After more than a year of global lockdowns which largely paused the travel industry, especially its luxury segment, vaccination programmes’ arrival means that European summer holidays are firmly on the table — despite some countries being yet to settle on their entry requirements.
The pandemic has also affected consumer thinking, and that of luxury travel brands. However they planned trips previously, most UHNWI and HNWI customers are now choosing to arrange their holidays via travel agencies in order to be protected against such issues as flight cancellations or border closures before or during a trip.
One of the capital’s most respected private agencies, Rafael Bessa Signature Travel has long worked with wealthy City of London-based clients – from C-level executives to the honchos of hedge funds or banks. Here, Mr Bessa himself introduces the brand, and discusses how the pandemic has changed the luxury-travel scene:
“Covid-19 has definitely altered consumer behaviour regarding travel, and everyone’s needs or wishes,” he says. “Having worked so hard during such an uncertain, unstable period where it was essential to almost reinvent oneself in order to prosper, my clients have already begun booking summer holidays as a much-needed reward!
“Our customers don’t just purchase trips that anyone could take. They purchase our expertise; our exclusive, total commitment to delivering a product where every last detail is carefully overseen — and which will astound from beginning to end.
“In my opinion, our work doesn’t begin when a customer starts his or her holiday. It begins from the moment they first contact us, because luxury service is in our DNA. Once you outline your dates, requirements and dreams, we will work carefully before proposing the perfect destination, the perfect experiences, and the perfect hotel or villa in a bespoke itinerary. It’s because of this comprehensive effort that we charge between £500 and £1,000 for the delivery of such a personalised proposal.
“Many people believe that the success of my business depends on contacts. But while those are very useful — especially when we’re arranging unique experiences for our clients — I believe that the true ambassadors of my brand are actually our customers, given that we only work by referral. And we never tire of meeting new clients, or striking up strategic partnerships with luxury brands.
“This summer, I am really optimistic that our clients will finally be able to relax, and to deservedly enjoy one of the most joyful seasons.”
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