Travel agent job requirement: mind reader

Today, I walked into a travel store. To be honest, I didn’t know that these existed anymore, given how easy it is to plan travel on the Internet. But apparently they do. I wanted to travel throughout Europe and see some cities, but I didn’t really have a set idea of what I wanted and was hoping to be somewhat inspired by talking to a professional travel planner.

This interaction brought light to the fact that the travel agent’s entire job is to ask questions to help me decide where I’d like to go. This seemed like the perfect scenario for accessing my Preference Profile. The woman I spoke with was very nice and helpful. But what if, instead of asking me whether I like culture, shopping or history and seeing what I responded to, the conversation could have instead sounded something like this:
  • Travel agent: “So where would you like to go or what would you like to do?”
  • Customer: “Well actually I have all my previous trips and interest saved here.”
  • Travel agent: “Perfect. Let’s see where you’ve been and what you like and I can make some recommendations for you. Is there anywhere in particular you’d like to go?”
  • Customer: “No. But I’d love for you to inspire with some new places and things to try after you access my preferences.”
  • Travel agent: “Great, let’s pull up the recommendations on this tablet together and discuss them. I see here that you like Chardonnay. I’ll bring you a glass while you wait.”
  • Travel agent: “We reviewed all your preferences and came up with 15 different packages and options based. Let’s review them together now and I can help you with the details to get going.”
  • Customer: “Amazing. Let’s do it!”
I even remark to the travel agent at one point that her job is like reading minds. To be fair, that’s not true. If she could read my mind then she wouldn’t have to ask me a thousand questions. While CloudTags doesn’t claim to read minds (yet - its on our development roadmap!), we can make an experience like this as close to reading a customer’s mind as possible by tapping into history, interest and preference.
The same should apply to a travel website that I access to make recommendations. While this type of offline store is an increasingly rare breed, it serves as a good case for travel planning either offline or online.