The Internet has challenged the traditional business model of travel agencies: What is the reason for their existence if information is abundantly available and transactions can be flexibly booked on the Internet? This paper argues that good travel advisory services create a significant added value, if they succeed in uncovering the customers’ hidden needs and creating a better user experience. Modern information systems such as the SmartTravel system developed by the authors support this effort and provide the customers with an involving “shopping” experience. SmartTravel supports the agent-customer interaction with a large display and an interface integrating professional and user-generated content. We present the design rationale and the interface design of the SmartTravel system. First evaluation results indicate that the users value the system, because it provides richer and more trustworthy information in a more enjoyable environment.
Schwabe, Gerhard; Novak, Jasminko; and Aggeler, Mattias, "Designing the Tourist Agency of the Future" (2008). BLED 2008 Proceedings. 42.