• Sergio Taveras

Signature Places by Visenso, Spotlight Interview with Emanuele Natella

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

Visenso has recently increased its focus on Villas and Distinctive Residences which we have sub-branded Signature Places. We have done extensive research to create a portfolio of carefully curated properties and are working with world-class vacation and property management companies in the Dominican Republic, Switzerland and Phuket, with more to follow.

Our aim is to educate and support our travel partners who have clients looking for elevated villa experiences without compromising the luxuries, comfort and exclusivity the best 5-star hotels would offer. Our slogan for this service speaks for itself- “Privacy is the new luxury”

Offering memorable experiences in unique villas and quirky chalets is a personal passion of mine, and one I aim to continue pursuing. The reason behind this is I've become a fan of the flexibility and personalization behind these bookings. No need to hassle with a hotel for connecting rooms, increased privacy, or waiting unnecessarily for your drink while you tan on your chaise-longue. Add to that being able to choose a menu tailored to your liking cooked by a private chef in the Swiss mountains, and the flexibility of changing that whenever you want; or having a masseuse give you a massage at your beachfront pool facing the Caribbean Sea… I’m sold!

As part of our new focus on distinctive residences, we want to bring you insight and expert know-how on the brains behind these incredible Signature Places. During this period of social distancing and self-isolation, I’ve taken the time to interview some of our partners to get their stories on how their companies started and why you should be looking into this unique type of accommodation for your holidays.

Our most recent chat was with Emanuele Natella, President and Founder of Volalto Group, a Villa Vacation Rental company overlooking 50+ luxury catered villas.

I’ve known Emanuele for over 15 years and I am fortunate to not only call him a friend and partner, but also someone I look up to. Fun fact: in 2013 Emanuele offered me the opportunity to join him at Volalto and I almost did! Oh how things would’ve gone differently!! Back then I was too young in my career and didn’t see the potential (I know, silly me). Years later, Volalto quickly became the leader in class for luxury rentals in the Dominican Republic, and has remained at the top. Therefore when the opportunity to represent his company and work together arose, it was a no-brainer and I m proud to represent such a unique portfolio of properties.

Emanuele and I see eye to eye in many things around luxury hospitality and those that know me will clearly see that in his interview below.

I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Looking into his background, I asked Emanuele Natella who he is:

“Originally from Rome, my father moved to the Dominican Republic when I was five years old. I grew up and studied in Puerto Plata, at the time one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic. An opportunity came and I attended one of the best hospitality schools in Switzerland. After graduating with honors from the Swiss Hotel Management School, in Montreux I decided to go back to my adoptive home, the Dominican Republic, where I have now spent over 20 years. Prior to the creation of Volalto, I was the Vice-President of operations - Condo-Hotels Division, for a top-tier national company, responsible for the administration and Operations of over 1,200 Units throughout the island in vacation destinations such as Cap Cana, Punta Cana, Bavaro, Juan Dolio, Samana, Las Terrenas, Sosua and Cabarete. I also completed an MBA in the prestigious BARNA Business School of Santo Domingo in 2012.

He goes on to talk the birth of Volalto and how it came to life:

“Volalto was born in 2012 when, after more than ten years in the hospitality industry, I saw an opportunity in serving a very fragmented and fast growing Market; The Vacation Rental Industry.

I created Volalto as a premium brand in the Dominican Republic to offer the following:

-Exceptional value to vacation rental customers seeking vacations in non-crowded ambiances, where space and peace are a must, and where good service and personal attention become a norm.

-Peace of mind to owners of villas and condominiums through our 360° management and maintenance services.

-Increased income to property owners through our advanced technological distribution system.

-Administration & consulting services for condominiums, hotels and hondo-hotels.

What would be a brief description of Volalto for our readers to understand what you do?

Volalto is a full-service vacation rental marketing and property management company, with products on the east coast of the Dominican Republic. We specialize in marketing and managing rental homes and providing return on investment for the owners of the properties.

Who are your clients, and what are they looking for when they speak to Volalto?

Given that we have a wide range of villas from lower end to higher end, we have many types of clients. The majority of our clientele is comprised of families and travelers coming from the US but we are also used to hosting relevant personalities such as football players, NBA players, actors, CEOs of leading telecommunication companies etc. The common thread between our clients is they are all looking for privacy and the freedom our product and beautiful destinations can offer, coupled with our 5-star service.

Do you believe that a luxury villa is a better option than a luxury hotel; if so, why?

Depending on the trip and size of your group, villas provide a much more family oriented space. Multi-generational families from different parts of the world come together during vacations. In a resort or hotel, you have to share spaces and are not free to hang around as if it is your own house, which prevents the family from interacting like a family. Villas offer this ambiance that enhances the experience of reconnecting your family members in a way that you do not often see. This does not only apply to families; it also applies also to wellness groups, golfer friends groups, company executive retreats, bachelor groups, among others.

If you were to compare the Dominican Republic with the other islands in the Caribbean, in your opinion, why is it a better option for customers from all over the world?

I have to say I do not know all the islands yet, but I am fully aware that this destination has many advantages over most islands. All our villas for example are in large private communities that offer many amenities like golfing, tennis, water sports, private beaches, restaurants, etc. The easy access starting from a wide availability of flights from all over the world with no connection or maximum 1 connection to Punta Cana Airport, and the ability to be in a villa between 5-15 minutes tops once there, makes it less stressful and tiring compared to islands that require much longer transfers. Dominicans are also well known for their hospitality and service and are an integral part of the local experience.

You've recently built 2 luxury villas that I find stunning. What was the thought process behind going in that direction, and where does the design inspiration come from?

When you own a business and have a business background you know how important information is. After over one thousand rentals you know what most customers like in terms of style, amenities, services included, space design and decoration. So basically, what we did is blend that into a villa, specifically designed for rentals and for families enjoyment and integration, thinking of the young ones and older ones, making sure everyone will find their beloved space in the villa.

Where do you see the most potential for growth for Volalto, and how do you see it transforming during these times?

We are not looking to grow a lot, as we feel we have a great mix of properties to offer in the best destinations on the island. We are instead mainly focusing on receiving more guests and having people realize that Punta Cana is not solely an all-inclusive destination.

We are also exploring a new concept, which I cannot yet detail to be done in the next 3/4 years due to the COVID 19 outbreak (otherwise it would have been 1-2 years). It involves the same great concept of the villas we have created, while adding even more options of entertainment and freedom to the guest experience, it’s something no one else has proposed yet combining the best of both worlds: villa privacy and unlimited resort access.

Can you talk about one experience that is a must do at your villas and why it is so?

Many guests come eager to do many activities and excursions, but once they are at the villa they simply start relaxing and not wanting to do anything; they love being in the pool and just chill with their family or friends. The best nonetheless is having the in-villa massage, where an excellent masseuse comes in and gives guests a massage in their preferred area of the villa. Clients simply love it!

Keen on understanding more behind the man, I pushed for these quick questions:

  • One word to describe Volalto - Dynamic

  • One person who inspires you – Bill Gates

  • Something unordinary never missing from your desk – Hard to say I always keep it as clean as possible: Laptop, agenda, and picture of my wife and me.

  • A drink of choice – Chinola (Passion Fruit) Mojito

  • A book to recommend – Leader Shift by John C. Maxwell

  • A movie you’ve watched multiple times – Top Gun

  • Your go to cheat meal – BIG HAMBURGER

Thanks for your time, Emanuele, I look forward to continuing growing an even stronger business relationship between Visenso and Volalto.

Sergio Taveras

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