Bringing the Heat Back to Marbella

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Combining an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for his adopted hometown in southern Spain, Nicholas Rhodes has transformed Marbella Options into a travel company that has the industry talking.

Almost 12 months ago, when he bought the then ailing travel company, Marbella Options, 36 year-old Nicholas Rhodes was convinced of the company’s untapped potential. After using his extensive computer savvy to rewrite a user-friendly on-line booking engine,, he began contacting hotels and villa owners in the Marbella area to let them know about his exciting plans for attracting new and old visitors to the area. Impressed by his knowledge and enthusiasm, they responded immediately, and their belief in Nicholas’s vision has been well rewarded as Marbella Options has seen a 300% growth in sales over the last 18 months.

The secret to this success is the niche market that Nicholas and his team have carved out using all the resources at hand, including the latest technology, a successful and well-established graphic design team, an extensive inside knowledge of the area forged over more than 20 years living and working in the town, and a desire to put Marbella firmly back in the spotlight. “Marbella has always been a popular sun and golf destination,” explains Nicholas, “but over the last few years no one has really taken the time to give it a planned, cohesive push. There is so much competition out there, and to remain on people’s radars you have to make some noise.”

It seems that people are listening, and the relationships that Nicholas has built up with local hotels and villa owners are unprecedented. Some 30 hotels now offer rates on the website, and the company has negotiated exclusive sales contracts with several luxury properties. One such arrangement with the recently opened Hotel Guadalpin Banus gave the property valuable income and feedback during its pre-opening period. Over 8 months, Marbella Options heavily promoted special rates on its website, and to its extensive database. The results were astonishing, with close to 4300 room nights sold and many repeat bookings from guests who had fully enjoyed the unbeatable rates and excellent facilities. The company also took over the luxury Vasari Resort & Spa in March taking its occupancy figures from 20% up to over 90%.

More than 150 luxury villas and apartments are included in the rental program. Owners can log on to the custom website to view income from the program, as well as control the weeks that their property is available for rent. In addition the company can organize extra services including cleaning staff, private chefs, babysitters and car rentals, all of which are overseen by the professional, multi-lingual staff at the company’s offices on Marbella’s Golden Mile.

An Event to Remember

Marbella Options also offers a full-service wedding and corporate event-planning department. With unparalleled access to the finest vendors in town, as well as a portfolio of unique and spectacular venues, including hotels, beach clubs, private villas and luxury yachts, the team can custom-blend each event to suit all budgets and tastes.

“The accommodations, food, nightlife and event spaces now available in Marbella are world-class,” says Nicholas. “Add to that its proximity by air to many of Europe’s major cities, as well as the spectacular climate, and this is surely a recipe for success.”

Room for Growth

Nicholas is certainly not resting on his laurels, and plans for expansion are well underway. “We want to have more Options,” he laughs. “We are looking to license our tried and tested technology, forming partnership with like-minded companies who offer similar travel-related services in their own particular destinations. is already up and running, offering a handpicked selection of properties on Miami Beach, and and will soon come on-line. The sites are linked, and heavily cross-promoted to our large database of clients. We also spend a large portion of our marketing budget on advertising, both in print and on the web. I certainly feel that this is money well spent.”

Travel shows are also a major part of Marbella Options’ sales & marketing strategy. In 2005 the company has traveled to Shanghai, London, Madrid, Berlin, Dubai, Kuwait and Cannes to participate in some of the world’s most important travel fairs. Nicholas and his team will certainly keep up this pace in 2006.

Born in London, Nicholas moved to Marbella with his family at the age of 15. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurial Studies from the prestigious Babson College in Boston, he began his career working at Disneyland Paris. An invaluable learning experience in all aspects of hospitality, management and marketing, it also gave Nicholas an opportunity to practice his already considerable knowledge of the French language. He is also fluent in Spanish, and has a good knowledge of German.

Nicholas is an active member of the Malaga Chamber of Commerce as well as several other official organizations. He also works closely with the tourism department of the Marbella Town Hall.

For more information please contact:

Nicholas Rhodes

Head office in Spain - +34 95 285 9910    

From the US & Canada -1 800 293 9709

From the UK - 0870 141 7380

Katie Rhodes (US Representative) - 305 992 5092

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Nicholas Rhodes
Real Marbella Options SL
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