Despite the volatile market and some dire economic predictions, the travel industry stayed on top of the numbers game in 2017. Competition is stiff, but businesses have carved their niche to reach out to their target audiences.

One niche that is showing increasing promise is luxury travel, which accounts for 7 percent of the market. According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2017/2018, high-end travel business showed annual growth in double digits.

Put simply, luxury travel is booming.

The concept of luxury travel has changed over the years. In the past, high-end travel clients demanded elite five-star hotels and first-class train tickets to Paris. They wanted nothing below business class travel, and they expected discriminating taste throughout the service. The travelers would be rich, older couples who were firmly established in society.

Today's luxury travelers come from all walks of life. They are the traditional older couples as well as the hard-working young couple from suburbia who saved up for a luxury experience. It is the women's group, and it is also the millennial who gave up a full-time job to explore the world in style.

The new generation of travelers are not satisfied with affluent ambiance and glitter. Instead, they are willing to pay top price for customized and personalized services.

They want authentic experiences everywhere they go. They value nonmaterial forms of luxury that will aid in self-discovery and enriched life experiences. They want every second to count. They want to travel in style but soak in the local atmosphere at the same time.

In other words, they want luxpeditions.

Businesses that have caught on to these changing trends are leveraging technology to offer easy and trouble-free travel. The future lies in fast and exceptional service. This will turn each tourist into a brand ambassador.

Some experts believe that hidden luxury is the new luxury. Millennials are not bothered about showing off their wealth. They are interested in living a life of genuine luxury without social and media glare on them.

Travel agents in this niche must leverage big data and study their demographics along with the individual client. They need to combine the data gleaned from various sources and offer highly personalized and memorable experiences. They must go above and beyond the ordinary to distinguish themselves from the competition.

Deep knowledge of their likes and dislikes will lead to services that will win them customers for life. Luxury travel is not a one-time business, and the only way to ensure success is to build brand loyalty through curated experiences.

Another emerging trend in this niche is the demand for a "first to" experience. Millennials love the idea of being the first to experience something, ahead of their peer group. So, along with a true R&R experience, they want an original and authentic memory that can share.

Travel agents and companies have to come up with creative ways to deal with this rising demand. They need to combine destinations with all the creature comforts possible to cater to the new generation of luxury travelers.