Travel planner for the ultra-rich shares what her job is like


  • Jules Maury is the head of Scott Dunn Private, an ultra-exclusive division of a luxury travel agency.
  • She was raised in a wealthy family and learned to plan luxury trips by taking them herself.
  • Now she plans exciting experiences for her clients that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Jules Maury was 12 when she made her first hotel reservation. She and her sister, who was 10 at the time, had left boarding school in Britain to fly to Geneva, where they would be reunited with their parents. But there was no one to greet them: the girls’ father, president of Dow Chemical, had accidentally booked his flight to arrive the next day.

But Maury was not fazed. “My first instinct was to get into a taxi and ask to be taken to the Beautiful shorelinewhich was the only five-star hotel name I could remember,” Maury told Insider. “And when we got there I said they should call Dow Chemical and they’ll pay the bill. Her worried parents arrived “And there we were, two princesses, safe as houses, sitting upstairs doing room service.”

portrait of Jules Maury

Maury.

Courtesy of Jules Maury



Decades later, Maury remains resourceful, connected and pragmatic at the helm of Scott Dunn Private, the ultra-exclusive London-based division of luxury travel company Scott Dunn. It manages travel for the world’s wealthiest people with a team of four travel consultants and six reservation specialists. It is an invitation-only division.

“We’re not telling you where to put $2 million in stocks and shares for the best returns — we’re telling you where to spend them for the most exciting experiences,” she said.

Maury’s clients often come to her as referrals from wealth managers like Killik & Co. She said she doesn’t charge hourly consulting fees for travel planning, as some travel specialists do, but that it relied on commissions from suppliers; the industry standard is around 10% of spend, but she said that can vary. She added that such considerations never affect her recommendations — she values ​​the trust her clients place in her for more than just a little extra cash.

Here’s what her job looks like and how she broke into the industry.

She started booking vacations for friends

woman in a helicopter

Maury exploring remote corners of New Zealand by helicopter.

Courtesy of Jules Maury



Maury stumbled upon her role as a secret weapon for the one percenter vacation. She started booking vacations with friends for fun while living abroad as the wife of an expatriate executive.

Without a visa, Maury couldn’t work where they lived in places like Australia, Vietnam or St. Barths, but her friends came to her for advice, as Maury was steeped in globetrotting. Her childhood included skiing in St. Moritz, spending summers on Lake Como, and even living at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong for three months.

“I’ve been or lived in so many fancy places,” she said. “And I understood how fascinating it was to travel, to see new cultures and new people, and I loved sharing it with other people.”

When she returned to the UK full-time in 2008, Maury turned that expertise into a career. While working for another travel agency, she was recruited by Andrew Dunn for her current role. The interview was structured around her knowledge of travel, and she was asked about insightful experiences she would apply to different destinations to make a trip stand out.

“At that time, my knowledge, which I had acquired while traveling, was probably second to none,” she said. “When a member tells me who is someone ultra wealthy, I know it because I lived their life.”

His insider’s perspective explains why many of the travel requests Maury receives are surprisingly vague. “I often get an email from an existing customer that says, ‘You know what we like, so what do we do now? Where are we going next?” she said.

Its service is not limited to private jet charters and penthouses in five-star hotels. Maury’s specialty is cashless experiences, or what she calls “fairy dust”: getting a reservation for prime-time dinner at the the starred restaurant Arzak to San Sebastián next weekend when it’s sold out for months, for example, or getting a meeting with a curator from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to see a facsimile of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (“The originals are in a safe, due to their fragility, and you need government permission to access them,” Maury said.)

But there are even limits to his relationships. She says her black book, built over years of travel and networking, is filled with anyone of interest she thinks might be worth incorporating into a trip or travel story. “But I didn’t manage to privatize the entire Eiffel Tower,” she said. “Well, at least so far.”

Planning a 6-figure vacation is her specialty

woman with a hot air balloon

Maury.

Courtesy of Jules Maury



Upcoming trips she has planned include a private sailboat trip around the Galápagos Islands for a multi-generational family reunion and another on the Nile for six wives who leave their husbands at home. Their full-time guide, one of the world’s foremost Egyptologists, can take them to pyramids and archaeological sites that are usually off-limits to tourists.

Another group, consisting of three women and their daughters, will celebrate graduation with a trip to France, with private after-hours shopping at La Samaritaine department store.

Recently, she organized a week-long $800,000 superyacht trip for a family over the holidays that included special island access, a private villa, beach picnics and snorkeling.

When the going gets tough, Maury gets going

a group of three on safari

Maury on safari.

Courtesy of Jules Maury



Maury’s greatest value to her clients is the skill with which she can solve problems when they arise.

Take the client who was staying at the Amanzoe resort in Greece this summer when the hotel caught fire due to nearby forest fires. “We airlifted her somewhere else in a private jet,” Maury said.

Another of his clients was about to travel to Bali when Mount Agung erupted. She woke up to a call at 6 a.m.

“I said to them, ‘Do you trust me?’ and they said yes, so I told them to fly to London, and when they landed I let them know where they were going,” Maury said. Within hours, she had planned a personalized trip to the Cambodia, with a private dinner at a forbidden temple and luxury accommodation in Amansara.

“The magic was the fact that they landed in London and had no idea where they were going, but we sorted it out,” she said. “It was a real crisis, but it ended up being so magical – they said it was one of the best holidays they’ve ever had.”

The company has a team in San Diego and another in Singapore that cover off-peak hours for Maury, but she said if someone needed to speak to her late at night or on weekends, she would always take the call. call and then use its backup. teams to deal with the problem.

But even an expert travel planner lacks knowledge

Maury still relishes the chance to travel, and she spends much of the year on the road, often attending luxury travel shows like ILTM in Cannes Where Pure in Marrakech. When his team bought Octola in Lapland for one family, she hadn’t seen it personally, so she flew back from London on a low-cost airline for a reassuring inspection of the site.

Maury admitted she had some gaps in her knowledge: she has yet to visit Antarctica – a bustling destination – or set foot in Japan. She said that while she plans to remedy both as soon as she can, she is glad that some parts of the world remain new to her.

Her company pays when she’s on a familiarization trip, whether it’s a hotel or a destination, and the budget depends – Chile would be more than a long weekend in Malta. She pays for her trips, which are frequent; she said her thirst for learning outweighs the time she has. She said she was sometimes offered discounted rates or free hotel services, but did not take any free flights.

This year alone, Maury traveled to Lisbon, Portugal; Montenegro; Israel; Marrakech, Morocco ; Malta; and Sardinia.

“Someone asked me the other day, ‘Where’s your favorite place?’ and I answered honestly, from the bottom of my heart, ‘That’s where I haven’t been yet,'” she said.

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