She couldn’t do things on her own forever. In 2016, Chai hired a Chief Operating Officer – a major milestone for the company, and one which saw sales increase year on year. Then came the launch of WanderLuxe, The Luxe Nomad’s very own digital travel and lifestyle magazine. Again, Chai saw a gap in the market and rose to fill it, creating a reliable resource and leading travel voice in the Asian market. The Luxe Nomad team was steadily growing, and with it a company culture that Chai personally fostered. “I have an instinct about the right people for my team,” Chai says. “It’s intuition!” She tries to keep the office environment a friendly one, but balances the art of being an approachable yet authoritative leader, with employees who enjoy their work and know when to knuckle down. As such, it’s a close-knit team of like-minded people who share the same values: honesty, commitment and persistence. And of course, a love of travel.
The strength of the team has led to The Luxe Nomad’s biggest milestone yet. In 2017, Chai once again predicted a seachange and began to acquire villas for an exciting development: villa management. The Luxe Nomad took over a local villa management company in Bali and acquired 37 villas in October 2017, and saw an increase in sales and booking revenue just a few months later. Next on the cards are destinations around the region and beyond. “We’re so excited about this development,” Chai says. “There are so many beautiful properties around Asia that we want people to see, and we will of course bring that special The Luxe Nomad touch to the experience. One of the most important aspects that we’ll be sharing across our managed villas is our green policy. I’ve always been a supporter of environmental causes and it’s been great to use our platform to advocate for the reduction of single-use plastics and waste across the villa industry.”
They don’t just talk a good game. Throughout all their managed properties in Bali, the team has promulgated eco-friendly features such as all drinks and beverages to be served with non-plastic, biodegradable straws; recycling bins to be placed at all
villas; in-room, reusable glass bottles by Eco Bali to replace plastic water bottles, and the provided body wash is free of paraben, phthalate and petrochemical. In 2018 The Luxe Nomad raised the funds in just five days to install Hong Kong’s first Seabin in an exclusive members club.