Skift Take

Travelers in 2016 come to travel agents because they need help, which has always been the bottom line. But it's not always because they don't know how to book online, or that they're too busy to book themselves or don't know where they should travel to. Travel agencies that get the job done without letting technology muddle that become more important.

seedlingsThe new kind of travel agent is a technologist, one that is is taking root on messenger mobile apps and even in brick and mortar stores around the world.

This metamorphosis didn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of travelers becoming more independent with better technology in hand. But are messenger apps and text messaging the way that travelers want to communicate with the person that could be booking one of the most important trips of their lives? This week we’re looking at five startups that aren’t necessarily focused on Facebook Messenger or chat bots, while some certainly are. We’re looking at companies that want to give travelers the right mix and offer them the level of variety that simply makes booking travel elsewhere incomparable.

OneRooftop uses travel agents to recommend vacation homes through text messaging.

>>SkiftTake: Technology wise, there’s very little barrier to entry with OneRooftop. Travelers that aren’t savvy with messaging apps, for example, only need to know how to send a text message to start a conversation.

Custom Travel Clubs is a provider of travel club platforms and solutions, offering a bevy of bespoke experiences including personal assistants and 24/7 access to travel agents.

>>SkiftTake: Travelers look at travel agents as solution providers, crisis responders and personal assistants. A platform that can take on all of those roles and then some becomes more relevant in a traveler’s mind.

TravPro Mobile produces mobile hybrid learning and sales solutions featuring native sales companion apps that provide travel agents with anytime/anywhere access to training and rewards programs, booking and sales tools, real-time directories, sales tips and offers.

>>SkiftTake: There should be more software and startups out there that are teaching travel agents how to bring their business and techniques into the 21st century.

Bookitlyst a website and mobile app to discover and book unique travel experiences, while getting access to expert travel planners. The startup also promises 24/7 assistance from travel agents should anything go wrong with a booking.

>>SkiftTake: This is the argument travel agents make for their existence- that travelers need them in case something goes wrong. Reverse logic says travelers should also need a travel agent when something goes right, too.

Yola24 is a travel agent service that integrates with popular messaging apps. Human travel agents can respond to inquiries in all languages and they live in the traveler’s home city.

>>SkiftTake: Being able to respond to a message in a traveler’s native language is key to winning over trust and ensuring the conversation has a natural flow.

For all of our SkiftSeedlings collection, check out our archives here.

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Tags: skiftseedlings, startups

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