Can these businesses survive?

Posted on July 10, 2008


As technology progresses, you find yourself thinking things your grandparents never thought, such as: “am I beginning to think in 160 characters?,” or “who is really answering all those ‘wire money to the bahamas’ emails?,” or “who’s still using a travel agent?”  There are lots of businesses that just aren’t as relevant as they used to be, and the sad part is that behind them are real people trying to make an honest living by helping others — these are real jobs, not made up.  It’s the same thing that happened when Ace Hardware replaced your local hardware store or the local video rental place went out of business and Blockbuster moved in. 

That’s why I like this story in today’s Washington Post about a travel agent that still makes house calls and books fabulous vacations.  Heartwarming, really.  The story makes me hopeful for a second coming.  Of course, I book all my vacations online.  I really wouldn’t even know where to find a travel agent without Googling them, but the trouble is: I hate doing it.  Yes, tools like TripAdvisor are my best friend.  I rate and review hotels so others can learn from my experiences like I’ve learned from theirs, but given the option, I’d gladly let someone do it all for me.  We’re talking about a vacation, which is supposed to be an escape from stress – all I want to have to do is pack the bathing suit and show up at the ticket counter. 

I’m sure there’s an opportunity here somewhere – one I’m sure someone’s already taken advantage of – for a new generation of travel agents for people like me, who know how to book everything online, but just want to be taken care of, and want someone else to do the legwork.  In the meantime, my friends will continue to be annoyed that they’re booking my plane tickets and hotel stays… my own personal army of travel agents.

What do you think?  You’d rather be in Miami?


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