Luxury travel is one of those categories that seems unaffected by the global economic mood. The push for ‘experiences over shiny things’ has created a booming market as affluent millennials choose to spend their dollars on luxury travel and tours. One segment that is showing rapid growth is luxury villas which fulfills 2 main desires among affluent travelers, a localized experience through personalized luxury.
A luxury home away from home
Travel consumers are becoming more complex as demand for unique experiences continues to grow. Luxury villas are a practical choice offering premium amenities and accommodations in a residential format. This type of ‘housing’ enhances the localized experience that is now the hot trend in luxury travel.
Larger families and groups can also benefit from the residential nature of luxury villas as certain designs offer multiple bedrooms and bathrooms with larger living spaces to accommodate everyone comfortably.
Extended luxury amenities are part of the experience with some destinations offering multiple recreational and lap pools, expert fitness facilities and spas/saunas, opulent common areas and party rooms and of course, a beautiful landscape and setting.
But can the physical beauty of a project be only skin deep?
“Luxury implies safety and security but in several instances, that is not the case”. Glenn Aga – international risk management expert.
Beyond the view
Maintaining world class amenities and facilities is an ongoing process that requires expert attention and resources. The mere global nature of luxury villas creates more challenges as safety and security regulations and standards vary from region to region.
Glenn Aga is an international risk management expert with extensive experience in safety and security procedures and has advised federal and municipal governments in the United States on the subject. His company, SecureVillas, has pioneered the industry’s leading safety and security audit for luxury villas.
Based on Glenn’s experiences, we asked him what are the biggest safety and security challenges facing the luxury villa industry.
“Unlike other elements of the hospitality industry, luxury villas, property managers, and villa agencies operate under almost non-existent regulation. The emergence of Air BnB, VRBO, and other popular, mainstream rental websites, has illuminated some of these concerns. Often preventable and negative outcomes such as drowning’s, CO2 poisoning, natural gas leaks, etc… in the rental market should not be swept under the rug.
Rather, we hope to inform and improve the safety and security of the rental market by offering an independent third party assessment of the property features. This will inform both the management AND the clientele about safety and security features unique to the property.
A challenge to the Eco-tourism and luxury villa rental market is to overcome certain perceptions about some regions of the world where terrorist attacks have occurred are could be anticipated. The American Director of National Intelligence in Feb 2016 delivered a rather somber outlook about the risks of homegrown extremism and the flow of operatives to many nations around the world.
For certain geographical rental markets there has been and remains a very real concern about “what if” scenarios. Often times the villa owner can put to rest some of these concerns by investments in technology, medical kits, communications equipment, etc… These are not sizable costs compared to the rental rates at the villas, but might lead to a continued revenue stream for the owner if such an investment is made to mitigate the clientele’s concerns.”
Maintaining trust and credibility with guests and future clients is a critical component to any successful luxury villa destination. A defined safety and security strategy can be something that differentiates one project over another.
“What if you could show guests that your vacation rental property is safe and secure?” – SecureVillas homepage
Who’s in charge here?
Glenn stresses that it is important to find a luxury villa project that will cater to one’s own needs.
Families with small children may need to focus on safety equipment around common playgrounds and swimming pools. Older individuals may have special accessibility needs that may not be readily available in certain parts of the world.
The luxury villa industry can easily identify their core market and fine tune their safety and security protocols to better suit the needs of their clients.
We asked Glenn about the differences in safety and security management among various luxury villa destinations:
“There is a wide range in the approach to safety and security among the luxury villa rental market. In some regions, more stringent and best practices lead to certain features on the safety front that might not even exist in other markets. The most immediate examples are pool safety features.
On the security front there are sometimes considerations that give the villa occupant peace of mind against, say, an intruder in the middle of the night, but may not be effective against crimes of opportunity.
Given the global awareness of certain phenomena such as terror attacks, pandemics, and mosquito born viruses (zika and chikungunya), there seems to be an increasing level of demand from the villa rental clientele to address preparedness for such concerns.
This very real concern is one of the factors that sparked the concept of SecureVillas and our luxury villa safety and security certification. To this end we have assembled an advisory board comprised of fire, life safety, health, security, and villa management experts to establish the hundreds of evaluative criteria used in our villa safety and security audits.”
A mainline standard accepted by consumers would only enhance the luxury experience by giving guests confidence from a safety and security standpoint.
Creating the standard in safety and security
Increasing demand for upper tier travel and experiences is driving the luxury villa market. The rush to meet this demand has created many new destinations and management companies globally. Because of huge variations in standards and regulations, an industry accepted safety and security audit would inspire confidence among travelers. SecureVillas is a company that provides such valuable audits and identifies challenges and opportunities for project managers to improve and enhance their guest’s experiences.
Fore more information, please visit SecureVillas.com.
By Doron Levy Courtesy TheTopTier Digital Media