How your travel brand should work with Travel Agents

Within the travel industry, there are many different types of companies.

There are also a number of ways to sell tours.

For tour operators, working with travel agents is a great way to boost sales and reach a wider market

And, as the travel industry is currently experiencing a boom in sales, now is the perfect time to expand your network and find new partnerships. 

But how can your travel brand work with travel agents? Read on to find out.

Travel Agents vs Tour Operators 

Travel agents are businesses that arrange and sell travel services to the public on behalf of suppliers such as airlines and accommodation providers. Travel agents usually make money through commissions, and can specialise in specific types of tours. 

Tour operators, on the other hand, are businesses that create tour packages. Tour operators work directly with suppliers such as airlines, hotels and activity providers to create full tour packages that they can then sell to travel agents or directly to customers. 

In short, tour operators create tour packages, and travel agents sell these packages to the end consumer. 

How tour operators sell their tours 

As we explained in Types of Tour Operators, there are many different types of tour operators within the travel industry. 

Some of the main types of tour operators are:

  • Inbound tour operator
  • Outbound tour operator
  • Domestic tour operator
  • Ground operator
  • Receptive tour operator

Tour operators can sell their tours both directly to the end consumer or through travel agents, and can work with one or a number of different travel agents at the same time. Tours are then sold through either the tour operator or travel agent’s website using an online booking engine, and can also be sold to customers in-store in a traditional brick-and-mortar travel agency. 

It is important for tour operators to first research their target market in order to understand the consumer and their needs. Tour operators should aim to create memorable, unique, engaging and stress-free tours that they can then promote to potential customers and travel agents. More on tour operator marketing here

Types of travel agents

Despite the rise in independent bookings, travel agents are now more important than ever. Due to the unpredictability of the pandemic, travel agents can offer travellers with increased security and confidence. Research by ABTA found that consumers are now 30% more likely to book with a travel professional than before the pandemic. 

There are a number of different types of travel agents that tour operators can work with:

  • Retail travel agents
    Retail travel agents are the most traditional type of travel agencies, usually selling their services in-store.
  • Online travel agents
    Online travel agents, or OTAs, are travel agencies that solely sell their products online.
  • Independent travel agents

Independent travel agents are unique companies or individuals that are not associated with any other travel agency and are often self-employed.

  • Visitor information centres

Visitor or tourist information centres provide advice, services and recommendations to visitors in a specific location.

  • Hotel concierge services
    Hotels and accommodation providers can offer concierge services to their customers, giving local and personalised recommendations.

Benefits for tour operators

  • Travel agents take care of sales and marketing
  • Travel agents can upsell products and services
  • Boost visibility of your brand and products
  • Cost efficient
  • Reach a wider market and increase sales opportunities
  • Travel agents provide legitimacy, trust and expertise to consumers

Disadvantages for tour operators to using travel agents 

  • Less control over product
  • High commission charges
  • Tour operators may need to manage a number of different sales channels if using different travel agencies
  • Tour operators may still need to invest in their own marketing strategy

Where to find and how to choose travel agents 

First, define what type of tour packages you want to sell and who your target market is. If you focus on specialised or niche trips, look for travel agencies that already sell these types of tours. Tour operators can also see which brands a travel agent already works with, and can

read reviews and customer testimonials to assess if they would be a good fit.

The goal is to promote your business to potential partners, so ensure that you can convey the benefits and uniqueness of your tours and can offer an attractive commission rate. 

A great way to network, promote your brand and find sales opportunities is to attend industry events such as travel shows and trade fairs, and you can also connect with potential partners on Linkedin. 

In today’s market, it is important for travel agents to be innovative and to keep up to date with rapidly changing industry trends, and tour operators should look for travel agents that focus on technology and personalisation.

How travel agents sell tour packages 

Travel agents can sell tour packages in many different ways, using both or either in-store or online sales channels.

In today’s digital age, many travel agents use online booking engines to book their customers’ trips. Online booking engines have many benefits for both tour operators and travel agents, simplifying the entire planning and booking process and maximising sales opportunities. 
Nezasa’s TripBuilder software is the best way for tour operators and travel agents to sell their tours. We provide travel brands with the most innovative, easy-to-use and efficient online booking engine that allows for flexibility and personalisation. 

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Posted By

Ellen Ross