New website lets agents bid for business

A start-up combining the expertise of travel agents with online technology is to be unveiled in January.

OfferMeaTrip aims to get over the frustrations of searching for a holiday online by using traditional travel agents.

The service has been devised by MapVivo co-founder Mark Seall, who said that despite advances in search and social travel, the only way to provide consumers with the holidays they want is to use human beings.

OfferMeaTrip allows users to describe their holiday wishes, which agents can then respond to with their pitch for the business using an online brochure creation tool.

Seall said the service had received positive feedback from agents so far and had already signed up a handful for the consumer launch in January. He also said the company is talking to Freedom Travel and Future Travel with a view to using its homeworking network.

The service will initially be free for agents with plans to introduce a commission structure once it gains traction.

This is not the first time companies have tried to combine the human element with internet technology.

Tripology, a US service, matches consumers with up to three specialised travel agents, while, unveiled in 2008, gave consumers the option to book with a travel agent.

“Tripology is a pure referral service, while OfferMeaTrip aims to automate more of the process between consumer and agent,” said Seall.

He also said MapVivo had failed to gain a lot of traction since launch in March and had been put on hold.

“There are a lot of these trip-planning services and we were not excited by the figures.”

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