When it comes to leisure travel, one can choose one of two routes: Luxury, or experiential. The former includes your typical five-star accommodation, beachside-living-and-sipping-on-cocktails-in-paradise scenario. The latter, entails a more out-of-this world cultural experience of taking the road less traveled to far-flung, often unexplored destinations. Mindspace-based RASK Travel deals with both.
“The only condition to working with us, is that accommodation be five-star,” says Associate Director, Miriam Braun. As one would expect, that does create an aura of exclusivity and luxury (the agency is, after all, a boutique travel firm), yet it far from fends off potential clients.
While RASK is headquartered and registered in Israel, it is internationally minded. It’s seven person team spans across three countries (Israel, The UK, and India) in two continents and attracts both corporate and private clients from across the globe. And there’s no limit to where RASK associates will send their clients; They do not have a running ‘off-limits’ list when it comes to destinations. “We work with all destinations,” says Braun. “We’d send clients to Iran if that’s where they wanted to go.”
Which brings us back to experiential travel – the one time RASK digresses from its five-star accommodation precondition. Because when people seek to immerse themselves in more of a cultural than a luxury experience, five-star accommodation is not always a possibility. “The luxury of experience is what comes at the expense of the five-star,” says Braun. It was under this premise that they sent clients to North Korea, on a cargo ship excursion to Antarctica, and on a 16-night luxury train ride through the ‘Stans.
With the rise in popularity of online booking agents, it becomes difficult to differentiate oneself in the travel industry. RASK is no stranger to this phenomenon. “We are affected by it – we’re not bullet proof,” says Braun. “We’re not necessarily unique in what we sell, but we are unique in how we sell it.”
The key lies in knowing how to manipulate data. High-end clients lack the time to research travel options and itineraries themselves (after all, time is money) – so they come to agencies such as RASK for knowledge and expertise. “The more information you have online, the more difficult it becomes to weed out and filter,” says Braun.
Face value, everything looks the same – but not all five-star accommodation is created equal, Braun explains. What you see online is what hotels want you to see, making it difficult to take note of the minute differences that make one hotel better than the next. RASK does the weeding out and filtering, offering its clients with itineraries, accommodations and amenities unmatched by the automated results of the Internet. And they know how to manipulate flights – a task that often leaves travelers who self-book baffled.
The Internet is essentially a robot. “It gives you what you ask for – it doesn’t think for you,” says Braun. And that’s where RASK comes in. “We kind of anticipate.”
RASK was found in 2011 by Danish-native Jonas Rask Eilersen, and has since grown to include associates from Israel, Australia, the UK, Argentina, and the US. “We’re a young team, and very casual – something people like and can relate to,” Braun says. “I think that’s important because our clients aren’t looking to sit down and discuss options – we get what they want and turn it around in the best possible way. We’re fast. And personable. We give them added value and are very honest about our process.”
They found a space in Mindspace in 2015, when the team felt the need for an office manager. “We originally had our own office – but then decided we were too small to have an office manager but really needed one,” Braun explains. Coworking took care of the office manager and meeting spaces that RASK previously lacked in its independent office. And it helped them pick up a few new clients through inner networking. Still, most of RASK’s clients come through word of mouth – it’s the sort of system where the good experience of one friend leads to that of another.
For more information on RASK, visit http://rasktravel.com.