PERRINPOST.COM
Travel tips from Condé Nast Traveler magazine's Wendy Perrin.
CODE OF ETHICS
Freebies forbidden here! You can trust me because I accept no discounts or payments from any travel company. Learn more.
GET IN TOUCH
Questions: Ask Wendy
Email: wperrin@cntraveler.com
Twitter: wendyperrin
UPDATES ON TWITTER
RECENT COMMENTS
ARCHIVES
FAVORITE TRAVEL TOOLS
SITES WORTH SEEING
Alltop
Boarding Area
BootsnAll Today
Ciao Bambino
The Cranky Flier
The Cruise Log
The Daily Traveler
Delicious Baby
Don's Place
Ed Perkins (Smarter Travel)
Family TravelLogue
Flyertalk
Freakonomics
The Gate
Going Places
Peter Greenberg
High Anxiety
Hotel Hotsheet
Itineraries on Portfolio.com
Joe Sent Me
Johnny Jet
Killing Batteries
Lonely Planet Travel Blog
The Middle Seat
Middle Seat Terminal
Nerd's Eye View
One Mile at a Time
Rick Seaney
Rick Steves
Seat2B
ShipCritic Blog
Soul Travelers 3
Today in the Sky
Travel Deals
Travel Savvy Mom
Treehugger
Upgrade: Travel Better
Viator Travel Blog
View From the Wing
WorldHum
TOPICS COVERED

« Sale on Seabourn's Mediterranean Cruises | Main | Windstar Cruises Sale of 60% Off »

April 10, 2009

Anybody Used Zicasso.com?

by Wendy Perrin

I'm hoping somebody can help me answer this question from reader Dina:

"What is your opinion of Zicasso? I was thinking of using this site to help me plan my trip next year to Paris and Italy. Would you recommend it?"

My understanding of how Zicasso works is that travelers looking for customized itineraries fill out a lengthy list of parameters (destination, dates, favorite activites, etc.) and Zicasso's global network of tour operators and travel agents respond with up to three trip options. You peruse the itineraries and book the one that's right for you.

I haven't used Zicasso, though, nor have I heard feedback from any Conde Nast Traveler readers who have, so I can't tell you how well it works. What I can tell you is that, after 20 years of interviewing thousands of tour operators and travel agents for projects for Conde Nast Traveler, the best I've found for France and Italy are on my annually updated list of the world's top travel specialists. You can read reviews of these travel planners, from Conde Nast Traveler readers who've booked trips through them, here.

Meanwhile, does anyone have feedback about Zicasso to share with Dina? I'd love to hear. Thanks!

Comments

I used Zicasso recently for my 7 week sabbatical which consisted of a 4 week volunteer stay in Laos, and 3 weeks of travel elsewhere in SE Asia. I was very pleased with them and would use them again. I was in a situation of not having the time to plan my travel. Zicasso was extremely helpful. Travel has changed b/c of the internet and proliferation of travel guides. Instead of not having enough information to plan with, we have too much. A high touch service like Zicasso allows you to sort the wheat from the chaff, making it easier to make choices. Like an online dating site, you enter your preferences in travel: where you want to go, how many children, when, what kinds of accommodations you favor (big high rises, small historical hotels, bungalows, etc.), what you want to see, and, wonderfully, what you don't. You have plenty of chances to answer these questions in your own words as well as clicking on check boxes. Importantly, they ask in what planning stage you are (from just dreaming to pricing out options). From this they get a sense of the type of traveler you are (are you a "Lonely Planet" backpacker, or do you keep your Guide Michelin in one of your multiple Louis Vuittons?) They next put you in touch with several of their network of travel companies who then will propose a program for you. You work extensively with them to hone in on exactly what you want. When you get back, Zicasso asks you exactly how it all went, and I believe they have fairly strict criteria for keeping their partners in their network- I think it was 4 out of 5 stars. It's just a great idea for people who want good, regional/local advice that meets your travel style. I will definitely employ them again for my next adventure.

I am the CEO of Tripology (www.tripology.com) a separate (yet similar concept) travel referral service which also matches consumers with qualified travel specialists. We currently have over 12,500 global travel specialists in our network. To answer your question, I've highlighted some reasons why an online travel referral site like Tripology.com can bring consumers real value when planning their next vacation (and why these sites should be used in addition to your list of the world's top travel specialists):

* When up to three qualified travel specialists (a.k.a. Triplogists) respond to your trip request, you receive three times the number of suggestions on the best places to eat, things to do and places to see in that destination (that are all tailored to your personal interests). Basically, that's a lot of great vacation advice from travel experts! Because multiple agents are sending itineraries to you, they each bring a different perspective on what you should see and do while in that destination - so it's a great way to collect free and useful information on the destination (rather than just relying on one agent - you can combine ideas that three agents give you to customize your perfect vacation itinerary).

