Interview with Jack Sarvary, CEO of Itinerie

Jack Sarvary is the co-founder and CEO of Itinerie, a flash-sale startup. Itinerie expands on flash-sale sites like Jetsetter and Vacationist by offering full luxury vacation packages, rather than just hotels. All of these luxury one-week packages are fully private and include all accommodations and transportation to 2-4 destinations in a single Latin American country. In addition, we arrange a number of customizable activities for each of our travellers. Before starting Itinerie, Jack worked for the Boston Consulting Group in New York City and Endeavor in Buenos Aires.

What is it that you do exactly?

Every day is different. We are only a few weeks away from launching our first sale and we are finalizing many last details to ensure we enter the market with the strongest product possible. These days, I might spend my morning working with our partner in Peru to decide whether we should offer our customers a photography tour or a cooking class – or both. Later, I likely will spend some time on our website. Which picture should we use on this page? What content do we want in this section? I also routinely check our Twitter account and Facebook page to see if there is any consumer insight to be picked up there. Finally, I am a sucker for data, so I will spend time going through our site usage stats, our subscription growth rate, and our finances to make sure everything is on track.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Working in the travel industry has been new for me and so far I am a big fan. There is something nice about working with a product designed to help people relax. Also, it is a great pleasure working with my co-founder and partner, Nick Milne. I learn something new from him every day.

What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?

The Inkaterra Lodge in Machu Picchu: After exploring the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu earlier this year, there could have been no better setting to maintain that level of wonder and awe than the Inkaterra Lodge. The property’s beautiful grounds and warm, inviting rooms made it very hard for me to board the train the next day back to Cusco.

Shakespeare’s Sister in Portsmouth, England: one summer in college, I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, from Newport, RI, to Portsmouth, England, with some family members and a couple old boat hands. After an unbelievable month-long experience, we finally docked in Portsmouth harbor. My bunk that night on our boat Shakespeare’s Sister was filled with such a sense of accomplishment that it will always be one of the best places I have ever stayed.

The Panoramic Hotel in Iguazu Falls: The Panoramic Hotel gave us beautiful views over a very quiet and peaceful Iguazu River, just a few miles downriver from the thunderous falls. Iguazu is an inspirational place, and that river reminded me that while things might get rough sometimes, everything eventually smoothes out a little further downstream.

What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?

When I left New York City to work for the non-profit Endeavor in Buenos Aires, I decided, as a final goodbye to the city of excess, to make a reservation at Del Posto. In the spirit of the night, we ordered the 7-course tasting menu. The NYTimes nailed it in its review, Del Posto’s is a pleasure that lasts, offering memories of flavors that may return later in a dream. I do still wake up thinking about that divinely simple ball of fresh mozzarella cheese wrapped in buttery-soft prosciutto.

Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?

My celebrity experiences date back to my first job as a caddy at the Golf Club of Purchase, in Westchester, New York. I hustled my way around the course carrying golf bags for the likes of Kenneth Cole and Michael Bloomberg. We haven’t gotten there yet with Itinerie, but we are still young.

What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?

Since I’m a nature and animal nut, as well as a science geek, I have to choose the Galapagos Islands. Given its amazing wildlife and significance in scientific history, it’s a wonder I haven’t been there already.

Thank you for taking part, Jack, and we wish you all the best with your new venture.

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