We chat to Paolo Macchiaroli, the CEO and founder of My Private Villas about his unique approach to luxury villa rentals.
- Hi Paolo, can you tell us a little about yourself.
I had the opportunity to travel in all 5 continents in my life and to have many different experiences and numerous connections worldwide. In 1994 I graduated with a degree in Economics and Business in Italy and since then I’ve developed 12 years of experience in the marketing and communication field.
- What did you particularly enjoy about marketing?
During my experience in the marketing and communication field I’ve enjoyed identifying new business opportunities to expand revenue growth and implementing plans and strategies for different type of clients, including several 5 stars hotels.
- How did the move in to the luxury villa rentals industry develop?
I have always had two great passions in my life: Interior design and travel.
Due to my personal connections with several owners of luxurious villas in Europe, in 2006 I decided to get involved in the international luxury travel market when I bought a B2B villa rental company based in Tuscany
- I believe at one point you turned away from the industry and moved to the UK, can you tell us about that period of your life and what led you to do that?
In 2011 I decided to sell my company shares, as I didn’t believe anymore in the “villa rental agency system” because it was (and unfortunately still is) predominated by too many agencies not working in transparency, offering higher rates to the final clients, I then moved to London where my wife had already moved 1 year before.
- Why and when did you come back in to the industry and what did you feel you could do differently to the other operators within the industry?
At that time I didn’t want to open up another villa rental agency, but so many owners
had asked me to keep promoting them so I took a gamble and decided to create a new villa rental company with a different business model, completely based on transparency.
The idea was to create a sort of “private club” of owners and develop tailor-made marketing and promotional activities for the properties we represent.
My Private Villas is now an exclusive collection of the highest quality luxury holiday properties, villas, chalets and private islands available to rent directly from their owners in the most iconic destinations worldwide.
With the help of our 10 PR agencies worldwide we are able to offer free press worldwide to “our” villas to organize events where we promote individually the villas to the right target, to create customized marketing campaigns for the villas, to organize FAM & Press trips, to let the villas participate in important TV show like X-Factor or Keeping up with the Kardashians, presenting always a villa not only as a holiday rental, but also as a place where guests can live unique experiences.
So what distinguishes My Private Villas from any other villa rental agency is the special relationship we have with the owners, being in direct contact with them and offering them extra visibility and marketing activities, we are then able to get discounts, tailor-made and complimentary services and offer them to our clients so immediately they can feel that we are not a typical villa rental agency, but that we go the extra mile to provide the best services.
- Can you give me an example of these special services you’re able to provide?
One of our client from London (Mr G.M.) booked villa Mas Mateu in Spain and has asked me to if we could help him to get a table for 16 people at El Celler De Can Roca (one of the best restaurants in the world), as when he contacted the restaurant the answer was the first table will be available in 9 months. So we called the villa owner asking for his help and he got our client the first place on the waiting list. Our client was happy, but I thought….the first table that might be cancelled will never be for 16 people, so….I called a Swiss Concierge Company we partner with and in 48 hours we obtained a table for 16 in a private room of the restaurant.
- If you had an unlimited budget, what would you book and where, what services would you expect or want to be supplied?
That’s a tough question, many people ask me which are my favourite properties and trust me it is not easy to answer as there’s plenty of choice. With an unlimited budget I would probably choose one of the private island we represent (maybe Over Yonder Cay in The Bahamas, or Coco Prive’ in The Maldives), but I also love to be in a property that reflect the authenticity of the location, so….one of the villa of Mr Ferragamo in Tuscany or an authentic Alpine chalet can be my cup of tea too and then…I never forget my origin so what about a luxurious villa on the Amalfi Coast or Capri?
- Can you tell us about your work with The World Boutique Hotel Award’s and how that came about?
In 2015 I was contacted by the Academy of The World Boutique Hotel Awards to develop the new category of the Award “Private Villas”. So each year I invite 30-40 villas from all over the word to participate in the Award and during the annual Ceremony in London, every year I announce the Best private villa in Europe, in America, etc…and finally the Best Private Villa World Wide.
- What other organisations do you work or collaborate with?
My Private Villas is both B2C (so we offer properties to direct clients from all over the world) and B2B.
In more than 12 years of experience in the luxury villa rental market I’ve developed thousands of connections, the majority of which are the most important luxury travel agencies, concierge companies, family offices from all over the world and now we are partners of many important groups like Amex, Protravel, Ovation travel, Frosh, Smartflyer and much more.
Recently My Private villas was also invited to be part of Traveller Made, a network community of travel designers dedicated to providing unique and exclusive bespoke journeys to travellers looking for different and original experiences, requiring skilled and knowledgeable advisors who are committed to fully servicing their clients needs.
- I understand that you are a great networker and attend many industry events around the world, can you tell us about that please?
We attend all the most important Luxury Travel Shows around the world. Those are B2B exhibitions where we have the opportunity as an exhibitor to meet all the most important agencies worldwide. ILTM in Cannes, LE Miami in Florida, Travel Week in Sao Paulo, ATM in Dubai, ILTM Americas, in Mexico, as just some examples of these important travel shows we attend.
- Which business leader or entrepreneur most inspires you and why?
Without any doubt Steve Jobs. A visionary and innovative entrepreneur with his passion and obsessive commitment to quality, who by having the courage to follow his heart and intuition has created an empire that inspires and satisfies millions of people around the world every day.
- What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur that is setting out to make their mark in the business world?
To work hard and with passion and…as Steve Job said: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”.
Thank you very much for your time Paolo