TRVL is a new online platform that has big dreams to make anyone and everyone a TRVL Agent – because hey, “How hard can it be?”
The Amsterdam-based online platform, TRVL launched late last year and is hoping to bring together sites like Booking.com, Hotels.com and TripAdvisor to add a ‘crowd sourcing’ effect.
The company recently announced it has secured €2.5 million (AUD$3.6 million) from a collective of investors to fund ‘further product development and growth’.
Speaking to Techcrunch, TRVL CEO, Jochem Wijnands says “Today, when you’re researching and planning a trip for yourself or the people you travel with, you’re essentially doing the work of a travel agent,”
A fair point in very rudimentary form.
He is then quick to highlight what he believes is the biggest difference between you and a travel agent: “You don’t get rewarded for it.”
Which seems a bizarre thing to suggest.
If you were doing the work of a travel agent you’d be doing a whole lot more than just transacting as a basic service, and for a much better return for everyone.
And of course you’d have a whole lot more than just limited and commoditised products at your fingertips, not to mention some experience behind you perhaps?
I believe they call it ‘a career’ Mr Wijnands.
Mr Wijands goes on, “TRVL enables the power of the crowd to work as a travel agency.”
Making a booking earns the ‘so called’ agent a commission of “up to 10%” on every booking made; though this is calculation is flimsy at best given market pricing is not mentioned.
You as ‘the agent’ must then manage the entire booking with any changes, cancellations and extras etc. on your own.
All for virtually no return versus time spent. So yes, just like the many Uber drivers who are becoming increasingly frustrated and leaving the company due to a reduction in their hourly rate (Average AU$12 per hour) and the fact they have no rights whatsoever.
The bookings themselves are done through more traditional booking sites such as Booking.com.
So what exactly is this new breed of ‘travel agent’ doing to call themselves a TRVL Agent?
“Think of TRVL as TripAdvisor with an earning model. We believe TRVL will change the way millions of people will book their trips online.”
We don’t agree. But there will no doubt be many people out there who will embrace it.
The words ‘robot monkeys’ come to mind. If those are the kind of TRVL Agents you’re looking for then be the industries guest.
And while you’re at it robot monkeys, say goodbye to all of your nearest and dearest ‘peers’ after you’ve stuffed up their travel plans, an airline decides to cancel flights on you or heaven forbid you’ve forgotten their visa or there’s another ash cloud in Bali.
As travel gets more complex and confusing, agents become more and more relevant.
We think the only way Travel Agents will be ‘trembling or palpitating’ after reading this story is perhaps with laughter.
What do you think of this new initiative? Share your thoughts below.
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