FORGET THE FINE PRINT

Written by root. Posted in IN PERSON

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Published on September 10, 2018 with No Comments

The Four Seasons Private Jet is an excursion like no other, as onboard Director of Guest Experience, Javier Loureiro, will tell you.

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You have been described somewhat as a magician, making things happen for the guests as and when they want it. How best would you describe what your job entails?
A vital part of my role is taking the time to get to know our Private Jet guests, and identify what excites each traveller most about their chosen itinerary, what destinations they’re looking forward to, and what experiences they value the most. Working in tandem with the Global Guest Services Manager and our Onboard Concierge, I am then able to tap into our rich network of on-property Four Seasons Concierges and local contacts, to ensure that our guests receive insider access to exclusive excursions that are authentic, and distinctly Four Seasons. In understanding guest preferences, I can then extend recommendations that truly resonate with travellers and create moments of customisation within each itinerary.

Our goal is to provide guests with the ultimate freedom of travelling worry-free, knowing that every step of their journey – from the accommodations and trip itinerary to the exclusive excursions and local recommendations – will be looked after with the attention to detail, exceptional quality, and caring service for which Four Seasons is renowned. We like to think we are re-imagining the conventional limits of travel to deliver experiences and value in ways that have never before been possible.

How did you land such a coveted job and what experiences from past jobs do you think have helped you succeed in this present role?
I have been with Four Seasons for more than 35 years, working on the concierge team at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, spending the last 25 years as Chef Concierge. In 2012, I branched out and began working with the Private Jet team as a Guest Services Manager, serving primarily as an onboard concierge for several journeys a year, while still heading the Concierge Desk in Washington. When the opportunity arose to blend both product development and onsite support in 2016, I decided to join the Four Seasons Private Jet team full-time and embark on a new journey of my own.

Needless to say, my Four Seasons tenure has given me the skills to succeed in my current role. I like to say that a concierge is a combination of personal assistant, travel planner and confidant. I pride myself on being able to deliver on any type of request that comes my way, and then file it away for next time. Myself and the rest of the onboard team have a genuine passion for hospitality and strive to go above and beyond to create a seamless, customised journey for each guest.

In order to make things happen and fulfil guests’ requests, what are the things required to pull off even the most stubborn of proverbial rabbits out of the hat?
The schedule for each multi-week Private Jet journey can run 50 pages or more, detailing cultural engagement and recreational activities for our 52 guests, so being organised is essential. Well before departure, I help to shape excursions that may find guests pedalling on a guided bike journey through the countryside of Bali or watching the sunrise over the Serengeti from a hot air balloon. The team and I work with our connections on the ground to ensure each day is also filled with incredible onsite services such as chef’s table dinners, cocktail tastings and indulgent spa treatments. I am also the point man for any off-programme requests. For instance, guests who’ve already visited Michelangelo’s David in Florence may prefer an architectural tour of the Chianti region via private car and driver, or a private helicopter’s-eye view of the colourful cliff-side residences of Cinque Terre on the Italian Rivera. We know that travellers are looking for unique, fully immersive experiences that allow them to see the world worry-free. The in-flight team, together with our property contacts on the ground, take care of everything, so guests can focus on the true joys of travel, without worrying about hassle or logistics.

Having been with Four Seasons Private Jet for 14 trips and counting, does each new trip still surprise and remain challenging?
Of course, there are always new challenges and surprises that come our way, which keeps things interesting. No two journeys are alike, as private jet travel allows guests to modify their daily itinerary depending on what experiences appeal at any given time or place. Because our team is on hand to look after the details every step of the way, guests can change plans at a moment’s notice.

In addition, we are always taking note of traveller trends and listening to customer feedback so that we can continue to offer new itineraries and extraordinary experiences. We found that travellers were looking for a shorter, more regional travel experience while still in the comfort and care of Four Seasons, noting South America as a top desired travel destination. That is how we introduced Latin Escape, our new 16-day adventure for those looking to explore the most exciting natural and cultural offerings of Central and South America. At just over two weeks in duration, the new journey is shorter than the 24-day around-the-world journeys, while still highlighting the unique character of each stop on the coveted itinerary.

Which has been your personal favourite destination and why?
My favorite destination is always wherever I happen to be at that moment. I very much feel that enjoying each destination for its unique offerings is important. Florence, Bora Bora and the Serengeti are all very different and unique experiences, and impossible to compare. Suffice to say that I love to travel and discover whatever new experiences come my way.

What are the key things one needs to have to survive as a Director of Guest Experience?
A Director of Guest Experience must have a wealth of local knowledge of each destination. Whether guests are looking for the best spice vendor in the souks of Marrakech or the top spot to dance the salsa with locals in Bogota, one needs to be ready and willing to provide personalised recommendations to each guest on board. Another important skill is having the right connections. From arranging a 4am trek to watching the sunrise over the peaks of a Balinese mountain, to booking a private lesson in sword combat with a samurai in Kyoto, no matter where they find themselves, a Director of Guest Experience will know the right people to get the job done. And finally, one must be passionate about bringing people together in the spirit of travel. Personally, I am extremely proud to have played a role in creating so many new friendships and connecting guests who share a desire for adventure.

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