High street travel agents are being invited to sign up for a new ‘Uber for agents’ service from holiday price comparison site Icelolly.com.
Icelolly Local will encourage customers looking online for complex holidays such as cruise, multi-centre or escorted tours to visit a nearby agency in-store to add a more human touch to their holiday search.
Location data from customers’ phones will be used to identify local agencies in a bid to help bricks-and-mortar shops generate leads through price comparison. The leads generated will be tailored to agencies’ areas of expertise.
Icelolly said the idea came out of an innovation session focused on making holiday research more personal and inspirational.
Ross Matthews, chief marketing officer, said: “We kept coming back to the human touch that only travel agents can deliver.
“Connecting local travel agents with the right customers at the right time in their travel research and planning journey makes absolute sense. For every person who likes to book online, there are others who appreciate the expert advice of high street travel agents.”
Matthews said on-demand mobile services were increasingly popular in other sectors.
“Everyone is familiar with Uber,” he said. “Think of Icelolly Local as Uber for travel agents.”
Icelolly will trial Local this year with a select number of agents before a full rollout.
The company has yet to set commercial terms, but it is likely agents will pay a fee based on performance, such as per lead or per conversion.
Icelolly, which generates 40 million search queries a year from about 20 million visitors, said holiday planning had “become a little robotic”.
Matthews added: “Our aim is to connect digital audiences to high street travel agents in a way nobody has done before.
There has been a huge shift to mobile travel research, and we want to make metasearch accessible to large and small travel agents alike.”
Agents can register interest by emailing email@example.com.