Insights

Could Revenge Travel be the hottest trend of 2021?

“The best form of revenge is success,” once said Frank Sinatra. Adjust that famous saying by swapping ‘success’ for ‘travel’, and you have what might be 2021’s hottest travel trend. Essentially built on the concept of liberation, revenge travel is a brave and exciting movement. Missing out on the enriching experience of travel and discovery for almost an entire year has been difficult for many of us, but this concept could open up a world of possibilities.

Surprisingly, it isn’t a new phenomenon

According to Nikkei Asia, revenge travel is ‘a riff on the 1980s concept of revenge spending’, traced back to the spending explosion that took place in China at the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976. As the country emerged from an economic recession, Chinese shoppers splurged on high-end products, and the sales for luxury brands skyrocketed. 

In fact, the pattern repeated itself last year in stunning style in China’s southern city of Guangzhou. On the day its flagship store reopened in April 2020, French high-fashion retailer Hermès brought in $2.7 million, the highest figure for a single boutique in China. Will the travel sector follow retail’s path?

But while the concept of liberation after a period in the dark isn’t anything new, it’s probably fair to say that it hasn’t been seen on a global scale before. Now, as we emerge into a hopeful 2021, the entire world feels ready to spread its wings and make up for the lost year of 2020.

Even back in May 2020, a Harris Poll of 2,500 US travellers found that the yearning to travel had only increased, with feelings of a strong need to explore and have a change of scenery as one of the biggest motivational factors. But what are travel industry professionals saying about revenge travel? 

An inside perspective

“We’re seeing inquiries that are quite ambitious, and I think that’s because people have had months to re-evaluate their lives and are emerging with a different perspective on things,” said Mark Allvey, CEO of Untold Story Travel when speaking to the Boston Globe in December 2020.

“There’s a renewed realization that life is short and not everything has to be saved for a rainy day,” explained Allvey. Untold Story creates custom high-end travel trips and some of their recent bookings perhaps shed some light on the positive thinking that the revenge travel concept inspires.

Two families hired Untold Story to plan an outlandish “desert island survival” competition for them in Panama. Another group of friends are renting an entire castle in Scotland and three different families have commissioned a Mamma Mia!-themed escape to the beautiful Greek Island of Mykonos.

And while these examples are perhaps at the more unusual end of the revenge travel trend, it does show an inclination to look beyond the typical holiday and finally book that dream experience.

Perhaps the most poignant example of this comes from the luxury travel company Red Savannah, who told the story of a couple who were scheduled to be married in 2020 but were forced to delay the wedding until 2021. Their frustration led to them upgrading their honeymoon to offset the stress and sadness of the postponement. Maybe inspired by the revenge travel concept, they’re now including Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, and the Seychelles in their honeymoon.

A positive year ahead, however you choose it

That is an extreme example of an upgrade but 2021 could also see smaller changes to your bookings that make a big difference, such as better hotel suites, moving up from economy to business class on your next flight or booking private and safer car transfers with ROLZO

Luxury Travel Advisor Josh Alexander of Protravel International said in an interview last September that his clients are “typically spending more than they originally planned to upgrade their room to a suite or to book a more expensive hotel.”

But also, don’t forget about classic movie-style getaways such as the long-distance road trip – certainly one of the more romantic ways to explore the revenge travel concept. So, whether it’s cruising down the Californian coast or booking that dreamy trip to the Maldives, there’s plenty of hope that travel will bounce back stronger than ever.

And with luxury mobility in more than 300 cities across 60 countries, ROLZO looks forward to supporting travellers in their future positive journeys in 2021.

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