What Is Luxury Villa Travel and How to Sell This Lucrative Niche
Long before Airbnb disrupted the travel space, there was a class of discerning travelers who were in-the-know about luxury villa rentals and they booked them regularly as their accommodation of choice, especially when visiting Europe or the Caribbean. Here’s why …
What is luxury villa travel?
Premier villa rentals offer travelers an impressive slate of advantages, including luxury, privacy, an exclusive escape, an intimate setting, breathtaking views, world-class amenities, and private staff and concierge services, all in an aesthetically superb home-away-from-home where they can live like the locals. Villas serve as a distinctive starting point for creating lasting vacation memories with friends or family.
Villa properties vary widely and can range from a lavish one-bedroom penthouse to a sprawling 42-bedroom estate. They are located in top destinations around the world, from the Caribbean and Mexico, to Hawaii, to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and beyond. Picture a charming Tuscan farmhouse, a chic Parisian apartment, a whitewashed Grecian hideaway, a private getaway in Turks & Caicos, a glamorous penthouse in New York City, or a mountain retreat in Colorado.
The features and amenities at luxury villas often match or exceed those delivered by top resorts, with private pools, gyms, spas, children’s spaces, and al fresco dining all part of the villa experience. They often include private chefs, butlers, maids, gardeners, and a personal concierge.
Villa rentals can be the perfect match for many types of niche travel, including romantic escapes, family reunions, golf getaways, destination weddings, or corporate retreats.
“I typically sell them as the ultimate private experience in a luxury setting in an even more luxury destination, complete with butlers, chefs, and a personal concierge,” said Mark Gerling, owner, Gerling Travel.
Why should advisors recommend villas?
The No. 1 selling point is privacy … and togetherness.
“When working with friends and families, I recommend villas as a way to create wonderful memories together. Having private areas where they can all hang out together is just one of the reasons to stay in a villa,” explained Lena Brown, luxury travel advisor, Largay Travel.
“If the family members are all staying in separate hotel rooms, there is no common private area to spend time in. Lobby bars and poolside with other hotel guests is not very desirable. With a villa, you can all be together, just your group.
“Many families enjoy hanging around a pool in their private villa, playing games together, and dining together as a family around the dinner table. The best memories are the meals and laughs you share around a dining room table. There is a big cost savings when you can provide your own bottles of wine and meals. Vacations are supposed to be fun and relaxing. Many of the villas offer private chefs to prepare the meals for the families. Dining out can be such a chore when on vacation with a group. Dining in your villa is pleasant and enjoyable.”
Price is another great reason for travel advisors to recommend villas to their clients. “Travelers like to book a villa, as it can be more economical if they are a big family, or a few couples traveling together, said Linda Kibak, independent travel advisor, FROSCH.
This may be surprising to hear, as many people think villa rentals are more expensive. Not necessarily so, and in fact, many villas are priced less than hotels of the same quality. For example, three rooms at a high-end hotel may cost $690/night per room, while one 3-bedroom luxury villa with the same amenities and services could cost $990/night. That is a savings of $1,080/night. When you factor in all the benefits and amenities of a private villa, you can show that villas offer a superb value.
And one more 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 have suggested to our clients that less is more from the fact of a smaller and intimate villa verses a larger albeit luxury hotel may be a better fit and less risk for being around other people.”
How can advisors sell more villa vacations?
The best advice for profiting from the lucrative villa rentals segment comes from travel advisors who are already successfully selling luxury villa vacations.
Brown offered these tips: “Explain to the clients the difference of several hotel rooms versus the villa cost. List the benefits of the villa and how they outweigh staying in hotels. Families with small children reap the rewards of staying in a villa. Their children have the freedom to roam and play. Most kids don't want to sit at a table in a restaurant for long. In a villa, when they are done eating, they can go play and the adults can still enjoy their meal at leisure.”
She also made the point that, “Italy also offers beautiful villas. Hotel rooms in Europe can be quite small, so having 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 give you the feeling that you're a local instead of a tourist. So many clients are looking to indulge in the local culture. Staying in a villa is just the way to fulfill that desire.”
Kibak advised: “To be successful in closing a villa booking, you have to really listen to what the client wants, not be focused on the cost of the villa – but to find the exact one that will really ‘wow’ the client – and one that includes everything that they ask for.”
And Gerling said, “My best tip would be to know a few key villas that former clients like and love, and sell those … Selling villas is lucrative and reliable, and delivers a quality experience our clients have truly loved.”
FROM THE SPONSOR:
Villas of Distinction is an award-winning, full-service villa experience provider that has been an industry leader for more than 30 years. Its portfolio includes approximately 3,000 villas, from one-bedroom residences to 24-bedroom estates, and each villa is inspected and vetted 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 features striking accommodations, private amenities like infinity pools and fitness rooms, and exemplary service that rivals any luxury hotel. Many villas even offer staff dedicated to exceeding guests’ expectations. Villas of Distinction’s team of experts make vacation planning effortless by working in concert with travel advisors; Villa Specialists hand-select dream villa options and the Concierge Team arranges excursions and luxury services for a one-of-a-kind getaway. Villas of Distinction is committed to creating lasting memories for guests at the world’s top villas, and travel advisors have named it the “Best Villa Rental Company” in the annual Travvy Awards since 2015.