Do names like Chris Pirillo, Mona Nomura, Dave McClure, Dan Martell or Christine Lu mean anything to you? Well, if you’re part of the high-tech community, they mean a lot. These names are some of the most popular “Geeks” in all of “Geekdom.” They are the movers and shakers of the industry influencing what is hot and what’s not when it comes to all things high-tech.
I’m a travel agent, but I’m not exactly a stranger to the high-tech community. Some may say I am a ‘Geek” too, 99% of our business comes from the internet which may qualify me for that club, I guess. My philosophy in building our online company has always been to use technology in the travel space in a way which would never replace a real travel agent. I know that’s contrary thinking, but that’s exactly what my wife and I have done and it’s worked very well for our business. This philosophy has proven to be the most important factor that has separated us from the rest of the folks in the online travel world. Pitching this idea has never been an easy one, especially for the folks in the technology industry who for the past 10 years have been busy trying to figure out the best way to cut out “in real life” travel agents with online travel agencies like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz.
I think this tide is changing and if so, social media networking will be responsible.
About a week ago I was contacted by one of my Twitter friends, @ ChristineLu Christine Lu a self-professed geek girl. Among other things, she’s been very active in bringing some of the best minds from both China and the U.S. together to seek solutions to improving business relations. She knows that we only focus on bringing folks to Hawaii, but asked me if we could find any good airfares for a group of geeks Geeksonaplane that she’s organizing for an East Asia tour.
Almost immediately after I got that “tweet” from Christine, a light bulb went off in my head. Here’s an opportunity to prove a point I’ve been trying to make for quite some time now; travel agents in most cases can get better deals and will be more helpful than online mega-stores. In other words, when you use a travel agent you not only get the best available prices, but you get the service that we provide as well.
It turns out that geeks are just like everybody else when it comes to travel, their time is money too and the only resource they really have when it comes to travel is to use OTA’s (online Travel agencies) or to call in connections they have which may be free but comes with PR commitments and strings attacthed.
Christine is no stranger to travel; she’s a world traveler, crossing the globe many times a year and knows a good deal when she sees one. I believe that Christine had shopped around a lot before she ever tweeted me. The best price that she was getting for the three city tour for Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai was $2300. We got the same airfare for $1500 per person. Needless to say we earned her business and that of some of the most respected folks in the high-tech space.
Who would’ve thunk it? High Tech geeks from all over the country are using a travel agency in the middle of the Pacific.