Starting off in Singapore in 2009, branching to Hong Kong by 2011 and reaching Dubai by 2014, Lightfoot Travel has been gradually conquering the luxury travel sector. Simon Cameron, Founder & Managing Director—Middle East, Lightfoot Travel, shares plans ahead to grow in the ME, the UK and Asia.
Could you define the luxury business model you promote?
We’d like to say we offer ‘experiential luxury’ by combining truly high-end properties and unique experiences. We work with the best suppliers worldwide, and we qualify these in a number of ways. Firstly, all of our travel designers have worked for leading tailor-made travel companies; so we have pre-existing relationships with these suppliers. Secondly, we are a member of some exclusive trade organisations such as PURE and Traveller Made where we meet up with the suppliers each year. Most importantly, we only work with destinations, hotels and suppliers which our
sales and product team have experienced themselves. This ‘tried and tested’ model allows us to share first-hand experience of the destinations with our clients.
What are your key selling points?
The key difference between us and most local travel agencies, OTAs and concierges is we only hire people who have an extensive first-hand experience of the destinations and properties we use. We invest in sending our travel designers out in the field for two to four weeks per year to visit the areas they specialise in. The other major difference to booking with a local agency or OTA is that the clients will deal with a subject matter specialist. So, for instance, if you wish to travel to Africa, you will deal with a travel designer who has over 15 years of organising luxury holidays exclusively to Africa. This in-house knowledge allows Lightfoot to have a very high repeat and referral rate. Another key USP is the support which clients get on their holiday. Not only do we offer support through the travel designer but also through our local partner. This means that during an emergency, we are on the ground to deal with it swiftly. Another service we offer at an additional cost is an emergency response capability with access to a 24*7 emergency operations room.
Tell us about the new partnership with Gulf Aviation and Anantara.
Besides the exclusive new private jet journey in partnership with GI Aviation and Anantara Resorts, we are also launching an Oman and Abu Dhabi exclusive trip by private charter flight. The trip will take our guests to Qsar Al Sarab, Salalah, Jebel Akhdar and Sir Bani Yas Island. Our initial target was the Asia market but based on our growth, our numbers indicate that it is well suited to a wider audience