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Meet John Trione of The Lake Geneva Balloon Company in Lake Geneva

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Trione.

On June 27th, 1997, Owner and Chief Pilot, John Trione, ascended the skies for the very first time in a hot air balloon. He was so taken with the beauty and fun of a balloon flight that it became his professional mission to offer the finest ballooning experience in the Geneva Lakes area.

He spent the better part of the next 18 months training to fly balloons. After receiving his Private Pilot’s Certificate for Hot Air Balloons from the FAA, John jumped on the balloon racing circuit and traveled the Midwest sharpening his flying skills while flying with and against some of the best pilots in the country.

John received his Commercial Pilot’s Certificate for Hot Air Balloons in July of 2000 and was immediately hired by a local balloon ride operation flying 6-passenger and 12-passenger balloons. He spent the next two summers learning the commercial balloon ride business.

In 2017, The Lake Geneva Balloon Company will celebrate 15 years operating in Lake Geneva. John has logged over 1,200 hours flying hot air balloons over the Geneva Lakes area. He has introduced the beauty and splendor of balloon flight to thousands of satisfied guests during the past 15 years.

In 2014, The Lake Geneva Balloon Company was selected by Fodor’s Travel as one of the Top 10 Hot Air Ballooning destinations in the United States.

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting and running a successful business (no matter the category) always has obstacles. The biggest issue faces by our company is something that we have no control over. The weather. We’d be flying in the morning and the evening EVERY DAY if the weather allowed. Unfortunately, in the Midwest the weather is fickle, so we end up canceling flights. But every business has to find a way to take their weakness and turn it into a positive. And we’ve found a way to do that through excellent customer service.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Lake Geneva Balloon Company story. Tell us more about the business.
The Lake Geneva Balloon Company flies hot air balloons over the Lake Geneva area. We take guests for a one-hour sightseeing tour over the area. After the flight, we celebrate with a champagne toast. We offer private flights for two for a more intimate gather or if you have a larger group we can accommodate large groups too.

We have flown many engagement flights over the past 15 years. People really enjoy the experience of getting engaged during a balloon flight. We’ve also conducted weddings aboard the balloon. Our Chief Pilot, John Trione, is a registered officiant and can conduct a wedding during the flight.
Our excellent customer service sets The Lake Geneva Balloon Company apart from the others. We take our motto, “The Finest of Care in Geneva’s Air” very seriously.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
We see a lot of growth in our business over the next few years. The trend in spending has shifted from buying and accumulating stuff to seeking out novel experiences and travel. This bodes well for our growth as folks realize that things wear out eventually, but the memory of a special occasion like a balloon ride only gets sweeter as time goes on.

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