From its beginnings as a small turnkey operation on the Island of Gozo, the Group has grown over the past years into a network of companies with diverse interests, from development and real estate, to upmarket villa rentals, insurance and finance.
“Right from the start we knew we wanted to offer high quality heritage properties, with modern amenities, and in so doing provide our clients with memorable holiday experiences,” said Mr Tabone.
“On a small island you can't rely on quantity, but you can focus on quality.”
“The launch of our first rental property, Djar Ta Menzja, was a huge success and demand has grown year on year. That initial vision shaped our approach to business and before we knew it we had created a brand with a strong reputation for excellence. And that vision continues to influence how we do things today.”
When asked to name what he is most proud of at Baron Group, Mr Tabone didn't hesitate.
“The thing I'm most proud of is our consistency in delivering outstanding, highly personalised customer service. It's the reason we have been so successful."
“Back in 1995 we had around 40 clients. Today we have thousands from all over the world. And nearly 40% of our clients return to us – we have clients who have returned for as many as 8 years."
“We get it right because we have the right properties, brilliant local craftsmen, and, importantly, we also have a fantastic operational team who work hard to make our clients' holidays as comfortable and relaxing as possible.”
Achieving the right balance between creating high quality properties while maintaining a high level of social and environmental awareness is one of the Group's biggest challenges.
“We strive to deliver excellence without compromising our responsibility towards Gozo's incredible architectural inheritance and natural beauty,” said Mr Tabone.
“So we employ highly skilled local craftsmen who use traditional skills and methods, and we were one of the first companies to have recycled rainwater and have implemented other environmental measures in our properties. We want to leave a lasting legacy on the island.”
Visitors love the Gozo's unspoilt beauty with everything from secluded beaches and rustic scenery, to the UNESCO World Heritage Ġgantija temples - the oldest freestanding structures in the World dating back more than 5,500 years to the Neolithic Age. The challenges of modernisation on Gozo have necessarily been handled with care.
“Gozo is a real gem and while we polish her so she continues to shine brilliantly, we also need to be very careful in how we develop the island. Everyone here – from government, private companies and the general public – is committed to safeguarding our unique culture and heritage.”
The Baron Group has been actively involved in the restoration of another Gozitan treasure – the Medieval Cittadella, the old fortified city.
“Twenty years ago most tourists coming to Gozo would stay in a hotel,” said Mr Tabone. “Today, most holidays are spent in privately rented villas – a dramatic turnaround. Staying in a beautifully restored old house in the countryside near the old villages, people get to experience the genuine culture and village life on the island.”
It's a trend that Baron Holiday Homes predicts will continue as they restore more properties and offer a full range of 5-star amenities, plus additional in-house services.
Gozo's biggest market is holidaymakers from the UK, but the Group is seeing an increase in tourists coming from Germany, France and Italy, and further afield.
“We've seen good interest from the USA and even the Middle East,” said Mr Tabone. “These niche markets are difficult to penetrate but by working with international partners we have seen rising interest over the last two years. We've even had bookings from New Zealand and Australia!”
Mr Tabone said that the Group will continue to identify and develop excellent properties on the island and to promote Gozo as a unique holiday destination. Connectivity may become a key issue for some clients.
“Malta has good connectivity with Europe but we've found that discerning 5* clients want more connectivity between the Maltese Islands."
“In recent years the Maltese government has been thinking of developing a small airport on Gozo, but this is likely to be low key project, with limited environmental impact.”