Article | August 10, 2021
It would be an understatement to say that the recent pandemic is ushering in a seismic shift for the travel trade, which suffered a collective gut punch as COVID-19 unrelentingly raged across the globe. New health and safety protocols, crisis management plans and other operational touchpoints are being overhauled to help those in—and dependent upon—the travel industry better pivot and adapt to the unforeseen. For travelers, priorities and sensibilities have also evolved on multiple fronts. For one, various reports extrapolate how privacy has become the new luxury.
In fact, a “Covid Travel Outlook 2021” travel sentiment survey by Indagare found that travelers “feel more comfortable renting a home or private villa for added privacy” and that “more than half of those surveyed said that they are 54 percent more likely to rent a home than they were prior to coronavirus, preferring to ‘Stay at homes not hotels,’ for added security and peace of mind.” Other reports tout the key advantages of private luxury villa accommodations, with privacy and exclusive use entrenched among them.
Amid the surge in category popularity, travelers must also consider ways to aptly vet luxe private villa options amid a burgeoning field. According to an Indagare.com story outlining the benefits of “going private,” proximity is one overarching booking factor noting that “for some travelers, a house close to town or affiliated with a nearby resort or hotel provides the perfect combination of exclusivity and access (to restaurants, coffee shops, fitness classes, etc.). Others prefer staying someplace further removed, opting for a home with fewer amenities or a lavish villa with every convenience under the sun.”
The article also points out another critical aspect that, all too often, is taken for granted: availability. The story cites the reality that “accommodations can fill up months or even a year in advance,” which some more spontaneous wanderers might not expect. Relative to post-pandemic issues, the story further cautions that “this year, with exclusivity at an unprecedented premium and fewer destinations open to international arrivals, early planning is crucial. One reason: Many travelers are opting for longer stays, now that remote work and Zoom classes are ubiquitous, meaning there’s less turnover. For these extended trips—workcations or staycations—having strong WiFi, reliable phone service and separate areas for being productive are key factors when choosing the right rental.”
With this and other public discourse helping spur private villa reservations, I sought to connect with one purveyor in the space that is making due strides: Destinations in Paradise. This boutique agency offers a suite of architectural five-star private villas in four locales: The Big Island and Kauai, Hawaii as well as Los Cabos, Mexico and Mendocino, California. Having personally experienced this company’s brand of haute hospitality on the Big Island, I sought to connect with the founders—David Cohen and Howard Appel—for some clarity on how they’ve apparently adapted so well in the post-pandemic era. Here’s what they had to say.
MK: So, first, let’s talk about the properties, themselves, and also your company at large. What sets Destinations in Paradise apart from other luxury home and private villa purveyors in the various regions where you operate?
Cohen: It's essentially our caliber of white glove service, which is highly personalized and with the very best amenities that can be provided. The company was started because we wanted to have some fun, as Howard and I had been retired a while. We wanted to give people, especially those desiring privacy and security, the kind of high-caliber experience that we would expect. When someone arrives at one of our homes, they're greeted and welcomed with enthusiasm and everything to elevate the experience is there. This includes the best linens, a house full of flowers and arrival gifts. In Mendocino, we leave fresh-baked goods and wine. In Mexico, our guests are greeted with cold towels and margaritas. Plus, any special requests are accommodated. Even when guests depart, we give them a thank you gift for having booked a stay with us. Overall, it’s a very personalized experience. It’s akin to having a member of the family come and stay. You get up early in the morning, make them breakfast and generally make them feel at home … that this is their home for the duration of the visit. The difference is that it's a five-star experience at every touch point.
Appel: We, ourselves, like to travel in luxury and, as we started acquiring the properties, we realized that this is a great opportunity to offer to other people the same kind of treatment we enjoy. It's the way we all would love to be treated. And we think we offer it differently and more special than others. The business sort of just fell into place as bookings escalated and we started to acquire additional properties.
MK: In the luxury travel space, much is said about the importance of personal touches to elevate the experience. So, can you provide an example of things you all do in this regard to go over-and-above for high-end luxury travelers?
