Interview with Barnabas Carrega

Barnabas Carrega is the co-founder of luxury travel company GR8.



Global Legal Post: What do you see as the main trends in the luxury sector in the next few years?

Barnabas Carrega: I strongly believe that UHNW individuals are beginning to invest in experiential services rather than luxury goods. At the end of the day, people want to create memories of a lifetime and through experiences, we believe that we can service that demand and that trend. Aside from that, UHNW individuals are seeing more value in gaining access to unique services and experiences as these are things that money cannot necessarily always buy, versus walking into a jewelry store and buying a diamond which anyone can do as long as they have the money.

GLP: What do you view as the main challenges in this market?

BC: I would like to speak specifically about my market which is luxury travel and experiential services. The challenges are that a lot of companies source access through middle men. This means that by the time the service is delivered to the client, it has gone through a number of suppliers. Quality control at this point becomes almost impossible. I see more and more companies making statements like we will get you into this event, or this place. The reality is that very few companies make sure that the access they are providing their clients, is legitimate and direct. The amount of horror stories I have heard about companies selling access that they then could not provide is staggering. I have many examples. This is why GR8 is so focused on direct access and in vetting each and every experience we provide. This process can at times be lengthy, and it took a long time for us to build a portfolio of over 100 experiences offered around the globe, but it is also our way to guarantee client retention and satisfaction, which in this business is and should be every company’s main

GLP: From your perspective, do you think the definition of luxury has changed in recent times?

BC: The word luxury means something different to everyone. This is why we try not to use it as much anymore. Depending on the person, their experience, their income etc… luxury could mean something completely different. Of course, we are in the luxury sector but we like to speak about once in a lifetime experiences and memories of a lifetime. At the end of the way, we strive to offer the highest level of service we can to our clients, so of course many of those services are considered to be luxury. That being said, it can sometimes be just as powerful to offer someone an intimate, unique but also rustic experience, which does not necessarily mean luxury, but could mean a once in a lifetime moment for the client. I think luxury can be considered to be an old fashioned word, and I believe UHNW individuals are starting to speak a language that goes beyond the word luxury.

GLP: Are there any new or emerging markets for luxury?

BC: Always. We receive constant information from countries that would be considered third world, as being able to offer luxury services. I think luxury is present in all countries, and sometimes the countries you would least expect to offer incredible service, are usually the ones who go out of the way to create the most luxurious of circumstances for wealthy travelers. To be specific I have seen some very interesting experiences being offered in India so I think that is a country which is focusing more and more on luxury services.

GLP: What are the trends in luxury travel going forward?

BC: Everything is about experiences, creating unique moments and value. This is why GR8 is heavily focused not only on offering access to events and destinations around the world, but also in creating and producing content. We want to be offering our clients more and more value. Again, the word luxury travel is something we are trying to move away from. This is because for our clients, the experience is more important the the level of luxury we are providing. Every wealthy traveler now days is looking for something unique, new, that he could not have found himself. Our mission is to enrich our clients lives by creating the opportunity for them to live something outside the spectrum of what they are used to, or what they have access too.

GLP: What legal issues are challenging for luxury companies now?

BC: Speaking for my industry, we constantly find ourselves in a position where we do not have the rights to promote or discuss certain access that we can or have provided. This makes it complicated to create a true marketing strategy and grow the brand. This is why we are starting to focus on creating our own content, which will allow us to tell a story, and that story is ours. GR8 has been able to organize some of the most exclusive and unique experiences in the world, but often we have not been able to speak publicly about these experiences as from a legal standpoint we have no issues in providing the access but may not be allowed to market it publicly.