It seems Wendy Wu, the doyenne of travel to China, is a glutton for punishment. Her latest venture, Wendy Wu Concierge, a service tailored to the very top of the luxury market, was inspired by one nightmarishly demanding client.
A US luxury agent who usually booked everything through A&K decided to trust Wendy with one of her biggest-spenders – a hugely demanding client whose needs kept Wendy working into the early hours.
Yet instead of finishing the booking and breathing a sigh of relief, Wendy saw a gap in the market, providing a painstakingly tailor-made and totally top-end holiday service using the Wendy Wu Tours team’s expertise and their infrastructure on the ground in China.
Wendy Wu Concierge has already been rolled out in the US and Australia, and after three months of consultation with luxury agents and consortia in the UK, the first print run of 3,000 of the glossy black and gold Concierge brochures will be hitting British agents’ desks next week.
Managing director Manuel Mascarenhas predicts a booking value of at least £8,000 per person, so the service is solidly targeted at those that only turn left on aircraft.
Flights will be first or business class – the operator is a British Airways preferred partner – and hotels will be the very best of the five star market, the likes of Shangri La and the Peninsula.
But according to Wendy, what will really differentiate Concierge from the other luxury operators serving China are the exclusive and unusual experiences Wendy’s contacts can provide.
These will include the opportunity to see the Terracotta Warriors from a private viewing platform, like Bill Clinton did on his visit, and taking a painting class with a Chinese artist.
Concierge clients will be a very different breed from those who usually book a Wendy Wu Tour, and the operator sees luxury agents as the gateway to these elite travelers.
A dedicated Concierge Consultant, Wendy Wu’s Bronwyn Clarke, will be on hand to personally handle high-end bookings, and agents can organise for clients to have appointments at the operator’s London offices.
However managing director Manuel Mascarenhas is keen to reassure agents that their commission will be guaranteed no matter how much direct access then operator has to clients. “We would view it almost as a referral fee,” he says.
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