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Types of Travel Agents Around the World

online travel agent holding passports and air tickets

Travelling is one of life’s greatest pleasures. But planning the perfect trip can be a daunting task. This is where travel agents come in, offering their expertise to transform dreams into reality. Around the world, there are various types of travel agents, each specialising in different aspects of travel.

Whether it’s a corporate agent handling business trips, an adventure specialist crafting thrilling escapades or a luxury consultant designing opulent holidays, understanding the diverse roles of these professionals can help travellers find the perfect match for their needs.

Below, we embark on a journey to explore the myriad of travel agents that make exploring the world a seamless and enjoyable experience.

What is a travel agent?

For those of you confused about the different terminology in the world of travel, asking the question: “What is a travel agent?” is only natural. A travel agent is a professional who specialises in helping people make travel arrangements, including individuals, families and businesses.

They act as a go-to source for all travel needs, from booking flights and hotels to organising tours and excursions. Travel agents leverage their extensive knowledge and industry connections to provide personalised recommendations and exclusive deals that aren’t typically available to the general public. 

In today’s fast-paced world, the role of a travel agent has evolved significantly. While many people turn to the internet for DIY travel planning, the expertise of a travel agent can save time, money and stress.

For instance, if a traveller encounters unexpected issues such as flight cancellations or lost reservations, a travel agent can quickly resolve these problems, often securing better outcomes than if the traveller were to handle the situation alone.

One of the key benefits of using a travel agent is their ability to tailor trips to individual preferences and budgets. They take the time to understand their clients’ interests and requirements, ensuring every detail is perfectly arranged. Whether it’s a honeymoon in a tropical paradise, a business trip with tight schedules or a family vacation with diverse activities, travel agents craft itineraries that maximise enjoyment and minimise hassle.

Furthermore, travel agents keep abreast of the latest travel trends, safety advisories and destination-specific information, providing invaluable insights that enhance the travel experience.

They can suggest hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path adventures that may not be found in standard travel guides. Additionally, many travel agents specialise in niche markets, such as adventure travel, luxury travel or eco-friendly tourism, offering expert advice and curated experiences in these areas.

In short, a travel agent is more than just a booking facilitator. They are a trusted advisor who brings a wealth of knowledge and personalised service to the travel planning process by booking various aspects of a trip and assisting individuals or groups in planning their next trip.

What are the different types of travel agents?

Despite the popular belief that there is only one type of travel agent, there are many different types around the world. So, what are the different types of travel agents? Let’s take a closer look below:

High-street travel agents

High-street travel agents work for travel agencies that are often found in major retail centres and on high streets. Also referred to as multiple travel agents due to the fact they often have several brick-and-mortar branches around the country, these travel agents offer a broad range of services that include:

  • Arranging transportation
  • Reserving accommodation
  • Offering tour packages
  • Assisting with travel insurance, passports, visas and documentation
  • Helping with refunds and cancellations

Internet travel agents or online travel agencies (OTAs)

There has been a tremendous rise in OTAs around the world, as these travel agents help people book their holidays using a combination of expertise and technology that offers travellers a great deal of convenience and choice.

So, what benefits do OTAs or call centre travel agents bring to the table? Firstly, they offer accessibility and convenience, without limitations to traditional work hours. They also have a vast selection of offerings, catering to a broad range of travel needs. OTAs also help travellers carry out price comparisons to ensure that they get the best deal. A further advantage is the ability for travellers to enjoy customised and flexible travel packages, perfect for their needs.

As a type of intermediary, internet travel agents act as a bridge between multiple service providers and travellers. They also negotiate better rates for their customers, passing on savings to them. And they can create a streamlined booking process through a single digital platform.

Business travel agents

Business travel agents and agencies focus on the specific needs of their corporate customers. These agents often need to navigate through a range of needs that require precision, efficiency and adaptability. By catering to their customers’ corporate travel needs, taking into consideration their fast-paced work and frequent levels of unpredictability, these travel agents can cater to businesses of all sizes while ensuring they remain within budget.

Some of the services that business travel agencies offer include:

  • Fast bookings
  • Discounted rates
  • Crisis management
  • Travel policy compliance
  • Detailed reporting
  • Traveller safety and security
  • Visa and documentation support

Personal travel agents

And, of course, there are personal travel agents that can help individuals, families and groups have the perfect trip abroad. These professionals can transform travel aspirations into tangible itineraries. They also prioritise customer experiences and expectations by understanding individual needs and bringing forth extensive industry knowledge that their customers can benefit from. A personal travel agent can help with a broad range of travel-related aspects, including but not limited to:

  • Customised holiday packages
  • Detailed itinerary planning
  • Creating specialised experiences
  • Assisting with accommodation and transportation
  • Adding special touches through local expertise
  • Offering continuous support

Examples of some of the types of travel that travellers can enjoy include ecotourism, wellness tourism, cultural tourism, adventure tourism and culinary tourism, among others. So, now that you know what are the different types of travel agents, let’s explore if travel agents are the same as travel consultants.

Are travel agents and travel consultants the same?

While there may be differences in the words used to describe travel agents and travel consultants, they essentially carry out the same roles. While both plan and book holidays, personal travel agents, such as Not Just Travel consultants, tend to work outside of the more typical 9-to-5 office hour slots and can offer a more personal service. 

While some mainstream travel agents will just book a package, some personal consultants offer added value. For instance, some may check-in for your flights, some might reserve a restaurant for clients and more. They might also drop you a message in the resort to check everything is okay and when you return and not even charge for the service.

So, when it comes to the question: are travel agents and travel consultants the same, the answer may appear similar at first glance but there are some differences worth keeping in mind.

Which type of travel agent suits you?

Now that you know that a travel agent assists people in choosing the right holiday and
sources the best holiday for them, you may be wondering which type of travel agent you feel will suit you best.

The answer will depend on a few important factors. These include:

  • Do you want to work for someone or for yourself?
  • Do you want to work in an office or be flexible and work from home?
  • Would you prefer to be affiliated with a franchise or a travel company?
  • Do you want a base set salary or are you happy to work off commission only?

It’s also important to distinguish between travel agents in the UK versus the US. For example, in the US, some agents charge for their time. Meanwhile, in the UK, most personal travel consultants work off commissions only. Also, high-street agents tend to work on a salary while some companies also give commission bonuses. 

Ultimately, the choice is yours and when making the decision for yourself, you should consider the factors that align with your personal and professional aspirations. At The Travel Franchise, you have the chance to start as a travel consultant that helps people book their dream holidays, while choosing to specialise in a niche area of the market, such as weddings and honeymoons.

It’s also possible to get started in business with The Travel Franchise. Through this opportunity, you’ll receive incredible levels of support and never feel that you’re navigating the world of travel on your own. Starting with The Travel Franchise is quick, easy and affordable. And with some of the industry’s highest commissions, you can truly become your own boss with the right attitude and approach that gives you the freedom and flexibility you have always dreamed of.

To explore The Travel Franchise opportunity and discover all the ways in which you can get started in the travel industry with your own profitable business, simply get in touch with us! Our friendly team is a quick call or message away, ready to assist you in every way we can.

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