Is this the future of travel?

Lucy Halfhead
·5-min read
Photo credit: Gabriele Fani
Photo credit: Gabriele Fani

From Town & Country

What will travel look like in 2021? It’s difficult to say – but if you’re ready to hop on a plane again then the brilliant new private members’ club the Pelican Club is here to assist, with a dedicated team who can help you plan your next holiday in a post-pandemic world. We sat down with the husband-and-wife co-founders Jamsheed and Jennica Pocha…

How did you meet?

Jennica: “I was trying to get the attention of the bartender to order a drink, when suddenly Jam popped up next to me with a drink for me- saving the day! I was in my final year of university in Lausanne, Switzerland and Jam had already graduated and was back for the weekend to visit friends. That was 12 years ago.”

What inspired you to start the Pelican Club?

Jamsheed: “Being in the hospitality industry for so many years has meant we were always very involved with our friends’ and family’s travel. As natural planners, organisers and hotel nerds, the business grew organically for us. We are passionate about helping people travel better.”

Jennica: “We were also about to become parents for the first time, and became philosophical about life all of a sudden. Realising one of the greatest gifts we could give our little one was seeing and learning about the world, we explored ways of how we could build our daily lives around doing what we love for others.”

When did it officially launch?

Jamsheed: “The idea behind the Pelican Club was born on a train ride from Denmark to Sweden. We had three hours, a friend, Post-it notes and a train window. A few months later, we decided to devote all our time to the business and started building the brand, officially launching almost a year later at the end of October 2019.”

What obstacles did you face starting up and how did you overcome them?

Jennica: “As with all industries, we worked hard to get legally accredited and certified in the beginning, but the years spent working on the other side of hospitality had proven to be an ace up our sleeves. Business picked up fast and we had a great momentum going, until Covid-19 paralysed the travel industry. We felt that our timing was unlucky, but as it turns out, the time that we had gained to help refine our product, build our brand and really define the company has been priceless. We also believe that when travel restarts, it will come back stronger, more evolved and more sustainable than before. It will also come with rules and requirements that we have never seen in the past and the level of care and full-service we provide will be in demand.”

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt since starting your business?

Jennica: “Don’t be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone. Starting a business yourself means that you will have to wear many hats, learn lots of new things and do a lot that you’re not experienced with. One naturally tends to leave these till last, however, it is so important to educate yourself about every area of your business and also set yourself challenges. Going on this theme, we’ve attempted to try something different at least once a week like a new food, recipe, language or other activity. We have certainly had some successes and also some funny failures!”

What’s your guiding business philosophy?

Jamsheed: “Every last detail counts. It is something you only really truly appreciate and understand when you experience a missed detail. We don’t let that happen.”

How do you help clients plan for travel in uncertain times?

Jennica: “Our service includes planning fully bespoke trips and complete end-to-end planning. We are with our members pre-trip in assisting with all entry requirements, during their travel for all obstacles or uncertainties and even after to ensure they feel special when returning back home.”

Jamsheed: “We know how important it is to keep ourselves fully informed. With rules and regulations changing daily you can rest assured that we are on top of it as it happens. We have made it a priority to better understand insurance and cancellation options, and only choose suppliers who understand and share our priority for our clients’ health and safety.”

How should people be thinking about travel now?

Jamsheed: “We really feel that travel will be back in our lives very soon. The quiet time we have had has given us a chance to reflect and revaluate our priorities. We should approach travel with a healthier, more appreciative and sustainable attitude. Thinking about the communities and environment we visit and how we can leave a positive impact.”

Jennica: “It is so important to keep dreaming; embrace that overwhelming sense we are all getting right now to seize the day. This is the perfect time to start planning that dream trip, even if you don’t know where, talk to us about it and we will get you there when the time is right.”

Which destinations do you think will be popular in 2021 and why?

Jennica: “There will still be a strong demand for local travel, and in the era of WFH, we see people yearning to be by the sea and experience the natural wonders in their own back yard. Cornwall and northern Scotland in the UK, Yellowstone, Zion and Glacier National Parks in North America.

“Destinations that are remote, uncrowded, warm, with minimal touch points and plenty of space are also in demand. Costa Rica, with its lush eco-lodges, dreamy forests and untouched beaches. Small, quaint island hideaways in the Bahamas and the Grenadines where you have sun, sand and seclusion. Tented camps in Kenya and Tanzania; home to the world’s greatest wildlife and extra special with no other visitors around.”

What makes it all worth it?

Jamsheed: “We love presenting the trip to our clients, but our absolute favourite part is hearing all about it when they return home. All the stories, the pictures, the food, the surprises, that gallery, the view from the top of the mountain, the day they got lost but found a hidden treasure. The empty beach with that gourmet picnic set up, the day they read a whole book cover to cover, the five-hour lunch, the day they met orangutans… the days spent just doing nothing. The experiences may end, but the stories last forever.”

Photo credit: The Pelican Club
Photo credit: The Pelican Club