Unplugged travel: a new market for business travel operators

Unplugged travel: a new market for business travel operatorsWith the ever-improving aviation-enabled connectivity accompanied by the growing demand, air travel has become an increasingly integrated aspect of people’s everyday lives globally. As a result, IATA projects passenger numbers to reach 7.3 billion by 2034. Such a forecast represents a 4.1% average annual growth in demand. At the same time, as the world becomes a smaller and more accessible place, an increasing number of travellers tend to seek an escape from the pressures of modern living.

Marking 100 years of continuous service this year, commercial aviation has carried almost 65 billion passengers worldwide. Meanwhile, as the industry grows and develops, the next 65 billion are expected to fly in just the next 15 years. Thus, as a result of cheaper and more accessible services the concept of travel as a rare treat is disappearing, replaced by travel as a lifestyle choice.

Technology is also playing an increasingly significant role in such a trend, with more airlines offering paperless travel and integrated smartphone applications to plan and track one’s travels. A survey, recently conducted by SITA has revealed that by 2015, nine out of 10 airlines are planning to have a wide range of core services available via mobile, including flight search, check-in, boarding passes, ticket purchase, and ancillary services, thus enabling an ever more tailored travelling experience. As a result, according to its predictions, 70% of sales, 91% of customer services and 71% of passenger processing tasks will be handled through smartphones by that time. However, ironically, such an overwhelming integration of connectivity into people’s daily lives has resulted in an increased need for re-introduction of the concept of travel as a rare escape.

“With approximately 8 million people flying each day, the concept of travel as an extraordinary event is becoming more and more outdated. This is especially true considering the fact, that today’s industry regulations and technological developments enable the travellers – especially corporate one’s – to constantly stay connected to their daily life and work routines. However, this has definitely come at a price, as modern travellers are feeling increasingly unable to really escape the pressures of their habits and responsibilities. As a result, today, with the emergence of various digital detox initiatives, true escapes are becoming re-evaluated, and remote hotels are starting to actually make a feature of their lack of internet or phone signal,” shares Vitalij Kapitonov, the CEO of KlasJet.

According to a recent survey conducted by Lonely Planet, more and holiday planners encounter the demand for “unplugged travel” as the pace of modern life continues to accelerate. Seeking a place with no emails or mobile signal, their clients are looking for an opportunity to truly immerse themselves in their destination and forget about work and everyday life. Moreover, travellers start to favour face-to-face recommendations instead of online reviews, seeking local secrets and more personal recommendations. As a result, KlasJet claims, various private travel providers can expect to see an increase in demand for respective services.

“While business travel is known to provide a wide range of conveniences that are of especially high demand for business needs, it can fully meet the requirements of the "unplugged traveller" for almost the same reasons. There are almost ten times more airports that can accommodate a private jet as compared to a number of airports suitable for larger commercial aircraft, making the remote destinations especially easy to reach. Moreover, it's also necessary to emphasize the private travel-related comfort, including not only individualized service, but also - and most importantly - full confidentiality before, during and after the actual flight. Add to that the ability to escape the endless security lines and unwanted neighbours in the cabin, and it becomes clear that an opportunity to start one’s escape from reality already in the aircraft can be an especially tempting one,” concludes Vitalij Kapitonov, the CEO of KlasJet.