Quintessentially’s Lauren Wilt on Redefining the Luxury Travel Industry

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An average day for Lauren Wilt usually begins at dawn. At her home in Los Angeles, at 6 a.m., she is on the phone with the team in London, where Quintessentially’s head office is located. But don’t feel bad for her, that’s exactly how she likes it to be.

“I love it,” she laughs, speaking to CEO Magazine. “I’m a morning person, so that’s totally fine.”

In fact, it’s this close connection to other cities and its extensive global network that has allowed Quintessentially to excel. “We get to know our customers through regular phone calls, meetings, and the huge amount of data we keep in their profile,” says Wilt.

“So in addition to personalization, you also have localization. We have 40 offices around the world and are incredibly connected. For example, if we know a member is traveling to Italy with their family, Quintessentially will be able to provide them with truly personalized and organized service to help them get the most out of their trip.

“We bring in our local office, specialists and experts, we tell them who the member is, how old their children are, what they like to do, where they like to stay, what they like to eat, and we make sure the recommendations and ideas we receive are relevant and inspiring for that particular member. »

Founded by Aaron Simpson, Ben Elliot and Paul Drummond in 2000, the creation of Quintessentially effectively launched the concept of lifestyle management. Offering a wide range of services and possibilities, its spectrum includes everything from organizing unique holidays and VIP experiences, to art advice for collectors and assistance with the sale and purchase of goods. to daily support.

As the world’s best personal assistant, Quintessentially takes the guesswork out of life and travel for time-poor and high-profile clients (primarily with high net worth or ultra-high net worth), and helps “create more space so they can do the things they love most in their lives.

luxury service

The business itself has three co-existing verticals; first, a bespoke luxury concierge service within which “is individual lifestyle management, where a member joins Quintessentially, and they are paired with both a personal lifestyle manager and an assistant of dedicated travel,” according to Wilt.

“The lifestyle manager really builds that relationship with them and finds out where they like to travel, what they like to eat, what their kids’ names are, what seat they like on the plane, and then tailors service and proactivity around that kind of innate understanding of them as individuals.

Wilt adds that these concierge services are also available from a corporate perspective, with high-end companies choosing to provide Quintessentially as a perk to their senior employees or VIP clients. The second vertical covers displacements.

“We are a full-service travel agency,” she explains. “We have hundreds and hundreds of personal relationships with brands, and we’re also part of the Virtuoso network, which comes with a really nice suite of services, from free upgrades and cocktails to late check-outs.”

And third is Quintessentially’s unique agency side and experiential B2B offering, QX, which supports other luxury brands and corporate clients with partnerships and events.

“Individual lifestyle management [is] where a member joins Quintessentially, and they are paired with both a personal lifestyle manager and a dedicated travel assistant.

“For private events, we bring the high quality service and incredible attention to detail that our company is known for to every element of the highly creative and often large-scale events that our members desire.

“For brands and businesses that want to understand, engage with, and retain their high-value audiences, QX has developed a suite of products to help brand customers differentiate and make emotional connections with the highly sophisticated UHNWI market. Notably, in recent years, we have seen that our expertise in managing highly tactile customers has become a staple for many luxury brands.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies around the world to sink or swim, exposing supply chain issues or the need for technology development, for Quintessentially it has proven to be an opportunity to refine its offers and pivot towards different types of experiences.

“As the world started to open up, the need for Quintessentially skyrocketed,” Wilt reveals. “People realized they needed a professional to help them book travel because it was harder than ever to travel safely.”

Additionally, she explains that since the business is built on a foundation of personalization with an innate human touch, total digitization will never be the answer. “People don’t join Quintessentially to work with a chatbot,” she says. “They join to have a conversation with someone who understands their needs and their passions, who knows the luxury market and who needs connection and access.

“So that has remained constant as we fine-tune our benefits and partnerships to respond to change. Twenty years ago, much more materialistic demands were coming in than now; our members want to take eco-friendly trips, or they want to buy from brands that place a high priority on sustainability. We have certainly seen these types of trends change.

perfect match

Wilt describes joining Quintessentially nine years ago as a “match made in heaven – I instantly fell in love”. So when she was named CEO of the US branch of the company last year, it was the perfect progression. However, that doesn’t mean it’s called time to learn – quite the contrary, she now feels even more compelled to grow as a leader and as an individual.

“I have an open door policy and try to be very honest and thoughtful and lead with integrity,” she explains. “I think, especially in this role, being able to bring other things to the table is also important. So, I always listen to podcasts, attend conferences, attend, and try to learn from mentors, members, and everything in an ever-changing world.

And while Wilt adores many facets of what she does, she stresses that her favorite part of working at Quintessentially is interacting with such a fascinating and successful cross-section of society. “I love my job and feel very lucky to say so, but I’m inspired by our members every day,” she says with a smile.

“They are at the top of their industry. They are creators, entrepreneurs, CEOs, philanthropists and doctors. These people are what I aspire to be in life. Our team is also very diverse and comes from so many different backgrounds and perspectives.

This insatiable drive to do what they do, and to do it, comes down in large part to the fact that all Quintessentially employees are bound by a common goal – to provide the best concierge service on the planet – and a common hobby.

“I love my job and feel very lucky to say so, but I am inspired every day by our members. »

“We all definitely have the travel bug,” says Wilt. For the woman at the helm, that means balancing a combination of surf trips to “explore parts of the world, like Sri Lanka or the Maldives, where I might not have been otherwise”, and cosmopolitan hubs. “I love cities. I love culture. I love going to art museums and shows and experiencing the best food in the world.

“But I think that’s kind of what my home life is like too. It’s either be very attentive and relaxed or go fast in Beverly Hills.

Indeed, as demanded by her demanding role and those sunrise meetings, balance is a recurring theme in Wilt’s life, and something she prioritizes every day without fail.

“The secret to success is to always find 30 to 40 minutes for yourself every day, whether it’s going for a walk or just sitting outside and breathing in the fresh air,” she enthuses.

“For me it’s about adapting quickly or, on the weekends, being able to surf and find time to do something for yourself that has nothing to do with other responsibilities. If I take 30 minutes, I’ll come back to my refreshed desktop, and sometimes answers are waiting for you if you just give yourself the time to find them.

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