Offshore Travel Agent

While the Internet has allowed for a significant number of transactions to be pushed out to the customer in the fashion of “self-service”, many of these are so time consuming and frustrating a business opportunity is created. One of the most frustrating “self-service” transactions in my opinion is that of air travel. When I am using company money, it’s relatively easy as I simply log into my company travel website, select my travel dates, let it validate corporate policies, attempt to find the lowest fare and… I’m done. I just click “Purchase” because it’s not my money.
Now, let’s take the situation where you’re trying to book a ticket home for Christmas. You likely live at least two connections from home and the ticket of course is close to the average monthly rent for a two bedroom apartment. So, you begin the battle of trying multiple websites and forums to uncover the top-secret, super limited, “lowest fare”. Really, you have no idea if you found the lowest fare, but after spending multiple hours and having seen potentially tens if not hundreds of fare options, you give up assuming you’re close enough. Well, I’d like to propose the airlines just change their customer pricing practices and not be such __________. But, I don’t expect that to happen any time soon.
In the mean time, there is a significant opportunity to “outsource” this task to someone else. Given the price of labor in other markets, a company could setup a call center to accept travel requests, research them and provide the customer with the “lowest fare”. The idea would be to take the pain out of the transaction along with the wasted time. A customer would call up or text message the service and outline their travel constraints (e.g., optional dates, schedule, etc.). That would be it. They’d then wait for a call or email confirming an itinerary and it would be done. If there were follow-up questions due to similar options, the service provider would call the customer and ask which option they’d like to go with. The self-service web transaction would then simply be to setup your profile with frequent flyer numbers, credit cards, etc. This of course could also all be done over the phone if you just didn’t want to deal with it online.
It would be like your own personal assistant. Imagine the possibilities. Restaurant reservations, sports tickets…

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