So my last post explained the What and the Why of my new idea, this post deals with the How.

To recap: My idea is to create a site whereby luxury travellers (like me) are introduced and connected to Luxury Independent Travel Agents (experts from around the world) who have access to and specific knowledge of luxury travel (including places, transport, accommodation and what to do when there) that I’m interested in.

Not only that but these travel professionals will also have access to exclusive deals and be aware of unusual places and hidden gems (that aren’t in the main stream) that give me real value for money.

I, the luxury traveller, will be able to choose the luxury travel specialist that I book my trip through via a ‘live’ portal, which will provide luxury travellers with expert human-being responses, rather than pre-entered database search results.

I’ll be able to create an actual relationship with a real individual (who is an accredited luxury travel expert, not just someone with an opinion), rather than relying on automated search results and email responses.

I will be able to select my preferred independent travel agent based on

  • The responses I receive from a specific travel request I enter on the site (which will only be viewed by the travel agents registered on the site)
  • Reviews that other travellers have given each travel agent, regarding the service they provided
  • Profiles of the agent that I can browse (including their own listed ‘hot luxury deals of the week’)
  • Viewing the travel agents’ blog and viewing their twitter stream (to see whether I like them) – all via the site.

Not only that, but I’ll be able to collect ‘rewards’ in the form of actual money, which can be redeemed against my next trip if, once I have experienced my vacation / business trip, I come back to the site to leave feedback about

  1. the service I received from my selected travel agent
  2. my experience of the actual trip itself (which will only be seen by the travel agent)

The idea is based on the premise that people like me prefer to receive personal recommendations about where to stay, what to do and how to get there by people that we trust, and have become slightly disillusioned with ‘user-driven-content travel sites’ whose comments haven’t been filtered and could easily be written by

  1. people who are way too easily pleased, who haven’t had the experience of true luxury travel, who aren’t comparing their experience with my experiences and are impressed by the fact that there is a mini-bar in the room
  2. competitors of the hotel
  3. miserable people who never enjoy anything

The ‘content’ of the site is brought by the independent travel agents who register on the site. Along with the content they bring expertise, credibility and most importantly, the opportunity of a human relationship.

Travel Agents who register on the site will match the following criteria:

  • be registered as a travel agent
  • be independent (not a chain)
  • specialise in luxury travel
  • be active and conversant in social media – i.e. have their own blog, be active on twitter, have a comprehensive presence on face-book and be interactive on Linkedin – Be willing to upload full profiles detailing who they are, where their based, what they specialise in, personal favourites and some actual reviews of vacation opportunities (as well their own personal interests)
  • Be willing to upload fresh offers and deals each week
  • Have existing good relationships with luxury travel suppliers (hotels, villas, tours).

The site will be promoted to (via social media, internet marketing and search engine optimisation) to:

  • Luxury travellers
  • Top end business travellers
  • Honeymooners

Registered agents will be prompted each week to upload fresh offers. Travel agents will agree to only respond to enquiries / requests if they are genuinely able to accommodate the specific needs.

The luxury traveller will be able to either request help from an expert using the ‘human search’ feature – and specify their exact requirements or browse the site and the profiles of the registered travel agents and choose one to liaise with.

They will be able to enter what they are looking for by answering a set of questions relating to their trip, which only the registered travel agents will see (live stream) and they will be able to state their preferred method of communication.

The luxury traveller then gets to receive ‘live’ feedback from real-life travel experts who can assist with their specific needs. This also gives the luxury traveller and the travel agent to create a relationship which may result into repeat bookings.

I have ideas on how each party (the travel agent, the luxury traveller and the site itself) makes money – which I will share on a future post.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Kaye – @ThisisKaye

P.S. If you are a luxury travel agent / luxury travel supplier and interested in this concept – please get in touch 🙂