Jeppesen (Booth No. 729) has selected WhiteConcierge as its partner for a new service called Jeppesen Concierge. This program will enable aircrew and passengers to access all WhiteConcierge services, which the company groups into four main categories: personal emergency services; travel and reservations service; proactive lifestyle management; and virtual private assistant. These include legal and medical referrals, replacing a lost passport, providing emergency cash when a wallet or bag goes missing, arranging car services and making reservations at hotels and restaurants.
Jeppesen is offering Jeppesen Concierge to all its customers as part of its International Trip Planning Services division. The Englewood, Colorado-based group is owned by Boeing.
“This service is specifically designed to support the pilot with non-aircraft-specific requests that can be difficult and time-consuming to resolve without the right resources,” said WhiteConcierge managing director Will Holroyd. Originally a division of Travelex, WhiteConcierge claims it has served nearly a million customers in 25 languages.
The company was acquired in 2007 by Jonathan Breeze, managing director of new fractional ownership group Jet Republic, which will also offer WhiteConcierge services to its clients. Both companies are backed by Austrian private bank Euram. Breeze is a former commercial director of NetJets Europe, where Holroyd also worked as customer services director. Holroyd also was formerly director of sales and marketing for World Fuel Services.
“WhiteConcierge has demonstrated that it is able to offer a comprehensive concierge service across a number of sectors,” said Paul Hemsley, product manager, Jeppesen International Trip Planning Services. We’re confident that partnering with WhiteConcierge will be of enormous benefit to the pilots that use our International Trip Planning Services.”
Jeppesen provides numerous services to business aircraft operators, including international trip planning, fuel, navigation solutions, weather services and fuel-optimized flight planning. Concierge services could become an important service differentiator in business aviation, according to a new study by Professor Merlin Stone of Britain’s Bristol Business School, which was commissioned by WhiteConcierge. In the airline sector, he has predicted that complimentary concierge support for premium passengers is set to replace standard frequent-flier benefits which are becoming uneconomical for operators in the face of new accountancy rules which mean that they carry too high a cost on balance sheets.
According to Holroyd, during 2008 the company experienced a 25-percent increase in inquiries from aviation firms and 20-percent growth from the wider travel sector as companies seek to retain the business of their better customers in the face of a contracting market. The report estimates that a 1-percent increase in customer loyalty is worth as much as a 10-percent reduction in operating costs.
WhiteConcierge said it grew its customer base last year by 15 percent to around one million people. This total includes the premium passengers of Japan’s All Nippon Airways. Holroyd said that the business aviation sector will need to do more to stimulate customer awareness of concierge services if they are to tap the value they can deliver in terms of retaining customers.
Holroyd told EBACE Convention News that while many full-service FBOs are already providing a degree of concierge support to their own customers, it is largely confined to purely local services, such as arranging limousines and hotels. He said that White Concierge wants to work in partnership with FBOs to broaden the scope of these services to encompass more than just the immediate travel experience. The company has assisted in unpredictable situations; for example, caring for a client’s teenage son after he was mugged during a trip to Spain.
Professor Stone estimated that the global concierge market is currently worth around $1 billion per year and that it could double in size over the next three years, despite the impact of economic recession. He said that to fulfill this potential concierge providers will need to convince the companies they support that their services will enhance their relationship with their own clients, rather than undermine it. This will necessitate, among other things, significant investment in systems to ensure that services are provided reliably and securely.