3 Reasons Elite Travel Advisor Programs Help Local Communities Thrive

September 15, 2022
Smiling young female employee speaks with client on headset.

With so much media coverage of the super elite jet setting on private aircrafts to the detriment of the environment, it may seem like an odd time to talk about developing designated travel advisor programs for those who sell travel experiences to these consumers.

Quite on the contrary, however, it’s the perfect time to discuss how catering to ultra wealthy travelers can create opportunities for destinations and their local communities.

Let’s put a pin in the environmental impact for a moment and focus on the advantages of working with travel advisors who cater to the needs of luxury travelers. By working with these travel advisors, destinations can cultivate one of a kind experiences for travelers who will bring big tourism spend to local communities. Yet the impact goes well beyond just a burst of cash.

By working together to create highly-customized experiences and itineraries that are only – or at least initially – available only to luxury travelers, destinations can create a big impact with lasting effects on local businesses and the communities they support. 

 1. VIP experiences create new sustainable opportunities for partners

Through an elite travel advisor program, destination’s aren’t going to provide basic experiences that are already available for travelers to book. Travel advisors who cater to the elite are looking for something truly unique and unexpected, something that’s not already listed at the top of TripAdvisor. An early morning visit of the Sistine Chapel or a private tour of the Eiffel Tower isn’t enough. Not for the truly elite traveler, at least.

What this means for a destination is the impetus to create new experiences with local partners, to generate creative tours or workshops or even backstage visits. It means opening up previously inaccessible places – private gardens or unique homes for example – to luxury travelers. 

The possibility of working directly with the travel advisors who cater to these travelers allows your destination to have some control over where and when they go – off season for instance –  but also helps your partners build experiences that the elite traveler wants. And no, it doesn’t require any uptick in carbon emissions for it to be an elite unique experience. It simply requires your destination to embrace its local businesses and resources and to be as creative as possible. 

By generating interest among luxury travelers, destinations target a smaller population, but one that spends more, helping to ensure a healthy and constant influx of economic activity and creating a more sustainable future.

2. Elite experiences can evolve into more mainstream experiences

Working with an elite travel advisor program, your destination can create memorable, unique experiences for the 1% of travelers who are truly at the peak of luxury. In fact it’s a great way to pave long-term success for partners.

Remember, travelers, especially elite ones, can be fickle and their tastes change rapidly. Today’s amazing and unique experience won’t be as coveted tomorrow once the Kardashian’s already shared it on Instagram. At least not by most elite travelers.

However, with the infrastructure in place to facilitate these formerly elite experiences, your destination can then open them up to less affluent but equally eager travelers. It’s the equivalent of a fashion house design working its way down into H&M for commercial consumption – cue Miranda Priestly.

And in addition to creating experiences that will transition from the uber affluent to a broader range of cultural travelers, it also instills a sense of innovation among partners to generate new experiences, to make sure those elite traveler advisor programs have new experiences to sell tomorrow’s luxury travelers.

3. Luxury travelers are trendsetters that drive destination brand awareness

Even if your elite travel advisor program leads to experiences that only the ultra-wealthy can experience, it’s great exposure for your destination’s brand. When a celebrity or luxury travel influencer visits and does something unique, it can only help bolster interest in your destination among the travelers that follow them.

The first step to any of this sort of exposure, however, is to get elite travelers to your destination in the first place. That’s why elite travel advisor programs are a smart choice. By working with an intimate, curated group of travel advisors, you can help design the experiences and provide the access needed for these super wealthy travelers who will in turn share their experiences with their personal friends and perhaps post their trips on social media.

Build a program to attract these elite travelers and other visitors will pay attention and follow suit, bringing more demand for your destination and smiles to your local business owners’ faces.

Considering an elite travel advisor program? DCI has been working with destinations for more than 60 years to create the right solutions for their needs through the travel trade. Get in touch with Amalia Meiliti at [email protected] to discuss what your destination can do to develop such a program in order to achieve new levels of success.