Behind the scenes at Tripadvisor over the past few months, work has started on a new platform to connect consumers to the âtour operatorsâ who will plan and book their trip.
The service, known as Reco, works both on the desktop and through a smartphone app for Apple devices, giving travelers access to a portfolio of agents for a fee of $ 199 each time.
Tripadvisor says the project is a beta test in the United States and does not yet share its strategy or finer details.
Travelers select dates for a trip, length of stay, type (getaway, festival, meeting, cruise, etc.), budget range, interests, and “vibe” (romantic, witty, chill, etc.), then Reco offers a range of correspond to agents with expertise in these areas.
Users can then select an agent, learn about their experience, contact and start building an itinerary and booking a trip.
Reco says agents will book and coordinate traveler’s details for the trip and handle any issues.
He says there is a vetting process his “travel designers” must go through before they can join the platform.
They will face a number of checks, including a review of the professional licenses or accreditations they hold, liability insurance, referrals, and host agencies.
Tripadvisor doesn’t say much about Reco so far, only that it is a “new concept in travel planning that we plan to roll out more fully in the coming months.”
Despite the âbetaâ testing nature of the project, plans are in place for a social media push.
The Twitter account for the Tripadvisor-owned Jetsetter service, which was purchased in 2013, appears to have moved to a new @HelloReco account a few months ago, giving him nearly 48,000 followers.
The concept of using a central web point to connect consumers to actual travel agencies has been around for over a decade, but has seen a number of large-scale collapses along the way.
Tripology, under the tutelage of John Peters, had a portfolio of 14,000 travel agents registered with its platform at one point in time. It was eventually sold to the Rand McNally brand of cards in 2010 for an undisclosed price, but closed in 2015.
The lead generation platform for travel agents TripScope was born in 2014 and sold to Travefy in 2017, a technology platform for travel agents. The consumer element of TripScope was subsequently closed.
The now-defunct travel agency and tour operator giant Thomas Cook signed an agreement with Triporati, a virtual agency platform, in 2013. It’s unclear how long the partnership lasted.
Lola’s business travel management service also started life as a mobile agent login tool.
One brand that has stayed the course is Travel Triangle, an India-based agent service, which was founded in 2011 and has since raised more than $ 45 million in funding.
Regarding previous failed attempts in a similar vein, a Tripadvisor official said the company “is always testing ways to better serve travelers. The global reach and trust of the Tripadvisor brand gives us a huge advantage. “.