It might end up being one of the greatest comeback stories ever told: travel agents repopulate in malls across America. This is all speculation, but there has been talk of a growing need for travel agents.
In an article posted by Seattle Times, they speak about a growing online company called Lola, which is an online travel agent service that will soon be available. You will be able to simply send a text saying you have an idea for a trip, and an actual human on the other end will get started looking at trip options for you.
Is this necessary? Do we need services like this to come back? I think so. When you’re planning a large, complicated trip for more than 2, it can get a little overwhelming to keep track of things. The research to find the best prices can be so confusing, the process may do more harm than good if done independently. It may even make travelers so frustrated, the trip never happens. Or by the time you finally make it to Bora Bora, there has been so much stress involved in the booking process, it may take the first 3 days of the trip just to unwind.
Travel agents eliminate the need for time spent keeping spreadsheets, saving Google searches, and running Expedia reports. But, it begs the question, is the hassle-free planning worth paying travel agent fees? I’d say yes. With how scarce travel agents are, it is more important than ever for them to offer competitive rates as an incentive for their services. Lola plans to keep service prices low because they will be able to use a team to find the best rates for hotel, airfare, etc. By the time you are finished booking with Lola, you will have spent close to the same amount as you would have without them, but you saved priceless days free of hassle.
When booking short trips, or trips for 3 or less, it may be worth it to just deal-search yourself. No need to pay an extra service fee on trips that are sure to be uncomplicated in booking. Technology has helped us in ways like Expedia, Hotels.com, and Orbitz, which are the reason travel agents all but vanished in the first place.
Next time you go to book your annual Spain trip, remember start-up travel agent companies like Lola. They may make it worth your money to hand over the hassle and stress to a real person. Nothing beats being able to give all the miserable parts of a project to someone else!