Should Thomas Cook launch a restaurant?NewsBy Alex Bainbridge | November 23, 2011Share This article was originally published on With the newspapers full of travel shop closures and general high street woes, perhaps it's time to borrow from another sector.Until now much of the efforts of travel technologists has been in removing the leisure travel agent from the marketing and booking process.Who needs brochures when you have video? Who needs staff when you can invest in a whizzy user interface and conversion funnel analysis?This probably makes the remaining agents quite rightly wary of technology and travel technologists. Beware of geeks bearing gifts.But can travel technologists help travel agents rather than just try to further obsolesce them?Do we have an alternative proposal that might simultaneously solve the "selling the destination experience" problem (hard to do on a 2D computer screen) whilst retaining valuable front line human travel agents within the travel industry.Inspired by the over consumption of alcohol and food I have an idea.What do people do when they go out in the evening? At least in the UK they tend to go to a restaurant and that restaurant tends to present as an overseas experience. We all love Indian, Thai or Mexican restaurants in the UK.But how do you go from someone being interested in a Mexican evening out to using that experience to promote booking a holiday to Mexico next year? If you do a deal with a Mexican restaurant, doesn't this limit you to promoting Mexico - how are you going to sell Egypt?Restaurant technology has the answer.Imagine a restaurant that using digital projectors and other props could easily convert from presenting one country to another. Run an Egypt theme night one night and Mexican the next.Use Inamo restaurant style interactive tables (E-Table Interactive) to present holiday options to the customers as they dine. Have a button to call a destination expert to your table to talk more about what you could do on holiday. Or let the customer shortlist holiday options for further review later (at home).Effectively a high street travel agent shop open during the day will now be a destination brandable evening experience. Not a brochure rack in sight. Importantly because the customer is also being entertained for the evening they are likely to pay to be marketed to.....Perhaps travel agents can learn to love travel technologists after all.