About Jack Ezon
Jack Ezon is founder and Managing Partner at Embark Beyond, a luxury lifestyle partnership specializing in bespoke travel experiences. Ezon is one of the most well connected and influential travel advisors in the world, known as a true innovator and outspoken leader in the global luxury travel business. Lauded for his ability to deliver luxury travel experiences tailored to the next generation of travelers, he has attracted a core group of UHNW Generation-X and Millennial clients and built one of the America’s largest luxury social destination event businesses.
About Embark Beyond Travel
EMBARK Beyond is a luxury travel and lifestyle advisory, attracting the very best forward-thinking talent through shared ownership. This cutting-edge concept in the luxury lifestyle space has helped the company launch with over $100 million in sales to a sharply focused, highly confidential black book of ultra-high net worth clients composed mostly of Gen-X and millennial A-list celebrities, sports stars, Fortune 500 executives, dynamic financiers, entrepreneurs and real estate moguls around the world. A proud Virtuoso member, not only does the company pride itself on creating tailored, global experiences for individuals, it also hosts the largest luxury social destination event businesses in the Americas.
Medical Travel & Digital Health News (MTDHN): Can you tell our readers about how you got involved in the travel industry and how your organization has changed during the pandemic?
Jack Ezon (JE): I was a lawyer with a passion for travel.
Twenty years ago, I jumped into the internet travel space and was able to follow my heart and my head to a great career in luxury travel.
MTDHN: And what do you do in the luxury travel business?
JE: What we’ve been known for is insider access to unique experiences, whether it’s getting clients in the front row of the Armani fashion show or the meet and greets behind the U.S. Open with celebrity sports players.
We really have a great market. We work with A-list celebrities, major bankers, CEOs, entrepreneurs and royal families.
MTDHN: Can you tell us a little bit about this new service that you are rolling out related to the documentation of COVID-19?
JE: When the CDC issued new guidelines in early 2020, we were trying to anticipate the needs of our customers.
It was very clear that within 24 hours, our customers would be very concerned about travel plans because of new requirements to get back into the country. There was a concern that they may get sick and be stranded somewhere because the country would no longer let people in with COVID-19 or that they may get false positives.
We found this insurance company called COVAC, which is like a medical evacuation insurance being limited only to one condition: COVID-19.
Now, medical evacuation transport is exempt from the CDC requirement to get back into the country. So, if you get COVID-19, you can fly home private, commercial or in a medical transport.
For $43 dollars a day per person, it is very reasonable.
MTDHN: So, you buy this insurance before you go on your trip?
JE: Exactly. And if you test positive with a PCR test, they will fly you home private on a medical transport from anywhere in the world. It could be from Dubai, the Galapagos, the Caribbean or from anywhere.
MTDHN: How many people have taken advantage of this?
JE: Probably several hundreds of people.
I would say for the people traveling in the next four weeks, probably 65-70% of our customers purchased it.
I think more would have purchased it, but it must be purchased 14 days in advance of travel. So, people leaving in the next two weeks could not.
MTDHN: Tell us a little bit about the experience.
JE: We’re doing tests for people in every hotel we send them to. We have an arrangement with every hotel in the program. You can get tested in your room or lobby – wherever you want.
If the test is positive for COVID-19, we submit it to the insurance company, and they will send a plane. They have planes located around the world.
For example, if you are going to the Caribbean, they have planes located in Fort Lauderdale and they guarantee pick up in 24 to 48 hours. Most of the turnaround has been five hours to pick you up and take you home.
It is a no brainer for our clients who want to travel without the anxiety of being stuck due to COVID-19.
MTDHN: What kind of tests do you do?
JE: We facilitate a rapid antigen test which takes about 20 minutes and that is all that is required to reenter the United States.
MTDHN: Do you have to be a client of your agency to get this?
JE: No. We have a special discount rate for clients, but you do not need to be a client to enroll in the medical evacuation insurance.
MTDHN: What happens when the vaccine is out and nobody is getting COVID-19 anymore?
JE: Then it’s not a needed product. Thank goodness. I hope that is soon.
MTDHN: Do you expect to have it applied to any other condition?
JE: I do not expect the coverage to grow. It might be new products with new issues, but right now, this is a very specific issue that is very prevalent.
MTDHN: Is there any competition for this?
JE: Right now, we’re the only one promoting it this way. I don’t know if anybody else is doing it.
We have introduced this idea to many hotels because we want the hotels to be able to offer it to all their guests. We want to do the right thing by the world and by our industry.
Some of these include the Ritz Paris, Claridges in London and other luxury hotels.
MTDHN: What countries are open?
JE: Mostly the Caribbean, Mexico, Dubai, Maldives, Morocco, South Africa and Costa Rica.
We offer this internationally for Americans, but you don’t have to be American to use it.
International travelers can use it in the United States as well. Examples in the United States include Amangiri in Utah, Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina, Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming and Aqualina in Miami. Popular destinations like those.
MTDHN: You were at the right place at the right time.
JE: We really reacted quickly to a need that we observed. And we saw our clients very scared following the announcement, so we knew we needed to create a solution for them.
We are in the solution business, making their lives more comfortable.
MTDHN: What do you predict for international travel once the pandemic winds down?
JE: We hear that there will be plenty of international travel. Our clients have been deprived of their liberty to travel the world and they feel eager to travel again.