While most hotel-booking services such as HotelQuickly and Agoda are focussed on driving up market entry and selection of hotels, Singapore-based luxury villa booking platform The Luxe Nomad has made a slightly unorthodox expansion — property management.
It will partner with selected villas in Borneo, Bali and Singapore.
“From the start, branding has been one of TheLuxeNomad.com’s key strengths, establishing trust with clients through our curation. Management allows us to build on this trust by ensuring guests with the same quality and standards, from booking to checkout,” said Stephanie Chai, Founder and ‘Chief Nomad’ of TheLuxeNomad.com.
Among of them is Cove 55, a beachfront villa located in Borneo. The 12-bedroom luxury villa is currently being renovated by MinWeeArchitects and boutique design agency FUUR from Singapore, and will launch in August 2016 with a new cantilevered swimming pool that overlooks the sea.
The Luxe Nomad will also launch #MyDreamJob, a global campaign across their social media platforms to find a Villa Manager for Cove 55.
This expansion is another sign that its strategy to offer only niche high-end luxury stays — unlike the multitude of hotel booking platforms competing for the most coverage–or the most attractive pricing — is paying dividends.
Back in 2012, it was launched as a flash sales site for luxury villa rentals, with only four properties in its catalog.
The model was, however, unsustainable in the long run.
“The longevity of the model was difficult as a lot of time was needed to negotiate deals and continuously add new users as database turnover was somewhat high due to ’email fatigue’ from all the sales,” Chai told e27.
In mid 2015, The Luxe Nomad pivoted to focus on just villa bookings. It currently lists over 950 villas and 850 hotels in 12 countries. The prices range from about US$200 for a night in the Villa La Tosca in Bordeaux, France, to about US$6,200 for a night in Villa Il Santo in Tuscany, Italy.
Chai said that bookings have doubled since the pivot, and the company hit profitability during the peak months. The average booking size saw an increase of 43 per cent to US$3,000, and the average commission jumped from 13 per cent to 17 per cent.
The Luxe Nomad last publicly raised funding two and a half years ago — a US$698,000 funding led by Innosight Ventures, Japan’s Zipan Enterprise Network and a silent partner (the year before it closed its first funding from Tigris Capital at Echelon 2012)
Since then, Chai revealed that The Luxe Nomad raised an undisclosed small bridge round of funding to help with its transition to become a primarily villa booking platform. It will also embark on a Series A round in the coming months.