If the predictions are right, global, luxury travel is about to become a whole lot more private (and expensive).
From private jets to private yachts, private homes, private islands and private dining rooms in the world’s top restaurants, high end travellers are making inquiries as to how they can get back to their travelling, but in a far more segregated fashion.
Private Villas offer the ultimate in luxury travel, and a safe escape from the threat of Corona-Virus, as there is so much less exposure to other people and less potential contact with furniture and equipment which has been touched and exposed to many other people (and potentially the virus).
Globally, Paolo Macchiarolli, CEO and founder of luxury villa company www.myprivatevillas.comhttps://www.myprivatevillas.com/en explains; “In a private villa, a client doesn’t have to share any common areas with other guests ( such as the living areas, bar, & swimming pool) and wont be in contact with large numbers of staff as they would be in hotels, so of course it’s a safer choice.
During these uncertain times, many high net worth individuals and ultra high net worth individuals are choosing to rent a villa (often for a longer term than usual, like 2-3 months) in order to be isolated in unique luxury properties where they can feel more protected without having to give up on five star services and luxuries.”
Here in Australia, Matt Lewis, co-founder and CEO, View Retreats , a business which offers contactless stays in luxury homes agrees “Although actual booking levels haven’t yet returned to normal, our website traffic in the last week has been almost triple that of pre-COVID levels.
Enquiry levels have jumped dramatically in Australian states that have already eased restrictions, but others are still waiting for more certainty from government officials before booking.
Private villas also offer full kitchens and all the comforts of home, so guests never need to leave the house if they so choose.”
Private jets, offer reduced contact with strangers, and less exposure to other people including airline staff and ground staff.
There is a degree of flexibility that does not exist within commercial flights and airlines. Menus can be personally designed at one extreme, with one use and indificaul food and drink products or alternatively food can be eliminated altogether.
In addition the airport experience is far safer. Most airports offer private jets their own areas to check in and to land in, with far less staff for travellers to deal with.
It is easier for businesses with less staff to ensure lower risks and that staff are tested prior to guest’s arrival; Macharolli explains; “Before the arrival of a client in a TOP villa, all the staff undergoes a COVID-19 test and often we request that the staff remains in the estate for the entire duration of the rental to avoid any external contact
Private yachts and boats are another option for the super-rich. They can be used as exclusive party venues for special occasions or to accommodate large groups wanting time together, and act as as private, albeit moveable hotels and holiday venues. The space on board is private and staff can be limited.
Ellie Malouf from Ahoy Club says “Private yachts enable people to play by their own rules.
They facilitate people to be selective about the food they eat, and provide plenty of entertainment including water sports, swimming, diving and relaxing, watching the view. Most are all inclusive.
We had a very quiet month in April but the first few weeks of May people started thinking about holidays and planning for Europe 2021. We have had an avalanche of new clients who used to go to seaside destinations staying in hotels now wanting the same style of holiday on a yacht.
Travel habits are changing and multi-generational families are wanting to travel together. Europe next year on private boats is going to be extremely popular.”
Malouf who also works with Essentials Private Jets says private charter of luxury yachts and essentials jets private jets go hand in hand.
“It makes sense to use both to maximise privacy, as well as safety and create a seamless trip.”
As for the predicted most popular locations around the world where the rich will travel first, Machiarolli says the pandemic will direct that: “The popularity will follow the flow of the pandemic, so the first countries that are re-opening the borders are the ones that are getting more villa bookings.
The situation is changing daily, but I would say that in Europe Greece, Italy, Croatia will be the most requested countries, followed by Portugal, France, Spain and Switzerland. “
Meanwhile Europe 2021 July and August is already booking up quickly as global travellers are hopeful they will get there next year for the European summer.