Hotels

“We’re not the enemy of the sharing economy”: Virtuoso’s APAC head talks hotel trends and Airbnb

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Virtuoso’s Best of the Best is every luxury traveller’s dream book.

The guide features more than 1,300 of the globe’s top luxury hotels, each thoroughly vetted through the feedback of the luxury travel network’s advisors and their clients.

And if that’s not enough to get you excited, the guide also offers special deals for each property valued at more than $500 per night.

“What we’re trying to do is match the best hotels to the best clients in the market place and that’s a very dynamic process because tastes change and properties themselves move in and out of vogue,” Michael Londregan, Virtuoso’s APAC managing director told Travel Weekly.  

According to Londregan, each hotel on the list knows the value of earning a coveted spot. That’s why they offer such great amenities deals. He told us Virtuoso advisors use the amenities list to tell their clients a better story about the experience they are going to have.

Every single hotel has a deal. That might be a local city tour, early check-in, breakfast, late check out, a spa credit, a bar voucher or welcome cocktails,” he said.

Breakfast In Bed

“But its never really about price, it’s about trying to make the experience richer when you’re there.”

Advisors and clients can also use the guide to keep up with all the latest trends they should be looking out for in the luxury travel space.

“What’s really hot right now is the villa product,” Londregan said.

“Particularly for bleisure travellers or multi-generational travellers, which we’re seeing a lot of right now.

“People live in bigger homes now with more amenities than ever so when they go on holiday they don’t want less amenities then they’re used to.”

Another big trend highlighted by the guide is something Virtuoso referres to as ‘rural rewards’.

Travellers are looking for countryside escapes infused with a definite sense of place.

“They want things that are authentic,” Londregan added.

“I don’t really want to stay in a flash cookie cutter hotel with European artwork in the lobby of my Hawaiian hotel.

“It just doesn’t make sense.

“I want to stay amongst things that represent the experience around me.”

Modern Bedroom With Ocean View

Londregan told us travellers desire for authenticity is what led the new guide to focus so heavily on unique boutique hotels.

People want a smaller unique boutique hotel but they also want to know that there’s not a huge amount of risk,” he said.

“They want to know someone else has been there. Someone else can vouch for the quality standard, and that’s why to be in our program also gives these hotels a brand that they can hang their hat on.”

But that’s not to say they’re knocking the new self-proclaimed kings of unique accommodation experiences: apartment sharing programs like Airbnb.

“We’re not the enemy of the sharing economy at all, in fact, most of our clients will have used it at some time,” Londregan assured us.

“But because they have, they know there’s a fair bit of variability. You can have a really great experience and then the next time you can do exactly the same thing and have a really terrible experience.

“And so if you really need that certainty, going to an industry-vetted unique hotel is going to give you that.

“What people are really starting to understand is accommodation is a huge part of the experience, it’s not just somewhere to sleep.

“If you invest in making sure you’ve got the right property your experience is just so much richer,” he concluded.

Best of the Best is being distributed to the homes of 150,000 of Virtuoso’s finest clients around the globe.


Do you have something to say about this? Get in touch with Travel Weekly Editor Ali Coulton at alexandra@travelweekly.com.au

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