As the luxury travel industry booms, the world’s wealthy seek ever more exclusive and tailored experiences. To satisfy this demand, high-end travel agencies have emerged that cater to the unique desires and expectations of their affluent clientele.
For these agencies, providing unparalleled service requires both expertise and a wide-reaching network of contacts.
One such travel guru is Ricardo Araujo, whose insider knowledge and industry connections enable him to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the ultra-rich.
As the founder of the luxury travel company Ariodante Travel, Araujo has spent years serving what he refers to as the world’s “financial and intellectual elite” elite and perfecting the art of crafting unique, unforgettable travel experiences.
Araujo’s clients include some of the world’s richest individuals, from A-list celebrities and Fortune 500 executives to royalty and oligarchs. He has organized trips to some of the planet’s most remote and iconic locations.
Packages can cost anywhere between $2500 to $22 million. It doesn’t end there. Araujo only targets clients with a net worth of $400 million and above—people who could give him a blank check to arrange their dream vacations.
“It’s the haute couture of travel. But it’s not about money—even though, as you can imagine, it costs a fortune. It’s about meaning,” he said in a report.
How it started
Araujo was born in Colombia to a diplomat family who had moved around quite a lot during his early years. He was trained in classical piano and music composition.
In 2014, he traveled to London to pitch a startup idea of an app that would teach people to read music using AI. Seeing no success, he took a lecturing job at King’s College, where he taught music and philosophy.
At some point, the accommodation and activity booking platform Airbnb approached him, asking him if he was interested in hosting travelers to local music concerts as a part of its ‘Experiences’ service.
His first customer was a wealthy couple from Boston who, after having enjoyed his services, asked him to join them at a Royal Opera House the next night.
He responded that he would be delighted to join them – but that the concert would be sold out. The couple called him a few hours later to say they had secured three tickets for some of the best seats in the house. He states this was when he realized the real power of wealth.
With some old friends’ help, Araujo took the couple for a backstage tour the same night, which they thoroughly appreciated.
Then, a new idea was born that morphed the classical pianist into a luxury travel agent.
In the report, Araujo revealed some of the most extravagant trips he has arranged for his clients, including curating a mermaid sighting for the granddaughter of a wealthy American client.
But his services aren’t just limited to arranging travel logistics. He also provides his clients insider access to some of the world’s most exclusive events and experiences, such as attending the Cannes Film Festival or securing front-row seats at a fashion show in Paris.
According to Araujo, his success is due to his attention to detail and ability to anticipate his client’s needs before they even realize them.
“I try to think of everything before they do,” he said in the report, “it’s about making sure they have a seamless and stress-free experience.”
One of the most iconic trips he planned includes a scientific over-land expedition to Greenland’s northernmost point (an unexplored area where they would be setting multiple world records). However, the client he had secured for the trip was later found to be on a list of individuals to be sanctioned due to the ongoing conflicts between Russia and Ukraine that had just erupted.
He hopes to make that trip soon but knows it could take a while for someone of the same financial caliber to turn up.
“There is still a lot of demand for luxury travel,” he said. “People want to get out and see the world, and I’m here to make sure they do it in style.”