For the uninitiated, a travel agency is a retail business that sells airline tickets, holiday packages and other travel related products like car rentals, cruise vacations, hotel rooms, and railway tickets to those desirous of seeking either a business or leisure trip or both.
The travel agency business flourished with the booming commercial aviation starting 1920. The travel agency business has undergone a sea change since then with the new technology and host of innovative ideas being adopted by the key players. Internet has indeed been the biggest change that the industry has seen which has presented a whole gamut of travel services to the traveller at the click of the button!
Today, by accessing major computerized databases like Sabre, Amadeus, Galileo and Worldspan, travel agencies are able to counsel the customers on the best available fares for flight tickets and provide them with the same. These online tools also known as Global Distribution System (GDS) help agents book and sell airline tickets, hotels, car rentals and offer travel related services.
Besides this, travel websites allow tourists to compare hotel and flight rates offered by multiple travel service providers for free. They also provide tourists with the added functionality of comparing holiday packages by amenities, cost, and proximity to a town or landmark. There are a plenty of travel houses and agencies which have integrated these functionalities into their online portals and are offering superior travel services.
Some travel agents turn into airline consolidators on the strength of their network which they have developed over the years. These Airline consolidators and other kinds of wholesalers are high capacity sales businesses that focus in trading to ethnic niche markets. Sometimes their services are blended into holiday packages that encompass airport transfers to the destination and lodging. Some of these businesses may not generally deal directly with the public and may proceed as wholesalers to small time agencies and fledgling travel service companies.
A holidaymaker booking package tours can immensely benefit from buying a holiday package from an ATOL licensed travel company and avoid any bitter experiences of losing money or getting stranded in a foreign country in the event such a travel company goes bust while you are on your holiday. The Air Traveller Organiser’s Licence is a financial protection scheme offered by the Civil Aviation Authority. Holidaymakers can easily check on the internet if the travel company they are dealing with has an ATOL.