Travelocity Takes A Page From Airbnb’s Book And Launches Concierge Service

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Facing stronger competition from disruptive travel startups like Airbnb and the behemoth of Priceline/Kayak/Booking.com, Sabre-owned Travelocity is looking to up its game with extras. Today the company announced that it would launch a new concierge service, offering restaurant reservations, driving directions, tickets to local events and more. The service, it says, is free for users who book flight-plus-hotel packages through the site.

The move follows Airbnb launching a concierge service in September 2011, which it then enhanced with additional local information for all comers, through its Neighborhoods offering, which debuted in November 2012 and is still being rolled out worldwide.

Travelocity claims that it is the “first online travel agency to offer such a service,” although other startups in addition to Airbnb, such as Luxury Retreats, have also moved into concierge services; and in fact as a reader has pointed out, Expedia has also been offering a Local Expert service for similar needs. Travelocity adding them into their mix is another sign both of the concept’s popularity but also of how Travelocity is trying to aim for more than just travellers looking for the most budget options possible. Indeed, even the URL for the service is tagged “VIP.”

The idea behind Travelocity’s service is that it will sweeten the deal for those consumers who comparison shop across different travel sites before booking their travel. With often very little in terms of price differentiation on tickets and hotels, it potentially gives Travelocity a better way to compete against Priceline’s Booking.com linked up with Kayak.

“This new benefit for Travelocity customers enhances the value of our vacation package offering and could come in handy on any trip,” Simon Bramley, vice president & general manager of transportation, vacation packages, and cruises at Travelocity, said in a statement. “Our customers already save hundreds of dollars on average when booking any flight and any hotel together.”

The wider market for personal assistant services is growing, too, with companies like TaskRabbit and Zaarly also stepping in to help busy people manage their lives, by way of slick apps and websites.

Travelocity says that the service will become available after users make a package booking. They get a special phone number, via email, which they can use before, during, and up to two days after making a trip. Here is the full list of services available, as per the news release:

  • Restaurant referrals, reservations
  • Theater, music attractions or sporting event tickets
  • Golf course tee time referrals, reservations
  • Area events and festivals
  • Driving directions
  • ATM and bank locator
  • Salon and spa booking assistance
  • Shuttle services
  • Weather forecast
  • Lost baggage search; stolen luggage replacement
  • Lost passport/travel documents assistance
  • Translation services

And sorry, international travellers, but it appears that this service is available only in the U.S. at this point.