02 Jun Spicy Spotlight | Lola
Travel Made Simpler
Going on a trip is something we all look forward to. Planning it? Not so much. It’s no secret that travel planning is one of the largest hassles to face, especially if you travel frequently for business. This exact dilemma is what prompted Kayak co-founder Paul English to start his innovative new travel company Lola.
Lola is a travel app that uses an intuitive mix of Artificial Intelligence and real humans on the other end of the line to help you design your perfect trip. Founded out of Boston in 2015, Lola aims to provide instant access to a personal travel service with a built-in recommendation engine.
When first using the app, the user is prompted to create a personal profile. This is set up by answering a handful of simple questions about your travel and hospitality preferences in addition to the loyalty services you already use. Once these are answered, the user is directed to the main menu where they can plan multiple trips at the same time. Each one has “Chat” and “Trip” tabs where the itinerary is listed.
Your Very Own Travel Agent
The chat interface for planning your trip is where Lola really shows its innovative design. Users simply send a message with the details of their trip, and are assisted by a combination of Lola’s AI (named “Harrison”) and a personal, human travel agent. In my experience with the app I received quick responses and great assistance from my personal agent.
You’ll be presented with options for hotels and flights, and your selections will then be bundled into a single order. The interface for presenting these options is simple yet very appealing. Plug in your payment info, then it’s all taken care of and you’re ready to go. Your trip itinerary can then be accessed at any time, and old trips can be archived.
Right now Lola is free, but has a $25 service charge for planning flights.
What we love most about Lola is how it combines the power and speed of a machine-learning AI with the human touch via the chat interface. While Lola provides the ever-growing power of Harrison to get quick, intuitive suggestions, we still get the opportunity to chat with a real person on the other end of the line. Lola streamlines the burdensome travel process in a sleek, functional way, and that’s why we recommend it so highly.
However, Lola’s story does not end there. At the moment, you cannot book a trip past September 15 of this year. This is because Lola is rolling out an even more impressive version of the application this summer. Interested users can sign up to beta-test through Apple’s TestFlight service. It has also been hinted that a membership program for the service may lie down the road. Lola has also mentioned plans to go international in 2018.