This is a new business idea combining luxury independent travel agents, social media, luxury travel providers and instant rewards:
Frustrated after my recent holiday accommodation experiences, and the lack of ‘personal’ recommendations from people I can really trust, I have come up with a business idea which I would like to share with you.
I’d like there to be website for aspiring luxury travellers that independent, reputable travel agents, specialising in luxury travel, can showcase their knowledge and experience to luxury travellers like me.
I’d like this site to both reward the travel agent who most influences the luxury traveller’s decision to book and also reward the luxury traveller themselves when they book.
I’d like these elite travel experts to provide reviews (based on their own personal experiences and clients feedback) about the places and venues they specifically recommend, at the same time promoting their service – so that I can use this information as a reliable, credible resource (because, let’s face it, I don’t know who the people on TripAdvisor are who say that this villa is the best they’ve ever stayed in. It may be the best and the FIRST villa they’ve ever stayed in :-)).
I’d like there to be an opportunity for me, the luxury traveller, to leave feedback of my experience, and earn instant rewards for doing so.
And I’d like these luxury travel agents to communicate with me via my preferred social media channel, which for me is twitter.
In my opinion, things are going to go full circle – and we’ll (by ‘we’ll’ I’m referring to people like me who love luxury travel), need to start relying on credible independent travel agents (smart individuals – human beings – who are well connected and love luxury travel) who are social media savvy and whose reputation is on the line if they make a bad recommendation. However, ‘we’ don’t want to visit our travel advisor, or call them on the phone, we want to use technology still (and our preferred social media site), but have a proper relationship with someone who we trust.
Let me further explain; After our amazing trip to Lago di Como, Italy, where thanks to Twitter and @EliteTravelGal everything worked out on the night, we flew to Standsted for a family wedding in Cambridge.
My husband booked our accommodation (he opted for a four star guest house on the outskirts of the city centre which won rave reviews on TripAdvisor.com).
And it was horrible.
What’s happened? Have my experiences at our luxury hotel clients’ venues turned me into a travel snob?
Yes, I admit it, I love luxury. And yes, I’m willing to spend a bit extra on accommodation – and yes, I enjoy a good deal, although I have to admit, I’m not willing to spend hours and hours finding it.
So whilst having a pub lunch with Iain in Cambridge, I had a brainwave.
What about creating a site that is devoted to recommending luxury travel (hotels, villas, cruises), with reviews written exclusively by accredited independent travel agents from all over the globe?
The content of the site will be generated by the travel agents themselves, i.e. experts in the industry, who are willing to stick their neck and business on the line by writing the reviews based on either their own personal experience, or their customers’ (the luxury travellers) feedback.
Then, people like me will be able to choose which luxury hotel or villa they want to stay in – and select which travel agent they would like to book through (i.e. choose the agent whose review most resonated with them – and most influenced them to book).
That agent will then make the booking with the supplier and receive a commission.
I, the luxury traveller, get to also leave feedback once I’ve stayed at my chosen venue – AND if I leave feedback, I too receive an instant reward for doing so (to use against my next trip). This is the incentive for me to book via the Travel Agent, and not direct with the hotel (though obviously I have that choice).
The great thing is, if I have a really good experience , then I’m going to want to use that travel agent again – and if that travel agent is worth their salt, they’ll be communicating with me on my preferred social network, be it twitter, facebook or linkedin.
If you are a luxury hotel, would you be willing to participate?
If you are a luxury travel agent, what do you think of this idea – does it already exist in some form?
And if you are like me, and love travelling in luxury – and love it when we get great value for money, would you use a site like this?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.