While the mobile boom took off for commercial travel brands a few years ago, the private sector has been noticeably slower to make the shift to digital. But that's starting to change for high-end players like Skyjet, a private jet charter service.
After launching a website last year, Skyjet started working with Google to run geo-targeted mobile ads in December. Now, it plans to launch a mobile booking app this summer that will let its clientele book a private jet on demand.
"For aviation, it's taken a long time for the industry—specifically charter—to get their act together," said Greg Richman, CEO of Skyjet. "The charter market is about 50 percent of the entire private aviation flying, so it's a huge chunk."
The company initially targeted mobile ads around airports where holiday travelers on commercial airlines were either stranded or delayed. Like other travel brands, capturing sales leads is the No. 1 goal, so the campaign used call extensions to track the phone numbers of people who clicked on the ads.
Requests for Skyjet quotes have jumped 93 percent since last year, and mobile traffic spiked 50 percent between the fourth quarter of last year to the first quarter of 2015, boosting mobile conversions 177 percent.
People are spending more time on the mobile site, too. During the first quarter of the year, the average user spent two minutes and 14 seconds on the mobile site—30 seconds more than the desktop version.
Based on those stats, Skyjet is now gearing up for a new summer travel ad campaign and also plans to roll out a mobile-booking app that will let people request a jet, and, if they prefer, talk to a rep to finish the booking.
"There's a lot of inefficiencies in the fragmented charter market," Richman explained. "When you want to charter a private jet, there are many documents, and people still do fax to book some of these jets. It becomes very challenging when our clients are on the go."