Mariek Anselme is the co-founder of A.M.A Selections – a well-established and innovative luxury villa rental company. With an international upbringing in some of the world’s most dynamic cities, including Amsterdam, Paris, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Mariek’s love for travel and adventure was instilled in her from an early age. In this interview with Mariek she tells us more about the A.M.A Selections journey so far, insights into the sector, and tips for 2023 top destinations. Read on to discover more.
You studied luxury and fashion management at university, there isn’t an obvious link, what prompted you to focus specifically on property
My bachelor’s degree was in business management and my Master’s degree, although it was based more on fashion, taught me how to build and grow a luxury brand. This, combined with my love for travel, hospitality and interior design, is what drew me to the luxury travel sector.
Please tell us more about the A.M.A Selections journey so far and describe a typical day for you if such a thing exists.
My business partner Andre and I launched A.M.A Selections at 25 years old with just over 15 properties on the French Riviera. We were the first vacation rental company in the region that focused on offering bespoke services and experiences rather than just handing over a set of keys. As we established ourselves locally, our clients started asking if they could rent with us in other destinations. This sparked the beginning of our expansion outside of the South of France. A.M.A Selections growth has been organic and driven by our clients wanting to return with us, which has not only been great validation but hugely rewarding. Today, our portfolio consists of over 1000 select properties in Europe’s most fashionable destinations. As the company has grown, I now spend most of my days at the office. I primarily overlook our concierge team, portfolio growth, new partnerships and brand development. I do still enjoy trips to our destinations to meet our partners and visit villas, which is always a highlight!”
The number of properties within the A.M.A Selections portfolio has grown at an impressive rate; how do you ensure each of the properties meet the high-quality standards associated with the A.M.A Selections brand?
We select the top 1% of professionally managed homes in each destination. We do this by handpicking each property and ensuring they pass our extensive criteria checklist. The properties in our portfolio are subject to regular site visits by our trusted team and partners. Moreover, we rigorously vet the very best property owners and local home management companies that adhere to our strict quality standards. This not only provides our guests with a world-class selection of villas, it also ensures professional on-site assistance throughout their stay.
And on that note, what can guests expect from the A.M.A Selections experience?
At A.M.A Selections we believe the travel experience begins the moment you arrive on our site. It all begins by connecting with our guests and understanding their wants and needs to ensure the perfect match for their holiday home. Once a booking is confirmed, our guests are introduced to their dedicated concierge who will assist in tailoring their stay.
What really sets us apart is our industry-leading high-tech approach. Guests can seamlessly request services, recommendations, share their trip itinerary and more, directly from their account. More importantly, we place a strong emphasis on our team always being responsive, attentive and transparent with our guests.
You represent properties in some of the world’s most fashionable destinations including Mykonos, Ibiza and the French Alps. Where is next and why?
We’re expanding to over 15 new destinations in the coming year including Corsica, Lake Como, Portugal, Crete, Corfu and the Swiss Alps. Guest feedback is the main driver for our expansion efforts. When guests inquire about certain destinations or when we speak with them about their upcoming travel plans, we use this data to help determine what destinations we should expand to next.
The luxury travel industry is constantly evolving to exceed the expectations of increasing discerning travellers, what are your thoughts on how the sector is evolving?
Now more than ever, guests are looking for consistency and ease when booking their exceptional getaway. I think that companies like A.M.A Selections, who invest heavily in technology and focus on solving problems, will be the ones that stand out above the rest.
And any insights on which will be the top destinations for luxury travel in 2023?
I see that travellers today are seeking far more authentic destinations where they can immerse themselves in the local culture while still having access to amenities and conveniences that the luxury traveller is accustomed to. Off-the-beaten-path destinations such as Puglia and Paros will likely be at the top of the list. Mallorca is another destination that is increasing in popularity for all the right reasons.
Luxury is a highly subjective concept – what does it mean to you personally?
When I think of luxury I think of exceptional quality, authenticity, attention to detail and personalized service. To me, this is what luxury is at its core.
What is your life motto? (if you have one)
The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” I’m a strong believer in actively seeking opportunities, staying positive, putting yourself out there and forging your own path. Visualizing your success is important but going for it is the only way to get there.