Homegrown digital telco Circles.Life announced last Tuesday (November 1) that it has launched a new travel subscription product as part of its commitment towards the ‘democratisation of data’.
Called Jetpac, it is aimed at providing customers with a seamless travel experience. It promises travel freedom for all — not limited to just Circles.Life users — with unbeatable global roaming rates, monthly hotel vouchers, and free group lounge access in the event of flight delays for more than an hour.
“As we emerge from a post-pandemic reality, we have observed major shifts in customer behaviour and attitudes towards travelling. Recognising the pressing need for greater convenience, personalised services and a rewarding experience for users as they plan their travels, we created Jetpac as a one-stop solution to empower connectivity and create new opportunities in memories,” said Rameez Ansar, co-founder of Circles.Life.
The ultimate goal is let everyone dare to roam without being tied down to exorbitant roaming rates.
What’s changing in the world of travel?
The travel industry is bouncing back after a long drought and “revenge travel” has since become a buzzword, in response to the pent-up demand for travel.
However, travel planning has become very different than what it used to be during pre-pandemic times. The first difference is the increased need to buy travel insurance, and secondly, people are traveling more frequently. In fact, according to the company’s research, 40 per cent of customers are looking to take a trip four or more times per year.
Thirdly, millennials and Generation Z are becoming a core part of the travellers demographic. They don’t want any constraints and be able to freely use social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok when they are traveling, instead of being limited to use WiFi in their hotel rooms or at hotspot zones.
“Most people just want to roam like a local and stay connected,” stressed Siddarth Chaturvedi, Circles.Life’s Head of Singapore, to the media during a roundtable session.
With the demand for travel surging, the cost of many travel-related expenses have also gone up, including flights, hotels and insurance.
There are also many other things that one needs to think about when it comes to travel planning. To put things into perspective, Siddarth cited that it takes someone at least 15 hours to plan and book their travel itinerary.
The number of steps to arrive at an option has also gone up significantly, and everybody has a budget that they have in mind. All of this adds a significant inconvenience so it [becomes] a deterrent to travel.
There are two central takeaways from this. One, travel has become a lot more inconvenient, and two, it’s become a lot more expensive. So what we’re trying to do is address the consumer problem, simplify travel, and make it more convenient.– Siddarth Chaturvedi, Head of Singapore, Circles.Life
Get data overseas from just S$10/month
There are currently three Jetpac plan options — Lite Pac (S$10 per month), Pro Pac (S$20 per month), and Insure Pac (S$30 per month).
The Lite Pac plan offers 3GB global roaming data (with rollover of up to 6GB) and unlimited access to over 1,100 lounges in case of flight delay for up to two travellers.
In contrast, the Pro Pac plan offers 20GB global roaming data (with rollover of up to 10GB), lounge access for up to six travellers, as well as stack up to S$240 cashback a year on over 500,000 hotels worldwide listed on Expedia.
Lastly, Insure Pac is an enhanced version of Pro Pac plan. Besides the same lounge access and hotel voucher offerings, it offers 7GB global roaming data (with rollover of up to 12GB) and up to S$50,000 insurance coverage by AIG, as well as a 10 per cent discount off AIG’s Travel Guard Direct scheme. It is also available on a pre-order basis for now.
It’s literally free because we’re giving you back S$20, which you can spend on hotel bookings. And when you are traveling with your family or friends, you can get lounge access at all the key airports by simply showing your Jetpac.
The best part is while our consumers will get to enjoy it, you don’t have to be a Circles.Life customer to get this service. As long as you are a Singapore resident, you can buy this product. So we are opening it up not just for our customers, but anyone in Singapore.– Ajay Sampath, Head of Marketing, Circles.Life / Image Credit: Circles.Life
In particular, as long as you have an eSIM phone, you will be able to start enjoying all the perks of Jetpac — it’s as easy as scanning a QR code to get connected.
Circles.Life strongly believe that these values “make sense”, strengthening the product experience for consumers.
While some users might try to exploit the Pro Pac plan by cancelling the subscription after the first month to continually get 20GB of data (since it reverts to 5GB for subsequent months), Ajay pointed out that they will “lose the stackable perks if they exit after just one month”.
The principle of building this product is that it’s made for travelers and give value to them. But we also understand that even the most frequent travelers may travel once or twice every quarter [instead of on a monthly basis].
What this product allows you to do is that it [offers] convenience, and the value is just the sweetener. We give you value back so that you won’t feel like you’re cheated when you’re not traveling — all the value that you have paid for remains with you.– Siddarth Chaturvedi, Head of Singapore, Circles.Life
Understanding the value of subscription plans
Loyalty programmes are already commonplace, but Circles.Life finds that the existing models are “broken,” said Ajay.
One of the key issues in such programmes is that it only rewards people who have spent a lot of time and money to collect points over time for redemption.
It’s a delayed reward for high spenders. That model is broken because today’s consumers want [to reap the benefits] instantly. Fundamentally, there is a need to rethink the design.– Ajay Sampath, Circles.Life’s Head of Brand Marketing
He also observed that there has been an increasing trend of subscription services around the world, and every industry is tapping onto this trend in some form or another.
He went on to further explain the rise of such subscriptions services. Firstly, it’s instantaneous — consumers can get immediate access to a certain value under the plan, and secondly, such subscriptions grant you the “best value”.
Benefits aside, the team is also well-aware of the ‘subscription fatigue’ phenomenon. To them, once a consumer identifies convenience and value, they will have no qualms signing up as a subscriber.
But the problem is when you start questioning the value. Am I spending too much? It’s like a leak on a pipe — you don’t realise [the water dripping, but it will start pooling up].
This is where the stackable perks come in — if you think about it in simple terms, it’s almost like a money-back guarantee. Whatever you pay, you’re getting it back in terms of vouchers, which you can’t get in the market. We’re counting on this value aspect to take out the pain of ‘leaking dollars’.– Siddarth Chaturvedi, Head of Singapore, Circles.Life
Innovation is the name of the game
As the travel industry is transforming and customer needs are evolving, the loyalty programme within the travel industry also needs to change accordingly and undertake the subscription model. This is where Circles.Life aims to disrupt and make a change, like what it has already done within the traditional telco industry.
But why exactly is a digital telco trying to enter the travel industry?
Ajay explains that what connects them to travel is that travelers use lots of data. According to him, their consumers’ data usage tripled when they travel overseas.
Data has become a real need [and our] goal is to give power back to consumers. This time, we are giving power back to travelers [too].
… We want to transform [the possibilities of] what a telco could do and [branch out into] digital life. There are indeed many different things we can do. The canvas is wide open, but we want to start somewhere where we believe we have a right to it. Travel is a natural segue for us because at the end of the day, people do buy a telco product when they travel.– Ajay Sampath, Circles.Life’s Head of Brand Marketing
Furthermore, Circles.Life prides itself on being a customer-centric telco, and as a testament, they have won many awards in Singapore on this front.
Besides customer-centricity, the other pillar that’s important to Circles.Life is innovation. Many industries are digitalising itself, and telco is no exception, noted Siddarth. This is why telco companies are actively rebranding themselves as tech companies.
“The way we want to innovate is to deliver digital experiences and lifestyle needs beyond data and connectivity for consumers. That’s a long-term ambition, and we are taking steps towards that,” said Siddarth.
In line with their innovation focus, he added that the team will continually iterate and improve their subscription model, and add more partners in the future so consumers can enjoy bigger and better rewards.
“We are currently talking to flight partners, and we don’t even have to restrict this product to just Singapore [market to fuel our global ambitions],” summed up Siddarth.
Featured Image Credit: Circles.Life