Editor's note: Mike Taylor is director, public relations, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Toronto.

The ability to identify a market trend, particularly during the formative stages, is a unique art. Indeed, trend forecasting requires a degree of instinct, creativity and anticipation remindful of an artist. Identifying the consumer motivations and emotions that drive those trends, however, is a science.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, a global hotel company that operates more than 70 hotels worldwide, including landmarks like The Savoy in London and The Plaza in New York City, noticed significant shifts in consumer demand and guest perceptions of what constitutes a luxurious travel experience. For today’s affluent travelers, the company found, emotional fulfillment, experience over commodity, cultural immersion and historical connection all play significant roles in the decision-making process.

In 2015, 38,000 self-described “history lovers” stayed at more than one of Fairmont’s historic properties. In anecdotal research, guests of Fairmont were increasingly remarking on their sense of connection with the location, history and “sense of place” of the hotels in which they were staying. Fairmont concurrently observed an undeniable increase in the prevalence of guests sharing their experiences at Fairmont properties, particularly through the use of social media while on-site at the hotels.

To explore the motivations behind these and future global trends in luxury travel, Fairmont developed its Luxury Insights report series – communication pieces that leverage a combination of sourced external research, newly commissioned research and industry-validated findings.

For its inaugural Luxury Insights report, Stewardship of Iconic and Historic Buildings, Fairmont drew on findings from a brand-first ethnographic study conducted by research firm Weinman Schnee Morais Inc., data from researcher YouGov and other...