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Agents hardly need another reason to untangle the mysteries of the Web. You folks have been hounded on a daily basis with threats that your future options consist of wired or retired. That being said, here's one more: restaurant reservations.

Am I suggesting you pack it in and apply for a job at the local Olive Garden? Not exactly. Fact is, the day when restaurant reservations will be accepted over the Web is not far off. Zagat, publishers of those little red books filled with customer reviews on every practically every restaurant on earth, announced this week that it would begin beta testing an on-line reservation system next year.

As brick-and-mortar agents face the fact that service, rather than order-taking, is crucial to staying afloat in the electronic age, this could prove to be a nice little customer pleaser. Say you're booking a couple on a romantic Paris trip. You'll be able to look up romantic restaurants, let them look at menus, get table availability and guarantee the reservation with a credit card. Pretty nifty, huh?

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