Tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Juliana Guzman and I am one of the founders of Rio Exclusive and the mother of 4 children aged between 6 and 11 years old. I was born in Colombia in a family involved in the real estate industry. Using the experience of working with my family as a foundation, I went on to improve my business skills by studying Financial Administration and International relations in London. I have lived in the United States, France, Spain and Brazil. Today I live between Europe and Latin America and speak Spanish, English, Portuguese and French.
My international experience and the wide range of contacts I have accumulated gave me the basis on which to create Rio Exclusive in 2007 and build it into the number one luxury real estate agency in Rio de Janeiro.
How did you get into this line of work?
Back in 2007, I was in contact with an Italian owner who had 10 apartments that he had renovated, keeping them empty as he was waiting to sell them. I offered him to rent them on a monthly basis in order to sublet them – that is how the adventure started.
I soon realized that there weren’t any other options for clients seeking 5-star services outside hotels. It is on those grounds that I decided to start Rio Exclusive. In those days Airbnb didn’t even exist, so we were pioneers and made sure to do everything it took to remain the market leaders.
What are the key elements that make Rio Exclusive properties so different?
First off all, I would say attention to detail. We only work with the best to make sure that we deliver what we have promised to our clients. This means that we very carefully select the properties we work with for our clients to enjoy their stay with us on one hand, and on the other make sure that owners we work with keep their properties to the highest standards.
Another key element is our large range of properties. We have frontline penthouses in Copacabana with up to 11 suites, modern mansions hanging of the cliffs of Joatinga and beautiful beach houses located 20 meters from the beach all over Brazil and Latin America.
Last but not the least are the services we provide. They are tailor made for all our client’s wishes and are our biggest asset. We provide anything you want, from private chefs to helicopter transfers, we make sure that the service that is provided answers the most demanding clientele.
What process do you go through when you buy or renovate a property to make it Rio Exclusive worthy?
At Rio Exclusive and across all Latin America we offer all the real estate services to every investor who gets in touch with us. This means that we take care of finding the right property, preparing the legal documents to purchase it to the point where we rent out the properties for the investor to get a return on his investment.
Some investors want to purchase ready to move in properties in order to start working with them as soon as possible.
Other investors want us to look for the best bargain in order to renovate it themselves. For this type of investor, we do the regular house hunting and once we have found the right property, we present a list of architects we are used to working with. Most of the time investors have a pretty clear idea or style they want and in some cases they have seen on of our properties and want the same architect!
What makes Rio such a special place for you, and why do you think travellers should visit it?
Rio de Janeiro is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is on everybody’s bucket list. It has everything, from the long beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana to the national park of Tijuca which the world biggest urban rain forest, mother nature is opulent and present everywhere.
Whether you are a surfer or a businessman, Rio has all kind of activities that can suit any kind of profile. From the high-end boutiques of Ipanema, to the delicious restaurants of Leblon everyone that visits the city easily finds what he or she is looking for.
One of the best ways of seeing the city is from above. You can either rent out a helicopter or take the famous cable train “bondinho” that will take you all the way up to the Christ Redeemer. From up there you will enjoy one of the most breathtaking views in the world!
What is it about Rio exclusive that has made it such a success?
Flair, good taste and exigency.
Flair because we saw the tremendous potential Rio had before anyone else. We knew the offer was very limited and the demand for luxury experiences was increasing. Arnaud (my partner and the other founder of Rio Exclusive) and I had a lot of friends and acquaintances who owned apartments in Rio. Yet they didn’t really live here, so those properties were left empty for several months a year. With their authorization we promoted their properties for short term rentals. In our first year, 2007, we were already managing 40 properties. We then went on to become Rio’s largest luxury vacation rentals company, all that in less than a decade.
Good taste, because Arnaud and I come from different cultures yet we share that same definition of luxury. We know our clientele is very demanding, so we handpicked Rio’s most luxurious apartments based on their prime location, design-forward layout, security and exclusivity.
Exigency because we combine the high-end properties, we rent with bespoke concierge services. When you rent a luxury apartment in Rio, you want the same serviced you get when staying in a hotel but with the privacy and independence of staying at home. That’s what Rio Exclusive is all about: providing the best of both.
This is made possible by our highly skilled, international team of local experts, fluent in 8 languages. Whether you are in Rio for business or pleasure, our team will do whatever it takes to help you out; from organizing a photo-shoot to scheduling private tours or booking a restaurant.
The result is that most of clients who have experienced Rio with us book again. They also recommend us when they return home, so our network of clients constantly keeps growing.
Tell us about some of the greatest milestones Rio Exclusive has managed to achieve.
The first milestone is the creation of Rio Exclusive and setting the standards as pioneers and then market leaders.
Building on our success in Rio de Janeiro, in 2009 we began to offer our services in hot destinations like Buzios, Paraty and Angra. Our company expanded to include Colombia Exclusive in 2011, offering the superb quality of luxury vacation rentals we are renowned for in the growing new Colombian market.
Throughout the years we welcomed diplomates, head of states and international celebrities. By 2011 we had a great network of owners, clients and partners and were able to prepare ourselves for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games! By 2014 we had over 300 properties listed just in Rio de Janeiro.
Following these two amazing international sporting events we developed our business locally and internationally. In Brazil we are now present in Bahia, Santa Catarina and in Céara. In Latin America we are present in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay.
Last but not the least, following the World Cup and the Olympics we launched Sports Exclusive that was present in Moscow for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and who will be present in Brazil for the 2019 Copa América, Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games and in Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup!
We are always keen on expanding our business and our knowhow to other countries. For now, we are focused on consolidating our brand in Latin American. Once that has been achieved, we will investigate the idea of expanding ourselves to other continents.
To find out more about Rio Exclusive, head over to their website.