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luxury travel arrangements: India’s high-end customers embark on dreamy adventures to conclude 2023


Mumbai: India’s well-heeled are getting more demanding and creative as an action-packed year for them – 20.3% returns in the stock markets; record number of IPOs – draws to a close.

Concierge services that make outlandish asks come true, for a price, are reporting far greater requests, a lot more spending and requests getting more exotic.

Vijaya Eastwood, founder and chief executive of Delhi-based CribLife, a concierge service catering to the mega rich (with investable assets of over $30 million) says she’s seen a 300-400% surge in requests. “Last year, we would have been getting two requests a day, now we’re suddenly seeing 30 requests a day,” she says. “The transaction value per request has also increased from say ₹50,000 to ₹1 lakh per request to about ₹8-9 lakh per request.”

There’s a 50% surge in requests for concierge services compared to the last year, with almost 15-20 enquiries per day. Pratik Vashisht, director of rooms at The St Regis Mumbai, adds that most requests come from the 35-45 age bracket.

Luxury travel arrangements are a big theme to end 2023, with more offbeat adventures and locations. While private jets to Maldives and Dubai are still popular for New Year revellers, people are looking at ways to top those destinations.

Amit Makker, VP operations at Aabee Holidays, says places such as Chamonix, Cape Town, Iceland, Brussels, Megeve and Marrakesh have all gained traction.This year, the concierge service has planned a 40-friend group ski vacation to Megeve. Makker adds, “But the year’s over-the-top request was 40 supercars for a drive from Cape Town to Cape Point.”Mishti Bose, CEO of concierge company Quintessentially India, says the requests have been far from traditional. “We have arranged for private driving experiences in the countryside with Aston Martin, private snowmobiling on Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland, bespoke luxurious champagne picnics along the St Tropez countryside, Bedouin barbeques, a private night tour of Petra, Jordan, etc.”

A touch of tech
Concierges are tapping into their digital prowess as well, with virtual reality entering the celebrations. Dipali Sikand, founder of the Les Concierges group, says while usual requests like luxury stays and gourmet dining are in high demand, people are interested in integrating technology for unique experiences like virtual tours.

“We arrange VR setups where guests can experience virtual tours of exotic locations, interactive games or even virtual concerts,” she tells ET. There’s also live streaming for friends and family who can’t attend celebrations in person.

Back to basics
There is also a growing number of guests seeking sustainable travel options and eco-friendly events. Nature walks, heritage walks, outdoor picnics, DIY workshops and pottery classes are popular, says Rajat Gera, commercial director at the Six Senses Fort Barwara in Rajasthan.

A representative of Conrad Pune also adds that families are seeking guided, personalised tours of local attractions. Another trend is the demand for intimate, bespoke experiences this end of season. “A few years ago, there would be one massive party that all the couples would want to attend but now they’re looking for something more bespoke,” shares Karan Bhangay, founder, Indulge Global Concierge, an invitation-only luxury concierge service with annual memberships of around ₹4 lakh.


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