Rich Folks’ Vacations

As the economy prompts most consumers to curtail their spending, travel marketers will look to wealthy folks to take up some of the slack. The Luxury Institute reports this month on the travel preferences of wealthy consumers (average net worth of $3.3 million, average household income of $332,000).

Fifty-eight percent said “scenery and nature” are the important factors for them in choosing a vacation destination. Since the rich these days are unlikely to be idle rich, many are interested in a “relaxing retreat” — a priority mentioned by 32 percent of respondents. Among other desirable traits in a destination are beach access (cited by 49 percent) and sightseeing (47 percent). Men are a bit more keen than women on nightlife and dining (48 percent vs. 42 percent). Forty-seven percent “want to learn a new skill” (such as cooking) while on vacation.

When asked to pick specific domestic destinations they favor, New York and Florida tied for top honors (each picked by 23 percent), followed by North Carolina (14 percent), Las Vegas (12 percent), Hawaii (10 percent) and California (9 percent). Italy and France won the most mentions when respondents were asked to pick destinations overseas.

Lest you envy these well-heeled vacationers, note that 58 percent “remain tethered to work via cell phone or BlackBerry.” Sixty-three percent check the voicemail on their office phone, and 56 percent participate in work-related conference calls. No wonder just 49 percent “say they feel rested when they return.”