Three premium travel brands have outlined their pandemic experience during a TTG Luxury Travel Summit.
Speaking during On the Move: Ways to get luxury travellers moving again, Adam Twiddell, PrivateFly chief executive, said: “One really positive outcome of this year has been the partnership with the travel industry. We have been able to work with people to get clients to the villa and share the commission with them. Hopefully that will continue.”
“We had a really strong July, August, and September was well above last year’s figures. Year to date, PrivateFly is trading above last year.”
He said the influx of leisure clients over the summer meant 20% of passengers were children and 7% of flights had carried pets.
One attraction, he said, was that private jets avoided the potential contamination risks found at most airports. “You’re not checking in at the main airport terminal.”
He said research had found private terminals had around 20 touch points, “compared with over 700” in a normal airport.
Ceri Tinley, managing director of luxury ski chalet specialist Consensio, said her clients were among those who used private jet flights to reach resorts, but that quarantine and other Covid restrictions were still affecting booking patterns.
“Conversely, we are seeing more bookings, because people are thinking they can’t have Christmas at home. Some are switching January 2 to December 12 so they will ski and take quarantine at home.”
Chalet service had been adapted, she said, with food laid out and the option of takeaways from top class restaurants.
Tinley said resorts were expecting “low numbers” of visitors in areas like the Three Valleys, albeit with more domestic tourists.
Robert McCallum, founding partner at Eyos Expeditions, said the pandemic had also had an impact on his business that would endure.
“I think there will be a profound shift; the expedition vessel is one that can operate on its own in remote conditions,” he said. “It has to be equipped to handle heavy weather and transit through ice. For a long time that has been seen as a fringe, now it’s becoming more mainstream because people are focused on getting away from it all. I think that shift will be a permanent one.”
McCallum said more than 90% of super yacht charters were traditionally to the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
“That is changing; people are going to where there is less people, which is great for us.”
• The TTG Luxury Travel Summit continues on Wednesday 21 October, for more information and to register, visit the event page here.