The travel industry changes lives. Do you remember your first trip abroad? How it opened your eyes to a new culture, new experiences, new food… Travel changed the life of this month’s 8 Questions subject, too. Before he made a major career change to join the hospitality industry, John Ladd had never traveled outside the US. And now… Well, read on to meet our well-traveled partner, fabulous friend, and founder of Vitae Collection!
CIRE: Hello John! We heard you just got back from what looks like an epic trip to the Far East! Can you share some highlights with our readers?
JOHN: Sure! I visited Singapore, Hanoi and Bangkok to check out the new Capella Hotels and Resorts properties in those destinations. The overall highlight for me was seeing Asia has fully reopened and travelers are coming back. The energy in all 3 destinations was amazing. Restaurant, bars, tourist sites etc. have no restrictions. 2023 is going to be a boom year for travel to Asia for sure.
CIRE: That is so great to hear! What a fantastic trip! Please introduce yourself to our CIRE fans!
JOHN: Greetings everyone! My name is John Ladd. I’m the Founder/CEO of Vitae Collection which is my luxury hotels representation company I launched in July 2017 after representing some of the premier luxury hotel brands in the industry since 2007. We’re a small company focused solely on representing the most elite hotels, villas and destination companies in the world. It’s important to me that I only represent properties etc. which I’m passionate about and I’m confident are run by owners who are dedicated to providing travelers an unparalleled level of experiences.
CIRE: We didn’t realize you only launched Vitae 5 years ago…it feels like you’ve been in the biz forever! How did you get started in the travel and hospitality industry?
JOHN: After almost 14 years in another industry, I was ready for an exciting new career challenge in 2005. I spoke with a friend in the luxury hotel industry who traveled extensively and represented some of the most elite properties throughout the world. I had never lived outside of Boston, nor had I ever traveled internationally. I took advantage of an opportunity to break out of my life bubble and discover the world.
CIRE: Discover the world, indeed! After leaving Boston for your new life in the travel biz, do you have a favorite place you’ve visited?
JOHN: New Zealand was by far the most memorable vacation experience I’ve ever had. The beauty of the country from the sub-tropical north island, the wine country and the mountains of Queenstown in the South …it felt like multiple countries in one. Also, New Zealanders are the sweetest and most gracious people I’ve ever met.
CIRE: The Kiwis are really so wonderful and fun and friendly! Kinda like our colleagues in the travel industry, amiright?
JOHN: Working in the travel industry means I’m working with thousands of travel professionals who are adventurous, have a passion for travel and therefore are the most fun people in the world who I get to connect with on a daily basis. Inevitably they all end up becoming friends which is pretty cool!
CIRE: Awww shucks! We think you’re pretty amazing, too, John! Speaking of amazing, the private villas you represent are truly incredible. How do you find these stunning properties?
JOHN: I’m fortunate to have business partners who are connected in the ultra-luxe residential real estate world which is how we’re able to meet the owners of these incredible private homes. We only agree to represent private homes if we’re 100% confident the owners invest heavily into keeping their properties at an elite quality level and understand how to deliver world class service with their house staffs.
CIRE: Quality and service are key! What’s important to you when you travel?
JOHN: I try to stay away from the usual tourist experiences of each destination and instead I immerse myself as much as possible in the experiences the locals authentically experience every day. This gives me a better connection with these destinations … meeting the locals and getting a sense of their daily life and experiences.
CIRE: You can visit a place and see the sites, but if you don’t talk to the people, you really haven’t fully experienced a destination. Any funny stories about meeting the locals?
JOHN: When I travel, I try to speak the language of the country I’m visiting. One time in Mexico, in an attempt to tell a hotel employee I was embarrassed about something, I used the wrong word in Spanish which translated into “I’m so pregnant!” The employee laughed and politely corrected me with the Spanish word I should have used.
CIRE: This is not the first time we’ve heard of this happening! The word for pregnant in Spanish is “embarazada” so I bet this lost in translation moment happens a lot. Hilarious! But good for you for trying to speak the language, John. See you soon! Vaya con dios, mi amigo!
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