Lord Muck, 18, and Princess Ruby, 8 – catering for rich kids is another world.
So, back to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Well, I say famous – these days they think they’re famous if they have more than 1,000 followers on Instagram.
Recently, I had a panicked phone call from a parent requiring a hotel “immediately” as their 18-year-old son was on a yacht and had decided he didn’t like it. Really? Who doesn’t like sailing around the Balearics on a 65ft superyacht? Never mind. One £700-a-night room later and Little Lord Muck is safely back on dry land.
Another request came from a mum and dad, answering to all their son’s needs. I’d already booked the three of them on a Seabourn cruise over Christmas and New Year, with first-class flights and hotel suites. Now their lad decided he might get bored and wanted to take a friend. After I told them that would be an additional £11,000, they said that was fine and “he’ll be happy”. He’s 17.
The rolex factor
Last year, they took him to New York in first class and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental – all because they wanted to buy him a Rolex. Have they not heard of Amazon?
And that’s not all. The same ‘child’ gets treated to five of his mates being flown out to the villa they rent every year in Portugal for £16,000 per week. They take it for three weeks, with ‘family weeks’ for the three of them either side of the boys’ retreat week.
I sometimes wonder how much our clients’ children influence where they take their holidays.
We all have clients that demand kids’ clubs. Some, although they may not admit it, request it so they can dump their children the second they arrive in resort (and, in an ideal world, pick them up at reception on the day of the flight home).
Others, on the flip side, want a host of activities that they can do together as a family, like cycling, sailing, tennis and football. As agents, we all know where to send them when we know their needs.
I have one family that will only stay in a hotel where there are kids. They have an eight-year-old princess and request spa treatments, childs’ slippers and robes. Princess Ruby now refuses to fly anything other than first unless it’s Virgin, as she likes the bar area. Really?
On thin ice
For the smaller children, when we speak about Lapland, how many of us agents tell families the kids will love it? We should, of course, be adding “but you will hate it!” Alas, the parents go, and we all dread that returned-home call. We always start it the same way. “Didn’t the kids just love it?” Then we hold the phone as far away as possible…
I’m sure many agents will sympathise with me. Many of us will have given families what we feel is the perfect holiday proposal, only to be told that Tarquin and Farquin don’t like it and “do we have any other options?”
Or do they use their children as an excuse? Maybe we should just speak to the children when discussing their next holiday plans.
Did I tell you about the clients who were looking for a “cheap” Easter break? Bear in mind, their cheap is very different to mine. So I gave her some options: Sandy Lane, for £57,000, and Four Seasons Bahamas, for £47,000. However, in the end she plumped for Fairmont Barbados, a snippet at £37,000. How tight are some people?
Pisa the action
We flew to Pisa last weekend on Ryanair (I know, I know). We decided not to go Priority, and were glad we didn’t: we got on quicker than anyone else. It seems everyone now books Priority just to get the extra case on the flight, but ‘priority’ it does not give you. We’d forgotten we couldn’t take bags on board; however, no one stopped us and we got on quicker. The moral of the story? Go figure!
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