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9 Different Types of Travel Agents

A man handing a passport to a lady.

There are three main categories of travel agents: business, special interest, and leisure, and they fall into six types. These are:

  • Global distribution systems
  • Online travel agents
  • Guest information centers
  • Hotel and concierge agents
  • Inbound tour operators
  • Independent travel agents

Remember when we had to go to a travel agency and sit for a long time to book a trip or a tour? Those days are long gone. There are travel agents just about anywhere, from online to hotels and even independent agents. 

Some people think they don’t need a travel advisor until their plans begin to go awry. Plus, tour operators need them. Travel agents were and still are relevant today. Let’s look at the different types of travel agents, their role, and their relevance.

Types of Travel Agents

Here are the six different types of travel agents:

Global Distribution Systems

One of the many ways that tourists can get their travel needs met is through a global distribution system. A corporation manages the computerized network system, which makes online reservations possible through the facilitation of transactions. 

Global distribution systems will be used by both online and offline agents to reserve current travel experiences at a certain location. The most popular global distribution helps you boost your digital delivery and acquire more bookings. 

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These systems want to cooperate with tour operators who make their activities and excursions available for convenient internet booking. The majority of global distribution systems rely on real-time inventory from service providers.

Online Travel Agents

A person looking on a travel agency website.

A web-based system where tourists may organize and make travel arrangements straight from their internet sites is known as an online travel agency (OTA). They depend on the simplicity and comfort of the Internet to construct bundles for their customers.

As a result, a growing number of vacationers are searching for the best ways to plan all-inclusive vacations that cover everything from transportation to lodging and activities.

Travel and tour companies can expand their digital delivery by building ties with online travel agents. A commission can be earned by utilizing an online booking system, which enables online travel agents to book directly with you and receive compensation.

Centers for Tourist Information

A tourist information station is a one-stop store where tourists may buy souvenirs and get free advice on things to do, places to stay, maps, and other useful information about the area. With this, they are a popular location for tourists who are new to the area and want to learn more about the local culture.

Tourist information centers, which are frequently run by local governments, confer legitimacy on the advice and assistance they provide.

If you want your local tourist information center to book your trips and activities for you, let them know. As a result, they’ll be more likely to spread the word about your products.

Independent Travel Agents

A couple and a travel agent on a laptop.

For most passengers, independent travel agencies are the preferred retail travel agents.

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To incorporate travel experiences that their clientele is interested in, travel agents, whether offline or online, want to tailor the itinerary they provide for them.

You may enhance your online distribution by working with individual travel agencies and utilizing distribution technology entities. To make it easier for agents to promote your service.

The commission percentages for independent travel agents will vary from one agent to the next. Between 15% and 25% is typical for independent agencies that schedule your events.

Organizers of Outbound Tours

Inbound tour operators, are regarded as specialists in a certain location and are aware of the best excursions and activities in the area. 

Working with these advisors to sell your products is advantageous because they advocate these outings to their clientele. They are more likely to recommend safe, exciting trips that are simple to book if they have worked with them before.

Travel Agent Categories

Here are the three travel agent categories:

1. Business Travel Agents

Business travel agents walking on an airport.

Work or business-related travelers. This group of commuters heads to and from work every day from their homes.

Elements

Commuters need to concentrate on efficiency and timeliness when they travel. It’s not uncommon for business travelers to plan their entire journey around a single event or meeting. 

To stay productive when traveling, they chose workstations in the hotel rooms with high-speed web access. To make things easier, guests should be able to walk or use public transportation to and from their place of business.

Openings for Travel Agents

Business tourism is a multi-trillion-dollar industry, and travel agents may capitalize on this opportunity. Every day, up to 1.1 million individuals in the United States travel for work. This group of tourists is looking for a hassle-free journey. As a result, you’ll be called upon.

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Travelers on business trips prefer to concentrate on their job rather than on the details of their journey. An excellent opportunity to select a hotel room with luxuries that will let the client forget they are even outside their hometowns is presented by the travel agent. As a result, understanding what a booking system is and how to utilize it effectively is critical.

Breakfast in the am, espresso in the foyer, and a fitness center are among the amenities that business travelers look for while they’re on the road for long periods. If your team manages to arrange appropriate lodging for a business traveler, you’ll have a satisfied and productive customer.

To get to and from work, commuters are more likely to be on the road. Loyalty programs are a terrific way to keep customers coming back to your business over and over again. Travelers will want to utilize your firm more often as their royalties grow, which will keep them invested in your brand.

Risks

In the event you play your chips properly as a travel agent and schedule hundreds of trips for a corporation, there are risks involved. But if something goes awry, it may suddenly turn from countless business visits to booking for one firm to none. In the travel agency industry, you need to be aware of the potential dangers.

Whenever it comes to corporate travel, there is no margin for error, since most appointments may not wait for a tardy attendee. Before the start of the project, everything must be planned out and accounted for. If the client is late for a business meeting, the meeting may be canceled, resulting in lost revenue, time, and labor for the business traveler.

