The title of my blog – it’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot this fortnight, owing to the recent coverage around one of Victor’s online competitors. An article in the Financial Times last week acknowledged the doubts many in our industry hold where JetSmarter’s business model is concerned – particularly with regards to promotional offers that seem ‘too good to be sustainable’. JetSmarter’s emergence appears against a backdrop of various poorly planned and failed online players. I’ve talked along these lines here before.
In large part, the company’s emergence is down to a program of celebrity advocacy. This is actually where most of the noise has come from this month – and none of it all that good! Several British media outlets (and even one particularly high-profile comedian) have picked up on the social backlash of fans where one supposedly ‘relatable’ ambassador has urged them to charter privately and shared a video of their own airborne experience. There is no problem working alongside ambassadors but greater thought is needed in terms of what they are saying about your brand, to whom, and is it truly relevant?
As I blogged last month, the new players claiming to have a disrupting business model need traction and robust growth but this can’t be at any cost. You need to know your customer well, the right channels to engage them, and to market and brand carefully and effectively.
The public’s irritation around misjudged celebrity advocacy stems from JetSmarter’s desire to make private jet travel more accessible through empty seats on ‘semi-private’ shuttle runs to pre-determined destinations. As some of the reader reaction to the FT piece has indicated, this means sharing with strangers on specific routes to which the traveller needs to adjust their plans. There is even reference, supposedly, to the company’s membership T&Cs – including a ‘release to use picture and voice’. If you sign up, you are effectively forgoing your privacy as a private jet traveler it seems. That really doesn’t feel well thought through….
A private jet should remain a private jet, but innovative, well-considered technology can help connect established private networks of elite travellers – as opposed to creating the uncomfortable prospect of a sky-high celebrity dating agency – and more widely open the doors to genuinely smart charter. Charter by Victor isn’t simply about time-saving and convenience, it is about giving the discerning traveller total control of their journey and travel experience – on demand. You determine the plane, the flight, the cabin environment and clientele – you set the agenda. For our senior business fliers, the ability to meet global commitments at short notice and work (have closed meetings) in a calm and controlled space whilst flying is invaluable. But business or pleasure, having the ability to fly as you truly wish – and via a bespoke mode of transport from which high-net-worth (HNW) travellers usually demand the highest levels of discretion – is the ultimate convenience and security; the full potential of private jet travel unleashed.
Through Victor, members are afforded absolute discretion, always. Their financial protection is also guaranteed. Members benefit from an aircraft and crew replacement guarantee and complete financial protection with every booking, all funds held securely in reputable client deposit accounts. Victor’s unique combination, too, of high-tech booking app and expert, 24-7 customer service team ensures a bespoke service unparalleled in the industry for delivering total support to fliers.
Ultimately, effective charter isn’t just about speedy customer apps – so many elements and considerations are involved in every flight; therefore, we continue to invest in tech and team alike to ensure the best value of service, and highest standards of safety and performance. Our recent, independent certification as an ARGUS-registered business compliments all of this – the clarity, composure and sheer quality of everything we do as industry pioneer.
There will always be copyists. The market continues to swell with players offering something seemingly new and exciting. But ‘real’ private jet charter doesn’t need gimmicks or glitter, just a loyal, sustainable customer base built on trust, transparency and meaningful two-way conversation.
Clive Jackson, CEO & founder of Victor
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