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Living our Dynamic Lives – 18 years and counting

04 November 19

In 2019, Dynamic Lives turns 18 – an achievement we are extraordinarily proud of. Presiding over this coming of age experience is our founder George Burdon – the man with the vision who was there at the start of it all back in the year 2000. On the eve of the company’s 18th birthday, he gives us an insight into the inspiration for Dynamic Lives and talks us through the company’s evolution.

“Dynamic Lives was born out of my passion for travel, food and property,” says George, when asked about the origins of this luxury villa, travel and concierge agency. He was running a winter chalet business in Chamonix, and was looking to expand the brand with something exciting to offer his existing customer base in summer. Ibiza ticked all the right boxes. “Our customers were busy, active types,” he says. “They weren’t keen to go look at a chapel in Provence or stroll through a veggie market. They wanted nice restaurants and beaches –being English, the sun and the sea was the main attraction. Ibiza fit the profile – it was very cool but it wasn’t too mainstream, it was still a little bit edgy, a bit naughty."

The location, an island in the middle of the Mediterranean, close to central Europe –not too far east, not too far west –had always fascinated George, who first came to the white isle on a villa holiday with friends in 1998. “It was all about outdoor fun, restaurants and beaches,” he recalls. “It was quite liberal – a great place to have carefree fun.” Around the same time, the island property market presented plenty of great opportunities to invest, and with the villa rental market picking up pace, it meant owners had a chance to make a real return on their investment. A savvy investor, George knew it was time to take his love of property and design to the next level in Ibiza, and Dynamic Lives was born.

Now, cast your mind back to the year 2000. Those of us who travelled regularly probably had Hotmail accounts to send news of our adventures to friends and family, and if you worked for a big corporate company, you may have been using internal emails too but the internet as we know it wasn’t really a big thing yet. It would be three more years before MySpace took off, and four until a guy called Zuckerberg launched Facebook. The internet was just getting moving and George Burdon was an early adopter. While other villa agencies were printing brochures to promote their properties, Dynamic Lives was uploading and sharing professional photographs of villas via the net with their international clients – instantly!

“Back then, we were the next generation,” says George of his pioneering ways. His method would prove successful – instant gratification on customer requests turned into regular villa bookings. When these clients arrived in Ibiza, rather than sending them off to a random villa with a folded map, Dynamic Lives would provide a friendly face at the airport, to check people into their villas, which naturally extended to helping with restaurant and club reservations, boat charters and more. Living in Ibiza at the time, George’s trusted personal relationships with island suppliers helped him secure the best tables, great deals and extra special service for his client – details that went on to become a core part of the Dynamic Lives ethos.

“We’ve always tried to offer that added value – we wanted to differentiate ourselves from our competitors, to over-deliver, offer insider knowledge, make sure holidays happened seamlessly and ensure our guests were surrounded by the right people,” George continues. “People who were thinking for the guest, pre-empting what they would want, getting them to the right places on time, always punctual and always smiling. We’re all about good people.” That ideal has never changed, not one iota, in the 18 years that followed. Today, the Dynamic Lives team (all very good people, if we do say so ourselves!) is based in the UK and Europe – with key team members on the ground here in Ibiza, including two born and bred locals who know the island better than any expat could ever hope to!

“We’re very international,” explains George. “Knowing and understanding the market and the way it’s evolved is so important – from the perspective of a villa owner and a rental client alike. Our admin team have a wealth of experience in managing and marketing second homes, and our operations teams are experts in finding solutions and offering the very best customer service there is in Ibiza. We’re a luxury travel company, but what we do is very niche – every single holiday is tailor made. It’s about matching the right people to the right villa and organising the right experiences for them. We’re not just a web agency that hands over the keys.”

Over the past 18 years, the luxury villa rental market has evolved to become one of the biggest industries in Europe. Some of the most recent changes noted by the Dynamic Lives team includes clients being much more web savvy (that invention called the internet certainly took off!) and scouring the web for the best deals possible, often trying to negotiate with a multitude of agents for the same property, at the same time. George also explains that people’s expectations have changed – when a luxury villa costs almost the same as a high-end hotel, the service levels within should be of a similar level in terms of cleaning (“We want friendly, smiling cleaners!” George reminds us), complimentary breakfast served daily and fresh sheets and towels on request.  

The onus is now on the owners, and the agencies who represent them, to increase these service levels even more to make a big impression. “It’s the little things that make a difference,” says George. “We’re here to help educate our villa owners – for example, this year technology is a key player. Small upgrades bring a villa up to speed, like installing a WiFi enabled television so people can log into their own Netflix or install SONOS throughout an entire villa. And decent WiFi – people spend extended periods of time in Ibiza and want to do some work while they’re here. They don’t want to stand on one foot in the corner of a kitchen to try and get a signal!”  

In terms of villa style, George says the island has moved on from the basic restored finca that once held charm at the turn of the century, and even further from the formulaic minimal bling villas of the following decade. “One of the biggest shifts in the market right now is that people want a modern, tasteful villa. Something that’s stylishly done – design-led. The island has a reputation for modern architecture and style and it’s attracting clients who want to check-in without feeling as if they’ve stepped into someone’s family home.” George foresees a trend with millennial travellers preferring to invest more in experiences than ultra-luxe home stays, while he believes families are vice versa, opting for the perfect home base to spend much of their valuable holiday time. 

In terms of experiences, the portfolio of experiences offered by the Dynamic Lives concierge team these days is numbered in the hundreds. If you can think it, they can make it happen. “Concierge is more challenging these days because people have more resources at their fingertips and there is also more competition,” says George. “So we have to be creative. But we have the benefit of 18 years’ experience on the island to help us ensure our clients always get what they want. Dynamic Lives has always stood for integrity and putting customers first to get the overall experience right. We really respect the valuable time people have on holiday. For us, nothing is ever a problem – we want to make our customers happy.” 

18 years after the idea to launch the company first popped into George’s head, Dynamic Lives is now established in four key luxury travel markets around the world: Ibiza, Formentera, Sri Lanka and Mykonos (the latter two being a story for another time!). “We’re not looking to get bigger or expand into other markets,” concludes George, although a trip to Costa Rica is on the cards so it may turn out to be an occupational hazard. “But we are always striving to be better, while always remaining discreet and private. For Dynamic Lives, it’s better to build within, rather than to build out. Our longevity stands for a lot. In Ibiza, people come and go quickly so we’re really proud of our history, our relationships with owners and suppliers, and especially of our hundreds of happy customers. 

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