Millennials and luxury brands

High net worth (HNW) millennials are the target audience for QALIA Member private accommodation. Millennials are in their late twenties to early/mid-forties. This generation has seen substantial technological changes and has witnessed life before and after the rise of the internet. So, they can remember the world before smartphones and social media. In addition, they will have seen the slower pace of life of their parents without the constant pressure to accumulate and react immediately.

In this article, we intend to examine the connection between millennials and luxury brands. We also explore the mindset and expectations of the HNW millennial and see how this offers exciting opportunities to the luxury vacation rental industry.

HNW millennials are interested in impact

family of elephants

Most QALIA Member properties in Samui, Thailand, support the Samui Elephant Sanctuary

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the wealth of millennials more than doubled to over $9 trillion. However, millennials are not just interested in building up wealth whatever the cost. They are concerned about the environmental and social impact of their investment decisions.

According to Fidelity Charitable, an independent American nonprofit and the nation’s largest grantmaker, 62% of millennials believe that impact investing has the power to create long-term positive change. Importantly, two-thirds report that this type of investing makes financial sense too not to mention the personal fulfilment it brings.

A survey by Fortune Magazine showed that millennials want to use their investments for good. 95% are interested in socially responsible investing and a quarter of them have more than $100,00 to invest. Furthermore, 57% have actually sold stock when they felt that the company was not acting in the best interests of society and the planet.

Just imagine the positive impact which can be achieved when this cohort of HNW millennials start to use their capital for the good of people and planet. A great example of the triple bottom line: people, planet, prosperity.

What motivates HNW millennials’ buying decisions?

ipad, keyboard and mobile

Millennials do their homework before buying


Millennials take a different view of the world compared to previous generations. They are the first generation to value experience over ownership. When you relate this to tourism, it explains perfectly the trend towards experiential travel. They tend to be “thoughtful” buyers and will do plenty of online research before making their decisions. Of course, there is no doubt that they are influenced by social media and the experiences of others. When it comes to their professional lives, they also expect businesses that they work for or partner with to have robust sustainability policies and practices.

Millennials are omnichannel consumers. They switch constantly between different channels and expect this to be a seamless experience. Consequently it is important to have consistency of messaging and an equally high quality presence on all relevant platforms.

When it comes to what millennials are looking for in a vacation, authentic experiences rank highly. Consequently, they want to travel in order to immerse themselves in different cultures and understand the heritage and lives of the locals. The days of just going away to get a suntan are over.

Millennials spend more on brands that are socially responsible and environmentally conscious.

Embracing a conscious luxury lifestyle

white tesla outside

Tesla is an example of a premium brand leading the way on sustainability

Millennials who have the resources to do so are choosing to buy from brands that are environmentally and socially responsible. This means that they are buying from sustainable fashion brands, and wearing vintage or bespoke clothing. Organic and natural beauty brands have seen significant growth in recent years as consumers have become more aware of harmful chemicals and agricultural practices.

When it comes to food, they are likely to be interested in healthy eating with less emphasis on meat. Provenance and eating local as well as organic food products will feature high on their list of requirements.

The automotive industry has been one of the leaders in environmental innovation and technology. The leading electric vehicle brand, Tesla, is a premium product and delivers both environmentally and in performance. This winning combination makes it particularly attractive to HNW millennials. However, we see that the current trend in EVs is for more affordable vehicles due to the reduction in production costs. This is another example of a premium brand driving the market and whose R&D benefits the masses.

Another area where technology is being embraced is in the home with smart apps able to help with managing energy consumption to keeping the fridge full. Many millennials who own properties are installing green technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps as these are seen as cutting-edge solutions.

HNW millennials see conscious luxury brands as innovative, trustworthy, caring and at the forefront of trends.

Opportunities for luxury rental brands

white tesla outside

Sunken sala by the pool at Mia Beach Villas, Thailand

By reading everything above, you will undoubtedly see how conscious luxury relates to the tourism industry and, specifically, private luxury accommodation.

HNW travellers are increasingly favouring private accommodation where they can totally relax, recharge and experience an exclusive service. However, as you will have gathered, their buying decisions are influenced by environmental and social concerns. Having a positive impact as part of a holiday or vacation is appealing to them. When your luxury rental brand demonstrates you are making a real contribution to limit excessive consumption of energy and water, you will stand out to these potential guests. They will also be attracted by any engagement you have with the local community, from offering attractive employment opportunities to being involved in conservation projects.

How achieving the QALIA responsible tourism standard can help you

Millennials know what to look for when they are deciding whether a conscious luxury brand is a responsible business. QALIA has been designed to make it easy for travellers to identify a responsible luxury rental. Our framework covers both environmental and social criteria and is closely linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

It comprises three levels which take properties on a natural progression with the entry level, Essentials, requiring 100% compliance to the criteria, which are all operational and easily achievable.

The QALIA team offers a personalised service to Members to ensure a stress-free experience. Furthermore, the criteria are adapted when a certain requirement is not available or achievable in a particular destination.

Importantly, we also help to connect our Members with those eco-conscious HNW travellers via partnerships with specialist agencies and PR campaigns for luxury lifestyle and travel press.

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