Thirty years ago, the wanderlust-stricken had to rely on unfamiliar travel agents to organize sojourns to faraway places. Then, the tide turned to relying on guidebooks for trip planning. Soon after, the Internet became the undisputed source for all travel knowledge. Now, a new paradigm in travel planning allows the public to approach authors from their favorite travel magazines, blogs, guidebooks, and websites to plan their next epic journey. According to Prasanna Krishnan, general manager of Jetsetter.comÂ’s Personal Travel Planning Service, connecting zealous travelers with some of AmericaÂ’s most prolific travel writers has taken the art and experience of travel to an entirely new level.
Trusted voices. With the explosion of user-generated content online, travelers have difficulty trusting the opinions and statements saturating the web. In terms of imagery, Photoshop has made even three-star properties look luxurious. Krishnan says that Jetsetter.comÂ’s network of bona fide travel writers offers unbiased Â“first-hand, in-depth knowledge of destinations by individuals who have lived there and who have written about these places for top publications.Â”
Travel matchmaking. Pairing the client with the correct expert is a key element of this new travel planning service. While travelers can pick their experts from online bios, KrishnanÂ’s travel-planning teams are usually the ones playing travel cupid. Â“Based on [clientsÂ’] initial descriptions and desires, our teams connect them with the best expert for their trip. [Clients] can then pull from the expertÂ’s [knowledge] to help shape their trip[s] in an interactive way,Â” he says.
Personalization. Clients using this service consult with their travel experts one-on-one via phone and/or email. Krishnan says these consultations often play out like sessions of Â“travel therapy.Â” Through this dialogue, Â“experts take the time upfront to understand the tastes and personalities they are working with; and they personalize an itinerary based on that. ItÂ’s not simply a data dump of everything a traveler can do in a city.Â”
Expectations. This personalized service does everything, from planning trips around the world to matching newlyweds with the best honeymoon destination to organizing daily island-hopping trips in the Caribbean. Krishnan says that clients can expect Â“a personalized itinerary filled with bespoke hotel and dining recommendations, solid logistical information, hidden gems, and insider tips. Once the expert has helped clients finalize their itinerary, a booking specialist helps execute the plan by making all the hotel reservations.Â”