Whether you’re looking for a sunshine holiday on the beach, hiking in the mountains or a skiing break in the Alps, booking everything on your own can be a hassle. But that’s where your travel agent swoops in to save the day. These professionals are there to help you craft the holiday of your dreams and will organise everything for you.
While most of us tend to use the same type of travel agent, it may surprise you to learn that there is more than one type. In this short guide, we’ll be discussing the roles of various types of travel agents and how they might help you.
What Does A Travel Agent Do?
One of the primary roles of a travel agent is to advise clients on destinations and types of holiday. If you’re unsure of where you’d like to travel, they will ask you questions and get to know your preferences which will allow them to suggest the best options for you.
What’s more, a travel agent’s job is to organise and plan aspects of your holiday. They will do as much or as little as you would like. Some people require minimal assistance while others expect their travel agent to arrange everything so all they need to do is turn up at the airport ready to relax and get away from it all.
Another thing that travel agents excel in is working to the client’s budget. Whether you’re looking to travel frugally or are willing to splash out, they’re trained to find the best deals to suit your budget.
The First Travel Agents
While it might be easy to believe that travel agents are a relatively recent type of business, you may be surprised to learn that the concept is more than 175 years ago! Thomas Cook was the first travel agent in the world and was established in 1845.
Thomas Cook is now an online only travel agent and sadly it’s airlines and physical stores went under just a few years ago. However, this pioneering company started by transporting 500 people from Leicester all the way to Scotland on a tour of the country. This might sound like something one could organise by themselves today, but back then, it was a real mean feat!
What Are The Different Types of Travel Agents In The UK?
Depending on who you are, why you’re travelling and what you need from a travel agent, you might hire one of four main types. These are business travel agents, high street travel agents, call centre travel agents and online, or web-based travel agents. Moreover, each of these types of travel agent will fall into one of three categories. Let’s look at these first.
Travel Agent Categories
The first category of travel agent is the independent travel agent. These are small businesses that only serve their local area. They may be family owned businesses and working with these travel agents is beneficial to your local community.
Alternatively, you might opt to work with a multiple travel agent. These are larger companies that have chains across the country. They usually have a physical retail outlet, many of which are found on your local high street.
Finally, there are miniple travel agents. These are very similar to multiple travel agents but tend to have a lot more outlets.
Types Of Travel Agents
So, let’s get down to the main point of business; types of travel agents. As we mentioned earlier, there are four main types. Here’s a run down of what each of them does.
High Street Travel Agents
The high street travel agent is one of the most traditional types of this business. It’s only been in recent years that their popularity has waned. Before this, anyone looking to head off to somewhere exotic or adventurous would have popped into their local branch.
If you walk through your local town, you’ll still see plenty of high street travel agents dotted about. Inside, there will be a range of brochures and information on various destinations as well as the option to sit down with the travel agent and discuss your choices and make a booking.
Business Travel Agents
Where high street travel agents are there to assist people travelling for pleasure, a business travel agent helps those who are travelling for work. Not surprisingly, this is one of the biggest areas of business in travel and tourism but you might not be aware of your local business travel agent as they don’t usually have a physical store or office on the high street.
When travelling for business, many companies are looking for the best deals as this saves money for the organisation. A business travel agent is trained to help with this and ensure the best travel and quality for the lowest possible cost.
Call Centre Travel Agents
As you may guess from the name, these types of travel agents are based in a call centre. This offers convenience to the client as they are able to have an interaction with the travel agent without leaving the comfort of their own home. You’ll find that most of the high street agents also have a phone service so you can still benefit from their wide knowledge and expertise.
Online Travel Agents
In an age where most of us rely on the internet, it’s no wonder that online travel agents have become one of the most popular choices. A lot of high street companies have an online service and there are independent agents who work for themselves that operate solely online.
In order to make a profit, these travel agents take a commission from the client which is common across the business. But what’s great about this type of travel agent is that since there is so much competition, prices are always very generous so you’ll usually find that you get a very lucrative deal.
If you’re heading off on an adventure or want to see the world then working with a travel agent is the easiest way to do this. These experts know all about destinations, ways of travel, culture, weather and much more. They’ll get everything booked up for you so you don’t have to worry about a thing.