Luxury goes global: Paris Olympics, visas and the rise of ‘set-jetting’

July is Luxury Month at Inman. Tune in as we survey the evolving luxury market, explore emerging trends, and talk to top producers and influencers in the ultra-luxury space about how they got where they are today and the insights they’ve gained along the way. The month culminates with the announcement of the expanded Golden I Awards live onstage at Luxury Connect (July 29-30) in Las Vegas.

Summer has arrived, and with it, all the thrills of planning travel and summer vacations.

With inflation still a concern for many Americans, most people are planning to take fewer trips this summer. But the wealthy are planning bigger budgets for those fewer trips this year than they have in the past — and more households with an income above $100,000 plan to travel this year than last year, whereas the number of households with an income below $50,000 have significantly dropped off plans to travel in 2024 versus 2023, according to data from Deloitte.

A number of summer 2024 events and cultural influences may also steer travelers to specific areas across the globe this year. Between sports events and recent TV shows highlighting certain regions, Americans have a lot of wanderlust to manage.

During Luxury Month this year, Inman will explore how travel trends and timely events may impact the luxury market, from Golden Visa availability to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and more.

What does it mean for luxury agents and their clients? Being tuned in to current happenings, leveraging networks and connecting with clients on a more personal level.

Agent takes on the summer vacation market

Luxury vacation and second-home markets may not be as frenzied this year as they have been in the past, but many are still holding steady thus far into the summer of 2024, agents told Inman.

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Tim Allen | Coldwell Banker

“The overall market seems more balanced between buyers and sellers,” Tim Allen of the Tim Allen Properties Team at Coldwell Banker in Carmel, California, told Inman. “[It’s] more traditional. The economic market for prime properties is still in strong demand.”

Allen said his team often sees second-home interest from wealthy farmers and developers in California’s Central Valley, tech workers from Silicon Valley, oil executives from Texas, luxury buyers from Arizona, Nevada and, in recent years, increased traffic from areas of the Midwest. They also occasionally get investors from Europe and South America.

“These are just smatterings,” Allen said. “But what I think is unique about our market is that we have a fairly broad buyer pool.”

At the opposite end of the country in 30A and Destin, Florida, Jonathan Spears of the Spears Group at Compass told Inman that once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the beach town’s second-home market really saw “an explosion of interest” that the area is still benefitting from.

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Chrissy Bruchey | Pacaso

“Values in our market have been very resistant to the interest rate changes, which has been exciting,” Spears said.

According to website traffic on the luxury vacation home co-ownership marketplace Pacaso, Paris is a top market where luxury second-home buyers have expressed interest this year, Pacaso Senior Communications Manager Chrissy Bruchey told Inman.

Other second-home markets that are seeing a lot of interest thus far this summer, Bruchey added, include Park City, Utah; Bluffton, South Carolina; Horseshoe Bay, Texas; Tahoma, California; Breckenridge, Colorado; Cabo, Mexico; and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Spending in 2024

The number of summer travelers with household incomes below $50,000 is poised to drop from 31 percent in 2023 to 19 percent this year, according to a survey conducted by Deloitte.

However, wealthy households with an income over $100,000 are largely making up for that loss, with 44 percent planning on traveling this summer, compared to just 35 percent in 2023.

Wealthier households also plan to spend about 10 percent more on their longest trip of the summer, and 7 percent more on their total summer budget.

In general, Americans across all income ranges plan to take fewer trips this summer, down to an average of 2.3 trips from 3.1 trips in 2023.

Deloitte’s data suggests that luxury clients are going to make the most of their trips this year, even if they are taking fewer trips overall. And many of those savvy investors will undoubtedly also be subconsciously — or consciously — shopping for a vacation property.

Elite sporting events

Copa América, UEFA Euro, Olympic Games, oh my!

International sporting events are taking over this summer in the Americas and Europe, and luxury clients will also no doubt be using these competitions as an opportunity to travel to host cities.

Stateside, Copa América is already ongoing in cities across Nevada, Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, Missouri, Florida, California, Georgia, New Jersey and Arizona.

