A Travel Agency has performed numerous functions in today’s world. Therefore, to understand the functions of a travel agency, it will be wise if we first understand who is a travel agency.
- WHO IS A TRAVEL AGENCY?
- THE ROLES OF THE TRAVEL AGENCY
- WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AGENCY?
- The types of travel agency
WHO IS A TRAVEL AGENCY?
A travel agency is a middleman acting on behalf of the client. One of the main functions of the travel agency is to make an arrangement with suppliers of travel. The suppliers can be airlines, hotels, railways, etc. Thus, the travel agents sell the service products to the client and get commissioned from the suppliers of travel.
A travel agency can be an individual, business or company. They operate as intermediaries in selling and promoting various travel-related services. For example, accommodation, airlines, railways, road transport, cruises, etc. They earn a commission from selling services to their customers.
The travel agent serves as intermediaries between the service suppliers and customers. They sell the product to the customers. Sometimes the travel agent market supplier’s goods and services such as various types of hotels, transportation, operators, airlines, railways, cruise operators, etc.
Thus, the travel agent plays a significant role in developing and promoting travel sales. They placed all the components of the tourism goods together and sell them to visitors.
To know the history of travel, click history of travel
THE ROLES OF THE TRAVEL AGENCY
The roles of the travel agency are vital in the travel industry. They help to promote and developed travel sales. The travel agency put together different services of tourism products and sell them to the clients.
The travel agent also acts as a broker between the client and the suppliers. They bring together the buyers and sellers of tourism services. The service providers include hotels, car rentals, tour companies, etc.
Therefore, the travel agent must be aware of the flight schedule, flight route, currency, tourists’ places, etc. They are like a retail store that serves all the travel requirements of the client. Thus the travel agent has not only served the client but also gives business to various service providers. In short, they are travel specialists who save the client time and money.
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE TRAVEL AGENCY?
Since the travel agent is a middle man between the client and the services suppliers, they play major functions in the development of the tourism industry.
The travel agency performs several tasks such as providing information about travel. This job is one most significant and fundamental tasks.
The travel agency must know the tourist’s destinations, distance from the airports/railways station, etc. He should also know the different categories of hotels and the services provided by them. The staff should be good in the local language, English and foreign languages when they deal with foreign countries.
The functions of the travel agency are:
TRAVEL AGENCY PROVIDE TRAVEL-RELATED INFORMATION
To provide travel information is one of the basic functions of the travel agent. The agent should have details knowledge of tourist places, flight schedule, hotel discount, and must be aware of the services provided by the suppliers. Therefore, travel agents must have knowledge of travel-related information.
The staff working in the travel agent should be polite and fluent in various languages. If the agent is dealing with a foreign client they should be able to speak a foreign language, with local clients they should be able to communicate with the local language, vice versa.
TRAVEL AGENCY ORGANIZE TRAVEL PLAN
After the travel agent receives the travel preferences from the client, the next function of the agent is to prepare the travel plan. Therefore, the travel agent should collect the date of travel, duration, places to visit, hotels, mode of transport, etc. After taking all the required travel details, the agent should prepare the travel as per the requirement of the client.
A travel plan is a sequential program that defines the starting points, places, hotels, food, mode of transport and other appropriate travel information.
TRAVEL AGENCY ACT AS A LINK WITH TRAVEL SUPPLIERS
The travel agent maintains a close link with the travel suppliers. The travel suppliers include airlines, railways, hotels, and other related travel suppliers. Thus, the agent contacts the suppliers before selling the services to the client; they negotiate for the best price on behalf of the clients.
Once the negotiation is done, the travel agent sells the service to the client on behalf of the service providers. The agent received the commissioned from the suppliers; the commission percent usually ranges from 5 to 20 percent.
After the travel plan is prepared and the negotiation with the suppliers for the price is done, the next work of travel agent is to do tour costing. However, tour costing differs from the services opted by travelers. The price of the tour is charged based on per person.
