We sit down with Luxe Tribes CEO Chidi Ashley to speak to her about her journey, vision and the future.
Over the last couple of years, the pandemic has changed the face of travel and the way that we think about travelling. But for Chidi Ashley, founder and CEO of Luxe Tribes, it presented an opportunity to offer something new. An entrepreneur with a passion for luxury travel experiences and an eye for detail, Chidi’s goal was to give women the chance to explore the world in style. In response, she founded Luxe Tribes – a company that curates and plans luxury trips tailored to each individual’s desires and interests.
Every Luxe Tribes trip is thoughtfully designed to provide travellers with extraordinary experiences unavailable anywhere else. To ensure these special moments are cherished forever, their team carefully chooses each destination and works with local businesses and services to deliver tours that will stay in the heart of its guests.
From excursions through tropical jungles to exclusive dinners in charming city cafés – no detail is too small when creating their unique itineraries.
We recently sat down with Chidi to speak to her about her journey, vision and the future.
What inspired the idea of Luxe Tribes to create this opportunity for women?
I started Luxe Tribes because I was tired of waiting on friends to travel with me, we get older and life gets in the way so priorities shift but I didn’t want to keep missing out on new experiences because I was waiting on my friend group to get it together. When I started Luxe Tribes I had no idea it would become a global business, I had been sharing pictures of my travels on Instagram years prior and I had built a small community on Instagram by sharing useful travel tips.
When I announced my first group trip I had over 100 people sign up in less than an hour, it was incredible to see so many women who wanted to join my trip to Bali. I had set this group trip up not as a business but because I wanted to travel to Bali and I didn’t want to go alone.
I believed in the concept so much that 2 months after announcing my first trip, I renegotiated my contract at my job to allow me to work remotely, I packed up my apartment in New York and moved halfway across the world to Bali where I started building my travel business.
How has being a young founder in the travel industry been beneficial or challenging?
My age has certainly been a benefit, I have come into the travel industry with fresh eyes and an understanding of how social media is driving decisions on so many of our purchases including travel! With that, we have been able to create a travel community and an online presence that really speaks to travellers without relying on paid advertising and we design our trips with an understanding of our customers so we ensure we go beyond the traditional tour experiences.
What kind of experiences do you provide with Luxe Tribes that go beyond what traditional travel companies offer?
We say the experience starts from the moment a traveller reaches out to us, our team is there to make them feel safe in their decision and walk them through the process.
Our trips are tailored to give each traveller the best combination of luxury living, cultural immersion and adventure in each destination and we truly believe in planning experiences that excite us, so as a team of travel experts we always say, we would never book a hotel or put you through an experience that we wouldn’t be thrilled to do ourselves or that we haven’t already tried ourselves.
We also believe the details matter so we include fun elements into our trips like a private photographer, a customized welcome gift basket or even a balloon arrangement and a cake to celebrate a birthday. The overall guest experience is what makes us different!
How do you select the destinations for your trips?
We listen to our audience! I truly believe in making data-driven decisions as a business owner and the best way to do this is by talking to your community.
Each year we gather feedback on destinations our travel tribe would like to see added to the calendar, we also love to keep up with trends in travel, assess what destinations people are sharing and talking about the most online and find destinations that provide bucket list worthy moments.
What are some of the most popular trips that people have taken through Luxe Tribes and why?
Bali is always our most popular destination, we have curated trips to Bali for thousands of travellers and it never disappoints. I always say no one does Bali quite like Luxe Tribes, we have a locally based team in Bali that is there throughout the experience to ensure each traveller has the attention they deserve and we really focus on creating moments you just don’t get anywhere else, for example, we have our floating breakfast and floaties pool party in Bali. This is such a special moment for our travellers as it’s set in Ubud, Bali with views of a waterfall, we have a DJ, private photographer, amazing decor and guests get to enjoy an unforgettable floating breakfast experience while networking with other travellers.
Some of our other popular destinations are Greece, Ghana, Thailand and Seychelles. In all of these destinations, we focus on creating special moments that are unique to the destination like a luxury picnic on the beach in Seychelles or a flying dress photoshoot in Santorini.
Can men join Luxe Tribes trips, or is this strictly a female-only service?
While most of our trips focus on providing a safe space for women to travel, we do have experiences for men and women on our calendar! We also have couples trips where we bring like-minded couples together.
Aside from our group experiences, we plan private trips for men and their travel crew based on their dates and their budget.
Do you think more people will be interested in group vacations due to the pandemic, and if so why?
Group trips provide an element of safety in numbers and confidence that some travellers don’t get to travel solo, especially when you consider that most of our travellers are women.
So even after the pandemic, we have seen a significant rise in the number of travellers who want to get out of the house, better yet, get out of the country and explore the world without having to wait on friends or family members to travel with them. We have sold more trips this year than ever before and doubled our destination offerings to keep up with the demand for group travel.
Tell us a bit about your team and how they work together to make each trip special for every traveller.
We have over 24 full-time team members spread across Bali, Kenya, Thailand, Dubai, Jamaica, Greece, Italy, Colombia and more! We are truly a team of travellers and global citizens creating adventures for other travellers. What makes this awesome is that we get to leverage our local expertise and plan trips that highlight the best of each destination. We have a better understanding of what works and what’s not so hot in each destination so we save our travellers time and money. We have also built a network of local talent, luxury hotels and small businesses in the different destinations we plan trips to which means we are able to work in conjunction with them on each trip.
How do you ensure that everyone feels welcome on these trips regardless of age, race, gender, etc.?
Our brand is very inclusive and we really welcome travellers that are open-minded and want to form new connections. That’s really the main prerequisite, so regardless of your age or race you are welcome. Of course, our trips have been tailored predominately for women but we have many options for men to join in on the adventures as well.
Has there ever been a time when you felt that giving up on your dream was a viable option and if so, what motivated you to keep going even during difficult times?
Never! Giving up just simply isn’t a thought or an option because there really isn’t such thing as failure when you are in love with what you do.
I have certainly had moments where I felt overwhelmed and let down, especially during the pandemic when we cancelled all of our trips and had to issue hundreds of thousands in refunds to customers.
This business is making an impact, it solves a problem for so many women around the world and that keeps me going. I absolutely love the process of creating and the stories of women who reach out to share the friendships they have formed from our trips or the fears they faced – it is truly empowering. So when mistakes are made or when I feel in over my head I go back to that place of remembering why our business exists in the first place and why we started.
Where would you like to see Luxe Tribes expand over the next few years?
We are working towards establishing our brand as a staple when it comes to destination experiences, going beyond group trips and private trips and moving towards corporate retreats, destination weddings, destination events and much more! Our expertise in crafting one-of-a-kind moments and the relationships we have created with local professionals across the countries we operate in puts Luxe Tribes in an amazing position to continue to expand our reach to all things travel.