Pelorus: Seven travel trends for the luxury yacht industry


Seven top trends will shape the luxury travel industry for superyacht owners and charter clients over the next five years, according to the latest report from bespoke travel specialist Pelorus.

Ocean Exploration, High-Impact Conservation and Metaverse Previews were among the key trends identified by Pelorus in partnership with travel trend forecasting company Globetrender. Two other trends affecting superyachts were called Gen Alpha Design and Clean Tech Expeditions.

Ocean Exploration: This trend is likely to drive an increase in travelling by explorer or expedition yachts.

At the launch of the report, Jenny Southan, editor, founder and CEO, Globetrender said: “Intrepid travellers will increasingly be investing in explorer yachts to take them off the beaten track locations such as Alaska, away from the usual hotspots such as the Mediterranean and Caribbean.”

She said that evidence of this can be seen in the expansion of the expedition yacht market. This grew 33% in 2021 and 85 new vessels were built or ordered during the year, according to the report.

“Overall, there is increasing demand for yachts with more autonomy, range and capability,” she said.

High-Impact Conservation: High-income travellers are more concerned about sustainability and conserving the places they visit. This will only increase in the next five years.

The report said this could mean more yacht travel dedicated to ocean exploration and conservation and research activities.

New technology in yachting such as solar and hybrid options will help encourage more luxury yacht travellers, according to the report. “Over the next five years we anticipate growing demand for high impact conservation from high net worth clients who really want to make a difference,” Southan said.

She added: “For discerning high net worth travellers who are no longer impressed by caviar and gold tacks, luxury has taken on a new meaning. With scarcity as integral to its definition, luxury is becoming associated with exploring more remote wilderness locations or tracking their animals.”

Metaverse Previews: Virtual reality and the Metaverse will have a big impact on confidence in buying and chartering yachts. Pelorus and Globetrender’s report predicts virtual reality will be used not to replace travel but to sell it, through a ‘try before you buy’ virtual experience. While the technology is currently being considered for destination previews, it could be expanded into previewing yachts virtually in the near future, which could lead to more charter bookings and potentially more yacht sales.

“Being able to offer a Metaverse preview will help boost confidence among high-spending clients,” said Southan.

Gen Alpha Design: This trend is focused on the many new high net worth individuals (HNWI) coming into the yachting industry as charter clients or owners, who are millennials aged between 26 to 41 with changing needs. Pelorus and Globetrender looked at how these customers are going to influence routes and destinations for luxury travel.

Southan said: “Not only are Millennials the most travelled generation, but a large proportion of them are now exploring the world with their children.” She added that travel will include educational trips for the children, known as generation Alpha. “Companies have a huge opportunity to recalibrate their offerings to better cater to their youthful demographic.”

Geordie Mackay-Lewis, co-founder and CEO, Pelorus added: “What we’ve seen over the last two or three years is an increase in educational travel and requests for more of an educational slant on their travel experiences.” He said requests for educational trips have increased 185% between 2021 and 2022.

The report predicted there could be an uptick in yacht travel around Sardinia, Antigua, Barbuda and Indonesia that ties in with treasure hunts for owners’ children.

Clean Tech Expeditions: Luxury travel modes will be chosen depending on the carbon emitted by the vehicle over the next five years and beyond. Pelorus said we should see more adoption of sustainable alternatives or changes, such as electric and hybrid electric propulsion systems for yachts and electrically-powered tenders.

As well as looking at the upcoming trends, the report said that demand for luxury travel will continue to increase alongside the growing number of millionaires, particularly in Asia. Globetrender predicts 13% of Singaporeans are going to be millionaires by 2034, which will be a driver for private luxury travel in the future.

Pelorus seven top travel trends – at a glance

  • Ocean Exploration: More scuba diving, which means more yacht trips
  • High-Impact Conservation: More consciousness on sustainability and protecting natural habitats, more trips to countries in Africa for anti-poaching excursions
  • Metaverse Previews: ‘Try before you buy’ through virtual reality
  • Gen Alpha Design: Greater focus on exploring world with children, more focus on educational trips
  • Clean Tech Expeditions: Increased demand for reduced emission/emission-free transport
  • Gamma Destinations: Move from over-crowded tourist hotspots to more unexplored areas, could see more diverse yacht routes
  • Grand Tours: Extending luxury travel trips on land.

The research was based on quantitative travel data as well as feedback from Pelorus’ clients and their travel preferences.

Read the full report here.

Read the trends for private jet travel here.