A travel agent is a company booking holidays, flights and/or accommodation on behalf of a tour operator or travel supplier. Traditionally, a travel agent is normally found on the high street, relying on the consumer to walk into their premises, with small independents rubbing shoulders with big multiples like Thomas Cook. In recent years, travel agents are also found in Call Centres and some also operate as homeworkers. Call centre based travel agents will rely on some form of advertising to attract business, such as newspapers, TV, Teletext, websites and/or other similar media platforms. Homeworkers are generally self-employed but work on-behalf of a company. Consumers choose their personal travel agent because they receive an honest, reliable service and/or because they receive the cheapest deal. Reputable travel agents will have financial protection with organization such as ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), which, unlike many other businesses, the consumers money is protected if the travel agent's business failed. Various travel agents are listed below...
Package Holiday Tour Operators
A package holiday is generally flights, accommodation, an overseas representative with resort transfers to/from the airport quoted as one single price and all arranged by a single supplier, known as a tour operator. Booking a holiday with through a tour operator is great value for money as the tour operator has negotiated cheap rates with the airlines and accommodation owners. Before you book, the tour operator has contracted the hotel or apartments and supplies the consumer a full description of the holiday so you have the re-assurance of whether the holiday is suitable for you and any problems you may come across whilst on holiday, your overseas rep will be on hand to resolve the issue. This is a great way to holiday as you’re looked after from start to finish. Various tour operators are listed below...
Many people have bought their own holiday accommodation or renting property from friends and only require the transport to the destination. Many airlines offer cheap flights to various destinations around the world. In recent years a new breed of airlines has emerged offering cheap air travel. The ‘Budget’ or ‘Low Cost’ airlines often offer cheap or free flights, however, be prepared to add optional extras at the final cost, as most of these airlines will not include checked-in baggage, check-in fees and payment fees, so it’s important to read the terms and conditions prior to your query. Various airlines and flight only providers are listed below...
- Aer Lingus
- British Airways
- Monarch Flights
Accommodation Only Suppliers
Whilst many consumers prefer the comfort of being looked after on a package holiday, package holidays do not offer flexibility. Accommodation suppliers (also known as Bed Banks) offer the consumer the opportunity to choose alternative durations and destinations than what the package holiday companies offer. This option allows the consumer to be independent as they can book their choice of flight and their choice of accommodation. Various Bed Banks are listed below...
With consumers increasingly book independent holidays, i.e. booking flights and accommodation separately, this leaves an issue of getting from the overseas airport to the holiday accommodation. You now have the choice of booking a shuttle bus, a private taxi or even a mini-bus (depending on the destination) to transfer you to your hotel/apartment/villa. Holidaymakers who have booked a package holiday occasionally say ‘no’ to the optional coach transfer and book a private taxi with an independent transfer company, giving them privacy, comfort and a shorter transfer time! Various transfer companies are listed below...
- Holiday Taxis
- Resort Hoppa
- Taxi Transfers
Car hire is a great way of exploring whilst on your holiday. Often car hire can work out so much cheaper than booking excursions plus having the freedom of staying longer in a resort or moving on at your leisure. You can book the car hire for the whole duration of your trip or as little a day. If you combine your car hire as your resort transfers, it can make the cost much more effective because most car hire companies have airport pickup/drop offs. The majority of rates include insurances and taxes in the basic cost if purchased in the UK. Various car hire companies are listed below...
- Holiday Autos
- Your Car Hire
A travel intermediary is a platform which promotes travel agents and tour operators. They do not sell holidays, flights and accommodation direct to the consumer. Operators and agents will use a travel intermediary to advertise their website or offers whilst the intermediary promotes its platform direct to the public. The advantage of travel firms doing this is because the travel intermediary has a large customer database that is relevant to their service or because the intermediary has become a large brand name that attracts the public to it’s service (for example, Teletext). On the flip side, a travel intermediary is also useful to the consumer as it shows a wide range of travel agent & tour operator deals in one place. Various travel intermediaries are listed below...