Demand for private jet flights is soaring says top luxury travel consultant
Having had to refund more than £500,000 in customer deposits as a result of holiday cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic, one of the UK’s top travel consultants has seen a boom in bookings of private jets as demand for luxury travel bounces back.
Twice voted ‘Luxury Travel Designer of the Year’ in 2019 and 2020, from over 63,000 agents in the UK, owner of boutique luxury travel consultancy, Never a Wasted Journey, Dan Salmon, has reported a surge in enquiries for private jet travel, as customers desperate to get away decide to splash out, in order to avoid commercial flights. His experience reflects industry statistics which suggest that the private jet sector is seeing a rapid rebound from the decimation to the aviation industry caused by COVID-19.
Although global commercial aviation traffic is operating at around just 15% of last year’s totals, private flights are running at up to 70% or more of normal, according to Private Jet Card Comparisons. Vista Jet, the global charter company, reported a bounce back to about 85% of pre-pandemic traffic in the USA with over 70% of new bookings coming from customers who are new to private jets, whilst PrivateFly, a UK based private jet charter broker, saw an 85% rise in flight enquiries in the first two weeks of June, compared with the same period last year.
This growth is being driven almost entirely by new customers drawn to flying privately because of health concerns and lower jet prices. Costs of certain flights are now 30% to 50% cheaper than they were a year ago, bringing them closer in line with first-class or business-class seats.
“I have seen a massive spike in demand for private jet travel from UK customers since the Covid-19 lockdown in March. People are worried about travelling through crowded airports and on regular flights, so this solution offers complete privacy, from check-in to arrival. I have also found higher demand for premium class travel on commercial flights and exclusive private villa hire at the destination.”
Having established his travel consultancy in 2013, Salmon turned to Forbes Business Coach and founder of Big Business Events, Adam Stott, to help him harness the power of social media to grow his business. In just two years, Never a Wasted Journey has grown sales from £50,000 per annum to over £1.5million with the majority of bookings coming through social media referrals. Salmon’s bespoke approach to tailoring unique high-end holidays has attracted a number of celebrities and sports stars, who are now customers. “Joining Adam Stott’s Gold Circle has resulted in some incredible improvements to my business and in a relatively short space of time,” said Salmon.
“I have learnt so much and knew that he would be able to help me grow my brand, given that he’s had stellar success himself in building a £40million business using social media. My long-term objective is to be the ‘go to’ person for that luxury holiday and to continue offering ‘wow factor’ experiences for clients that couldn’t be booked elsewhere.” Asked whether there is still a space for the traditional high street agency, Salmon said: “People still like to meet with an agent to discuss their requirements but this is now more difficult with social distancing restrictions in place. Personally, I find customers preferring to contact me via social media and book via email or online, even over a Zoom call. My favourite request was a client who wanted to propose to his partner in the Maldives in a completely unique way. Working with my contacts, I arranged for a private sunset champagne cruise and their own underwater restaurant. As their favourite music was played, two divers swam by the glass window with a sign saying, “Will you marry me?” Luckily, she said ‘yes’.”
Commenting on the coaching support he’s given to help advance Salmon’s business, Adam Stott said:
“Positioning a luxury brand requires a more tactful approach when it comes to social media strategy. We looked at the type of language that Dan was using, to ensure he spoke about the exclusivity and luxury element. We also focused on the ‘designer experience’ that Dan is able to provide. The combination of effective messaging and amazing images has worked really well and generated significant engagement. When it comes to paid social, the key is in the targeting. Dan has been following my four-step funnel process and has built up a good amount of awareness within his target market, enabling him to nurture more leads and improve his sales conversion rate.”
Lockdown has seen a huge appetite for business coaching, according to Stott, who founded his first company in 2008 at the age of 25 and built it into a £40million turnover company in just ten years. The business was recognised by Amazon as one of the UK’s fastest growing car retailers and twice voted one of the London Stock Exchange’s ‘Top 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’, in 2015 and 2016. That year, Stott founded BBE with the aim of sharing his business insight, challenges, successes and failures with both established and aspiring business owners in the UK and overseas. Stott has created a business network of over 7,000 individuals and has personally helped hundreds of entrepreneurs achieve their dream of running their own business. In recognition of his contribution, Stott was accepted into the prestigious Forbes Coaches Council in 2020.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Blackbird Communications .