Travel agents and agencies are invaluable resources when planning a holiday or trip. There are many different types of travel agencies out there, which means it can be a challenge to know the differences between them and the benefits of each. That’s why we’ll guide you through the main types of travel agents and explain the types of travel agencies, so you can see who does what and make sense of it all!
What is a travel agent?
A travel agent is so much more than someone looking for the best flight or hotel deal. They’re experts in knowing the ins and outs of travelling, whether organising holidays to far-flung destinations or keeping track of business trips. If clients run into any problems while they’re abroad, travel agents are the ones who sort everything out. Travel agents know all the local hotspots and can customise trips specific to their client’s needs – be it a romantic getaway or something more active like hiking or fishing. Plus, with all their field experience, they can suggest activities that independent tourists wouldn’t find!
Types of travel agents
There are different types of travel agents covering all kinds of travel and catering to different types of clients and their specific needs. From home-based to offline, there are many ways for travel agents to do business.
Inbound vs Outbound Travel Agents
Inbound travel agents focus on organising tours for travellers entering countries. In contrast, outbound travel agents arrange for travellers heading out of their home country to enjoy trips overseas. While both offer clients a great way to navigate the complexities of international travel, inbound operators are often more specialised, being well-versed in various international markets’ unique cultures and tastes. Inbound travel agents possess specific expertise on their destination and can offer clients insider tips on getting the most out of their stay in that area.
Outbound operators understand local customs within their own country and can make arrangements accordingly. They will also have the expertise to deal with any issues that arise whilst clients are away on their trips, such as delayed flights.
Offline Travel Agents
Nowadays, most travel agency types have an online presence. However, some independent agents still conduct their business from dedicated premises. This is not only a costly approach for the agent who’ll have to pay building rent, but it also limits the number of clients served. As more and more business is conducted online, holidaymakers automatically turn to a search engine to find a travel agent rather than looking for an agent on their local high street.
Online Travel Agents
An online travel agent has no physical shop, instead operating entirely online, thus cutting overhead costs and saving money. Online travel agents scout out the latest airfare bargains and hotel deals, allowing clients to plan their trips without breaking the bank. They’re go-to experts for people without time or know-how to make all the necessary arrangements for the perfect trip. Online agents can also utilise social media and other digital tools, such as analytic programs, to boost performance and profits and extend their reach to generate new business. Providing they have a reliable internet connection, online travel agents can work anywhere, from local coffee shops to a remote island paradise – the perfect way to sell travel experiences!
Home-Based Travel Agents
Similar to online travel agents, home-based travel agents operate online but from the comfort of home! Compiling information such as flight times, hotel facilities and rates, they research travel experiences, including guided tours and cruises, to provide their clients with the ideal holiday.
What are the different types of travel agencies?
There are several types of travel agencies, specialising in a range of sectors, each with its own pros and cons.
Wholesale Travel Agency
A wholesale travel agency will buy travel products, such as airline tickets, hotel rooms and transport services, in bulk, allowing them to negotiate a lower price. They will then sell these products to retail travel agencies that can pass the savings on to their clients. A wholesale travel agent searches for the best travel deals, which means that retail travel agencies can make huge savings without compromising on quality. Wholesale travel agents work as a middleman between travel providers and travel retailers and generally operate as business-to-business (B2B) sellers.
Corporate Travel Agency
Corporate travel agencies specialise in booking business trips for companies and their employees. They often have access to exclusive deals on flights, hotels, and car rentals that are unavailable to the general public. Corporate travel agencies understand and deal with the logistics of business travel, from complex ticketing regulations to expense account reimbursements.
Leisure Travel Agency
Leisure travel agencies are experts at helping clients plan holidays. From luxury honeymoons in exotic locations to family-friendly trips across Europe, these specialists are well-versed in recreational activities, such as skiing in Aspen or snorkelling off Maui. They also have access to insider deals on airfare and accommodations that clients won’t find anywhere else.
Niche Travel Agency
This type of travel agency will conduct similar business to leisure and corporate agencies but will specialise in a specific niche such as adventure, luxury, or budget travel. This allows the agent to target a more focused audience and provide highly detailed specialist information on a destination or service.
Why are there different types of travel agencies?
When it comes to travel, there is no one-size-fits-all. Every client wants an experience different from someone else’s, and no single travel agency can cover them all. This is why so many types of travel agencies exist. Furthermore, every agent will have varying levels of expertise in specific fields, such as luxury travel or cruise holidays, meaning they can tailor their advice and make their clients feel more informed.
How to start a home-based travel agency?
Starting your own home-based travel agency has never been easier, thanks to businesses like The Travel Franchise, who can help you turn your travel career dreams into reality.
Joining a franchise is the most straightforward path to becoming your own boss in the travel industry, especially with little to no experience. Whether you wish to specialise in luxury travel or corporate business trips, The Travel Franchise provides you with everything you need to be successful right from the very beginning.
You’ll have access to a dedicated Business Development Manager who will coach and guide you, offering invaluable expertise and knowledge as you build your business.
You’ll gain the support of an established and trusted brand with a proven marketing strategy and a whopping £2bn worth of travel buying power! The experts at The Travel Franchise also offer ongoing training, meaning you can develop all the skills you need whilst working the hours you want in a job you love.
What are the benefits of owning a travel agency?
There are many benefits to starting any business but starting a travel business is an exhilarating endeavour.
- Be your own boss
Working for yourself means you can work your own hours, even running your agency as a side hustle to your existing job.
- Get access to exclusive deals
As a travel agent, you’ll have access to exclusive deals that most people don’t even know about. By passing these deals onto your clients, they’ll save money on their holiday, making them even keener to recommend your services to friends and relations.
- No cap on earnings potential
The harder you work, the more money you will make. Selling travel and travel products earns you a commission, so by selling as much as possible, your commission will increase.
- A job that allows you to travel
Many holiday suppliers offer discounts to travel agents, allowing them to become familiar with a destination to sell the experience to their clients. It’s far easier to sell travel once you know all about the location – your enthusiasm will encourage clients to buy.
There are many benefits of becoming a travel agent or starting a travel agency, and several ways to enter this exciting and thriving industry currently worth well over $5 trillion globally. So if travel and selling global adventures is your passion, the experts at The Travel Franchise could be exactly who you’re looking for.