Meanwhile, the Euro 2024 tournament also continues across several cities in Germany, from the country’s south in Munich all the way to Hamburg in the far north.

Wimbledon, one of the world’s most elite tennis tournaments, likewise, is now underway in London through July 14.

Cycling aficionados will also be following the Tour de France, which started at the end of June and continues through July 21. The route began in Florence, Italy this year and will wrap up in Nice.

The crowning event of the season will likely be the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, which begin on July 26. There’s already been plenty of talk about the Olympics (good and bad) but set in the City of Light, it’s sure to be a memorable tournament that attracts plenty of elite attendees eager to take in the city as they follow the competition.

Following these types of marquee events and being able to relate with luxury clients over them is an important part of creating a deeper agent-client connection, Spears told Inman.

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Jonathan Spears | Compass

“As luxury agents, we oftentimes parallel our clients’ lifestyles,” Spears said. “So when helping people transact [based] on lifestyle, you need to not only understand how they’re living but also live it yourself.”

In 2023, Spears attended the French Open in Paris and witnessed Novak Djokovic break records as he achieved his 24th Grand Slam singles title. This year, he’ll be able to draw on that experience to relate to his luxury clients who may be attending Wimbledon or the Paris Olympics. When things slow down a bit in peak summer as clients are vacationing is the perfect time to do just that, he said.

“Your opportunity is to solidify the relationship, ask them how they’re doing, see where they’re traveling,” Spears said.

“I’ve got plenty of clients who are in Paris right now, and a lot of them are enjoying the [anticipation of] the Olympics, really the festivities that are happening. And for me, I know that being able to comment on it and wish them well or check in with them: ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ send them a great restaurant recommendation, ‘Hey, we just ate at Girafe, which has got the best view of the Eiffel Tower. You guys have to check it out.’ Those little touches allow you to build a deeper connection that goes above and beyond just transacting in the states.”

Other notable luxury travel trends

Travelers are increasingly influenced to plan trips based on seeing destinations highlighted in one of their favorite TV shows or movies.

The trend called “set-jetting” is expected to bring travelers this summer to locales like Thailand (setting of upcoming Season 3 of White Lotus), Romania (the setting of Wednesday), Paris (Emily in Paris), the UK (Bridgerton and The Crown) and South Korea (Squid Game), among others, according to data from Expedia, and Vrbo.

“Gig-tripping” is also on the rise, particularly with the outsized popularity of Taylor Swift and “The Eras Tour,” prompting fans to build vacations based on destinations where they can catch Swift’s concert. The tour will be making its way across Europe this summer, with stops in Amsterdam, Zürich, Milan, Vienna, London and elsewhere.

As temperatures across Earth continue to rise with global warming, travelers are also seeking out “coolcations,” hitting up destinations that offer a respite from stifling temperatures and humidity during the hottest part of the year. Coolcation hot spots this year include Copenhagen, Latvia, Finland, the Scottish Highlands, Estonia and the Azores, according to The Points Guy.

For Allen, two of these travel trends may come into play as potential buyers come into his market this year — the HBO hit series Big Little Lies, which takes place in Monterey, California (and is rumored to have an upcoming third season), is just a short drive from his primary markets of Carmel and Pebble Beach, and the climate in the area is a cool reprieve from many other U.S. markets in the summer.

“We’ve always gotten [clients from] the Central Valley,” Allen said. “Because, as you can imagine, today it’s 110 [there] and in Monterey, it’s probably 68 or 70. So they come over here.”

The close affinity Carmel has with those feeder markets also means that Allen actively works to develop relationships with agents in those markets, he told Inman. Spears said the same of 30A’s feeder markets that are primarily located in Dallas, Nashville, New Orleans, Kansas City and Chicago.

“Being in a second-home market requires me to make sure I study up on all my feeder markets,” Spears said. “I have to watch these markets and understand what’s happening with economies and the growth of different areas.”

“At the Spears Group, we really try to focus on networking with great agents that are within our feeder markets,” he added. “So we spend a lot of time going up and visiting offices within the Compass network. Being part of Compass has been a huge benefit for us, especially to make those relationships that are critical for our marketing opportunities, really driving parallel referral traffic.”

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