Private Trade Winds, in conjunction with The Travel Institute is proud to announce the release of the first Villa Certification Program. The course, called Villa Travel, was designed to equip travel agents with the knowledge and tools necessary to assist clients who prefer spacious accommodations, yet value the service and amenities typically found in 5-star resorts.

No longer is villa travel reserved for Counts and Countesses on mass vineyards in Tuscany. Of course, the classic villas of France and Italy are still highly sought-after destinations, and rightly so, but what the public needs to know is that a villa can range from a 1-bedroom beachfront condo to a 13-bedroom palatial estate. What ultimately sets apart a villa vacation from a vacation rental involves an assessment of the destination, the residence, and all they have to offer. This is where the education process comes in, and it has all been crafted with the ultimate satisfaction of the traveler in mind.

In early May, the Today Show aired a segment on villa travel, and they went into detail on the rise in villa travel and the advantages therein. While we were delighted to see coverage on the subject, the segment began by defining villa as “any rental property or house.” It was this comment that prompted our immediate reaction, and we realized the urgent need to set parameters in this rapidly growing niche of the travel industry.

Our response, and what we feel is our duty as villa specialists, is to protect the consumer by educating the travel industry, and safeguarding the traveler against the pitfalls of misrepresentation in an otherwise unregulated segment of travel.

Today’s discerning traveler can have it all – daily housekeeping, airport transportation, concierge service and more – without sacrificing comfort, security and luxury. The key factor is educating both travel agents as well as the consumer on the various options that are out there, and most importantly, how to appropriately match the villa with the vacationer.

The Villa Specialist course covers such subject matter as villa history, classic vs. modern villas, villa options, sales & marketing, accommodations, amenities & inclusions, and more. Upon completion of this comprehensive course, participants will be able to clearly differentiate a villa vacation from a vacation rental, and open doors to a whole new world of experiences for their client.

Real Estate Agents and Developers can benefit from taking this course as well, since they will want a better understanding of what the consumer is looking for in a villa rental, and they will have the opportunity learn how to choose their partnerships wisely when deciding who will represent their product in the industry.

An informational webinar will be conducted by The Travel Institute on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 12:00 PDT, where listeners can learn more about the course. To request an invitation, please email Judy Sweetland at

If you would like to learn more about villa travel, contact Andra Minnehan at 866.PTW.4LUX Ext. 809 or email her at