It is one of the most common functions of travel agents. The travel agency has two sub-department for ticketing. One for domestic ticketing and global ticketing. The staff at the ticketing department should be aware of the scheduled flights of various airlines.
Therefore, the ticketing staff should know the airfare, special fares, airline codes, airline class, cancellation procedure, and other ticketing-related services.
In addition, the staff must have up-to-date details of the airlines and should know the computer reservation system (CSR).
Staff should also be familiar with different global distribution systems such as Amadeus, Galileo, and sabre.
SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS
The settlement is made with the tourism suppliers for the services they have bought on behalf of the client. The travel agent staff working in the accounting department must be familiar with currency, exchange regulations, etc.
TRAVEL AGENCY ORGANIZED BUSINESS TOUR
One of the major works of travel agencies which are in demand is handling business tour. Business travelers might be travel to a place for certain reasons for their work. For example, attending a business meeting, conferences, selling products. Thus, the travel agent must know the requirements of the business travelers and the reason for the travels.
The main function of a travel agent for a business tour is to arrange the venues for meetings, exhibitions, hotels, sightseeing, and other related services to business.
TRAVEL AGENCY HANDLES RESERVATION
After getting all the travel details and confirmation from the client, the next work is to book airline seats, hotels, transport, etc. for the client. Therefore, while booking the seat the travel agent must be familiar with the codes of airlines and hotels.
After the initial payment is made and booking is confirmed, the tickets, travel plan, travel vouchers should be handed over to the client.
Therefore, due to the various functions of travel agencies, it eases travel.
People travel for various reasons. Thus, the reasons and motivations for travel differ from every traveler. Click here to know the reasons and motivators of travel.
The types of travel agency
Retail Travel Agency
They sell various travel-related services directly to their customers. They act on behalf of the main service provider/suppliers. Such as hotels, airlines, cruises, railways, coach operators, etc. They receive a commission from the service and may add mark-up in return. Thus, the travel agency earns its income from both the suppliers and the mark-up.
Wholesale Travel Agency
They plan, organize, and sell package tours through a travel agency or directly to the customers. Some travel agencies are both retail and wholesale. For eg Thomas Cook.
They purchase the product from the main providers and sell them directly to the retail travel agency or customers. Therefore, the wholesale travel agency act as a middle man between the main providers and the retail distributors.
They organize and manage all kinds of recreation tours, free individual travel (FITs), group individual travel (GITs), corporate travel.
They organize this kind of tour for inbound and domestic travelers. This type of travel agency operates on various work, such as the recreation, inbound, outbound, trade fair, accounts and so on.
They handle corporate travel needs. So, such agencies are found in business hubs and only serve business travel.
Therefore, walk-in or individual travel are not served by these agencies. The qualified staff look at the airline, hotel, vehicle, paperwork, etc.
It is a branch office of a full-fledged travel agency. They work on the premises of a corporate office. It handles all the travel needs of the corporate office.
Special Interest Travel Agency
They are specialized in establishing special interest groups’ tour programs. Such as adventure, wildlife, religion, etc.
Online Travel Agents (OTA)
They are the latest trend for travel agents. For eg makemytrip.com is known as online travel agents (OTAs) or e-retailers.
Therefore, these web portals enable consumers to obtain data and make the booking online.
THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE TRAVEL AGENCY IN TOURISM INDUSTRY
After the travel agency came into the picture in the industry, there is a growth in the sale of airline seats. Most of the travelers booked airline tickets through a travel agency. Therefore, we can see there is a 58% increase in airlines travels in the year 2018 as compared to 2000.
To know the history of travel agency, click the history of a travel agency.
Thus, a travel agent serves as a link between the principal travel suppliers and the client. Therefore, the travel agent negotiates for the best price with the travel suppliers on behalf of the client. The travel agent put together all the tourism services such as hotels, transport, etc. and sell it to the client. They collect the travel preferences of the client and make bookings accordingly.