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Hotels Cheap Interview with Aashish Gupta on Travel Planning and Travel Planners

 

The wonderful folks at HotelsCheap interviewed me about the state of travel planning and trends in this space. Below is a copy of the interview. The original can be found on the HotelsCheap site here.

 

Aashish Gupta saw a need for better travel planning…so he went out and filled it, as the founder and CEO of PlanMy.Travel. He discussed travel planning with us, and how it can make a good trip great.

 

How can a planning expert improve a trip that we may not expect?

Our planning experts help in various ways, right from saving time and money to giving you confidence in your plan and in many other tangible ways. But the most important thing they do is intangible. They help you break away from cookie-cutter experiences and have trips that are unique to you. They help you truly connect with the places and people.

 

What’s more, connecting with our experts is like having a friend who’s been-there-done-that and who cares deeply about helping you have a great experience. So we’re not just improving your trip but making the trip planning process itself more fun and engaging.

 

How do you spot a good travel planner? What are some good signs to look for?

Primarily, we look for people who are really passionate about travel. But of course it’s not enough for them to simply say they’re passionate. We look for evidence in the form of a well-written travel blog, or a Twitter handle about travel, or maybe they’ve authored a guidebook or contributed travel articles to newspapers and magazines, etc.

 

When is it a good idea to call in a travel planner?

Whenever you’re planning a holiday. When you work with a Travel Ninja, they help you make the most of your trip, whether it’s a weekend getaway or a round-the-world trip.

In terms of timing, we recommend you hire a Travel Ninja at least three to four weeks before a planned vacation.

 

What should people already have in front of them before they call a travel planner?

A general idea of the kind of trip they have in mind and where they want to go. Although we also help people figure out where to go based on their interests, timing and budget, the process is usually more efficient if they already know at least which country they want to go to.

 

What’s next in travel?

One of the key trends that we’re betting on is that there is increasing level on automation in all the “boring” parts on travel planning – basically anything that involves bookings – but the more fun parts will see an even higher degree of human involvement and personalization than ever before.

 

Another key trend is the rise and rise of the sharing economy, riding on the back of increasing human connection. Airbnb is a great example of this, since they’re not only enabling the efficient utilization of unused accommodation inventory, they’re also increasingly positioning themselves as an enabler of human connections. We’re sort of doing the same thing in the travel planning space.