Developing creative initiatives can help bridge the gap between immediate consumer demand and the long-term solutions that can take time to roll out.
Listening to what customers want is something every industry must include in its growth strategy – but sometimes it can take a while to implement the changes they demand.
Momentum Ventures CEO Matt Keezer acknowledges that finding a fix in the meantime is essential, especially since the company has a portfolio that includes online travel agencies FlightHub and justfly.com.
The aviation industry is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and customers are increasingly examining exactly how the airline they fly with is responding to this challenge.
“It’s becoming more and more obvious that business as usual, especially in aviation, is not what consumers want,” Keezer says. “There are a lot of expectations that the aviation industry will transition to something more sustainable and more responsible, so we’re trying to champion that in the best way we can.
“It’s hard for us to start changing our aircraft around the world, but what we can do in the interim is create initiatives that are going to at least offset, or potentially help.”
Building a sustainable future
These include Flygreen, the private jet side of the business, where trees are planted to offset the carbon of every flight sold. It’s non-optional and at cost to the business, but Keezer still believes it is important to the future of the company.
“We’re trying to be creative to try to do what we can,” he says. “And it’s a good starting point. We need to find ways to bridge the gap between now and when electric aviation becomes commercially viable. We are trying to be as responsible as we can to recognize this consumer shift in behavior.”
Momentum Ventures is committed to creating and growing startups, which make a significant impact in the travel industry. One of these is FlightHub, ranked one of North America’s largest online travel agencies.
“There are a lot of expectations that the aviation industry will transition to something more sustainable and more responsible, so we’re trying to champion that in the best way we can.”
With the goal to build “an empire of travel products” for clients and always focusing on the long game, Keezer believes staying abreast of what customers demand as well as staying fresh is what differentiates Momentum Ventures from the competition.
“FlightHub is on a really interesting mission this year, because it’s reinventing itself, after having been around for a decade,” he says. “The world has changed and the way airlines merchandise their products has changed. Everything’s unbundled and paid for individually, and that has led to a lot of customer frustration.
“Our planned changes are going to be a big shift and the customer shopping experience is going to be radically improved and changed. I think it’s something that’s going to be really exciting for people.”
Using AI for growth
As times change, so do technologies, and Momentum Ventures is harnessing the most cutting-edge AI to enable its transformation and secure its future service.
“The AI revolution is here and it applies to travel in so many ways,” Keezer says. “Specifically in customer service, where we have already tested it and are already handling 30 percent of all customer requests with AI.
“Not only is it more cost-efficient for the company to provide service in this fashion, it’s actually leading to more satisfied customers. The solutions are better, more consistent and delivered instantly – which is essential.”
And he says that as FlightHub becomes more efficient, the company plans to pass on the savings to customers.
“It’s a big win–win,” he affirms. “AI is especially good with language processing and we’re seeing the benefits immediately. It also has tremendous applications in any type of search engine, which is fundamentally what an online travel agent is – it’s giving you recommendations based on your search criteria.”
“We’re in a position where we believe we have an opportunity to affect people’s lives in a positive way.”
With the increase of digitization across the board, Keezer is convinced that leveraging AI to improve the shopping experience with intelligent recommendations is paramount.
Although the travel industry has been through a difficult few years, Keezer feels growth is here to stay, so much so that the company recently relaunched CruiseHub, which had a difficult initial launch in 2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
And, more importantly, the joy has returned.
“It’s a fun industry – we’re in a position where we believe we have an opportunity to affect people’s lives in a positive way,” he says. “We can bring positive experiences, or facilitate positive experiences by making better products and services.
“I think on that front, it’s exciting, and at Momentum Ventures, we just want to do more and more of it to the best of our ability and encourage people to travel, explore, learn and interact more.”