Premiumization in Travel and Tourism, 2021 Update – Thematic Research

Luxury travel has historically been centered around the use of premium products and material possessions to create a luxury holiday. As the millennial generation becomes a larger percentage of the luxury traveler population, their preference for transformational experiences over material goods will change the premiumization industry.

This thematic research report takes an in-depth look into the theme of premiumization and its role within the travel sector today. This report analyzes key leaders in this theme, the industry in the after-effects of COVID-19, alongside key macroeconomic and premiumization-specific trends in the theme. This thematic report dives deep into the industry, whilst giving case studies as real-time examples of how premiumization has impacted the travel industry, especially after COVID-19. Recommendations are then offered for the travel sector on how to adapt to and maximize return from this theme.

“The Oxford Dictionary definition of premiumization is ‘The action or process of attempting to make a brand or product appeal to consumers by emphasizing its superior quality and exclusivity’. Premiumization can occur at many points of the travel process, however each different traveler’s perception of premium and luxury will be different. This gives scope within the theme to attract a wide, and new range of travelers. The overall identity of luxury has changed massively over past decades, where premium travelers are now looking for new ways to premiumize their trip” – Rheanna Norris, Travel & Tourism Associate Analyst, GlobalData


This thematic report provides an overview of the Premiumization role within the travel & tourism sector today and how it is important for continued revenue growth.

The key trends within this theme are split into macroeconomic trends and general premiumization trends that will impact how the theme impacts the industry.

Includes several case studies that analyze the ways that travel companies have adapted to the theme.

Our unique thematic analysis then dives deep into how other industry themes, such as personalization and ‘Big Data’ have aided the expansion of premiumization, and the impact of COVID-19 on this theme.

Key Highlights

Premiumization is linked with personalization, improving the service given in the travel and tourism space, something that is highly regarded by premium travelers.

COVID-19 is the biggest macroeconomic trend to impact the theme in 2021. The effect it can have on the premiumization theme has the possibility be two-fold.

Transformational travel is still at the forefront of the theme. With more millennial luxury travelers, the search for an experience and more meaningful travel is still present, and is even heightened amid COVID-19. This will allow for a future focus on health and wellness luxury tourism.

Worldwide travel restrictions and lockdowns have caused occupancy rates to drop across the board, however luxury hotels have not responded by reducing prices to maintain brand and premium image.

Examples of how some companies have ‘overdone’ the premium aspect and resulted in a loss, and the implications of this.

Reasons to buy

Understand the current premiumization trends within the travel landscape today and how these will develop in the near future.

Assess how companies are implementing premiumization into operations, and if they are not, why.

Acknowledge both advantages and disadvantages of attracting a premium customer, and how it is important to remember the wider picture when doing so.

Discover recommendations that will help attract the premium traveler and help to develop strategies in doing so.

GlobalData’s thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors. It has a proven track record of identifying the important themes early, enabling companies to make the right investments ahead of the competition, and secure that all-important competitive advantage.

All across the travel and tourism supply chain now have an opportunity to capitalize in the premiumization market and there are notable examples of this. Therefore, all should buy this report to fully understand how this theme will continue to be a key theme in the future travel landscape.

Companies mentioned

Abercrombie & Kent, Black Tomato, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Facebook, Four Seasons, Hilton, Instagram, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), Mandarin Oriental, Marriott, National Geographic, Palms Casino Resort, Ritz-Carlton, TikTok, Transformational Travel Council (TTC), Virtuoso.

Table of Contents


Executive Summary


Theme Briefing


Industry Analysis

Impact on Travel and Tourism

Value Chain



Further reading

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