By PTW President, Irene Aviles
Villa travel in Europe is as popular as it was centuries ago, but at present self-serve holiday travel in other people’s homes is the most popular option, more widely so than hotels. In the USA, vacation rentals (what we call traveling in other people’s homes), is a rapidly growing segment, but one that begs to be defined. Villa travel in the USA is a developing market for the luxury traveler. Today, the word villa represents homes with hospitality-type services. At Private Trade Winds we go as far as to say that a villa, no matter the size, is about accommodating the American palette for comfort, service and experience. We want it all – and the time is now!
So what defines a Villa and what defines a Vacation Rental?
A Villa can be defined in two categories: Classic and Modern
The Classic Villa:
Classic Villas have been around for centuries in Europe. Through the years they have been renovated in
various stages from generation to generation to produce a current, and hopefully, luxurious vacation experience. Classic villas are usually large and fitted with on-site staff such as housekeepers, butlers, and cook.
The Modern Villa:
Modern Villas include luxurious accommodations in various size real estate options from 1-bedroom condos to sprawling 13-bedroom estates. They can include large and small homes, condominiums, residence clubs, fractionals and condominium hotels. Modern villas typically come with some sort of hospitality service if booked through a professionally managed organization. Since the travel industry and private homeowner renters are not consistent in using terminology, it is important to always ask about details regarding service and amenities. At Private Trade Winds, all of our villas have passed a rigorous checklist of requirements to provide a 5-Star villa hospitality experience and have been branded by Private Trade Winds with service and amenities to provide a 5-Star Villa Vacation. This includes professionally decorated accommodations, maid service, bath amenities with robes, complete or gourmet kitchens with bottled water and coffee, and endless concierge service to plan every step of the trip. Undoubtedly what the luxury traveler seeks.
A Vacation Rental is a generic term for short term rentals in private homes
This is a more commonly used term and refers to someone who wants to travel in homes. Websites such as VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) and HomeAway are very successful listing services, and they allow the consumer to filter and choose the options they want to rent. Each is owned and managed separately with no consistency of quality, service or amenities. These self service websites offer a multitude of options worldwide, but no guarantee of reliability. Most of the properties listed on these sites do not provide hospitality service, amenities or concierge service, and the overall experience is not considered luxurious.
Although there is a vast array of vacation rentals worldwide, a very small percentage even come close to Villa status. Most consumers do not know the difference or realize that they have several choices. This explains why such a large percentage of Americans do not rent vacation homes, nor do they realize villa options exist, or worse how to find them!
So how do you find true luxury Villas?
Choice #1 – Buy into a Destination or Residence Club. This option is quite costly, but offers high quality, consistency and service
Choice #2 – Find a local professionally managed Rental Company. This option is ideal if you know what you want and have a checklist of your expectations for furnishings, kitchenware, and services. Most likely you will not find everything you want, but it is better than trusting an on-line listing that doesn’t personally vet and inspect each property
Choice #3 – Choose a listing service that focuses solely on villa product – vetting and branding each villa to ensure a uniform standard of excellence and consistency. There is only one company that does just that, and we have been educating travelers, as well as Travel Agents, on true villa product since 2007. PTW villas provide clients with endless worldwide opportunities to enjoy a myriad of real estate options from homes, condos, estates, fractional properties, residence clubs and condo hotels, all with 5-star hotel comforts, high end interior design, convenience and prime locations. Villas can be rented on an individual basis, without having to buy into an expensive and restrictive club-type concept.
Want to find out if you are a villa traveler? Take our short 5-question quiz! To learn more about a true villa experience, visit our FAQ page or email Judy Sweetland at firstname.lastname@example.org