Cohen: Here's one interesting example about the Mexican property, for example: It's two acres of the most gorgeous landscaping that you've ever seen. Even though it's in the middle of a desert, we are desalinating seawater using solar power, so the yards and the landscaping and the flowers are all very lush, but still desert-type plants. The interesting thing is that Howard and I have worked together for close to 40 years and, until we actually got into this business, I had no idea that he had this artistic flair. The landscaping at all of the houses is beyond spectacular. My own personal favorite is the Mendocino home, which has the equivalent of an English country garden. You can just go and sit in there and read a book, sitting in the fresh air with beautiful butterflies and bees buzzing around. The Hawaiian property is the same; it’s just gorgeous, perfect Hawaii.
Appel: It's important to note that these homes are indoor-outdoor homes. We want to make sure we carry the luxury on both sides. If you actually do a search of our home in Cabo on Google Earth, you can easily spot it because it's the only significant patch of green anywhere along the east scape. This kind of lush, natural beauty is just one of the many ways that we cater to our guests relative to the luxurious aspects both inside and outside of the homes.
MK: You touched on some of it already, but what are some other special amenities and activities that you offer in, and around, the homes that are available to guests?
Appel: One key aspect is that each home comes with a concierge service. Our guests can partake in any activity in the local surroundings. We try to offer the opportunities within the local community and try to personalize that. In Mexico, it might be premiere deep-sea fishing, surfing and paddle boarding. In Mendocino, we're about 30-minutes from Anderson Valley, so we can arrange for private wine tours. Especially during the recent pandemic, to help our guests have fun but also avoid big crowds was important to us. Of course, the homes in Hawaii and Mexico have beautiful pools, swim-up bars and each property has its own set of unique amenities on-site a like solar-lighted tennis court. In fact, when we travel to Mexico—in the seven or eight times we've been there—I think we've left the property twice. There's no reason to go elsewhere because everything is there with you. Whatever you want to do, whatever the guests would like, we can make it happen.
MK: Speaking of the pandemic, obviously the past year and a half has been tough for the travel industry, so how have the recent health concerns impacted your business with respect to private villa versus hotel, resort or other kinds of accommodations? And, also, the guest experience while actually visiting a property?
Appel: We took COVID very seriously from the beginning and, yes, 2020 was a hard year for us. We lost almost all of our business, but we used that down time as an opportunity to continue to enhance the homes. Even now, when guests come to one of our properties, they're greeted in a manner that best assures their health and safety. We have our house managers maintain their distance and use masks, of course. But, during the guests’ stay, we also make sure we work around their calendars to not intrude on their stay there. We take it very seriously. And, in fact, when a guest leaves, we have a minimum 48 hours between guests so we can properly clean and sanitize the home for the next guest.
MK: Many people often associate private villa experiences more with leisure travel versus business. But I know Destinations in Paradise properties are also utilized in business—especially when there are privacy, exclusivity and health-related preferences. Plus, of course, the properties are also perfectly suited for corporate events, retreats and even utilized as incentives and rewards for employees and business partners. So, tell us about these kinds of corporate benefits.
Cohen: Even though the houses are focused on providing a safe, comfortable environment for families and extended small events, we do also host small, medium and large-scale corporate events at the houses. Whether it's a two-person law firm figuring out how they're going to run their businesses remotely, to a large distillery that wants to try and get their name out for a new product for, say, tequila in Mexico, our homes are an apt venue. Of course, we host weddings and social media is prompting bookings from people like rappers who want a place to chill out and rethink what their next shows or postings are going to be. And we've hosted philanthropic events like releasing baby turtles in the beaches of Mexico to address species endangerment. For that, a university in Mexico held a business meeting at our property, and as a gift we paid and supported their release of 600 hatchlings. Howard has also had some dealings with movie studios that are interested in hosting either corporate get togethers and business strategy meetings. And, in at least two instances that I can recall, they’ve considered using the homes as part of a movie production. I should also mention that each of the homes have the ability to cater for large and small groups. If we bring chefs in, that event never ever needs to leave the property. The house in Mexico, for instance, has two kitchens that are fully capable of catering to as many people as the property can accommodate, which is substantial, but each of the homes have the ability to cater internally and not rely on outside services.
Appel: All the homes offer businesses a unique opportunity to host meetings and events, from the very large as in Mexico, to even Mendocino for smaller gatherings. They’re all unique and offer the privacy, security and comfort that private villa venues offer—all, of course, with our discerning five-star touch.
Article | February 24, 2020
Why do we travel? For seeking thrill, joy, tranquillity, knowledge, satisfaction, company, solitude, pleasant or off-beat experiences – there are many answers to this question. None of these might be your reason to set off on a trip, while for some it may be all of these and more. While we can always agree to disagree, there is one thing that can be said with utmost certainty: nobody – without exception – hopes for a vacation punctuated with worries, problems, and unpleasant experiences. But the truth remains. No amount of meticulous planning that goes into preparing an itinerary can guarantee a trip that is entirely devoid of risks and worries. Sometimes a problem, or many, may arise due to various factors beyond anybody’s control, be it environmental, geopolitical, or even personal. Unforeseen personal issues notwithstanding, challenges may arise simply because of a combination of not-so-prudent decisions and bad luck.
Article | December 22, 2020
Corporate travel and expense management is one of the cumbersome challenges for CMOs. Travel expenses are the second-highest expense and one of the toughest to control. Getting the best price for a business out of bookings is not enough for a CMO to manage travel expenses. Instead, there are other challenging factors that challenge a company. What are these challenges? Brief information on it can help you identify what your company needs to fix upon to understand this.
Lack of data collection
No proper visibility into corporate travel spend
Lack of an organized corporate travel and expense management process
Lack of inventory-rich management system
No accountability to services under corporate travel and expense policy
Lack of technology usage
Lack of flexibility
Lack of a stable plan for create travel management strategy
Advanced corporate travel and expense management is one of the best solutions today to curb these challenges. So, how can corporate travel and expense management help CMOs succeed in business? Before finding it, a glimpse at the management’s ability and efficiency can help you understand more about it.
Corporate Travel and Expense Management: What Do You Need to Know?
Corporate travel and expense management today has become advanced after the pandemic hit. Today, it is integrated with cutting-edge features through software and is used for mobile and desktop applications. The applications such as spend control & reporting, quick and easy booking, automated expense & reimbursement solutions with receipt capture, back up analytics capabilities, live credit card feeds, and customizable real-time reports are included. All these are powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence.
While many CMOs agree that strategizing corporate travel and expense management is helpful to save costs. They emphasize this because their companies have already practiced advanced corporate travel and expense management. Other corporate expense management companies also implemented corporate travel and expense management. And they recommend incorporating advanced management to curb expenses. If you face challenges in organizing corporate expense systems, this is the right article to learn how to cope with challenges.
Corporate Travel and Expense Management: How should you go about it?
Corporate travel and expense management are set to soar up to $1.7 trillion by 2022 globally, right after the travel companies started investing. This indicates the right time for you to start strategizing corporate travel management and its expenses by following practical steps.
Consider Technology-based Solutions
Cloud-based corporate travel expense software can simplify your corporate travel management and travel-related expense policies. It leads the entire expense management process to a higher degree of competence. The automation of the corporate travel management process also makes employees easy to file expenses on time.
For example, TripActions is a leading corporate expense management company. It provides top software solutions for corporate travel and expense management. The company promotes technology and offer solutions that come with ease of use.
No Paper Checks
Modern corporate travel and expense management saves ample time by eliminating paper checks. Paper checks make the process tiresome, and there are high chances of error. It also leaves space for employee fraud, which results in tracing difficulty. Thus, paperless work reduces the chances of data tampering and save over-pricing possibilities. Your business can be profitable if you inculcate corporate travel expense software. You can find a list of top software online. Incorporating modern corporate travel and expense management solutions can curb expenses. Practicing the best practices for travel expense management can generate higher revenue for your company.
Set an Accountable Plan on Reimbursement
The reimbursement processes can turn easy with modern corporate travel expense management. The management can help to set an accountable plan and give access to a list of reimbursements. In this way, employees can claim the existing reimbursements in one go. Following this practice for travel expense management can organize all travel and expense management services in one place. And you will never encounter any corporate travel management challenges in the future.
Employees are the happiest when they have freedom in their work and workflow. And because of this, you need to include a broad travel inventory. Modern corporate travel and expense management offers an inventory-rich system that allows various options to check employees' booking flights, accommodation, or car rentals. For example, Expensify provides a clear insight into the entire trip's actual cost to corporate travelers. Other corporate business travel management companies also implemented advanced corporate travel and expense management systems. And they are shaping the travel industry like other industries.
