Since launching in 1988 Elegant Resorts has become one of the best know luxury holiday and travel providers in the UK offering an array of products from classic luxury holidays in the Caribbean through to first class air travel, private jets, honeymoons, ski holidays, transfers and concierge services. We speak to Michelle Sephon Managing Director of Elegant Resorts about her role in the business, where the company has come from and where she sees the future of luxury travel in the next 5 years.
You’ve been with Elegant Resorts for over 20 years. What was it that initially attracted you to the company and how has the company evolved?
I started as a part-time Finance Assistant and have since worked in every department within Elegant Resorts. What appealed to me at the beginning was the passion for travel and the pride in delivering exceptional customer service that has always been, and continues to be part of Elegant Resorts’ culture. Technology may have changed, our portfolio may have evolved, but essentially it’s this passion and attention to detail that has helped us go from strength to strength over the years. Some of our clients have had the same dedicated Travel Consultant for 20 years and the personal bond they have built is enormous — they have complete trust in us.
Elegant Resorts was established in 1988 and has been a pioneer for luxury travel experiences ever since. Why and how do you think it has managed to survive and maintain its pioneering ethos in such a competitive industry?
Our team has over 1000+ years experience in travel, mostly in the luxury market, and all our consultants travel to our featured destinations and have first-hand experience of our hotels. We listen very carefully and engage with our clients, discover their preferences, their aspirations and reasons for planning their holiday. We then deliver tailor-made experiences with the help of the excellent relationships we have with all our industry partners. From being available to clients
24 hours a day, organising room upgrades, preferential dining and spa times, to delivering the best priority service in any possible times of crisis, our clients always come first and our concierge service is second to none.
What do you love most about working in the luxury travel market?
Working in luxury travel is the best job in the world, as there are always new priorities, destinations and luxury resorts to discover so it’s always interesting and fast-paced. Working at Elegant Resorts is the most rewarding when we deliver the best experiences to our clients, it’s the small personal touches that show them we all know who they are and that we are working hard to make their holiday extra special – I love it when they contact us to say thank you for helping to create so many special memories.
What epitomises luxury for you?
Space – whether it’s travelling First Class on a plane, booking a larger room with a balcony, or having plenty of space between me and the next sun lounger on the beach or by the pool. Spacious restaurants also epitomise luxury for me, as they don’t pack diners in.
Where is your favourite place to holiday and why?
I don’t have a single favourite, as I just love to travel and experience different destinations. The Caribbean is great for relaxing and re-charging my batteries. I have just returned from India, which was filled with amazing sights, sounds and smells; definitely an experience that will stay with me for life.
Where would you most like to visit that you have not yet been and why?
There are a few places which I would love to visit that I haven’t already. Alaska is one of them – it looks stunning, both in terms of the scenery and the wildlife; the history and the sights of China are very appealing, plus I would like to travel to Vietnam to witness the history and meet the incredible people.
Finally, what are your predictions for any innovations or evolutions in luxury travel over the next 5 years?
Mobile Travel –staying connected whilst travelling for all the up-to-date information of when, how and where, wherever you are – this should be provided to clients from their chosen holiday company.
Over 55’s will take longer “big” trips, due to the pension changes in the UK – perhaps the people that didn’t get a chance to travel in their younger days, will now make up for it by using their pension pot– and will do it in style! We also plan to continue the development of experiential travel, with more itineraries featuring ‘money can’t buy’ opportunities.