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If you’re going on a trip, it’s important to think about possible health concerns. A business vacation is not a time to put off illness, accidents, or catastrophes. You may want to recommend that the company purchase Business Travel Accident (BTA) insurance to fully safeguard the firm’s travelers.

The traveler must be satisfied if your travel agency provides a journey that emphasizes punctuality and convenience.

2. Special Tourism Agents

Special tourism agents celebrating while looking on a tablet.

This type of travel caters to the interests and desires of the individual traveler. When it comes to special interest tourism, the goal is to get an exceptional experience that directly relates to the preferences of the traveler.

Elements

Special interest travelers have a wide range of features, as they are all based on the preferences of the individual traveler. There are a wide number of possibilities, including gourmet tours, religious travel, cultural trips, and more. 

The underlying denominator among these travelers is a great passion for something and a desire to travel the world to further explore this obsession.

Openings for Travel Agents

Determine the purpose of the trip – Is it to unwind and relax? Is the purpose of this journey to learn and grow? Is the goal to see as many of the big tourist destinations as possible? Accommodations can be made once the purpose of the trip has been determined.

Create tour offers that will pique your client’s interest when it comes to customizing a trip for them. Packages appeal to special interest visitors since they are cost-effective and focus on what they want to see and do.

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An adventure package is a traditional special-interest package. All of the area’s top places to visit would be included in this itinerary. People who are willing to take risks will be drawn to your website if you offer zip-lining, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing. You can guarantee that your consumers will have the vacation of a lifetime if you provide them with the most exciting options.

A rapidly growing segment of the travel industry is wellness tourism. These tours are specifically designed to focus on health, focusing on both physical and emotional well-being. 

Travel companies will make reservations for these customers based on their preferences for health and well-being, including staying in hotels with exercise facilities, eating at restaurants with organic options, and staying in places with plenty of greenery.

A travel agent may be contacted by someone in need of medical treatment. Because the patient doesn’t live in an area where medical aid is needed, medical tourism is a necessity. 

In any case, the patient already has a lot on their plate, and they don’t want the excessive strain of travel or hotel reservations on top of everything else. The treatment isn’t accessible in their homeland, or there may be better doctors abroad.

Risks

Due to needing to function as the liaison between the customer and the many tour operators, excursions, and activities, there is some risk for travel agents. Because of this, many people rely on the services of travel host agencies.

The client has placed their trust in you and your organization, and this is where tour operators come into play. The customer will come to you if something turns out badly.

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Therefore, keep communication open between the two of you. To serve your customers with the highest service, you should have a list of organizations you can rely on.

To avoid a last-minute withdrawal from either side, you should plan. You should specify the dates by which cancellations are accepted and whether or not there will be a fee for doing so. There must be no misunderstandings when the day of the scheduled events approaches if you provide all the relevant information.

Unexpected medical concerns are another issue for tourists with specialized interests. Terrible events might occur when a trip is centered on being adventurous, tasting new foods, or getting medical treatment done.

Travel insurance is the right strategy to avoid any potential issues. This will protect your traveler in the event of an emergency, but ideally, it will never be needed.

3. Travel Agencies for the Leisure Traveler

A world map, compass and other travel material.

Travelers who want to get away from the daily grind. Those that travel for leisure are more concerned about having fun and having a good time.

Elements

People who go on vacation tend to be alone or with a small group of relatives and friends. All of these tours are geared toward leisure, exploration, and fun.

There are several aspects of a leisure trip that include eating at fine restaurants, staying in luxury hotels, lounging by the pool or beach, and seeing tourist attractions.

Those who prefer a more authentic travel experience, however, may choose to backpack around a new location, overnight in hostels, steer clear of the most popular tourist attractions, and learn about the history and culture of the place they’re visiting. Online travel agencies can only provide this level of service.

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Openings for Travel Agents

There are numerous options for the travel agent to personalize a client’s journey while they are going for pleasure. An experienced traveler can help you get the most out of your vacation.

With a cruise, you don’t have the burden of choosing your itinerary, so you can relax and unwind. In one transaction, a cruise provides transportation, meals, amusement, and a place to stay. If a family is looking for a getaway from their bustling daily routine, this kind of trip is an excellent option.

In most cases, a customer will know where they want to go, but they will need assistance working out how to fill their days. A seasoned traveler can provide their recommendations for the must-see attractions, the best restaurants, and fun activities for the entire group. To ensure that your customers get the most value for their money, your travel firm can put together a well-thought-out itinerary.

When the word “leisure” is used, the first thing that comes up is sitting by a pool, reading a book, and wearing floppy hats. Travel agents that can propose a variety of resorts to potential customers are more likely to get the best deal. Travelers will love a hotel that is located close to a beautiful beach, has an on-site spa, and has a fitness facility.

Risks

There are few risks involved in working with leisure visitors. If something goes wrong, it usually doesn’t have a major impact on the holiday because the timetable is so slack.

There is an increasing trend for clients to submit evaluations on web forums. Internet sites like TripAdvisor make it easy for customers to sing your firm’s praises while also calling it out when it makes a mistake in the public eye.

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Image and reputation may be ruined in a matter of minutes thanks to the power of the internet, and dissatisfied consumers are quick to spread the word.