Kayak co-founder Paul English’s newest project, a startup called Lola (shorthand for longitude and latitude), is an app that connects people to a team of travel consultants supported by AI software, who find flights, hotels, make dinner reservations and anything else a traveller might need. Instead of calling to speak with a live agent, all communication between the two parties takes place via mobile chat – aiming to give people access to premium, on-demand personal travel service entirely through the app.
Over the past decade or so, DIY travel websites have given vacationers the opportunity to take travel into their hands, making travel agents increasingly unnecessary. But the downside of those sites is the amount of choices they provide; while useful for some, for an unseasoned traveller picking from so many options of flights, hotels and attractions can be daunting. It’s this problem that Lola’s technology looks to combat.
The staff at Lola is composed of five travel agents with experience at major agencies and 10 customer service experts with retail experience. This team works with engineers and developers, providing feedback for changes to the service. Each travel consultant is available before and during your trip, and the AI-powered software can track preferences, helping Lola’s workers make better suggestions.
The Lola app
Using a DIY booking site leaves travellers on their own. Access to an assistant of this nature means having someone who takes care of everything and makes sure vacations and trips go as planned. Such a service also means less anxiety, allowing users to focus more on the experience and less on the logistics.
The travel service is currently invite-only and free to invited members, but an annual membership fee will be available sometime in the near future.
Image credit: https://www.lolatravel.com/