Choose the Right Software
In this, you need to choose the right corporate travel expense software for your business expense management. A corporate travel and expense management software includes features to manage corporate travel and expense policy, organize travel and expense management services, create a proper travel management strategy, manage corporate travel programs, and sets corporate travel management trips. Often, it appears impossible to organize trips that change. Corporate business travel management can help ease your employees’ load. Similarly, corporate travel and expense management software offers other features, such as:
It allows corporate travel managers to keep a proper view of employees traveling on a particular day
Budget tracking and travel policy tools through apps help simplify the process of business expense claims for employees as well as the finance team
Automated receipt submission reminders help employees to submit the reports on time
Ratings of travel and expense management services include car rentals, airfare, lodgings, and accommodation
Instant price comparisons
24/7 on the go support for managing a corporate travel program and expense management
Self-booking of business trips with the help of the travel booking management software
Seamless corporate travel expense reporting
Search about Software Compatibility
When including automation, you need to research corporate travel expense software's compatibility. When you consult a vendor online or in-person and understand software flexibility for travel bookings and transportation services, you can easily select according to your business requirements. By doing so, you tend to save a lot of time and deploy corporate expense systems faster.
Consider Setting up a Budget for Corporate Travel and Expense Management
For a company, the budget plays a pivotal role before setting up a new system. Questions like what kind of corporate travel and expense management solution you wish to invest in should also be considered if you want your company to succeed. Incorporating a corporate travel and expense management system involves a series of processes such as setup, installation, support, and customization. Thus, choosing the right software or tool is a crucial matter that compliments all budgetary solutions. Set up a budget, research which software can be beneficial to you, and incorporate it to exercise fast processes of your travel and expense management services.
Tips to Create a Successful Corporate Travel and Expense Management
While there are several solutions to corporate travel and expense management and you understood how to implement it, some tips can also lead you to be successful in business by introducing advanced travel and expense management services, corporate travel and expense policy, corporate expense systems, travel and expense management resources and more. Therefore, for this, you need to:
Educate employees and help them understand the technological aspects of advanced best practices for travel expense management
Set cost-saving strategies with the help of research on what other corporate expense management companies are implementing
Be resilient and open to suggestions from your employees
Consider integrating travel management strategies with an automated travel & expense management system. In this way, your company’s corporate travel and expense management will continue to function efficiently. As travel industry leaders are changing their strategies to stand out in 2021, it is time to end fretting over manual corporate travel expenses difficulties. With the help of a dedicated corporate travel management strategy, you can succeed in achieving the goals you set for the New Year in your company.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Travel and Expense (T&E) Management?
To understand corporate travel and expense management, a few features are explained below:
Tracking of reports
Submission of receipts
Management of corporate travel
List of services
How to manage travel expenses in corporate?
To manage travel expense under a corporate travel and expense management system requires the following things:
Keep track of details
Submit expense report on time
Organize data with details
Choose a suitable tool or software
Create a fast workflow
How to manage corporate travel and expense budget?
Some careful planning and thorough research on selecting the right tools or software can easily manage corporate travel and expense budget. With this, a business can get a closer insight into the planning of the budget, which results in building of a dignified corporate travel and expense management.
"name": "What is Travel and Expense (T&E) Management?",
"text": "To understand corporate travel and expense management, a few features are explained below:
Tracking of reports
Submission of receipts
Management of corporate travel
List of services"
"name": "How to manage travel expenses in corporate?",
"text": "To manage travel expense under a corporate travel and expense management system requires the following things:
Keep track of details
Submit expense report on time
Organize data with details
Choose a suitable tool or software
Create a fast workflow"
"name": "How to manage corporate travel and expense budget?",
"text": "Some careful planning and thorough research on selecting the right tools or software can easily manage corporate travel and expense budget. With this, a business can get a closer insight into the planning of the budget, which results in building of a dignified corporate travel and expense management."
Article | April 16, 2020
Over the past few days, I've looked at a few dozen travel industry predictor graphs, from a number of very credible sources. Below, I've compiled them all onto one graph to create the last predictor you need to understand for the next few weeks. I can say with almost certainty that one, or a combination of these is going to be quite accurate. What’s the point here? The point here is that there is no point. Nobody knows what will happen next week, never mind three years from now.