Onefinestay and the future of travel
Javier Cedillo-Espin, CEO of luxury holiday rentals company, tells Portfolio what travel will look like in twenty years time
How has travel changed in the last couple of decades?
The travel and hospitality industries are rapidly growing alongside shifting travel consumer behaviour. Thanks to the mass adoption of technology, we are now seeing an emerging traveller who wants both a refined and highly personalised experience that delivers peace of mind alongside local flavour and authenticity. The innovative companies that have found success, including private rentals, adapted quickly to these shifts.
Here at onefinestay, from the beginning, we were able to tailor our service not just to guests, but to travel trends, and create experiences that always felt fresh and exciting. And since then, the private rental category has only grown with competitive and complementary companies widening the landscape, hotel brands aiming to innovate, and no sign that things are slowing down.
Where are your favourite places to go on holidays?
The South of France, Gorde especially as it is so magical, but also the Luberon area of Provence. I also never tire of New York City. There is always something new and exciting around every corner.
Which three things can you not travel without?
My notebook, to jot down ideas, running shoes and my credit card (because I love shopping).
How will travel change over the course of the next two decades?
The new frontier of travel innovation lies in the technologies and advancements that can continue to elevate the travel experience, and make it better as well as faster, simpler, safer and ever more interesting and valuable.
You recently said that luxury today, at least in onefinestay's eyes, is all about “all-inclusive care”. Can you explain what you meant by that?
It means that the value of luxury has changed and evolved, and in the travel world, the luxury experience is no longer equated with a specific brand or price, but rather quantified by how it makes the most discerning travellers feel, how curated and personalised it can be, and whether it anticipates and exceeds their expectations.
This is what we aim to execute at onefinestay. We are a new kind of hospitality company offering individualised stays and bespoke services in carefully curated homes all around the world, from the finest exotic villas, mountain chalets and country piles to private homes and apartments in world-class cities.
The onefinestay experience is fully-managed by our professional team from listing the home and managing the booking through to the stay itself. Every last detail is carefully considered. We ensure every home is prepared to our exacting standards and our new 24/7 concierge programme Higher Living (a new amenity available during and up to a year after a stay) allows guests to effortlessly tailor their stay with extras including everything from airport transfers and grocery deliveries to spa services and hot air balloon excursions.
onefinestay has grown pretty swiftly. What has been the key to your expansion?
We first launched in 2010 in London with only six homes but with superlative service and a unique luxury lifestyle at the core of what we were setting out to do. We’ve evolved over the years including becoming part of the AccorHotels family in 2016 and merging with two other private rental brands TravelKeys and Squarebreak in 2017 and now in 2018 we are the leading luxury private rental brand with 10,000 homes in 200 destinations.
We’re constantly innovating to remain a pioneer in this sector. For example, in Mykonos, we recently launched a private resort collection of 10 luxury villas. It’s the only private retreat of its kind on the island and a first of its kind offering for our brand. The villa collection is the ultimate in luxury lifestyle – the homes are equipped with luxurious features like infinity pools, a private dock and a helipad, as well as onefinestay’s signature service with concierge available on-site 24/7.
We turn up where our guests want us to be because we are action-oriented and value their feedback; that being said, these formidable years cannot be solely built on offering new destinations and curating more homes. We have to evolve our service and lifestyle commitment as well. The launch of Higher Living is a perfect example of this.
For you, what sets a great holiday apart from an average one?
A personalised, authentic and professional service is key to a great holiday. To be given an elevated experience and peace-of-mind throughout is essential.
You said in your interview with Skift that personalisation and individualisation are very important to today's travellers. How does onefinestay deliver on both of those?
The travel world as a whole is changing to meet seismic shifts in technology and consumer behaviour, to create experiences and services that feel special and new. From inception, onefinestay’s service was calibrated to provide guests an experience that felt authentic, yet different from any other, with the same peace of mind that they’d feel in a well-established hotel.
To provide this unrivaled and personalised experience, we invest time to understand ours guests, their motivations and aspirations. This enables onefinestay to give personalised booking experiences, to expertly find the right home and to tailor each stay with extras (from airport transfers and grocery deliveries to restaurant reservations and housekeeping, luxurious treats like spa services, private chefs and butlers and even completely bespoke experiences like music shows, fireworks, hot air balloon excursions and private plane tours).
And what is next for onefinestay?
onefinestay is committed to being in the most desirable destinations and cities around the globe, and will continue to be the authority on luxury lifestyle and travel, and deliver the most beautiful experiences in the best homes, in even more locations.
Javier Cedillo-Espin is CEO of onefinestay, a luxury holiday rentals company that offers high levels of service for discerning travellers and homeowners. For more visit onefinestay.com.
All photographs feature onefinestay properties in - from top to bottom - Mykonos, Mexico, Hawaii and Australia.