Travel Agency: Definitions, Types, Functions & Source of Income

Introduction

Travel, whether for business or pleasure, requires arrangements. The traveler usually faces a variety of choices regarding transportation and accommodations; and if the trip is for pleasure, there are a variety of choices regarding destinations, at- tractions, and activities. The traveler may gather information on prices, value, schedules, characteristics of the destination, and available activities directly, investing a considerable amount of time on the Internet or possibly money on long-distance telephone calls to complete the trip arrangements. Alternatively, the traveler may use the services of a travel agency, obtaining all these arrangements at no cost or for a small fee.

Definitions: 

Travel agency:

The travel agency is one of the most important organizations in the tourism private sector that plays a significant and crucial role in the entire process of developing and promoting tourism in the country or at the destination. It is a travel agency that packages and processes all the attractions, accesses, amenities, and ancillary services of a country and presents them to tourists. That’s why travel agencies are known as image builders of a country. A prospective travel agency is one that makes arrangements of travel tickets (air, rail, road, and sea); travel documents (passport, visa, and other documents for travel), accommodation, entertainment, and other travel-related services from the principal suppliers. It may also secure travel insurance, foreign currency for the traveling people.

A travel agency may either be one of a chain of retail outlets or a single operation. The work of the larger agencies is often divided between different divisions, e.g. counter service, business travel, and foreign exchange. In smaller concerns, each member of the staff will have to handle many aspects of the agency’s business. Some agencies limit their activities to arranging travel and/or holidays to a specific area, but most cater for a very much wider demand and fulfill all the functions associated with acting as an intermediary between the providers of holidays, transport, accommodation, etc., and the client. Companies that deal only with business travel are called Business Travel Houses. They may also be responsible for dealing with the planning, publicity, and bookings for trade fairs and conferences.

Travel agency sales clerks take bookings on behalf of tour operators, sell tickets for travel, make hotel bookings, take payments from the public and give advice, on types of holidays, methods of travel, passports, visas, traveler’s cheques, foreign currency, etc., They need to have a good knowledge of the products and destinations offered by the tour operating and travel companies. Managers and assistant managers are responsible for the day-to-day operation of branch offices. This includes staffing, marketing, accountancy, complaints, etc. Travel managers should have professional qualifications and experience. In a small agency, training will probably be on-the-job. Large companies may offer a training program. The main features of travel agency business are:

  • An important link between the clients and principal suppliers.
  • Image builder.
  • Ensures rapid travel service.
  • Provider of authentic and reliable travel information.
  • A social and continuous process.
  • Establishes good relationships with clients and vendors.

Travel Agent:

An agent is a person acting for, or employed by, the principal. If a company appoints another person to act for it in the course of business, that person becomes the agent, whether the appointment is full-time or part-time and whether or not the agent receives a fixed salary or a fee from the company. In a travel agent, any individual director or employee or a self-employed person acting for the travel agent is an agent of the company.

Travel agents work with clients, saving them time and money with a personal touch. Using the latest computer reservation technologies, travel agents are able to access the most up-to-date information.

A travel agent is thus an expert, knowledgeable in schedules, routing, lodging, currency, prices, regulations, destinations, and all other aspects of travel and travel opportunities. In short, the travel agent is a specialist and counselor.

Types of travel agency

Travel agencies are broadly divided into a wholesale and retail travel agencies for the distribution of sale of tourism services. In addition to this classification, travel agencies can also be classified as implant agencies, conference organizers, meeting planners, trade fair organizers, etc.