Accommodation within the luxury hospitality sector is no longer about resting your head at a well-established five star hotel. Oh no, there are many more (and exciting ways) to find your own personal style of luxury and Le Collectionist is just one. Max Aniort, co-founder of the high-end property search service tells us more.
Le Collectionist could be considered the Airbnb for the super wealthy, Max how did the idea to create the brand come about?
The idea came from wanting to meet a market demand and offer a service that was vetted and exceeded expectations. Le Collectionist was created following a disappointing travel experience my business partner Olivier had when he rented an apartment in Barcelona. What appeared to be a luxury property was in actual fact a shockingly dirty apartment, without the standard working amenities you would expect from a high end property. With this, the idea came to create a kind of quality label to ensure the standards of the properties and services for a specific segment of clients.
So have you come from a travel background Max, how did you get into the sector?
I started working in Finance but always travelled a lot for work or holidays. I lived in Hong Kong and New York but have always been interested in Asian destinations, especially Cambodia. I grew up between Saudi Arabia and Greece and in the end, it seemed completely obvious when I started Le Collectionist that the luxury travel sector was for me.
Who uses Le Collectionist, who are your market?
Our atypical clients are families in their mid forties with children. They are professionals in Finance or Entrepreneurs who live in Europe (large UK market) Middle East, Russia and the US. They book a 4/5 bedroom villa to gather with friends or family and are focused on children’s activities available in the destinations.
Describe the Le Collectionist experience to our readers – what can people expect from start to finish?
Most of our clients come to us seeking help as they search for their perfect holiday. Sometimes they have a destination in mind, often they draw on our collective expertise to customise a holiday that suits their specific needs and interests. For instance, they want to spend some time by the beach with their family, so we suggest a selection of villas off the coast of France, Greece or Spain. At Le Collectionist, listening and understanding is the first rule for our service team: they assist our clients in the definition of their holiday. Once they have found the perfect match in terms of destination and property, our concierge service contacts them to set up a tailor made experience.
You offer a number of additional extras like house chefs, nannies etc. can you plan a customer’s holiday exactly as they want it?
Definitely, in house chefs are one of the most frequent concierge requests along with villa transfers and private drivers. However, we have had a lot more custom requests, for example: a 1960s classic car, pop-up spa in the pines in the French Alps and a private hot air balloon ride around Mont Blanc. Basically our job is to create memorable moments and our belief is that if you can dream it, we can achieve it.
You say that the search for exceptional places is like a treasure hunt and you are inspired by beautiful places. How did you end up picking the locations you have properties in? Are there plans to expand to more locations?
Sometimes a client requests a specific destination and we develop a destination that way. We just opened offices in the Cycladic islands, Cannes and in Ibiza and we are continuing to grow. With that said, majority of our properties come to us and we discover amazing destinations such as Comporta (1h30 south of Lisbon) that became one of our best sellers in only a few months.
The luxury travel sector is a competitive landscape – what new product innovation do you have in the pipeline?
Most of our direct competitors are local agencies and although they have great local knowledge, they are not able to find alternate solutions. Being a global brand means we can book a villa in more than 130 destinations around the world with a local expert and concierge on hand to provide that local expertise. As a digital company, we continue to work on how we can offer better client experiences. We are currently working on a platform to improve our matching algorithm, as well as a native app so guests have smart tools to reach us anytime, anywhere.
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