Be careful of organizations that want to make money and are all talk, hoping to fool customers and investors. I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal on an announcement that Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky stated that his company is “going to make travel magical again.”
You ask how? You’re going to laugh. Chesky says he’ll accomplish it by making Airbnb “a holistic travel agency, a one-stop shop offering excursions, restaurant reservations and eventually flights and car rentals.” This guy should rethink his words— not so much for what he is going to build, but for his ignorance to think that the magic in travel ever went away and that a point-and-click service will ever be able to provide charming travel experiences. He fails to remember that travel providers have human service behind them; that it’s your relationships with GMs at hotels and maître d’s at restaurants that get your guests in when others can’t. That’s what’s magical! When your flight gets canceled and your travel advisor rebooks an alternative flight the moment it happens, that is magical.
On the flip side, when you meet a fellow traveler who couldn’t get tickets to the hottest play in town or dine out because all the top restaurants were booked during their travel dates, and they can’t believe you got a private tour of a museum after hours, the look on this traveler’s face is magical. And the thought that they have to go back to their Airbnb apartment with Chinese takeaway and watch the Travel Channel and dream of what could have been...that’s magical.
So, Brian Chesky, take a look around — the magic never left and the best magicians out there right now are luxury travel advisors, most certainly.