In the world of luxury resorts, it can be hard to stand out. But not in the case of One&Only, a brand that is synonymous with the words rich, famous and lavish. CT’s Megan Honan chatted with One&Only President and COO, Philippe Zuber and the VP of Global Communications, Ashley McBain, who offered up their tips and tricks of the luxury biz and shed some light on what makes One&Only so special.
CT: What should travel agents know to effectively sell One&Only?
Philippe: We have been working a lot with travel advisors and that's our approach to accessing the market – targeting the luxury audience. They love to go through travel advisors. The benefit of the travel advisor to our client is that they can create suggestions for activities around the destination. They're helping them out to plot one place to another. Travel agents need to become a wealth of knowledge about the resorts themselves and the destinations because they are the ones that can help our guests get the best out of the environment and the destination. Our people can help them out with what we know, which is that our guest love excursions. If they visit Palmilla, travel advisors can help them out by selecting one or two activities outside of the resort. One great add-on activity for Palmilla is to arrange a boat trip from the resort and tour underwater activities, see sharks and dolphins.
CT: Sounds like you love working with travel agents!
Philippe: We do. It's the travel advisors that are typically helping clients to coordinate those activities. The home base may always remain a One&Only property, but agents can coordinate with our team to get access to unique activities. That relationship exists at each of our destinations and we can always help fascinate. We really appreciate travel advisors, especially ones that talk to the client and say, “oh by the way, you can do this, this and this.” One strong element of One&Only is the relationship we've created with travel advisors, which creates a huge flexibility and trust. The advisor knows us and their clients very well, so we can address them in helping make our program at the resorts very flexible, that's the true luxury.
Ashley: One great example of collaboration is we have a lot of agents that book a stay at our Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, in Australia. If you're flying in from the U.S. or Canada, you typically get into Sydney first thing in the morning, where your room often isn’t ready. Agents have instead been suggesting to their clients to fly into Wolgan Valley. So then you've got a stunning two-and-a-half-hour ride amongst the blue mountains and you've adjusted to the time. Again, that's the travel partner and the client trusting them to help maximize their time. Because let's be for real, we're all time poor. So when you actually have time to discover and have time to yourself, you want to best utilize it.
CT: Do you seek out luxury travel agents or do they usually come to you? How does that relationship work?
Philippe: We have a very strong presence at a few events where we will connect and grow that relationship. Travel advisories are such a strong business – they continue to grow. More than ever, of course, the nature of the travel advisor has become more diverse. You can be one person in a neighborhood in the middle of nowhere, where the clients are a close-knit community. It's more and more difficult to capture the attention of those travel advisors since they already have such a strong, loyalty base. So we work to identify who they are and how to have better online engagement. We have done so much investing in terms of having more information available online. But, we engage verbally as well with our team. That's why we have such a strong presence in the world because nothing replaces the human relationship and that is what we're offering and how we market from a sales perspective. The business, which is evolving in many ways, has become more personalized than ever.
CT: What is the number one way you sell your product and how can travel agents learn from One&Only?
Philippe: We are very strong on Instagram and that's an area where we are really exposing our brand. At the end of the day we will never be – and never want to be – in the mass market. We have a very exclusive audience and for us we are providing so much in terms of experiences, we reach our audience anyway. Our approach is that the brand speaks for itself. If you want to have these unique experiences, you will go to One&Only. You will have to pay a premium for that, but you know exactly what you will receive in return. I think we are very humble, but that's what sets us apart. The feedback from our clientele to friends and family will definitely guide people to us. If a travel advisor doesn't know us, but knows their client and the expectations of their client, they're likely looking for the best and that's simply what they will find with One&Only.
CT: Does One&Only have an ideal client?
Philippe: No, it's truly so unique, we welcome everybody. Our approach is that if you go as a couple, you will enjoy your time. If you go as a family and also want to have corporate time, you would have your corporate time. In fact, what we believe at One&Only is that we cater to each moment of the day because people are changing. They might be in the mood for a burger, they might be in the mood for a gastronomical experience. They might be in the mood for one-on-one or a group setting and we can make that happen.
Ashley: You can be barefoot at dinner, but you can also be dressed up for breakfast. We respond to our clients' wishes. Who doesn’t love that?
CT: Lastly, is there anything else CT readers should know about One&Only?
Philippe: We are so confident that we are offering amazing experiences and everlasting memories. We are so generous in our approach that we just want the world to know. If clients want something unique, we are here. It's just a very humble approach to the business. We are so passionate, but more importantly, we rely heavily on our team on the ground. The quality of our staff is truly amazing. They are doing the job and they’re doing it well.
Ashley: But it's also led from the top. You know, we are so fortunate that we're empowered and that people are passionate and inspired to deliver the best we can. And I mean that's exciting--to be part of that.