Luxury tourism in Scandinavia and the Baltics: We always give that something extra that no-one believed they would receive or feel

  • 2023-07-21

Luxury tourism has been growing steadily in Scandinavia and the Baltics over the past few years. The region is known for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage and unique experiences. 

To get a better understanding of the luxury tourism industry in this region, we spoke with Asko Plaado, the founder and CEO of Transfer1Life, a luxury travel company that provides high-end transportation, tailor-made travel services for tourists and also destination management services for corporate travelers in Scandinavia and the Baltics. 

Growing Demand for Luxury Tourism

According to Asko Plaado, the demand for luxury tourism in Scandinavia and the Baltics has been increasing steadily over the past few years. “The region's natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern amenities make it an attractive destination for luxury travelers. In addition, the high standard of living in these countries has led to the development of a luxury tourism infrastructure, such as high-end hotels, restaurants, and transportation services,” he says.

Scandinavia and the Baltics offer a wide range of destinations for luxury tourists, each with its own unique attractions. “Some of the most popular destinations include Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. These cities are known for their stunning architecture, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant nightlife. In addition, the region is home to some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the world, including fjords, mountains, and lakes.”

Unique Experiences

Luxury tourism in Scandinavia and the Baltics offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern amenities. The region is known for its high standard of living, which translates into top-notch infrastructure and services for tourists. In addition, the region offers a wide range of unique experiences, such as husky sledding, snowmobiling, and reindeer safaris. The region is also home to some of the world's most innovative and sustainable tourism practices, which appeal to luxury travelers who are interested in responsible travel.

Throughout the years one can just be amazed at how many different requests and wishes customers have. It's like a Smörgåsbord of details and desires. “The best moments have been when we have a customer coming back to us asking to create something totally new - even for us! For example, we had a solo traveler from the US who did a tour with us in Estonia and Latvia. She was so thrilled about our services that a week after she had returned home, we had a letter from her asking if we could create a two week itinerary in Norway: in the best hotels and with a designated driver for her to admire the beautiful landscape of Norway.” 

“This all seems quite usual so far, right? But she also had a request that we would arrange meetings for her with members of Black Metal bands. She just wanted to explore this side of the music industry and to speak with singers and song writers directly. And that’s not all! We also arranged sessions with a shaman and arranged a one night stay for her in a hotel which is among the top-10 most haunted hotels in the world. It is safe to say that within these two weeks, she discovered the true roots of Norway and she is already planning her next adventure with us.”

Details That Need Attention

When Transfer1Life started to offer more high-end and bespoke services for their clients who wanted only the best, they soon realized that they were actually offering concierge services to them. “I remember when one CEO, who leads a global 100 billion dollar enterprise, was in Estonia for few days and he asked from us if it would be possible to give him two butlers who would take care of all the small details that needed attention, when he was actually having a holiday here with his family.”

The concierge service is also well known amongst ministers and high ranking diplomats. “They want to have that person of trust in the location where they are staying and they know how to appreciate it. I can’t reveal their names due to the confidentially that we have with our clients, but last year we had the Executive management team of a well-known Swiss bank here. They arrived with their private plane and they asked if it would be possible to organize a private personal trainer to meet them at the airport and then he took them directly to a gym that was entirely booked for them.” 

“Next day we set up a meeting with them with a local art expert and they each bought a painting! Sometimes it is simply amazing what requests we can encounter in our business, but so far we have successfully fulfilled every request. A huge plus of the concierge service is that even if you are traveling solo, you know that there is a qualified and skilled person waiting for you when your journey begins and the assurance that that person will be with you until it is time to head back home again.”

Transfer1Life has had the honour to host conferences, gala dinners, VIP – meetings, team events etc for over 100 global companies and each time there is something different that stands out from the rest. “One time we even had to pull out synchronous translators from the EU parliament in order to host an international panel of speakers!” 

Emerging Trends

“One of the trends that we see emerging in the luxury tourism industry in Scandinavia and the Baltics is a focus on sustainability and responsible travel. Luxury travelers are increasingly interested in reducing their environmental impact and supporting local communities. In addition, there is a growing interest in off-the-beaten-path destinations and unique experiences. Finally, we see a trend towards personalized and customized travel experiences, where travelers can tailor their trip to their specific interests and preferences.

Flexibility is the key word if you want to offer the best services for people who want to experience luxury travel and/or destination management services. “You have to be able to go with the flow of your customer. This is what tailor – made actually means. You will plan out things, yes, but what if something changes or the client decides to change his or her mind – you have to be flexible.”

“I remember when we had a big group from India - one of the biggest law firms there - and we had 4 tightly packed days with them in Estonia and Finland, full of conferences, gala dinners, excursions etc. Not a single day went by, that we did not have to make changes in plans, but we were prepared for it and in the end we enjoyed the best single malt in the best restaurant in Tallinn with the boss of the company and he was overwhelmed that everything had turned out in the best positive way.”

Luxury tourism in Scandinavia and the Baltics offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and modern amenities. The region has been growing steadily in recent years. “When I started this company almost 14 years ago, I did it out of pure joy towards travelling and experiences. I wanted to offer the same feelings and experiences that I already had felt myself. I wanted to share my passion. And throughout the years I believe that we have made thousands of travellers happy. We always give that something extra that no-one believes  they will receive or feel.”

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