DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jeff Potter, former CEO of Frontier Airlines and Exclusive Resorts, as well as Los Angeles-based Surf Air, is putting on his entrepreneur hat and launching a new travel company – Manifest, an exclusive, chapter-based lifestyle and travel club that provides custom-crafted getaways to unique destinations within the U.S., paired with private plane service.
“I’ve been fortunate in my aviation, hospitality and travel career in that each opportunity presented me with some successes, and equally as important, some lessons learned, all of which came to bear when I envisioned the concept of Manifest,” said Potter. “While I’ve have had the good fortune to travel to all corners of the world, I still believe there is much to be discovered within a matter of hours from where we live. This is especially true now, in the midst of COVID-19 – we are still searching for moments of excitement and discovery but in destinations much closer to home.”
Travel trend data supports Potter’s thinking. Experiential travel was widely acknowledged as the fastest growing sector in the leisure travel space pre-COVID-19, with Skift Research’s U.S. Affluent Traveler Survey finding that 67 percent of affluent travelers would rather spend their money on activities than on a nicer hotel. More recently, a survey of 14,000 travelers by industry leaders indicates that new travel trends lean heavily toward domestic travel as travel begins to recover from the pandemic. The Adventure Travel Trade Association recently released a study indicating that the experiential travel market is expected to bounce back faster than the overall U.S. travel market in 2021.
There is also a persistent trend of consumers who continue to travel solo, or with immediate family members or small groups who desire the same travel experiences. In addition, travel consumers are increasingly demonstrating the wish for personalization and curation, with Luxury Travel Magazine naming personalization as one of its luxury travel trends for 2020.
Finally, there is a yearning among travelers to avoid the commercial air travel experience – both on the ground and in the air – combined with an underutilized private aircraft industry. This confluence allows Manifest to offer flying private within a 2.5-hour radius of the origination point for the same cost as business or first-class fares through the “shared economy” concept, while ensuring a greater level of health and safety compared to commercial travel.
“I’ve been thinking about the concept of Manifest for several years and really began to get it off the ground last year, but given what we are offering – small group trips, U.S. destinations, private plane travel– the timing is perfect, right now.”
Manifest will have club “chapters” that are geo-located in the top 50 to 60 U.S. markets based on household income selection criteria and filtered against data that shows each markets’ propensity to buy business and first-class fares. Each chapter will begin with limited memberships of only 175 members. The first chapters available to join now include Denver (with flights out of Centennial Airport), San Francisco Bay Area (with flights out of San Jose Airport) and Los Angeles Basin (with flights out of Van Nuys Airport). Members pay annual membership dues of $2,500, which provides access to Manifest’s exclusive members-only. Additional chapters in Santa Barbara, San Diego, Phoenix, Seattle and Portland and planned to launch in the coming months. Those interested can join a waitlist in each of the future chapters for a $500 fee. Annual dues are fully refundable if the member doesn’t travel within six months and any waitlist deposits for membership in future chapters are fully refundable if Manifest doesn’t begin service within one year.
Manifest will design, curate and manage all of the logistical components of each experience which will include adventure, wine/culinary, golf, cultural, and romantic destinations such as Santa Fe, New Mexico; Sedona, Arizona; Telluride, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Bandon Dunes, Oregon; as well as major events. Experiences in the works for this fall for the existing chapters include:
- Moab Adventure – Members visit two of the Mighty Five National Parks from one incredible home base location at the Hoodoo Moab during this three-day, two-night trip to Moab, Utah, one of the most sought-after outdoor recreation destinations in the American Southwest.
- Pronghorn Resort Golf and Fly Fishing Retreat – Members spend three days and two nights on this 64-acre property just outside Bend, Oregon, which feature a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course (one of the best in Oregon) and a Tom Fazio Championship course, as well as access to the Lower Deschutes River, one of the best rivers for native trout and running steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.
- Sip & Savor The American Riviera – Known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is a can’t miss destination for foodies and pairing local wines with farm-to-table meals. From a home base such as the Hotel Californian in the heart of the city’s Funk Zone neighborhood, members will enjoy a farmer’s market-sourced dinner, a yacht tour and a waterfront dinner, as well as plenty of free time to stroll through art galleries and boutique stores in the epicenter of the Urban Wine Trail.
During the first year, Manifest will offer members one experience per week in a combination of three-, four-, six- and seven-day trips. Members can invite up to three guests per trip and most trips will have between four and eight people. The experiences will range in price depending on the activity, location and length of stay.
“Consumers are craving relief from quarantine restrictions and isolation from family and friends, but they want to travel in a way that is safe, reliable and considerate,” said Potter. “Manifest’s small group, custom-tailed experiences in nearby destinations are the ideal way to reengage in the world of travel.”
Based in Denver, Colorado, and founded by Jeff Potter, the former CEO of Frontier Airlines, Exclusive Resorts and Surf Air, Manifest is an exclusive, chapter-based lifestyle and travel club that provides custom-crafted getaways to unique destinations within the U.S., removing the hassle of typical travel by providing private plane service. Currently, Manifest has chapters in Denver, San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles Basin with additional chapters to follow. To date, the company has raised over $2 million and is currently filling out its seed round. For more information, visit www.manifestescapes.com.