Online travel websites killed the traditional brick and mortar travel agency for the basic booking. You don’t call up your local agency (unless you’re a business traveler working through a managed travel program, and even then chances are it’s online) to buy airfare anymore. You choose from what a computer offers you.
Gone is advice about the nuances of which city is best for connections, how long a connection do you need, or for hotels which ones offer the sort of character, experience, and service you may be looking for.
Instead, there are lists of features. You can read reviews of seats at SeatGuru or SeatExpert. You can read traveler reviews on blogs or at TripAdvisor (which is mostly useful for the photos and revealing consistent themes but the rankings of properties are next to useless in any sort of granular fashion). You don’t get a single trusted expert.
Google may want to become your next travel agent. And for the mass market probably will.
But there are still real experts to guide those special trips. The problem is, who is an actual expert? Who really knows the locations they sell? Who has local connections to improve your experience?
Wendy Perrin has spent many years compiling a rolodex of the best people to help you with your travel. She started the “World’s Top Travel Specialists” list at Conde’ Nast Traveler, a highly vetted compilation of agents that do great work for clients and that were regularly ‘secret shopped’ to ensure continued excellence.
I’ve been honored to be a part of that list since 2010 for my award booking service.
Wendy left Conde’ Nast earlier this year and joined TripAdvisor, and also launched her own site.
And she’s picked up where she left off in offering her knowledge and experience with the best specialists for each area of the world with her new Wow List of Trusted Travel Experts.
She’s still building out the list, it’s a momentous undertaking, and so far only includes specialists by destination and travel type. She doesn’t have any of the specialized services on there yet (like mine, and Cranky Flier‘s Cranky Concierge).
Definitely a site worth bookmarking.
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