NBAA Convention News

Leveraging Technology a Focus for Wheels Up

 - October 11, 2021, 6:10 PM
Wheels UP COO Tom Bergeson, (left) with founder Kenny Dichter (center), and Vinayak Hegde, the company’s new president, who wants to revamp customer-facing tech. Photo: Barry Ambrose

Following Wheels Up’s initial public offering in July, a primary focus for the private aviation membership company is improving its backend and customer-facing technology, Wheels Up executives said Monday morning at NBAA-BACE 2021. “When I see the private aviation industry, it reminds me of what I saw when I joined Amazon in 2000: lack of technology, lack of customer-centricity, and this massive opportunity in what I call the marketplace where we can actually match demand with supply,” said recently promoted Wheels Up president Vinayak Hegde.

Specifically, Hegde explained that when he compares the Wheels Up app with apps from Amazon, Airbnb, and Groupon, “there’s a lot more we can do. If you make buying easier, if you provide price transparency, if you offer an amazing customer experience, more and more people will come and buy from us. And that’s what we’re striving for.”

Wheels Up members and customers will see changes to the app next year as the company “completely” revamps the back-end technology of the app. Hegde added that the company plans to improve the use of its back-office technology to achieve efficiencies in other parts of the company such as optimizing its flight operations and using the customer data it collects to improve retention and “increase lifetime value.”

“That optimizer is really important because getting the most out of those airplanes every day and doing it efficiently unlocks some supply that wouldn’t be there if you couldn’t do that sort of scheduling,” added Wheels Up chief operating officer Tom Bergeson.