Presidential Private Jet Vacations Offers Commissions To Travel Agents

by Doug Gollan

With Abercrombie & Kent, TCS Expeditions, Four Seasons, and Crystal Cruises leading the way, the idea of “private jet” vacations has been a hot growth area. However, these offerings are selling seats on a 757 (or in the case of Crystal, soon to be 777 and 787) configured with first-class-style flat-bed seats.

Presidential is doing it a bit differently, selling private groups the entire jet, typically a Gulfstream 450 or 550 or a Bombardier Global Express, where customers can take as many or few friends as they want.

These planes cost about $40 million to purchase new. The typical maximum capacity is 18, but if you have a client who wants a bigger group, the company has access to a wide range of aircraft, as it also manages a fleet of jets for its owners. In the case of Presidential, there is only one customer who is buying the entire plane. Pricing is based on the itinerary; how many people are going, which impacts hotel and other ground experiences; and of course the jet.

“We wanted to see what else was available using smaller planes (than 757s), and much to our surprise there was very little,” said Jordi Cata, private jet vacations director at Presidential. “We saw the opportunity to create a new market segment with people who wanted to travel in a close group on true private jets.”

On its website, Presidential offers 18 itineraries that can be bought off the shelf, and pays agents 15. However, Cata says, “What you see on the website are our sample itineraries. These itineraries are only meant to showcase our capabilities, and show the caliber of product we have to offer. From this we create something 100% customized. The itineraries inspire people to give us a call, and that gives them the roadmap to create their dream trip.”

Among the benefits of the “private” private jet trips Presidential offers is that departure is from the airport of your customer’s choice, so there are no connecting flights, and you can pick up other guests en route. You can also change your routing during the trip. For customized trips Presidential negotiates a commissionable rate or net rate individually with agents. “Our goal is to generously reward the travel agent,” Cata says, noting, “it’s unique. There is nothing out there that compares apples to apples.”

The group is a division of Presidential Aviation, a 19-year-old company that manages jets for the owners of its jets, so it has a large fleet that it operates into which to tap. It has a significant maintenance operation as well.

Presidential then works with leading receptive operators to create the ground experiences. “We always use the highest quality ground partners, the absolute best hotel groups. Everything is the absolute best of the best,” Cata says. Among the operators he sources are Imperial Tours in China, Journey Mexico in Mexico, and Gulf Ventures for the UAE Gulf Ventures.

Some examples of unique experiences being offered include dining with hosts of royal lineage in India, sharing luxury tents with the Berber in Morocco, kite-making in China with a descendant of the Last Emperor’s kite maker, lunch in the middle of a Napa Valley vineyard prepared by the winegrower's family, a lobster grilling party atop Cecil Peak in New Zealand, and a behind-closed-doors tour of Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain. Examples of hotels include the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, The Peninsula in Hong Kong, and Oberoi’s Udaivillas in Udaipur, India.

Cata, who in his career has visited over 80 countries, says, he is “happy with how we are doing so far” since the launch in early 2015. He believes Presidential’s experience with worldwide private jet operations and management, combined with the expertise of leading DMOs, provides a unique way for luxury travelers to vacation. The South Pacific, Latin America, and Indian Ocean have been the most popular areas to date.

Tip of the Day

I do think there are possibilities for traveler advisors to make money doing domestic trips. I charge a planning fee for my time and expertise, and then book commissionable hotels and activities that meet the client’s needs.

Terri Weeks

Daily Top List

Five Best Places to Visit in Ireland

1. Dublin

2. Killarney

3. Galway

4. Limerick

5. Kilkenny

Source: U.S. News


Give a Heads-Up, Get a Leg-Up in Business

Harness your knowledge, share your tips, and leave your clients wondering what else you know that they don’t.

TMR Recommendations
Top Stories
How Tour Operators are Combating Overtourism
How Tour Operators are Combating Overtourism

Off-peak season discounts and itineraries to lesser-known destinations in popular countries are helping to spread out tourist crowds over the course of the year.

Heritage Tours Launches Spotlight Series of ‘Celebrity Life’ Tours
Heritage Tours Launches Spotlight Series of ‘Celebrity Life’ Tours

A specialist in private travel arrangements unleashes its destination management skills on immersive small group tours.

International Women’s Day: Two Tour Operators Striving for Change
International Women’s Day: Two Tour Operators Striving for Change

The initiatives give women who live in challenged regions the training and opportunities to work, make money, and contribute to their local communities.

Globus Family Launches ‘Your Way’ Campaign to Promote Product Synergy
Globus Family Launches ‘Your Way’ Campaign to Promote Product Synergy

The classic tour operator is making it easier to combine its various travel styles and products into a single booking.

Pleasant Holidays Adds New Ship from American Queen
Pleasant Holidays Adds New Ship from American Queen

The veteran vacation packager is now offering all four paddlewheel riverboats of the American Queen Steamboat Company.

African Travel: The Meeting Point between Luxury and Adventure
African Travel: The Meeting Point between Luxury and Adventure

Celebratory travel, sustainability, and ‘sparking joy’ are among the factors driving adventure and luxury travel experiences.

News Briefs
TMR Report Cards & Outlooks
Advertiser's Voice
Advertiser's Voice: The Northern Lights of Finland