attention lately. Global business forecasting firm Oxford Economics recently identified the lack of a premium-priced “seamless travel” product as an area of opportunity in a new global travel trends report commissioned by Amadeus. (http://bit.ly/1eyt38o)
“Why not do this with one ticket?” Oxford associate director and report author Andrew Tessler told me recently during a phone interview.
“Airlines are all doing their own things. Airports are doing their own things. The revenue generating optics are there. People want to pay to escape the hassles,” Tessler said.
Some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic will send a luxury limo to pick up premium-ticket passengers at their lodging and, upon arrival at the airport, provide them with a streamlined flight check-in experience. But that only captures half of the trip.
Airlines are increasingly striving to cater to “high-value customers” who are “happy to utilize ancillary services,” according to a different report published recently by consulting firm IdeaWorks. (http://bit.ly/1n59dnO)
People have already proven that they’ll pay for early boarding and extra legroom, for example, and 11 airlines now offer VIP airport services such as luxury sedan rides to the plane, the report notes.
Readers: Would you pay extra for a travel experience where you were taken care of from door to door? If so, why and how much?