Dublin, Ireland, July 17, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Technology may have revolutionized the travel industry, but sometimes you can’t beat the human touch. Take Textamundo, a new text messaging help service for travelers, which has just been extended to 198 countries, including the USA and Canada. If you’ve ever found yourself texting someone back home and asking them to check the internet, then you’ll get the idea. The perfect filter between a text message and a search engine turns out to be a person, who can decipher your question and reply with sensible location and user-specific answers.
“The typical Textamundo user is someone in a fix” says company founder, Denis Costello. “75% are overseas when they text us. A lot of questions are transport related, but they can ask for anything. In almost every case, the answer is on-line, and we can respond in less than ten minutes”. A surprisingly frequent user is the frustrated motorist who finds that their destination is not listed in their satnav system. “They send us the name of a hotel or whatever, and we send back the GPS coordinates which they key into the satnav”.
Costello says he saw the need for the service during years working on the road for technology companies. “I found myself paying ridiculous rates for WiFi access, just to go on-line for a minute to check something. And using a mobile for internet access overseas was even more expensive. A quick question by text to someone was always a better option”.
Textamundo replicates that “friend at home” approach, but offers it as a professional, 24/7 service. Each answer costs 95 cents (£0.55, €0.65), of which the answering agent gets about half. The service works from over 500 mobile networks, while the agent may be anywhere in the world. The agents tend to be helpful, well-travelled types who also know the byways of the internet, and how to sort through the dross to find an accurate answer quickly. And since Textamundo does not operate as a travel agency, any recommendations offered are independent.
In the future, more people may use internet services from their mobiles while traveling, but today it is only the “early adopters” and the price-insensitive who use web services while roaming. In contrast, almost every mobile user is comfortable with text messaging – also known as SMS - and it is a robust and cheap method of communication. Costello says that most users so far are European-based, and this reflects the relatively low SMS usage in North America. “We are excited to have launched the service in the North America, where texting is growing fast. I think the next step will be to offer e-mail and instant-message access, to reach Blackberry and iPhone users. But texting has got a long future yet”.