Sometimes a package holiday will do the job but they are not for everyone. Recognising this, luxury travel agent Black Tomato has launched a new “Panic Button” service for people who need to book a last-minute trip without having to compromise on accommodation or highly personalised itineraries.

The company says: “Our team of experienced Panic Experts will be at the ready to craft an entirely bespoke, Black Tomato journey – nothing cookie-cutter – at a moment’s notice.”

By clicking the Panic Button in the lower right-hand corner of the website, a new window will pop up prompting people to fill in a short yet detailed questionnaire.

Questions might include:

  • Why the sudden panic?
  • What’s the minimum/maximum amount of time you can be away for?
  • What kind of experiences would you like to enjoy whilst away? Are you travelling with someone and what’s the occasion?
  • Pick your two/three most important landscapes or environments that will appeal to you.
  • Would you be open to visiting more than one country in your trip?
  • Are there any destinations you would prefer us to avoid suggesting?

Upon receipt, clients will receive a call within minutes to discuss their options and requirements, and within 24 hours Black Tomato will produce one or two complete sample itineraries.Travel planningBlack Tomato says: “Travellers will need flexibility and an open mind as we’re not offering numerous options but one or two. Quite simply, if travellers just have just a few hours to book this, they’re going to have to lean on our expertise.

“Our travel experts know the world landscape and how best to navigate it on a whim, including capitalising on which time-zones will allow for the quickest responses from properties or contacts on the ground that have the flexibility to turn ideas into reality overnight.”

Although prices will depend entirely on the specifics of the trip, Black Tomato explains that, of course, this level of service comes at a premium. “We’ll work around the clock, pull the right strings, get the general manager out of bed to confirm the best room or the pre-eminent Chinese historian on the phone to arrange a private after hours tour of the Great Wall. We will master the complicated logistics, chartering boats if a ferry doesn’t run on selected dates, for example.”

If you are someone who plans your holidays well in advance, then using the Panic Button is not something you will relate to. However, for others, this kind of emergency service will be right up their street and sits nicely alongside the “surprise travel” trend that has been emerging of late.

Here are three Panic Button examples from Black Tomato explaining how they helped individuals in need…

The panicked romantic in Morocco

“We were approached by a client who, for various reasons had left his honeymoon planning to the very last minute. A day before his wedding he got in touch and, after a thorough consultation with one of our team, we followed up with a quote that morning, and by the very same evening their dream honeymoon to Morocco was all booked. He could enjoy his wedding stress free, and two days later they were celebrating under the stars on a private roof terrace overlooking Marrakech, whilst being serenaded by a musician and enjoying the couples’ favourite bottle of wine, which we had imported for them.”

The spontaneous culinary-traveller in Argentina

“We had a client reach out to us from New York who had some some plans fall through for the weekend ahead. She was a chef and wanted to enjoy a weekend away discovering a new food scene. She got in touch on a Wednesday and on Friday flew to Buenos Aires with her friends for a whirlwind weekend of Malbec tasting with famous sommeliers, market and cooking classes with local expert chefs, and touring Buenos Aires’s emerging speakeasy bar scene with a local food blogger.”

The heartbroken extreme adventurer in Iceland

“We were approached by a client whose best friend had broken up with his girlfriend and knowing he had some time off, wanted to plan an epic last-minute adventure to cheer him up. After a consultation, we arranged a week-long adventure. The pair booked and travelled the same day. The trip involved heli-skiing, snowmobiling across glaciers and dinners at some of Reykjavik’s best restaurants.”

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