Amina Belouizdad Porter is not afraid to take the least crowded route. The co-CEO of PS, formerly known as The Private Suite, has lived in seven different cities, speaks five languages, and has a successful career spanning hospitality, finance and real estate.
Early in her career, a Wharton MBA graduate was a Senior Manager at Lionstone Investments and also helped develop the first small hotel brand in China during her tenure at Space Development. Her ability to take risks and build new brands has prepared her well for her current role at PS, working closely with the highly regulated aviation industry.
The company is a private terminal building located just outside Los Angeles International Airport with plans to expand to other cities in the near future. Designed for commercial travelers to bypass the crowded airport crowds, PS allows travelers to recline in a private suite equipped with luxurious amenities with access to a dedicated security clearance before being escorted directly to their planes on the tarmac. PS members get additional benefits but services can also be reserved for one-time use.
PS is quickly gaining popularity among travelers who seek privacy and a high airport experience. However, new members have been drawn to the service as privacy naturally allows for social distancing and has become a desirable way to travel in a post-pandemic world. In July 2021, PS announced its latest offering, The Salon – a full-service shared lounge with chef-prepared meals catering to travelers looking for a more social experience.
girl I reached out to Porter to talk about the luxury travel industry and the future of PS.
girl: How do you think your travel and hospitality experience helped you in your role at PS?
Amina Belouizdad Porter: Traveling and learning about different cultures has made my world bigger, and in doing so I have noticed that we are, at the end of the day, more alike than we are different. There is a basic desire that every person has to feel heard, understood, and seen. This is true hospitality – it is authentic, warm, tailored to the guest, and provides a sense of belonging. It guides what we do at PS every day.
What are travelers looking for in a post-pandemic world?
The pandemic has greatly accelerated trends that were already underway. For example, the joy and make of home, an appreciation for the outdoors, a thirst for more originality. In terms of travel, this has translated into more homely or unique experiences in natural and rural settings. We have seen a shift in destinations from major urban centers to quieter or more adventurous parts of the world. Of course, another major trend is the desire for privacy, space, and getting away from the crowds.
Has there been anything that surprised you in the past two years about travel or traveler behavior?
The resilience of people has amazed us and continues to surprise us. Back in April 2020, we thought it would be a very long time before travelers would feel comfortable getting on a plane or going to a foreign destination. By the end of 2020, our business is going backwards – a testament not only to the medical and scientific research and development that made vaccines possible, but also to the resilience of the human spirit.
In 2021, PS launched The Salon. Why did you feel it was necessary to create a communal space, especially in the current climate?
The salon is just an evolution of what we do at PS. It’s been on the drawing board since day one, and the pandemic has made launching it a priority. We’ve intuitively learned that there is a different type of traveler, or even a specific occasion for our current PS members, that ensures a bustling social environment that still delivers the unique and luxurious travel experience we’re so famous for.
How do you see the travel industry changing and what are some of the trends you notice for 2022 and beyond?
First, I believe privacy is and always will be the ultimate luxury. In a world of data breaches and social media overexposure, having a space away from people, screens, and noise will become more in demand. People are taking more risks with sites – there’s a YOLO mentality still hanging on us – and that’s a good thing. Travel is good for the soul and there is so much to explore in the world.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.