From the start of 2019, Private Jet companies like Air Partner, Flexjet, JetSuite, Jet Linx Aviation, and now VistaJet have each announced significant partnerships with travel agencies. It is a strategic call taken by the companies to provide hassle-free services to the private aviation providers, travel agents, and advisors.
Kevin Sansone, senior director at Yougov, says, “There are so many options to book private flights today,” adding, “With the affluent, they want experiences and access, but they also want simplicity. Having one point of contact to handle everything can build loyalty.”
The amalgamation offers customers to book their flights and chose other services under one roof, making things seamless and secure. It is also a great initiative in promoting the industry on both fronts. The industry keeps growing and gaining new clients and also churning out more business from existing customers. This is a hugely positive sign, especially when everything is done only to increase their convenience and keep a check on marketing costs.
The bonding between travel agents and Airlines is not unknown to anyone. Before the era of online ticket booking, there was a phase where these travel agents would sell 80% of the tickets and would charge about 10% on every ticket sold. It was the commission cuts initiated by the major U.S. airlines in the 1990s that helped push the travel agency community onto the ‘endangered-species’ lists of many pundits. However, in 2018, a survey took place, and it found out that only 11% of the customers bought tickets offline travel agencies.
Still, travel agencies have survived mostly thanks to their wealthy customers who prefer more excitement and inspiration. People who want luxurious stays in Safari Camps, air-conditioned tents, or deluxe suites with people at their service all day, have helped them survive. Virtuoso, Consortia, mainly managing independently, focuses on offering luxury travels to customers, declared that sales by members increased from $5 billion to over $25 billion over the past decade.
Meanwhile, travel giants like Expedia and Airbnb spend billions of dollars on marketing are gradually nosing in towards the high-end travel selling agencies. A YouGov Affluent Perspective Global Study in 2019 had concluded that only 31% of U.S. consumers worth at least $10 million used a travel advisor.
The big news was when Vista Global’s announcement spoke about the collaboration of VistaJet with several travel designers and specialists. The program was launched as a part of VistaJet’s Private office showing ideas around 15 trips their executive vice president of marketing and innovation, Matteo Atti said, “In reality, we can make anything happen. The Private Office has now a network of around 500 partners we can immediately leverage to create any kind of trip.”
It all started with VistaJet World and followed by JetSuite Experiences, a partnership with Embark Beyond a luxury travel advisory service. Air Partner partnering with Quintessentially Travel, an alliance between Skylark and Flexjet, and Jet Linx Aviation tying up with Huffman Travel.
The 15 exquisite experiences on VistaJet World included a helicopter ride to the Colombian rainforest or the luxury suites in New Zealand, Iceland, and even Sweden. There is also a unique experience of UV night skiing on the illuminated mountains wearing skiing studs fitted with LED lights. Also, the trip included a filmmaking crew to take footage of the whole action so that the experience could be cherished afterward.
Jordan Maddex-Kopp, Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Partnerships at Jet Linx Aviation, said, “All Jet Linx clients, as a part of their Elevated Lifestyle benefits, have access to special offers from Huffman, including reduced design fees for custom trips and VIP value-added benefits at Huffman’s network of partner hotels.”
She says the partnership also helps with content, adding, “We work with Huffman on regular travel features SOAR Magazine to ensure our clients are never short of travel inspiration – especially journeys best experienced by private jet!”
Austria’s Globe Air’s online marketing manager, Laura Casati operates the four seated jets which revolve around high profile events around Europe. Casati stated that last year’s experience from their luxury trips have been so great that they have started it full-fledged for their regular customers as well.
She says, “Knowing our clientele for 10 years now and having a good network within the hospitality sector, we can organize the travel experiences in-house. Often, we listen to our passengers – who also happen to be discerning travelers (and) incorporate their feedback into our packages.”
She says, “Generally, we would like to convey the idea that we are not just a private jet operator, but a concierge company. We are happy to take care of our passenger’s whole trip comprising of transfers. As well as this, we are offering exclusive activities which cannot be booked anywhere else.”
In addition to spurring clients to travel more, she adds, “PR value is also significant, but we would like to be seen as the providers of exclusive travel experiences.”