Amina Belouizdad Porter
is not afraid to take the road less traveled. 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 that spans hospitality, finance, and real estate.
Early in her career, the Wharton School MBA graduate was a Senior Director at Lionstone Investments and also helped develop China’s first boutique hotel brand during her time 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 located just outside of Los Angeles International Airport with plans to expand to other cities in the near future. Designed for commercial flyers to bypass busy airport crowds, PS allows travelers to lounge in a private suite stocked with luxury amenities with access to a dedicated security clearance before getting escorted directly to their aircraft on the tarmac. PS members get added benefits but services can also be reserved for one-time use.
PS has quickly gained popularity among travelers who seek privacy and an elevated airport experience. However, new members have been drawn to the service because the privacy naturally allows for social distancing and has become a desirable way to travel in a post-pandemic world. In July 2021, PS announced their latest offering, The Salon—a full-service communal lounge with chef-prepared meals catered to travelers looking for a more social experience.
Penta reached out to Porter to talk about the luxury travel industry and the future of PS.
PENTA: How do you think your travel and hospitality experience has helped you in the role at PS?
Amina Belouizdad Porter: Travel and exposure to different cultures has made my world bigger, and in doing that I’ve come to notice that we are, at the end of the day, more similar than we are different. There is a fundamental desire by every person to want to feel heard, understood, and seen. That is what true hospitality is—it is real, it is warm, it is tailored to the guest, and it offers a sense of belonging. It guides what we do at PS every single day.
What are travelers looking for in a post-pandemic world?
The pandemic has merely accelerated trends that were largely already underway. For example, the joy of home and home-making, an appreciation for the outdoors, and a thirst for more authenticity. As it relates to travel, this has translated to more homey or unique experiences in more natural and rural places. We’ve seen a shift in destinations from major urban centers to quieter or more adventurous corners of the world. Of course, another major trend is the desire for privacy, space and distancing from crowds.
Was there anything that surprised you in the last two years about travel or traveler’s behavior?
The resilience of people has and continues to surprise us. Back in April 2020, we thought it would be a very long time before travelers were comfortable getting on a plane or going to a foreign destination. By the end of 2020, our business was roaring back—it is a testament to not just the medical and scientific research and development that made vaccines possible, but also 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 merely the evolution of what we do at PS. It was on our drawing board from day one, and the pandemic made launching it a priority. We knew intuitively that there is a different type of traveler, or even a specific occasion for our existing PS members, that warrants a buzzy, social setting that still delivers the unique, luxurious travel experience that we’ve become known for.
How do you see the travel industry changing and what are some trends you’re noticing for 2022 and beyond?
Firstly, I think privacy is, and will continue to be, the ultimate luxury. In a world of data breaches and social media overexposure, having space away from people and screens and noise will become even more coveted. People are taking more risks with locations—there is a YOLO mentality that is still hanging over us—and that is a good thing. Travel is good for the soul and there is so much more of the world to explore.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.