New travel agency tackles travel chaos

Laney Griffo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – Trips rarely go as smoothly as expected and while hiccups are to be expected, some incidents can be embarrassing, stressful, and in some cases a little scary.

Meyers local Kayla Glanville uses her years of experience in the tech industry and her personal travel experience to take the travel chaos away with her new business, Upaway.

In the early 2010s, Glanville worked for Nike as part of the digital team, helping Nike build an online community. She left Nike to join Twitter, where she worked on the travel team. While at Twitter, she partnered with travel brands to help them use Twitter better. In this role, she began to recognize the problems within the travel industry.

She said she saw that the majority of trips were made by the richest 1% of earners and heard comments from minorities who said they did not feel supported and felt vulnerable during the trip. their movements.

Plus, she said she saw travel companies being stereotypical. They tend to recommend the same experiences to everyone, and usually receive discounts from certain brands, such as airlines or hotel chains, causing them to recommend only those brands.

Glanville did not travel as a child, but during her time with Nike and Twitter, she traveled seven out of eight weeks.

“It was around this time that the seed was planted,” she explained. “I thought, ‘It could be easier. “

While on Twitter, she was also a part of the Twitter Open, which fulfills two roles. The first is internal support for employees, so that they can connect with other employees of the same race, sexual orientation, etc. The second role played by Twitter Open is external influence. Glanville traveled to Washington, DC, to work with the Obama administration on marriage equality, championed the LGBTQ community within the tech industry, and helped take the first trans census.

In 2020, Glanville’s entrepreneurial spirit spoke to her, and she left Twitter to start her own business. Soon after, COVID-19 struck.

“I looked around as things fell apart and said, what can we build? “,” Said Glanville.

She took a travel survey and two questions seemed to resonate with people she spoke to: where do things end up and what happens when things change?

With trips canceled or rescheduled due to the pandemic, there was no easy way to track vouchers or confirmation and change emails. If plans change during a trip, like canceled flights, airline customer service isn’t always the easiest to navigate.

Upaway was born out of a desire to make travel accessible to everyone and to get out of the chaos of travel. The modern travel concierge company uses real people to book trips and solve problems in real time.

“Our job is to act on your behalf,” said Glanville.

There are several things that differentiate Upaway from traditional travel agencies. Its concierge service is available 24/7 and customers are always immediately put in touch with a real person. The employees don’t make any commissions and they work with all the booking sites.

Glanville gave her own example of when the janitorial service was working for her. She was heading to Sacramento to return home for the vacation, but delays on Highway 50 were going to cause her to miss her flight. She only had a service bar and couldn’t make phone calls.

She was able to text the concierge line and they immediately offered her three new flight options. Since all of her information is part of her profile, they were able to book her on the flight that suited her best. No stress, no different calls and no waiting while time is running out – everything was resolved for her via SMS.

The service is subscription based. It’s $ 50 to have a managed trip, $ 75 per month, or $ 252 for an annual membership.

Upaway also offers à la carte services. For $ 5, a concierge will make a last minute reservation, etc., or for $ 20, they will help you with a task, like finding lost luggage. For free they will give safety advice like is it safe for LGBTQ couples to hold hands in public or what is the tipping situation? they also give travel recommendations and quick answers to travel questions.

Glanville prides itself on having a diverse workforce.

“We have a lot of women, parents, single mothers, people historically excluded from travel,” Glanville said.

Upaway will soon be launching an app that will have all confirmation numbers and booking information in one place, look for holes in the trip, and alert your emergency contact when you have checked in at all of your locations.

To find out more visit upaway.app/concierge.


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