BJT's Reader Survey-A Bet That Paid Off

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - 11:00am

Sometimes, editors simply have to guess. No, not about the facts in their articles, but about what editorial projects will pay off on the time, effort and resources invested in them.

Almost since the day I arrived at Business Jet Traveler in March 2004, I’ve wanted us to conduct a poll of reader preferences–to determine our audience’s favorite business jets and providers, ask why people fly privately and much more. No one else was doing a survey quite like what I had in mind, which would make the results from ours particularly valuable to readers.

On the other hand, I could see right away why no one else was doing this: it wouldn’t be easy. For one thing, how could we get enough responses for the survey to have some validity? Business jet travelers tend to be high-powered people who don’t have lots of time to spare–that’s one of the main reasons they fly privately. Would they be willing to devote 20 minutes or more to filling out a long survey from BJT?

We spent months discussing such questions and designing our survey and more months promoting it to readers on our Web site, via e-mail, in the magazine and through the mail. Then we held our breaths, waiting for the votes to come in.

I’m happy to report that this is one bet that paid off. At this writing, nearly a thousand readers have taken the survey, detailing opinions about everything from aircraft models to fractional shares to charter companies. We’re now tabulating the responses, which promise to yield a fascinating report on the likes, dislikes and experiences of business jet travelers.

Some of the results may surprise you. For example, we asked readers to indicate which three of six reasons most motivate them to fly privately–ability to work en route; ability to use airports that airlines don’t serve; desire for a more comfortable flight; desire for privacy; desire for security; and need to save time. All of those are valid, oft-cited reasons, but it turns out that our readers place far more importance on two of them than on the other four. (Sorry, you’ll have to wait for the published report to learn which two.) We also asked what make and model readers would choose if they could have a complimentary year of private flying on any business aircraft. Again, some clear winners emerged.

You’ll find all the results in Business Jet Traveler’s October/November issue, which will be available in print and at


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““CEOs go to their vacation homes just after companies report favorable news, and CEOs return to headquarters right before subsequent news is released. More good news is released when CEOs are back at work, and CEOs appear not to leave headquarters at all if a firm has adverse news to disclose. When CEOs are away from the office, stock prices behave quietly with sharply lower volatility. Volatility increases immediately when CEOs return to work.” —David Yermack, a New York University finance professor, whose recently released study shows a correlation between when CEOs take their private jets on vacation and movements in their companies’ stock price ”

-David Yermack