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Rebecca Masri: “Work life balance is key”

What used to feel luxurious now might feel unsanitary. Regular housekeeping — taking bags up to the room. Packing and unpacking services… Many elite perks by their very nature require guests to congregate in spaces not built for social distancing. Even hotel lobbies, many of which were built or recently remodeled to encourage co-mingling, require a complete […]

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What used to feel luxurious now might feel unsanitary. Regular housekeeping — taking bags up to the room. Packing and unpacking services… Many elite perks by their very nature require guests to congregate in spaces not built for social distancing. Even hotel lobbies, many of which were built or recently remodeled to encourage co-mingling, require a complete rethink. Buffet breakfasts are a thing of the past Less touch points, things like electric doors, keyless entry. Having a clear line between clinical and luxury.


As part of my series about “developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Masri.

Rebecca studied in London at St. Paul’s Girls’ School, graduated from the European Business School, and went on to join Goldman Sachs where she spent almost 10 years between Investment Banking and Private Wealth Management. In 2009 following the crash, Rebecca sought an opportunity to create Little Emperors, a private members’ hotel club, extending both corporate rates and leisure benefits in luxury hotels around the globe. Today, Little Emperors uses a sophisticated technology to track its’ 30,000+ members search and booking patterns, and engage in tactical suggestions with an easy to use app and website. Rebecca is hugely philanthropic, and involved in numerous charitable organizations, and most notably, in 2012 was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen for her contribution to charity. In her spare time Rebecca, of course, enjoys traveling, diving, ski, yoga, and ballet! She lives in Marylebone with her dog Louis.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

In 2008, the market took a tumble, and the world headed into a global recession. At this time, I was working at Goldman Sachs in the city of London, and saw that the approved hotel list from the corporate travel program in turn had also changed significantly, with most luxury hotels being removed. I identified an opportunity, and together with some university friends, created Little Emperors, a members only Luxury hotel club, with corporate rates and leisure benefits. With the collective buying power of our members, we negotiate rates at luxury hotels around the world, and using cutting edge technology, present our 30,000 strong membership base with an app, MyLE., which completes bookings within 4 clicks. Little Emperors delivers value — both in time and money, and our membership base is the young, trendy, on the move entrepreneur, predominantly European. Our hotel partners meet their requirements, and we work with top tier groups such as Four Seasons, as well as luxury boutiques around the world.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?

Work life balance is key. As wellness becomes the forefront of our minds more and more, the way we structure our days and create a healthy balance is crucial, and running your own business can blur the lines. The travel industry in particular involves events, conferences and travelling that run into what would be our personal time, and finding that balance can be tough. Small lifestyle changes can really help. I have always been a good sleeper, and the quality of sleep (not necessarily the length) has been important to me. How to get to good quality sleep has taken a lot of work but it’s worth it as I am much more productive after a good quality nights sleep. A few tips from me, although different things work for different people: put laptop and phone in another room, sleep with a notebook by the bed in case you remember anything, try to sleep at the same time every day for the same number of hours, don’t eat or drink for at least 3 hours before sleeping, remove any items from your bed, shut any cupboards in your room, sleep with the curtain slightly open — waking up to the sunrise is much more pleasant that an aggressive alarm!

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

Over the years, Little Emperors has become know as more and more of a tech company. We are very focused on automating the booking process, creating relevant suggestions to our clients based on their search and booking history, and implementing rate checker to ensure they always have the lowest rates guaranteed. We aim to be the luxury travel must have companion, delivering value, and personalizing the user journey through tech.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation?

Sadly, the existing tech in the travel industry in somewhat archaic. We are trying to use this, as well as develop our own softwares.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

What used to feel luxurious now might feel unsanitary. Regular housekeeping — taking bags up to the room. Packing and unpacking services… Many elite perks by their very nature require guests to congregate in spaces not built for social distancing. Even hotel lobbies, many of which were built or recently remodeled to encourage co-mingling, require a complete rethink. Buffet breakfasts are a thing of the past Less touch points, things like electric doors, keyless entry. Having a clear line between clinical and luxury.

Experience driven travel — people have been bored at home for months and want to do things. Outdoor experiences are more in demand, as well as culinary ones.

The majority of people have been cooped up in a densely populated cities, left dreaming of escapism. The demand for fresh sea air, mountains have become a trend, and we have seen in increase in demand for places like Switzerland, and coastal destinations.

Wellness mindfulness already an existing trend, has just strengthened. It remains the forefront of peoples mind. Part of wellness travel will mean reconnection with nature, especially if you’ve spent lock down in a densely populated city environment.

Familiar Favourites — feel safer going to where they have been before. Want to stay close to home. Previous trend of discovering new places is on hold.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Follow us on Instagram: littleemperors

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