*Tripology can also be used to get great vacation ideas and travel "inspiration." For example, Tripology offers trip ideas based on specific activities (examples: voluntourism, hiking, horseback riding), a region of the world (examples: Indian Ocean, Southeastern Asia) or by occasions (family reunions / honeymoons/babymoons/language learning - you name it, we've thought of it). Therefore, if you don't have a specific vacation in mind and are looking for a little inspiration - these sites are a great place to begin your initial travel/vacation "brainstorming."

* And finally, since budgets are tight right now, Tripology allows you to fill out a trip request with your "maximum and minimum" budgetary restraints, so that your matched travel agents will customize an itinerary that will be in line with your requested budget. This is helpful because it allows you to see what types of things you'll actually be able to do in that destination (that are within your budget), and it will also allow you to "comparatively" shop the best deals that the three agents find - so you end up saving the most money in the end.

I hope this offers some insight into how travelers can find real value in using these free consumer travel referral sites! There's no doubt the specialists you have on your list are wonderful experts, but there are others out there as well.

If anyone has any questions about Tripology, please let me know.

Finally, keep up the great work on this blog. It is so very informative. Despite my busy schdule, I have it on my "must-read" list.

Best,

John T. Peters/CEO
www.Tripology.com

I recently lauched a new travel web site http://www.bluehippotravel.com which is a fun and unusual travel site because:

* You can search for hotels by unique hotel amenity like outdoor showers, private hot tub, jungle lodge and more.
* You can also search by sunny weather for last minute travel deals, which lets you see all the sunny places on the planet for the next 5 days in one easy view, with links to last minute hotel booking for those locations.
* You can plan a road trip world wide with a Google map feature integrated with the unique hotel amenity options
* Search for hotels by island

I welcome any feedback and suggestions. As always, I'm a huge fan of the Perrin Post!

Laura
editor/founder

I always wondered what the CEO of Tripology did with his free time.
Personally, I am the CEO of my website, MyTravelAdvice.net. http://www.mytraveladvice.net/ MyTravelAdvice.net actually uses the power of Tripology in our search results. Thus, when someone clicks a destination on my website, by the courtesy of Tripology, they are connected with up to three travel folks experienced with their destination. Using my services to get their services is a big no-brainer because it is all 100% free. Yes indeed. Tons and tons of time saving travel advice from folks who know and are struggling very hard to be your favorite travel supplier! You pay only when and if you decide to purchase something from them...services, travel package...whatever.
It is a great concept for all involved. My part is to introduce you to the whole thing. So, when you have an itch to travel, use MyTravelAdvice.net to scratch it. Everybody will be glad!

I always wondered what the CEO of Tripology did with his free time.
Personally, I am the CEO of my website, MyTravelAdvice.net. http://www.mytraveladvice.net/ MyTravelAdvice.net actually uses the power of Tripology in our search results. Thus, when someone clicks a destination on my website, by the courtesy of Tripology, they are connected with up to three travel folks experienced with their destination. Using my services to get their services is a big no-brainer because it is all 100% free. Yes indeed. Tons and tons of time saving travel advice from folks who know and are struggling very hard to be your favorite travel supplier! You pay only when and if you decide to purchase something from them...services, travel package...whatever.
It is a great concept for all involved. My part is to introduce you to the whole thing. So, when you have an itch to travel, use MyTravelAdvice.net to scratch it. Everybody will be glad!

I always wondered what the CEO of Tripology did with his free time.
Personally, I am the CEO of my website, MyTravelAdvice.net. http://www.mytraveladvice.net/ MyTravelAdvice.net actually uses the power of Tripology in our search results. Thus, when someone clicks a destination on my website, by the courtesy of Tripology, they are connected with up to three travel folks experienced with their destination. Using my services to get their services is a big no-brainer because it is all 100% free. Yes indeed. Tons and tons of time saving travel advice from folks who know and are struggling very hard to be your favorite travel supplier! You pay only when and if you decide to purchase something from them...services, travel package...whatever.
It is a great concept for all involved. My part is to introduce you to the whole thing. So, when you have an itch to travel, use MyTravelAdvice.net to scratch it. Everybody will be glad!


just returned from three week Australia trip, arranged by New Zealand Adventure Co., to which I was referred by Zicasso...very pleased with both operations. JFF.

We just returned from an amazing trip through Turkey and Greece that was arranged by Okan Kutlu at TSC Travel ( Tour Specialist Company). We told him certain things we wanted to see and do, how much time we had, and how much money we were willing to spend; and he provided us with a terrific itinerary. All of the arrangements he made--hotels, transfers, internal flights--were perfect. We did have a couple of minor issues (a no-show transfer, and some flight changes) with the Greece portion of the trip, which was subcontracted to Boutros Tours. But on the whole it was great and we would definitely work with Okan and www.GreeceTourSpecialist.com again. Our hotels were in excellent locations...in the heart of Old Istanbul; right near the Acropolis in Athens; right on the beach in Rhodes.

I used Zicasso last year for a trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. They were awesome. The travel agent that worked with us customized the trip to make it everything we wanted it to be. Everything was flawless. I just sent off a request to Zicasso for this summer's travel to Europe. I highly recommend this service. They take your business seriously.

click to post a comment >