Visitors to Mexico who want to skip the hotel and make themselves at home in a spacious villa have a range of choices from three-bedroom homes in Tulum to 12-bedroom houses in Puerto Vallarta. But Villas by Journey Mexico doesn’t simply make villa arrangements, the company will also arrange private car and jet transportation, make activity bookings and reserve exclusive culinary experiences—and travel agents can earn commission on the total package cost.
This Q&A with Journey Mexico CEO Zachary Rabinor explains how, how much, and how far in advance to book.
TravelPulse (TP): Tell us about Villas by Journey Mexico.
Zachary Rabinor (ZR): Villas by Journey Mexico launched in October 2015. We currently have over 300 properties across 15 different towns and regions in Mexico, including Los Cabos, Punta Mita, Costa Careyes, San Miguel Allende, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Sian Kaan, Sayulita, Puerto Escondido, Mexico City, Acapulco, the Yucatan Peninsula and Merida. The portfolio is personally curated by our team, property by property, and must meet selective criteria and standards in order to be a part of our collection.
The starting rate is typically $1,500 per night for a four-bedroom and can reach up to $35,000 per night. The average is about $2,500 per night for a small group or family.
TP: Who is the typical Villas by Journey Mexico guest? How far in advance do most guests book?
ZR: Our travelers range from intimate adult groups to large multi-generational family celebrations. They are most commonly made up of around 10 to 12 people looking for a five- to seven-day tropical beach vacation in a beautiful home where they can have their own space to be pampered and make life-lasting memories.
Over half of our requests are travelers planning their end-of-year holiday vacation, who book as far as 11 months in advance in order to get first pick at some of the most incredible villas the country has to offer!
TP: As other travel components can be booked along with the villas stay, could you describe the offerings and how the booking process works for travel agents?
ZR: We love helping people find the perfect accommodation that checks off the boxes on their wish list. Yet, even more, we enjoy planning the details that surround it to get them acquainted with Mexican culture. Whether it’s simply showing warm Mexican hospitality by hiring an in-villa chef to prepare a traditional meal, or getting them off-property to explore ancient Mayan Archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza at sunrise before the gates open to the public, every aspect—from start to finish—is overseen by Villas by Journey Mexico to create a seamless and satisfying villa vacation experience.
Typically, we work on securing the villa first, working together with our villa specialist who has personally seen a majority of the homes we offer, which allows us to carefully and accurately match travelers with the right rental accommodation.
Once confirmed, they are paired with a dedicated villa coordinator to help and guide them throughout the rest of the process. This includes everything from pre-arranging in-villa preferences such as stocking it with groceries, pre-selecting meals and coordinating arrival time so their concierge is there to greet them, to coordinating airport transfers, yacht and catamaran trips and private, experiential touring and excursions in the region.
TP: How does Journey Mexico work with travel agents?
ZR: As preferred suppliers of Virtuoso, Signature, Travel Leaders and Traveller Made, Journey Mexico values our travel agent partners very much! In addition to paying commission on the accommodation, we also pay a commission on the airport transfers and private tour experiences that we offer. We pay out the full commission within two weeks of post-travel.
We do have a dedicated educational platform for travel agents, which we call a “sales toolkit for agents.”
It’s packed with sample itineraries, touring ideas for each destination and further information on what we offer, as well as training webinars and city guides. We also have a 30-minute villa training webinar that covers key things to know about selling/offering each region, our value add and iconic properties in each area. Journey Mexico has six FIT travel planners, three groups travel planners and two villa specialist.
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