Interview with Mark Greedy, CEO of Destination Elite
We speak to the man behind the website that is redefining luxury for the modern traveller.
Boasting over 40 years of experience in travel leadership at high-end airlines, luxury cruises, leading hotels around the world and many more, it’s easy to see why Mark Greedy is at the helm of Destination Elite. With a bespoke selection of hotels, resorts, luxury merchandise and real estate with a difference, Greedy’s website is shaping luxury and lifestyle experiences into something that lasts.
Below, Mark Greedy shares with us more about Destination Elite and the future of his company, as well as his take on some of the best travel destinations.
Interview with Mark Greedy, CEO of Destination Elite
What led you to define the concept of Destination Elite?
I have a unique and fortunate career path including the Marketing and Business leadership of the world’s finest airlines, hotels, resorts, travel agencies and tour operators. That is on top of affiliation with luxury cruises and Market Communications of the finest motor vehicles and products, amongst others.
From this, I came to recognise that the consumers of luxury are mostly the same people who share the same character and expectations no matter where they are from. They generally make their own independent decisions after consultation with peers and want their style and environment all translated on the same stage, whether that’s a one-stop sophisticated shop of outstanding products or an amazingly curated collection online, presented and retailed.
So, my vision was to provide only the finest, together, within the same online eco-system in a wonderful environment — “That Perfect Place” — for these customers. Also, the concept of amazing offers available for the finest products and experiences for limited periods only is not a new model.
As well as communicating the beautiful image of Singapore Airlines or a Leading Hotel of the World, we successfully created For Sale opportunities of these same products at unbelievable savings or inclusion. Elite Affairs is and will be this for Destination Elite and its closed user group of Friends.
How different is Destination Elite from other travel-related websites?
Destination Elite aspires to be a platfom for showcasing and retailing the finest of all products and merchandise, whereas almost all other travel websites are limited to only hotels and resorts, and generally cater to the mass market — a bit like one big classified page.
There has not been one global online website that has successfully taken an ecosystem of luxury products to the luxury customer. The big guys have tried but they are not accustomed to being as one with the consumer of luxury; due to their expectations and nuances, they have tried unsuccessfully to adapt mass principles to exclusive culture.
Which destinations do you cover primarily?
Destination Elite offers a global selection of the finest from Japan Ryokans to Paris Hotels, to Mediterranean Cruising to Antarctica Expedition Adventures and more. However, being Asia-centric, we have developed an affinity with those nearby jewels such as the Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Japan and New Zealand, places where diversity and culture mix within just one portion of the globe.
Why would a customer come to you, and what added services do you provide versus the usual online travel agencies?
As mentioned earlier, a customer would come to Destination Elite for:
- our diverse appreciation, understanding and range of products from cruises and adventure experiences or private islands and luxurious residences, all consolidated into one showcase;
- our Elite Travel Concierge ([email protected]), which provides customised and personalised guidance and support from people who are themselves experienced and appreciative of the finest;
- the best available pricing (often even better), because Destination Elite sources and invites the finest to be within our alliance. See Elite Affairs;
- savings and designer features sculped to the luxury consumers aspirations; and
- access to an enviable collection of important benefits, which is reserved for customers who choose to accept our Complimentary Invitation to become Friends of Elite.
Also, in recent times, Destination Elite has introduced its designer range of Speed Sale offers known as “Elite Affairs”. From islands to family to romantic to business to brief affairs, we have designed unmatched swift sale opportunities to the finest in market.
So, in conclusion, customers come to us for our curation of diverse and selective products, personalised customised service, value and benefits, and, dare we mention, price.
Currently, do you have any special offers that you feel would appeal to readers based on their luxury travel habits?
At this moment, we have:
- Island Affairs 3 Nights at only US$2,999 to Huvafen Fushi, Maldives including all dinners and breakfasts, airport transfers and T&S. Pretty amazing.
- Family Affairs to Gayana Marine Resort Kota Kinabalu and also one of Asia’s finest resorts Centara Grand Hua Hin where kids eat, play and stay for free.
- Romantic Affairs to Oberoi Bali and Lombok
- Business Affairs at The Murray Hotel, Hong Kong
- Brief Affairs are on the design table now and at least another 40+ brand customised Affairs from Foreign to Gourmet to Summer to Steamy Affairs are on the way.
How do you see Destination Elite evolving within the next 2 years?
I believe Destination Elite’s recent partnering with a major luxury media business will significantly enhance the take up of Destination Elite by its Friends of Elite customers, whilst providing Destination Elite with an international voice and presence that it deserves.
From this enhanced platform, we will invite more wonderful and diverse products, and we will showcase and retail these products to its worldwide significant consumer audience.The consumer of luxury will have become more accepting of online retail and the showcase of luxury product, hence our business and returns will grow exponentially.
Our Elite Affairs brand and product will dominate the Speed Sale option within Asian countries and its 2 Billion population whilst having a global presence and affinity with a global audience. Finally, our products and their design will be international in their model, not just designed for one nationality then presented to all.
On a personal basis, which are your preferred destinations and resorts?
We love luxury lifestyle cruising and have cruised many times throughout the world. Cruise Elite features those we have selected as the finest in all categories. There are a few more that fit our protocols and we will invite them as and when.
Of course we are Maldive-files. Bali is always a wonderful return, Hong Kong is uniquely special, as well as New York on many occasions. London and Paris are great walking cities. Italy and Greece are too good to resist.
Discovering and reacquainting with the world is a never-ending endeavour, and staying with the best is always a joy and makes any experience a memory.
If you were to name one capital city in Asia that is close to your heart, which one would it be?
After living here for 33 years and being involved for many years before that, I know that to say Singapore may seem unimaginative, but Singapore’s past, present and future never ceases to amaze, entertain and grow in all directions. Our move to Singapore was life-altering and continues to evolve, so I say Singapore with a fondness for all Asian cities.
If you were to name one mentor who has influenced your life and the business choices you have made, who would that be?
In business, I have been uniquely fortunate to have worked with and for the very best, generally during their strong growth curve derived from great marketing and willingness to compete and achieve. Not being a runner for the Admin division.
To nominate one business mentor whose leadership, enthusiasm, knowledge, presence, skill and personality were an inspiration and creative guide, I would go for Mr. Paul McManus, who was for many years the CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World.
Paul and I never prepared or sent documented reports for 12 years. We knew and understood by conversation what we were doing or creating was generally great, well- constructed with pragmatic creativity to achieve the objectives and business blossomed during this time together.
In my personal and business life there has been only one mentor (and I know this sounds a bit soppy), and that’s my wife Joy. Joy has a natural elegance, sophistication, intelligence and grace that sets her apart. At the same time, she is extremely practical, pragmatic, knowledgeable and good to be around. Since the day we met 43 years ago she has been the guiding light.