Meet Your New Digital Travel Agent: Pana
Pana is the next-gen travel agent for a generation that doesn't remember travel agents.
Planning a trip is a lot of work, and though researching, booking, and coordinating logistics are easier than ever, sometimes it'd be nice to have someone else to do the heavy-lifing. Enter Pana, one of the new travel apps that'll do just that.
Formerly known as Native, Colorado-based Pana is a new concierge app that takes care of the messy parts of travel: shopping for flights, making hotel reservations, and arranging transportation. Attempting to take over where the travel agent left off, Pana uses what it calls "a combination of live travel experts and the company's artificial intelligence (AI) technology" to enable users to call up information on accommodations, transportation, and dining.
Spending less time Googling and more time sightseeing is a pretty powerful selling point, but Pana may not be a great choice for those who don't travel often. At $25 per month for the Standard Plan (and a steep $250 per month for the Lux Plan), the app is an expensive way to eliminate planning time for those who don't find themselves on the road often.
"Pana is best-suited for anyone who gets on a plane more than a couple times a year—typically business travelers," said Pana CEO Devon Tivona.
The Standard Plan gives users access restaurant suggestions, hotels, airfare, and rental car bookings, as well as proactive contingency plans in case of emergencies or delays. The Lux plan includes all the services from the standard tier, but also includes access to black car services, travel lounges, upgrades, and VIP privileges where available.
The service just might pay for itself in the eyes of frequent jet setters, but what about everyone else?
Pana has announced that they'll be offering a free tier to their membership plans coming this winter. This plan, called Escape, is intended for those who travel primarily for leisure, but specific information on the new plan is still scarce.
"We are still working out many of the details," said a representative of the Escape tier, "but a hallmark of the service will be dedicated, professional leisure specialists on-call 24/7."
In a world that's increasingly complicated by a bevy of online booking sites and research tools, it's easy to feel a little nostalgic for the travel agent-driven days of yore. There's certainly a market for making travel easier, and if Pana can manage to be the new and improved travel agent, it just might be able to tap into it.