By Allen Howell
January 26, 2011
Many of us who work in business aviation wonder if people would be willing to share their travel plans, share a flight together, let others know what they are up to, so they can meet up on trips, share rides from the airport to the hotel and so forth.
In other words, will business aviation travel go social?
One of the terms used for the aircraft we operate is “private” which does not exactly line up with “social” in a public sense. We fly “private jets.” Private sounds like I don’t want the public to know what I am doing, where I am going and I most likely do not want to share my private ride.
Sharing is already happening in the world of airline travel and the events that drive travel; maybe to ease the pain inflicted on travelers by the airline system.
As I have looked around on the internet for social media platforms related to travel some really interesting ones have started showing up.
Planely (www.planely.com) allows airline travelers to share their flight itinerary with the hope of connecting with others on the same flight. If this builds critical mass it could become a valuable tool.
IMGuest (www.imguest.com) allows travelers to share their hotel location and plans in order to meet up face to face with others at the same or close by hotels, and expand their network.
Plancast (www.plancast.com) is a site that is really done well, allowing people to post their plans for attending conventions, local events, music events, etc. and easily see who else is attending. A great way to make connections both locally and at away events.
TripIt (www.tripit.com), which just announced its acquisition by Concur (Nasdaq: CNQR), was one of the first travel sites allowing travelers to share their itineraries that gained a mass adoption. Concur is a leading provider of integrated travel and expense management solutions and apparently thinks TripIt is on to something based on the acquisition price.
These sites allow you to sign up and use them for free, and in some cases check in through your Facebook or Twitter accounts. The Facebook check-in creates an instant profile for fellow travelers to see plus it gives the site access to your Facebook information.
So the question asked again: Are travelers willing to share their travel plans in the hope of making the experience more social? The answer seems to be yes, as travelers are signing up to these social technology platforms in droves.
What about personal and business travel in private chartered aircraft?
What is the value in sharing travel plans with others you don’t know too well? Is it too risky? Most of these sites tout the value proposition of networking and meeting up with people you would not otherwise meet.
The value of each of us knowing where others are going can go beyond just networking.
If you and I find out we are going to the same places, we can get together and come up with new solutions for getting there more efficiently by sharing costs and buying travel collaboratively.
Eventually we may even be able to drive the market to offer better solutions that fit our needs, versus what suppliers of air mass transportation offer us today.
It would great if we could go when and where we really want to go in the most efficient manner as opposed to being pushed and shoved through a system that is not designed to really meet our intentions.
When that happens can the private aircraft, and the industry that supports it, be a possible solution?