Beautiful Places, a travel villa rental firm, has just expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of McLaughlin Anderson, increasing its villa offerings by 100 in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and in Grenada. As such, the company is now looking to add to its sales agent staff by offering 12.5 percent commission this summer on its newly-obtained Caribbean properties.
According to Linda Graves, co-founder of Beautiful Places, villa rental for travel is becoming increasingly popular with affluent travelers, and those looking for an extended stay that isn’t a hotel. In addition, 10 to 15 percent of the company’s bookings are done through agents now, as opposed to zero when the company first started. Graves would like to see those numbers increase, hence the need for additional agents.
But Beautiful Places agents don’t just book vacations. The company helps its clients plan the entire trip, by booking butlers, private chefs, and in-home spa treatments, to name a few things. The company also has someone available to answer client questions anytime, day or night.
“Connecting our clients with the right villa is just the beginning of the process,” Graves said.
She adds that agents are often reluctant to suggest a vacation villa rental, because they don’t always what they are getting into.
“They know what they are getting into with a Hyatt hotel, even if they haven’t visited every one,” Graves said, adding that some agents don’t always know what questions to ask the client or villa rental company. “So we work with the agent to make sure we understand exactly what the client is looking for.”
For starters, she urges agents to ask their clients if a vacation home is what they are looking for. She also notes that Beautiful Places flags clients that book with an agent, so if that same client calls to book again, the agent can be credited for the additional commission, as the company’s goal is to make the agent look good.
“We can make this travel agent a hero or heroine by coming up with something unique and memorable,” Graves said.