Speaking of flights, we asked, "how important is sustainability to the luxury traveler?" Reeves tells us that a survey by Altiant revealed 83% of global travelers say sustainability is important, but at the same time, few people want to compromise on quality. Sustainability was a central theme at Connections. Energy-saving tactics, locally sourced food, and electric vehicle transfers were just a few of the topics touched on there.
Is the narrative changing? "I'd say that Tokyo is one of the most progressive destinations in terms of actually taking it seriously."
One positive shift, which some hotels are responding to, is that the new generation of luxury travelers doesn't want everything all the time. They want to be selective, to have the right thing at the right time, rather than a room full of single-use items just in case.
Flying is a tricky one, but people can at least be selective about their journey and make it as meaningful as possible. You can stay for longer, not hop to Tokyo for the weekend just because you can. You can roam the country by train, take a ferry instead of a local flight.
Sustainable or meat-free dining is a challenge too, what with hotel buffets, and foods like wagyu and sushi so central to the experience. Reeves says, "one thing we want to do here - the reason we're educating agencies - is we don't want people glued to the luxury infrastructure. It's easy as a travel agent to say 'ok, I know that such-and-such a hotel is reputable,' and then to use the restaurants there because you know that you can rely on them."
"The point is to open their eyes to the fact that, actually, maybe they should be using more of the local offerings. And, in fact, travelers post-pandemic are craving that. They don't want to just be in the four walls, the safety blanket of the hotel. They want to get out and experience things. So, I think also the objective here is to showcase, you know, what's out there - get under the surface of the destination."