When it’s time to book your holiday there are a few methods available to you. Each has its pros and cons, so it’s about educating yourself on what is right for you.
The travel industry is made up of three core market segments.
- meetings, incentives, conference and events (MICE)
Within the Leisure travel industry, there are three key booking methods:
- Direct with the supplier
- Online Travel Agent (OTA)
- Travel Agency
We have already covered Booking Direct, so let’s explore booking with a Travel Agent.
What is a Travel Agent?
A Travel Agent provides travel-related services to the public on behalf of travel suppliers such as accommodation and airlines. Travel Agencies are sometimes referred to as ‘Bricks and Mortar’ or ‘traditional’ travel agents. Travel Agencies have a shop front for the customer to personally engage with travel consultants. You will largely find them located in suburban high streets, shopping centres, or in the central business district.
What are the benefits of booking with a Travel Agent
Receiving a personalised travel service is a key benefit to booking with a Travel Agent. They are there to get to know you in order to recommend travel suppliers and packages to fulfill your holiday dream.
If you are seeking to eliminate the stress that travel can bring, Travel Agents will manage all changes and supplier queries on your behalf prior to and during your travels, ultimately saving you time and allowing you to relax and enjoy your holiday.
Travelling in a post-pandemic world brings some new considerations for anyone, whether it be domestic or international travel. Knowledge of country and state government regulations, vaccination requirements, and documentation will be crucial. This is where a Travel Agent is going to be a reliable and knowledgeable resource for you.
Does it cost more to book via a Travel Agent?
There is a perception that booking with a Travel Agent will cost more. Whilst this should not be the case, you may notice pricing for travel suppliers, specials, or promotions may vary. Just as you would expect when shopping for any other consumer good, travel is no different. The reason for variation in pricing will largely come down to travel supplier agreements and accessibility to travel content.
As Travel Agents are solely service providers, their means to generate revenue is by charging you for their service, expertise, and time. Whilst this is logical, there are plenty of consumers who don’t understand the cost of service. The service fee structure will vary, so it is important to ask these questions before you have them commence any work.
Considering the expertise and support you receive from a Travel Agent, a service fee is an appropriate business practice. Think of the cost to you if you booked your holiday yourself and made an error due to not understanding the visa requirements or the correct amount of time to allow for connections.
If you are in doubt and wish to understand more about the fees and charges, make sure to CONTACT US here at Bluebird.
How does commission get charged?
Travel suppliers will negotiate a commission that is built into the rate, fare, or package. The commission is a payment to the Travel Agent for selling their services or products. The amount of commission will vary for all travel suppliers and the percentage has certainly changed a lot over the years. During the recent global pandemic, we have seen airlines in particular, further reduce commissions as a result of the financial impacts of restricted travel for two years.
All in all, a commission is a revenue stream for a Travel Agent paid by the travel supplier for selling their service. Remember that Travel Agents only generate revenue from service fees and commission. They do not receive revenue from airfares or accommodation sold. The money for these services goes straight to the travel supplier.
Tips to find a good Travel Agent.
- Ensure they are transparent with their service fees.
- Is the agency an accredited ATAS member?
- How long have they been in business?
- How many years has your consultant been in their role? Are they well travelled?
- Does the agency or the consultant specialise in a specific niche destination or holiday experience?
- What support do they provide whilst on your holiday? Can they be contacted at any or specific times if you need assistance?
It is important to remember as a customer you are paying for a personalised service when booking with a Travel Agent. If you are a traveller that values expert advice and travel support, you will have the best experience booking with a Travel Agent.