As a Luxury Residence Fund, Equity Estates is different from some other destination clubs. Members of the club are actual investor-owners in the properties that they visit, so the concierges are responsible for both the travelers and the homes. As a result, the concierges hold a dual title of Personal Travel Concierge and Destination Manager. Regular responsibilities include budget management, handling repairs, maintenance, and improvements, as well as coordinating the specific needs of each traveler.
SherpaReport had the opportunity to speak to Marie McCarthy - Personal Travel Concierge and Destination Manager for several EE properties - Florence, Italy; Paris, France; Los Cabos, Mexico; Anguilla; San Diego, CA. Marie provided us with a list of some of the things she did in just one day so we can offer a glimpse into the day of an Equity Estates concierge.
- Reviewed and sorted upcoming trips and special activities with our Florence Host that we felt would wow the families traveling to Florence. Here are some of our ideas: A day in Chianti with stops at 2 wineries (VIP Tour of Monsanto; and Antinori and the perfect spot for lunch (Lamole) ; reviewed cooking class options comparing Desinare cooking school versus a private Farm House versus in home with a tour of the local fresh market. Some of our investor members are avid amateur chefs and like to help select the fresh ingredients. They enjoy the market tours and negotiating, with the help of a translator, on the best quality products.
- Confirmed dining reservations and other future member pre-trip details with the local teams - including things like names, ages, transfers, trip details, and excursions to make sure eveything goes smoothly.
- Reviewed the Home Inventory needs for a new residence being brought up to Equity Estate’s standards. Then followed up with a revised spreadsheet budget.
- Analyzed the utility and housekeeping costs for the new residence in order to set next year’s budget, and keep costs and member dues in line with expectations.
- Identified and confirmed Cabo dining and excursions that are up and going after the recent hurricane. Marie also wanted to make sure that they also meet EE standards for referral to investor members.
- Confirmed Chef and In-Home massage services, cost, and availability.
- Followed up with key contacts to confirmed that The Art Walk has resumed in San Jose (Thursday nights)
- Reviewed itinerary of first guests to travel to Cabo (post Hurricane Odile) to ensure the experience will be outstanding.
- Drafted follow up report for the most recent site visit in the aftermath of Hurricane Odile. This included pictures of all repairs and the final punch list. The residence will be ready for usage after only 3 weeks of down time.
- Confirmed status and obtained details from the HOA (Home Owners Association) representative on the re-build of the Beach Club. It will be even better than before with expanded fitness center.
- Sorted airport transfers and negotiated a favorable cancellation policy with new preferred vendor.
- Finalized a Parisian immersion experience itinerary for investor members who have never been to Paris. They are doing at mix of museums, special VIP tours including a bike tour, and some unscheduled time to walk around and enjoy the cafes and ambiance.
- Confirmed the guide for the Picasso Exhibit Tour
- Finalized the itinerary and arrival details for our next Owner Members to travel to San Diego. Connected with the Local Host to confirm we are all set up for success for these members that are new to the fund.
- Researched new private chef options
- Spoke with an investor member about their most recent trip, what they liked the most and would suggest others do. She raved about the paddle board yoga experience in Mission Bay, a short bike ride or walk from our residence.
- Confirmed restaurant openings and menus for the new season. Secured the local music schedule. Island favorites play in different restaurants at different times so we advise members accordingly and they can then enjoy a 5 star meal along with some wonderful local music.
- Reviewed itineraries for upcoming trips as well as finalized arrival details.
- Reviewed with the Local Host the timing and cost to install newly re-covered cushions for the outdoor living space
- Reviewed the install of a new door/window that was damaged in the Penthouse during the recent Hurricane Gonzalo
These are all a standard part of Marie's day, although there are many times when the Personal Travel Concierge and Destination Managers have to work above and beyond for members. For instance, Philip Mekelburg, CEO and Founder of Equity Estates, recounted what happened when their two homes in Cabo were hit in September by Hurricane Odile, the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the Baja Peninsula of Mexico, with winds of up to 125 mph. EE contacted the members who were scheduled to visit the homes during the storm and gave them the option of whether or not to continue with their planned trip. One family chose not to go, but another family did decide to stay at the home. When the hurricane changed course and directly hit Cabo, EE served as the members' direct connection to home by updating family members and arranging for their trip home. After the storm, EE was able to move anyone who had reservations to other homes in the portfolio. According to Philip, "You're not alone when disaster strikes".