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Luxury tourism operator urges collective approach

Press release from Touch of Spice

Tuesday 31 October 2006


Collective approach best, urges luxury travel and tourism operator

In the year since niche lifestyle management company Touch of Spice opened for business, demand for exclusive visitor services and luxury accommodation has skyrocketed.

“Demand for top end self-catered accommodation and accompanying exclusive concierge services has grown immensely. This is especially noticeable as we evaluate our company on its first birthday,” says Jacqui Spice, Touch of Spice lifestyle specialist and owner.

Industry bodies estimate luxury travel is growing worldwide, with the latest New Zealand figures* showing that the proportion of visitors spending over $5,000 per visit has risen from 7 per cent to 11 per cent in the past eight years. Average spend has increased by more than $750 to just over $3,000 in 2006.

“Our client base has more than tripled in the past six months, but as niche players in the industry we also recognise that luxury operators can benefit from working together. It’s fantastic to hear industry body TRENZ announce this week that it will feature a luxury travel trade show for the first time next year.”

Spice knew she had a strong business idea twelve months ago, but was surprised by the level of demand in Queenstown for her boutique services.

“When I launched Touch of Spice I’d done extensive research assessing the feasibility of a lifestyle management business, but had little idea that there would be such a large market in this country.”

Spice has ten years’ experience in the Caribbean and Mediterranean luxury super yacht industry; ideal training for setting up a lifestyle management company.

“From modest beginnings we’ve grown enormously, evolving to meet client needs. Word of mouth has been paramount to our success, helping us build a strong international, New Zealand and local resident client base.

“The phone has barely stopped ringing and taking part in a dedicated luxury travel trade show next year will only help enhance my client base, build awareness of who we are and what we’re providing here in Queenstown.”

Touch of Spice clients vary from locals in the Queenstown area looking for help to organise a special event, part-time international residents returning to their summer home, to families from Auckland escaping to Queenstown for an exclusive, private stay in a home with full concierge and chef services.

“We often cater for overseas VIPs who require utmost discretion and everything from high security in top level accommodation, to PA services and in-home yoga instruction,” says Spice.

“We deal with business people taking a much-earned break, but with limited time to enjoy it. It’s these people who benefit most from lifestyle management when they don’t have to spend lots of time poring over activity brochures. We think outside the box to develop creative and authentic itineraries, take clients off the beaten track and make sure just about every need is catered for.

“We do as little or as much as clients require, but everything is done to an exacting standard.”

When it comes to accommodation management, Touch of Spice is far more than simply a ‘key holder’. Special touches include stocking the fridge, sourcing rare vintage wines, or tracking down gourmet foods and private chefs for romantic dinners.

“We started with four properties on our accommodation list and now we offer a selection of fourteen exclusive homes for vacation rent, starting from $500 per night. We continuously add to our portfolio and we’re about to launch a two-tiered accommodation service featuring both the Premium Selection and Ultimate Indulgence Collection.”

Spice is also noticing a significant change in the demographic of her clientele.

“In my super yacht days I’d be dealing with a more mature client. Now we’re seeing a more youthful clientele, and we’re taking enquiries for top end accommodation from some interesting places, including an increasing number of Russians.”

Demand has fuelled business growth in Touch of Spice’s first year. Lifestyle Manager Erika Donaldson and Marketing Administrator Saffron Garner have joined the now four-strong team this month in full-time roles, and Spice is currently recruiting for another manager.

NOTE: *New Zealand Tourism Ministry statistics.

ENDS

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