20 minutes with: Jaclyn Sienna India, luxury travel impresario

Jaclyn Sienna India, founder of Sienna Charles.

Anna Gunselman

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Jaclyn Sienna India, founder of Sienna Charles, a membership-based travel agency, helps affluent travelers realize their most majestic dreams, working with clients who typically have a net worth of over US$100 million . She hosted a private breakfast atop the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, brought a yacht to the Galápagos and arranged backstage passes to meet Jennifer Lopez after a concert.

Sienna India, which founded the first ultra-luxury travel agency in 2008, travels 200 days a year and has visited more than 90 countries in search of new experiences for its customers. His company is based in Los Angeles and limits its services to around 100 members.

She spoke to penta on luxury travel trends, sublime travel experiences and collaborating with billionaires.

SLOPE: How is travel changing as people start to travel again?

Jaclyn Sienna India: People pay more attention to where they are going, don’t rush anywhere. People are also paying more attention to how they travel and what their purpose is. In luxury travel, we have noticed assets being purchased, rather than rented. Many clients started buying vacation homes where we sent them, as well as yachts and charter planes. People don’t share their trips on social media. Confidentiality is important.

Who are your clients ?

Most of our clients work in finance. We work with country presidents and celebrities – privacy is at the heart of what we do, so we don’t name names. They usually live in New York, Los Angeles and Palm Beach, they usually travel with their family. We help with travel and lifestyle services including wellness, help with real estate needs, build yachts, anything luxury lifestyle related.

How does membership work?

We charge $75,000+ per year for access to me and my team. We help them plan unlimited luxury experiences, trips or more. We started in 2008 as a travel agency striving to be more. We realized that the nuances that go into designing a trip have become an intimate experience; understanding who they are and what they like – it was really about pursuing their passions, whether it was food or history.

Yachting is more popular than ever, says Sienna India.

Siena Charles

What kind of information do you collect while traveling?

I’m looking for the best restaurants, experiences and chefs. I amassed this black book of people, places and things, in addition to my own passions, wellness and art. It made me open this black book to anything. I was getting a ping: “Where should I get a massage in LA?” or “Who is the best acupuncturist?” I felt people came to me for my luxury lifestyle. I am constantly looking for the best in everyone and everything.

What’s going on in your search?

When they come to me and sign up, it doesn’t have to be a “wow” moment, but it has to be good. If they get there and like the experience, great. But they already had a vision of what they expected but couldn’t realize it because they don’t know the world like me. It is a unique service that is perfectly suited to them. Money is not an object, so we can be creative.

What types of experiences are currently most popular with high net worth individuals?

[Yachting] is the most popular it has ever been. They sometimes pay between 100,000 and 300,000 US dollars a week for a boat and take their multi-generational family on a trip. It’s pretty busy overall. This summer, we did the Bahamas, Croatia, Italy and France.

Private aviation is huge right now. Many people who used to fly commercially will only fly privately now. It is a matter of quality and service for us. People are not willing to compromise on quality, which is exactly what we do.

Has being surrounded by so many expert leadership CEOs helped your own company grow? Has any of their wisdom rubbed off on you?

One hundred percent, that’s what got me into the business. I worked in a five-star restaurant when I was in college, and the people who came in were the richest people in town. I didn’t come from that background, but I admired their success and wanted to know all about them to model my own life after them.

Whether it’s the way I run my business, my level of efficiency or the way I communicate. Or the standards I hold myself to. I continue to be impressed with that – having lunch with my billionaire clients, which I do a few times a week. It gives me the chance to understand who they are, what makes them successful and what motivates them. It’s so precious and I’m lucky to be able to do it.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Corina C. Butler