What can travel advisors offer travelers that a chat bot or algorithm can’t?

Yesterday, Recommend had a chance to learn about Internova Travel Group’s latest campaign—”Go Human. Book Human.,” which focuses on the human connection when booking travel.

The new campaign, which launched today, comes off the heels of the pandemic, when the world relied on travel advisors to cancel trips in the height of lockdown, and now with destinations opening up at various rates, testing requirements, mask mandates, and various new travel protocols to consider, many travelers are returning to the travel advisor’s expertise to help them navigate this new world.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the horrors of travel disruption in a new way,” said J.D. O’Hara, chief executive officer of Internova Travel Group. “Individuals and families left stranded with no refunds and limited support gave way to a climate of extreme frustration. Many realized that getting travel wrong—personal or business —can have very real, very strenuous consequences. That’s when travel advisors were called in to save the day.”

Internova represents more than 62,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations worldwide. Its “Go Human. Book Human.” campaign showcases how relying on artificial intelligence and internet chat bots to plan vacations can sometimes lead to disappointingly cookie-cutter outcomes.

However, a trusted travel advisor can save the average traveler not only time, but money while offering peace of mind and personalized attention. Advisors can also give their clients extra perks now and then, from an upgrade to a premium cabin on a flight, to a welcome basket waiting for them and their family in their hotel room.

O’Hara says that “Many people don’t know we [travel advisors] still exist, yet alone been thriving for decades. They think we have been replaced by technology, or we’re more expensive. So people book travel on their own.” Adding that, “A machine will never replace what we as humans can do.”

One of the messages for the Digital Out-of-Home target campaign.

Internova worked with the advertising agency Broken Heart Love Affair to de-position technology with human care. The new platform urges travelers to consider how computer programming and artificial intelligence could possibly plan vacations without the same sensory perception as human beings. Each spot closes with a call for consumers to “book human” for their next travel experience.

Brent Rivard, chief marketing officer for Internova Travel Group pointed that the campaign’s new URL—bookhuman.travel—“tells us exactly what we want you to do.”

The “Go Human. Book Human.” campaign will run over the next three months in New York and Los Angeles, featuring a longform video and out-of- home target campaigns, along with paid and organic social, digital, and public relations.

The new website, bookhuman.travel connects consumers directly with human travel advisors across the U.S. from the Global Travel Collection, the luxury and premium travel division of Internova Travel Group. The service is kicking off with 33 advisors profiled on the site. Phase 2 of the campaign will add additional advisor profiles to the site.

book human
The new Go Human. Book Human. campaign and media assets.

“Featured advisors range in location, niche, business and leisure travel, and areas of expertise,” said Angie Licea, president of Global Travel Collection. The choice is put in the hands of the consumer, who will select a variety of filters before being presented with an array of advisors who fit what they’re looking for—whether it’s an advisor who lives in the same city, or one who is an expert in the destination or niche travel sector they’re interested it. The traveler will then get to read through the advisor’s profiles and select whom they prefer to work with. They can also opt to get a phone call right away, or schedule one within a few days, select to be contacted via e-mail or text, as well as video chat. Rivard added that “Post pandemic video chat might be up to an 80 percent uptick.”

Rivard noted that the rollout to other markets will be determined by various factors and will be determined when Phase 2 of the campaign is ready as the markets are constantly evolving. Markets being considered include: Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, and various other secondary markets, he added.

“The old way just became new again,” said Rivard. “People today have access to a plethora of online booking algorithms to plan their vacations, but artificial intelligence won’t give you a unique, personalized experience, and it doesn’t particularly care if anything goes wrong. Bots are simply programmed to sell, not care. It’s time for humans to take back what’s rightfully theirs.”

For more information, visit bookhuman.travel or internova.com.

Now, take a look at the ad campaign that will be running: