Long before Airbnb disrupted travel space, there was a class of discerning travelers who knew luxury villa rentals and regularly booked them as their accommodation of choice, particularly when visiting Europe or the Caribbean. Here’s why…
What are luxury villa holidays?
First-class villas offer travelers an impressive array of benefits, including luxury, privacy, an exclusive retreat, an intimate setting, breathtaking views, first-rate amenities, and private staff and concierge services, all in an aesthetically superior home-from-home where they like the locals can live with. The villas serve as a distinctive starting point for creating lasting holiday memories with friends or family.
Villas vary widely and can range from a lavish one-bedroom penthouse to a sprawling 42-bedroom estate. They are in top destinations around the world, from the Caribbean and Mexico to Hawaii, France, Italy, Spain, Greece and beyond. Imagine a charming Tuscan farmhouse, a chic Parisian apartment, a whitewashed Greek retreat, a private getaway in Turks & Caicos, a glamorous penthouse in New York City, or a mountain retreat in Colorado.
The features and amenities in luxury villas often match or exceed those of top resorts, with private pools, gyms, spas, children’s areas and al fresco dining all part of the villa experience. These often include private chefs, butlers, maids, gardeners and a personal concierge.
Villa rentals can be the perfect complement to many types of niche travel, including romantic escapes, family reunions, golf outings, destination weddings, or corporate outings.
“I usually sell them as the ultimate private experience in a luxurious setting in an even more luxurious destination, complete with butlers, chefs and a personal concierge,” said Mark Gerling, owner of Gerling Travel.
Why should consultants recommend villas?
The #1 selling point is privacy… and togetherness.
“When I work with friends and families, I recommend villas to create wonderful memories together. Having private areas where they can all hang out together is just one of the reasons for staying in a villa,” explains Lena Brown, Luxury Travel Advisor at Largay Travel.
“When the family members all live in separate hotel rooms, there isn’t a common private space where they can spend time. Lobby bars and pools with other hotel guests are not very desirable. With a villa you can be all together, just your group.
“Many families enjoy hanging out by the pool in their private villa, playing games together and eating together as a family at the dining table. The best memories are the meals and the laughs you share at a dining table. There are great cost savings if you can provide your own bottles of wine and meals. Holidays should be fun and relaxing. Many of the villas offer private chefs to prepare meals for the families. Eating out with a group on vacation can be such a chore. Eating at your villa is pleasant and enjoyable.”
Price is another important reason for travel consultants to recommend villas to their clients. “Travellers like to book a villa as it can be cheaper if they are a large family or a few couples traveling together,” said Linda Kibak, independent travel consultant at FROSCH.
This may come as a surprise as many people think that renting villas is more expensive. Not necessarily, and in fact many villas are cheaper than hotels of the same quality. For example, three rooms in a high-end hotel can cost $690/night per room, while a 3 bedroom luxury villa with the same amenities and services could cost $990/night. That’s a savings of $1,080/night. When you consider all the benefits and amenities of a private villa, you can show that villas represent excellent value for money.
And another motivation for booking villas in today’s post-COVID world, as Gerling said: “It’s a new era since the pandemic so villas have been hot and we’ve been suggesting to our clients that less is more as they smaller and smaller are An intimate villa compared to a larger albeit luxurious hotel may be more appropriate and less risky to be with other people.”
How can consultants sell more villa vacations?
The best advice for capitalizing on the lucrative villa rental segment comes from travel agents who are already successfully selling luxury villa vacations.
Brown offered these tips: “Explain to clients the difference between multiple hotel rooms and the cost of a mansion. List the advantages of the villa and how they outweigh staying in hotels. Families with young children will benefit from staying in a villa. Your children have the freedom to run around and play. Most children don’t want to sit at a table in a restaurant for long. In a villa they can go play after dinner and the adults can still enjoy their meal in peace.”
She also stressed: “Italy also offers beautiful villas. Hotel rooms in Europe can be quite small, so a villa gives you more space and they are located in beautiful neighborhoods away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets. They are more relaxing and make you feel like a local and not a tourist. So many customers want to immerse themselves in the local culture. Staying in a villa is just the right way to fulfill that desire.”
Kibak advised: “To be successful in completing a villa booking you really need to listen to what the client wants, not focus on the cost of the villa – but find exactly the villa that will really ‘impress’ the client – and one which includes everything they ask for.”
And Gerling said: “My top tip would be to know a few key villas that past clients like and love and sell them… Selling villas is lucrative and reliable, delivering a quality experience that our clients have truly loved.”
Mansions of Distinction is an award-winning, full-service villa experience provider that has been an industry leader for more than 30 years. The portfolio comprises around 3,000 villas, ranging from one bedroom residences to 24 bedroom estates, and each villa is inspected and checked to meet strict standards. Travelers can experience the Villas of Distinction difference in more than 52 destinations worldwide, including the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Europe and beyond. The private villa experience offers stunning accommodations, private amenities like infinity pools and fitness rooms, and exemplary service to rival any luxury hotel. Many villas even have staff dedicated to exceeding guest expectations. Villas of Distinction’s team of experts makes vacation planning effortless by working with travel consultants. Villa specialists hand select dream villas and the concierge team arranges excursions and luxury services for a unique getaway. Villas of Distinction is dedicated to creating lasting memories for guests in the world’s finest villas, and travel consultants have named it Best Villa Rental Company at the annual Travvy Awards since 2015.