Jet Vacations International, an El Segundo, Calif.-based European travel wholesaler and a subsidiary of PSAINC, a holdings company whose companies include travel and entertainment companies, has seen a “meteoric” rise on visits to its Web site.
“We crossed the millionth visitor mark in the second week of December and have seen several weeks thereafter with spikes exceeding this number,” said Ravi Rao, CEO of Jet Vacations. “In fact, by the second week in January the numbers were so high that our server capacity was stretched beyond its maximum. We had to double our server capacity since. The rate of growth is well over 1000% in the past three months.”
Overall sales during this low season of travel to Europe has increased 112% over the same period last year. Rao attributes much of this growth to its alliances with Trip.com and France.com, a portal for French information. Its partnership with Trip.com gives Jet Vacations access to more than 1.5 million users and provides marketing for the company. Jet Vacations, which specializes in France, is listed as one of France.com’s tour operator partners.
Rao said that while the site does not have any additional Web site partners, it always is looking for potential allies. “We’re always trying to find new avenues,” he says. “We welcome anyone interested. We offer very good, low rates that bring in profits to the site.”
For example, Jet Vacations is the exclusive marketing partner of Provence International, a division of the Marseille-Provence Chamber of Commerce of France. The operator offers a variety of hotels and services, including a discount booklet valid at museums, boutiques, restaurants, golfing, and local sightseeing. It offers negotiated contract fares with airline partners including Air France, Virgin Atlantic, TWA, AOM and British Midland Airways to build leisure travel packages. Its hotel partners include, Accor Hotels, Choice Hotels, Minotel, Grandes` Etapes Francaises, Concorde Hotels, as well as several hundred independent properties.
Jet Vacation reported that it has also seen an increase in site visits and sales from the traditional agency channel. About 300 to 400 agents regularly use the site to make bookings, according to Rao. Jet Vacations is marketing the site to travel agents, who can also use the site as an up-to-date electronic brochure with current specials.
Jet Vacations is a preferred supplier for travel agency consortia including Virtuoso, Leisure Travel Group and TravelSavers and represent more than 3000 travel agents nationaly, in addition to the Jet Vacations` own list of preferred agencies.
“Jet Vacations is fortunate to have been selected by these agency consortia as they provide focused marketing and sales efforts that work in close partnership to enhance members` ability to provide the client traveler with quality products at a value,” said Rao.
While Jet Vacations does not market directly to consumers, it does provide a link that allows consumers using the site to find a preferred Jet Vacations agency.
Jet Vacations was acquired last year by Los Angeles-based PSAINC, a self-proclaimed “traveltainment” group. PSAINC is a holding company for entities that achieve its developing interactive television services network (T-commerce) designed to unite global interactivity via the familiar television format with the emerging digital broadcast and Internet technologies, and digital video production and post production services, as well as international tour, travel and entertainment products and services.
“The new fulfillment center in El Segundo, Calif., with its new systems and infrastructure is playing a critical role in handling higher volumes more efficiently and gives PSA the ability to keep pace with this rapid growth,” said David Walsh, Chairman and CEO of PSAINC. “This acquisition will contribute to sales revenues for the first quarter ahead of our projections, particularly when compared to the first quarter of last year.”
Jet Vacations will benefit from its presence on PSAINC`s soon-to-be-launched Web site Psazz.com
. Psazz.com, which is expected to launch this Spring, will be a cyber streaming portal featuring “traveltainment`` information that will be marketed to professional groups. the site will be broadcast via the Internet in five European languages, as well as Chinese and Japanese. Users of palm devices and cellular telephones will have access to specialized data services and collateral print media to keep them in touch with the PSAZZ network while they are on the road.
“This allows us to post more product in front of an audience that we don’t currently have,” Rao said.