sell­ing THE LUX­URY

NZ Business - - COVER STORY -

New Zealand's lux­ury tourism sec­tor con­tin­ues to ex­pand and evolve, with the vis­i­tor de­mo­graphic di­ver­si­fy­ing Ac­com­mo­da­tion spe­cial­ist Ma­jorDomo is one of an in­creas­ing num­ber of busi­ness driv­ing growth in this space.

FOR FIONA STEVENS and Lisa Hay­den it be­gan one day over a cof­fee, fol­lowed by a wine, or two.

“We got chat­ting about busi­ness ideas and de­cided to take ad­van­tage of a gap we iden­ti­fied in the niche lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion mar­ket,” says Lisa.

“We both shared a vi­sion of de­liv­er­ing ex­cep­tional ser­vice to both own­ers and guests, but wanted it to be fun for us and our guests. Be­cause lux­ury doesn't have to be stuffy and un­ap­proach­able, they’re on hol­i­day after all!”

Ma­jorDomo, their na­tion­wide lux­ury hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion, tourism ex­pe­ri­ence and concierge ser­vice busi­ness, was the ul­ti­mate out­come of that chat. The busi­ness launched in June 2013.

In ad­di­tion to a broad po­ten­tial client base, Fiona and Lisa brought com­ple­men­tary skills to the busi­ness.

“Fi has a long, strong his­tory in travel and the lux­ury tourism in­dus­try and my back­ground was in a re­cent start-up in Mel­bourne and, prior to that, in­vest­ment ad­vi­sory,” says Lisa.

“Ma­jorDomo is a Euro­pean term which loosely trans­lates as ‘the man­ager of a large coun­try es­tate for ab­sen­tee own­ers’. The name seemed ap­pro­pri­ate given hol­i­day home­own­ers are trust­ing us to mar­ket and man­age their sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment.”

The tim­ing for Ma­jorDomo couldn’t have been bet­ter. “When we launched Tourism New Zealand was about to ini­ti­ate their pre­mium sec­tor strat­egy to en­gage and en­cour­age high-end vis­i­tors to New Zealand; they did a fan­tas­tic job,” says Lisa.

“We in­vested heav­ily in tech­nol­ogy, such as an easy-to-use web­site with mo­bile ca­pa­bil­ity, live reser­va­tions sys­tems, so­cial me­dia and search en­gine cam­paigns. If some­one wants a villa or lodge hol­i­day in New Zealand, we want them or their agent to find us and en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Fiona and Lisa say the lux­ury tourism sec­tor de­liv­ers unique ben­e­fits. Tourists stay longer and spend more money so the rel­a­tive eco­nomic ben­e­fit per pre­mium vis­i­tor is larger. And they re­ally 'get' New Zealand.

“They come back of­ten, talk about their ex­pe­ri­ences and en­cour­age friends, fam­ily and col­leagues to come too,” ex­plains Lisa.

“Their var­ied in­ter­ests spread the eco­nomic ben­e­fit over the whole year, in terms of what they do and when they do it, which helps re­duce the num­ber of 'low sea­son' pe­ri­ods and evens out cash­flow for op­er­a­tors and sup­pli­ers."

Both women be­lieve the ‘lux­ury’ prod­uct that New Zealand is putting out there is out­stand­ing. It was spear­headed by the lux­ury lodge sec­tor, and now it’s be­ing ex­tended to the pri­vate villa mar­ket.

Com­ing on stream in De­cem­ber 2016, the Mahu Whenua Ridge­line Homestead & Eco Sanc­tu­ary is Ma­jorDomo’s lat­est prop­erty. Its story is its big­gest draw­card: four iconic high coun­try sheep sta­tions over 155,000 acres; Mutt Lange's vi­sion to re­gen­er­ate the land in­clud­ing an en­dan­gered na­tive bird breed­ing pro­gramme and the plant­ing of over 1,350,000 na­tive trees and shrubs; and more than 90 per­cent of the land un­der QEII Trust covenants – en­sur­ing this largest con­ser­va­tion un­der­tak­ing on pri­vate land in New Zealand's his­tory is pro­tected in per­pe­tu­ity.

“Mahu Whenua means 'heal­ing the land' and vis­i­tors will be in­spired and awestruck by the beauty, di­ver­sity and scale of what sur­rounds them,” says Lisa. “Top that off with ex­clu­sive use of the gor­geous Ridge­line Homestead and cot­tages, a pri­vate chef, ac­tiv­i­ties guide and concierge, all only 20 min­utes from Wanaka, and you have the recipe for the most unique hol­i­day in New Zealand.”

Fiona and Lisa be­lieve the lux­ury tourism sec­tor will con­tinue to ex­pand and evolve, and the vis­i­tor de­mo­graphic will di­ver­sify.

“We see in­creas­ing de­mand for in­ter-gen­er­a­tional travel op­tions as fam­ily time be­comes more pre­cious and grand­par­ents are more healthy and ac­tive for longer,” says Lisa. “Hands on eco-tourism and 'slow tourism' are also emerg­ing themes in the pre­mium sec­tor.”

They plan to con­tinue of­fer­ing guests ex­cep­tional ser­vice and ex­pe­ri­ences, and be the ' go to' lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion spe­cial­ists, “keep­ing in mind it’s not all about the ac­com­mo­da­tion but the ac­tiv­i­ties and per­sonal touch that you wrap around it”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.