Country & Town House’s annual publication of Great British Brands has once again been published, a hefty barometer of the UK’s biggest luxury business success stories – in terms of everything from creativity and innovation to economic growth and emphatic customer engagement. And, thrillingly for us, Victor is one of just a handful of ‘engineering and tech’ brands to feature among the overall list of 150 runners and riders.
We’re in good company, featuring directly alongside Aston Martin, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, McLaren and bespoke superyacht designers RWD. The latest rundown of Great British Brands has been co-curated by a wide range of influential contributors including, not least, journalist and author Dylan Jones, renowned philosopher Roger Scruton and luxury lifestyle authority Simon de Burton. These 150 brands have, collectively, achieved much in 2016 and are expected to deliver again in 2017. Our inclusion in this ‘Bible for the British luxury industry’ is a perfect and fitting close to the year.
As I post this, Victor is fast closing in on its target of £30m ($40m) revenue for 2016. This is a massive jump up from nearly £17m ($25m) last year and reflects a long-term growth curve and trajectory for which we have earned major industry recognition. Our 946% growth over the past four years recently earned us a high position in Deloitte’s UK Tech Fast 50 list of the fastest growing British private tech businesses, as well as the title of ‘Internet’ category winner. That, in turn, secured us placement last fortnight in Deloitte’s EMEA-wide Fast 500 where, again, our performance outstripped respected travel brands Skyscanner and Secret Escapes. I couldn’t be any happier.
As the Fast 500’s highest-positioned aviation company Victor has maintained its 2016 course as an aviation growth champion. Following accolades this year in the Sunday Times (high placement in both the Tech Track and Export Track 100s) and at the prestigious Growth Investor Awards (we were the only aviation brand to make the Growth Champion shortlist) our latest commendation reflects the success of Victor’s unique hi-tech, high touch approach to private jet charter.
In a nutshell, we are continuing to attract and retain loyal fliers in a highly engaging way. The introduction of a new back-end intelligence platform in 2016 has allowed us to serve customers even quicker, from initial request to full booking, as well as engage with them at absolutely the right moment. Our app now contributes to 60% of all bookings but does so in harmony with our website and 24-7 team of customer service experts. As I have said before, tech and innovation is crucial to Victor but it has to work for our end users – it has to improve the travel experience we are delivering to them. We have demonstrated this fine balance throughout 2016 and so Victor goes from strength to strength.
This year, for example, repeat business has made up 70% of all flights – when people try Victor they end up loving the service we provide. Interestingly, too, 15% of our business in 2016 has come from first-time private fliers – Victor is helping grow the market it first disrupted upon launching five years ago.
The past 12 months has seen our long-range bookings more than triple, and the variety of aircraft being chartered – ultra-light through to VIP airliner – accelerate to 68. Destinations such as Ibiza, Mykonos, Barbados and New York have topped the popularity stakes, whilst everything from the Monaco Grand Prix and Ryder Cup through to Art Basel Miami and the Super Bowl have generated incredible short-term spikes of charter activity.
Add to that Victor’s ARGUS Certification (the renowned, hard-to-earn industry qualification for impeccable processes, procedures and services as a charter provider), the launch of Victor’s philanthropic platform Victor Champions (with major US sports star Reggie Bush), pop-up partnerships with Uber across the US and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in Olbia, positive, ongoing collaboration with Etihad and several respected trade management companies, and further Art of Curated travel adventures in Aspen and the Middle East. It’s a been a busy, busy year.
Through all of it I have my team’s passion and commitment, and the disruptive strength and success of our business, to thank. So too the firm support of our fantastic customers, operator partners and various industry contacts. There has been a lot of change and consolidation in the jet charter space this year, with all the distracting talk and opinion that this brings. Victor, however, remains focused on delivering world-class, on demand air travel in the only way it knows how.
It is this approach that has earned us status as a ‘Great British Brand’. The team and I are truly honoured, but there is much more to achieve in 2017. We want to make our brand and business great for all the years to come. There is only one Victor.
Whether you’re travelling with Victor or not over the holidays, I’d like to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We look forward to continuing our journey with you in 2017.
Very best wishes,
Clive Jackson, CEO Victor.