When Luxury Doesn’t Mean Custom
As luxury adventures go, this one from The Four Seasons has been getting plenty of attention for being an over-the-top, around-the-world trip on a private jet in 24 days. A bit ago The New York Times decided to give it an objective and very fair review, which you can read right here.
What was the verdict? For starters, that the opulence and excess of the $120,000-per person trip’s ultimate five-star experience was nothing short of incredible. And it adds: “Then there’s the luxury of service — having people around at each instant to take care of stuff so you can think about something else.” That convenience and service enabled the trip’s guests to see far more of the world in a far shorter period of time (thanks partly to the jet, and partly to the lack of hassles) than they would otherwise be able to.
And yet, it also takes care to mention that the trip left something to be desired because of that. Its itinerary glossed over some of the world’s most historic and breathtaking sites in favor of expediency for the group. And as a result it left out many of the slower, more contemplative–and personal–interactions that are often the most meaningful for travelers interacting with a new environment.
To me this is proof that high-end experiences aren’t necessarily always customized or personal. And that even the most expensive and excellent service can suffer for its ‘one size fits all’ approach.
“Sometimes money backfires,” writes the article’s author. “People buy a house with a huge yard, but they are so far removed from their neighbors they never really experience community. Sometimes people design an apartment so in line with Architectural Digest-level perfection that they can never really be rambunctious or feel at home.
I really enjoyed tagging along with this gang for part of their journey. But some of the most memorable moments came from breaking away, wandering alone through the astonishing streets of St. Petersburg, one of the world’s great cities.”
That’s exactly why, at OneVision, we simply don’t do ‘one size fits all.’ To us, impeccable service automatically means taking the time to listen and pay attention to personal needs and preferences, taking care to value and account for the nuances of every client’s lifestyle. But that also raises the question: If The Four Seasons can’t manage to scale that, how can we?
Here’s how: We never say no to a client who wants to work with us to create an experience. That may ultimately take more of our time and mean a bigger budget to them, but if they give us the resources to accommodate their specific and personal requests, we can–and always do–make it happen.
Read more about what we believe defines five-star service here.