Another side of Spain: Rafael Pérez Navazo

Rafael Pérez Navazo launched PREIPER Luxe four years ago to shine a spotlight on Spanish luxury boutique hotels, and then the pandemic hit. But, despite this unexpected obstacle, the relative newcomer makes a strong impression.

Visitors have long been drawn to Spain’s beautiful coastline, bustling cities and dramatic mountain ranges. So much so that before the pandemic hit, it was the second most popular vacation destination in the world. But there’s a side to this popular country that few have discovered, and it’s something PREIPER Luxe founder and CEO Rafael Pérez Navazo wants to correct.

“The comments I got from everyone I spoke to was that they really didn’t know the whole country,” he says. The CEO’s magazine. “They knew the big cities like Madrid and Barcelona, ​​which are wonderful, but there is so much more to Spain.”

Stimulated by these conversations, Rafael decided to launch PREIPER Luxe with the aim of opening up the unknown beauty of Spain and its unique hospitality products to “good” travellers.

The luxury travel company launched in late 2017 and has had two years of considerable success. But the shutdown of the global travel industry by COVID-19 was an unexpected blow. “It was very difficult, but we prioritized investing in ourselves, in our vision of becoming the luxury hospitality expert in Spain that we are right now,” he says.

A competitive advantage

Rafael acknowledges the presence of other players in the space, but says what these large international intermediaries offer their clients is often insufficient.

“That’s not quite what these products deserve because, at the end of the day, there’s a lack of destination knowledge among many of these intermediaries. They don’t really know the destination or the in-depth history like we do,” he insists. “It’s the space that we try to occupy and that we manage to do. We are very happy with our progress.

PREIPER Luxe’s ​​portfolio is mainly made up of hotels, but those that offer something very different from the mainstream offer, according to Rafael. “They offer you something intangible,” he says. “As soon as you enter the property, the walls speak to you, tell you a story. This is the common point of all our products: they have their soul and can tell you a story that happened maybe 200, 300 or even 400 years ago.

“We try to make it very, very easy so people have all the information they need to create something very special.”

Providing unique and quality experiences is the goal of PREIPER Luxe, not exponential growth. Rafael is determined to keep the wallet “exclusive”.

“At the moment we have 13 hotels and we plan to have a maximum of 30 hotels in the portfolio,” he reveals. By keeping her operations on a smaller scale, she can continue to deliver real results to her clients.

Although the company was born four years ago, it only launched its own representational brand last November – The Authentic Heritage Collection. It’s a label that puts Spain’s authentic tourist establishments on the map while connecting visitors to the nation’s rich history. “It was the right time to do it,” says Rafael, although he admitted that launching a new brand during the pandemic has been particularly difficult.

Focused on Spain

Now Rafael is focused on investing in his team, making sure he has people in place who understand his vision for the business. “I know where I want to go and I know I can’t do it alone,” he shares. “I’m lucky to be able to say that we have great people who respect our customers, understand their needs and create something that works for them.”

With the right people in place, he believes the business will continue on the right path, although as newcomers it can be difficult to gain visibility in such a crowded space. But the unique portfolio of PREIPER Luxe and its specific Spanish expertise allow it to stand out.

“The main difference we bring to the market is that we are only here to work for one destination,” he continues. “And in the world scenario, that’s a big difference.

“The main difference we bring to the market is that we are only here to work for one destination.”

“Now when we speak to large planners in the United States or elsewhere, they easily perceive that we are a company to consider at least when they have business addressed to Spain. And in that sense, this product works very well and we are very satisfied with the penetration we have with the product and with the brand.

Staying close to the public is also a top priority, with PREIPER Luxe channeling a lot of energy into social media and creating its own #doyoureallyknowspain hashtag. “We want people to ask themselves if they really know Spain,” says Rafael. “We want to be very close to the public and very accessible.”

Next on the cards is a new experiential venture that will work in conjunction with its collection of hotels and give the company an added edge when working with overseas planners. “They can be inspired not only by the accommodation goals, but also by the richness of the culture,” says Rafael.

“We try to make it very, very easy so people have all the information they need to create something very special.”