The past years have shaken the world in ways we never could have imagined. There is no country, person or market that has not in some way been affected by this global event. 

The illustrious village of Saint Tropez witnessed the ebbs and flows of the pandemic however in very unique ways; so much so that St Tropez House embarked on a fact find to showcase and compare its own statistics from 2019 and 2021 in the luxury villa rental market. 

Why were these two specific years chosen to compare? The summer of 2020 occurred in the midst of the pandemic – between two major lockdowns. Due to this, the data from the runup and entirety of the season are distorted by cancellations, delays in arrivals, pushing back of bookings to the following season and so on. 

The data recorded and future predictions of the luxury travel market have been through the roof to the delight of travel and rental agents around the world. At the beginning of September the New York-based research institute Research Dive stated that “the Global Luxury Travel Market is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.8% from 2021-20282”. This statistic was then supported at the end of September when Technavio published their report announcing that a compound annual growth rate of the global luxury market is 26% from 2021-2025.  It is with these compelling findings in mind that St Tropez House became determined to provide insight and first hand proof of this veritable boom to the luxury villa rental market in Saint Tropez! 

The St Tropez House 2021 summer season witnessed a 55% increase in bookings compared to 2019. This corresponds to 25% more bookings of private villas in St Tropez and a 27% average increase of the value of a single booking. The increased value of a single booking is, according to St Tropez House Director, Emilia Jedamska, due to two key factors: a longer average stay of clients (2 weeks in 2019 compared to 2.5 weeks in 2021) and sheer high demand pushing prices up by approximately 7%. 

The usually pre-defined months of St Tropez high season (July & August) and nationality profile of guests were also greatly affected, with the number of European guests arriving in June increasing by 15% compared to 2019. The nationality of guests in 2021 were predominantly German, Monegasque, Swiss and Dutch, which was not the case in 2019. These exclusively European nationalities grew due to the fact that they can easily reach St Tropez by ground transport and are thus less likely to be affected by international travel restrictions. Subsequently the number of HNW travellers from the UK were down by a staggering 90% in June 2021, only to then return in greater numbers in July & August 2021. It is interesting to note however that compared to 2019, the number of UK travellers were still lower by 40%, due in large part to the ever changing regulations surrounding vaccinations, testing and quarantine measures. 

The top seven nationalities of travellers renting private villas with St Tropez Houses during the peak season of 2021 were Europeans: German, Swiss, Austrian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and of course French. The second half of the peak season (August), saw the much anticipated return of Russians and Americans. These resilient nationalities were required however to utilise a certain level of creativity and patience to enter France. Most of the time opting for longer routes through countries labelled as ‘green’ and/or quarantining. This being said, the number of Russian and American guests still remained 40% lower than in 2019. 

South Americans and Middle Easterners who often frequented Saint Tropez, choosing properties on the high end of the price scale, were also reluctant to return. The numbers of these guests dropped by roughly 50% when compared with 2019. 

The villas chosen amongst guests in 2021 were balanced between the low to high price brackets, displaying the high demand of villas across the board. Below is an example of the villas in the St Tropez House collection which were fully rented out between July 1st and August 31st  2021:

  • Bastide de Belieu – average price of 13,500 EUR per week
  • Villa Vibes – average price of 25,000 EUR per week
  • Villa Ama – average price of 120,000 EUR per week (this villa is already fully booked from July 1st to August 9th 2022!)

St Tropez House Director Emilia Jedamska explains how “Unlike the previous 10 seasons, we were closing rental deals only until the end of July. In August, despite incredible last minute demand from international clients, there was pretty much no stock of villas left. Every villa within a 15 minute drive of St Tropez was taken. I have never seen anything like it.” 

When asked the average amount clients spent on villa rentals in 2021, Emilia shared that “the average price of a villa rental per week with St Tropez House is approximately 35,000 EUR”. 

It is important to note that this average weekly rental cost does not include service or staff, a common request amongst the majority of rental guests.  

The procurement of staff in rental villas in Saint Tropez surged and began to establish itself as a trend. Private Chefs were among the most sought-after extra service, with requests increasing by 15% compared to 2019. This was witnessed predominantly in the high end market, with clients renting villas for over 50,000 EUR per week hiring a Private Chef in 90% of cases. The demand for Butlers and Chauffeurs also saw an increase of 10% due to guests wanting a more personalised experience and lessening willingness to take taxis or any other form of shared transport. Live-in maids and cleaning staff were also in higher demand compared to pre-pandemic seasons. 

The most popular extra services requested by guests in 2021 were helicopter transfers to and from airports (increased by 18%) and car rentals dropped and picked up at the rental villa (increased by 15%).

Throughout the uncertainty and unprecedented global changes, Saint Tropez remains a steadfast favorite for those looking to enjoy the golden sun of Saint Tropez in style. Saint Tropez is such a characteristic location that businesses continued to thrive even in the midst of the pandemic. At least five brand new restaurants opened in time for the 2021 summer season, including Villa Azur, which immediately became a top choice among high end clientele and Le Café, a fully refurbished favorite which now caters to a higher end clientele and wows them with every bite. There was also the opening of new beach clubs which quickly took over the talk of the town. Gigi, a Tuscan inspired beach club and restaurant graced St Tropez with its presence and was fully booked for the entirety of the high season and bohemian beach club Casa Amor also opened its doors, welcoming the trendiest guests to its relaxed beach setting. Top restaurants such as 3 Michelin star La Vague d’Or was also fully booked from June until the end of August 2021! 

Emilia shed light on the booming of new businesses by explaining how “clients went out for lunches to beach clubs and dinners to restaurants more than ever because the entertainment was condensed during the day, as night clubs were shut.”

The sparkling micro world of Saint Tropez was of course affected by the pandemic, however not in the ways one would have imagined. The overall results of this global event are explained by Emilia, who concludes “This summer clients were more health-aware, nature loving and family focused than ever. They were appreciating private chefs services, private gyms and any spa amenities at the villas, they were renting villas with a priority of open green spaces and were generally keen to rent bigger houses as this summer in St Tropez used as a stage to many family reunions and long awaited family holidays  after long breaks due to lockdowns.” 

Saint Tropez can thus remain true to its reputation of being a memorable summer getaway location to guests all over the world! 

To learn more about St Tropez House and its collection of villas contact:  

emilia@sttropezhouse.com.  

Sources mentioned:

https://www.researchdive.com/8410/luxury-travel-market 

https://www.technavio.com/report/luxury-travel-market-industry-analysis