Parasol Marketing

Andrea Werbel, Founder & CEO

Disclaimer: wanderlust trigger ahead. We had a refreshing if not nostalgic talk about travel with Andrea Werbel, the founder and CEO of luxury lifestyle, hospitality and travel firm Parasol Marketing. She shares how she defines luxury, what the state of travel today is and what changes might be permanent. Also, expect to feel really seen by her list of top 10 learnings from 2020 so far. 

What drew you to this industry and how did you get your start? 

From working in the NBC newsroom in Paris to directing the global marketing for Julia Child’s alma mater, Le Cordon Bleu, to directing the public relations at The Peninsula Beverly Hills - this industry found me.

What keeps you inspired and engaged professionally?

The impressive people and outstanding brands I work for, with, and around.

You work with many companies in the luxury space. What’s your definition of luxury?

Luxury is defined by the ability to continuously deliver exceptional products and services that are authentic, unique and rare, not necessarily expensive. That expresses itself in many ways: from one-on-one traditional print-making classes with a renowned artist, such as Bahamian painter and Creative Arts Director John Cox at Baha Mar; to supporting regeneration efforts following last year’s bushfires in Australia with Conversationalist Simone Brooks at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley; to the hand woven, one-of-a-kind fabrics crafted by Ethiopian artisans and designed by Liya Kebede for her clothing brand, lemlem.

How does a brand successfully convey the touchpoints of luxury? Are there any examples of companies that you find exemplary?

No detail is too small. For example – every detail from décor to experiences has been meticulously crafted at the soon-to-open One&Only Mandarina along Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. In addition, iconic brands that successfully offer a nod to their heritage character while anticipating tomorrow’s next crave offer the truest expression of relevant, desirable luxury. This is exemplified by distinct luxury brands such as Aston Martin, which was founded in the early 1900’s and whose sports cars continue to be regarded as British cultural icons today, as well Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc’s sought-after resort experience in the South of France, a legacy 150 years and continuing.

Have you been able to travel at all since Covid? How was that experience?

If you call quarantine at my family’s cabin in the Berkshires travel, then yes! In fact, in the last few months I have done quite a bit of weekend travel to Nantucket, Sag Harbor, and other driving distance destinations. These short weekend trips have been a welcome escape and reset for me, and it’s important to support the industry however I can. My first international trip since March will be to Mexico.

What is top of your travel destination list, once all restrictions have been lifted?

Italy, and after that, Italy again.

How (and when) do you think the travel industry will rebound after the damaging effects of Covid?

We’ll see the start of normalcy in mid-2021. Two factors will drive the return to travel: a safe vaccine offered at scale and consistent, third-party-verified health, wellness and safety protocols at all top resorts. Piecemeal, inconsistent safety protocols are not the answer. It’s clear that the desire to travel has never been stronger, so the rebound will follow quickly once people feel safe.

Are there any permanent ways travel will be changed?

In addition to table stakes like masks, hand sanitizer and temperature checks, I anticipate all top resorts will undergo a rating by an accredited health and safety organization, similar to luxury ratings systems. This respected seal of approval will become the new gold standard of health and safety in travel and the hospitality industry across the globe.

What have been the biggest learnings that 2020 has delivered?

  1. COVID has been the most globally unifying event in our lifetime
  2. Staying relevant has never been more important – we just refreshed Parasol’s website
  3. Working remotely is good not great. Nothing replaces the conception of innovative ideas resulting from organic and casual interactions with colleagues
  4. NYC is resilient, alive, and will be back with a vengeance, the roaring 20s are coming
  5. No one looks good in a mask
  6. Everyone misses traveling, even business travel
  7. Human touch is important, be it a hug or a handshake
  8. Understanding technology is a “have to have” not a “nice to have”
  9. Dreaming about travel is normal, healthy, and encouraged, make it a table topic every night


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