The Benefits of Using an Online Travel Agency

Most people who go on vacation like to book trips through a travel agent in order to take some of the stress out of the planning process. Travel agents can also help you save money on flight, hotel rooms, cruises, and more; but what about online travel agencies? While people worry that Internet travel agencies could scam you or provide low-quality service, there are actually a number of benefits to choosing an online travel agency, providing that you pick the right one.

First and foremost, with an online travel agency, you can work with the place that has the lowest prices without geography limits. In other words, you have more options! When you opt to choose a travel agency in an offline setting, you are limited to the handful of companies that operate in your neighborhood, or at least within a reasonable distance. People who live in major cities might especially be affected by the high prices of brick and mortar travel agencies. Online, there are not proximity limits. The travel agency with which you work might actually have headquarters thousands of miles away, but if they have the lowest prices, you can still work with them over the Internet.

The increased number of choices does not just help you save money. It also means that you have limitless possibilities when it comes to travel. The travel agencies in your areas probably can book dozens or even hundreds of different trips, but there will be limitations. Even if an offline travel agent can plan a vacation to an obscure destination for you, it is not likely that he or she will be an expert in travel to this location. Online, you can find a family or an individual who has been there and will plan an amazing vacation for you. There are few places in the world where you can’t travel if you work with an online travel agency.

Another great aspect of working with an online travel agency is that you can shop for your vacation package any time of the day or night. Brick and mortar business usually close soon after the end of the regular business day, and many are not open for long hours on the weekend. The Internet is open 24 hours a day. While you may not always be able to call a customer service representative, especially if you like to do vacation planning at three in the morning, you can always check out packages offer on travel websites. This is especially handy for parents who need to plan after the kids are in bed, people who work odd hours, and those living in rural locations where the nearest travel agency office is a fairly far drive.

One of the often-overlooked benefits of an online travel agency is the control you have to make your own choices without outside influences or pressure. When you visit an office, many travel agents have the same tone as used car salesmen. You have to remember that these people are often working under some kind of commission program. Instead of making an hourly wage, they earn a percentage of your total vacation price, and even if they do have a salaried job, they may get incentives from travel companies (hotels, cruise lines, etc) for selling amount every month. Many travel agents get to go on free trips for every ten or twenty vacation packages they sell. So, you might feel pressured to book a trip when you are not done exploring your options or upgrade certain aspects, even though you do not have the money. Online travel agencies typically take a more hands-off approach. That does not mean that they won’t help you, of course. Most are more than willing to answer questions via email or over the phone. However, when it comes to working with an online travel agency, you do not have someone looming over your shoulder, trying to make a sale as you check out your vacation options.

Also, when you work with an online travel agency, you usually have more payment choices. Today, some offline travel agencies offer payment plans, credit card payments, and so forth, but this is not always the case. When you work online to plan you vacation, however, you can always find a type payment that will work for you. Some even have payment programs that allow you to earn points for every dollar you spend, which can go towards gift certificates or future trips.

All About Travel Agencies

Congratulations if you have recently started a travel agency. But wait, your work has just begun. You require unleashing important tactics, to enable sustained and relentless business growth. Following are few easiest, fastest and quickest strategies to increase the sales of your newly started travel agency. Follow every enquiry with five steps of professional communication. One of the biggest mistakes that most of the new travel businesses commit is not constantly following every enquiry. The best way to begin with this is to have a sales team where every consultant without fear professionally communicates with the enquirer. Following are few simple steps of communication:

A courtesy call to find what the inquirer feels about the information supplied to him
E-mail extra information or tip rapidly about the prospect’s trip.
Further send them a letter thanking them for enquiring.
Follow up call to find out their future plans and offer them further assistance. By this time, you successfully establish rapport with them; it is a right time to ask them about the booking details and a final commitment.

All these steps are interchangeable and the key is that they happen over the different mediums like phone calls, direct mail and e-mail.

Types of Travel Agencies

One of the main functions of these agencies is to act as an agent. This includes reservations, selling travel products and tickets and so on, on behalf of one or many suppliers. Usually, travel agents charge a small commission from the overall cost. Check out some different type of agencies:

Commercial and Business Travel Agencies

Most of these agencies have a department of business and leisure travel. The need and requirements of one traveler and the other tends to vary in few ways, and therefore, dividing the duties in different departments helps either department to specialize, finding deals for the leisure travelers on one hand and better deals for business travelers on the other hand. However, there are few agencies specializing in business and commercial travel only. Incidentally, there are not a lot of agencies restricting themselves exclusively to leisure travel.

Cargo Travel Agencies

There are few travel agencies specializing in shipping cargo. Certainly, and that is not completely relevant if you are planning to fly for personal or business reasons. Still, this shows in how many different areas an agency can specialize.

Niche and Multi- Destination Agencies

If you want to divide it in just two types of agencies, you have niche and multi – destination agencies. Multi-Destination are out- bound travel agencies that are large offering flights to any place in the world. Niche agencies are independent focusing on a specific part of the world. Most of the niche agencies cater to the individuals who have families in that country or who go for business regularly. Consider individual preferences, trip objectives and needs while selecting a travel agent. Different types of agencies offer different type and level of services. If you are a regular traveler then you may want to use the services of large corporate travel agency having branches all over the world.

How to Start Your Own Travel Agency From Home

If you are interested in building a career in the travel industry and become a home based travel agent, starting a home based customer service might just be the optimal solution. Your new business could focus on guiding your customers through the best travel agencies selection process, or you could simply make money by doing the research yourself and book their reservations. There are also several available possibilities related to the way you will organize and carry your business. You could choose between booking and whipping into shape all kinds of travel for your customers or develop yourself in a specific niche. Regardless of which way you decide to develop your business, you will have the possibility to make a living and help other people to enjoy their travelling endeavors at the same time.

Here are some guiding tips on how to start your own travel agency from home:

1. Before starting your own travel business, try to get some specific training. Taking a travel agent course will help you get acquainted with reservation software, types of booking and all the legal information about operating a travel agency.

2. There are several options you can choose from: you can become an independent travel agent and build your agency from scratches, work as a referral agent or agree to work for a host agency. If you decide to work as a referral agent, you will become the link between the customer and the travel agency; you will work on commission and receive a referral fee for each new client you bring to the agency. Working with a host agency implies that you will be using exclusively the host agency’s connections for booking reservations for your customers. You will be working on commission and get paid for each new client who makes a booking. In exchange, if you decide to start your own travel agency, keep in mind that you will have to build up your own contacts list and negotiate your fees.

3. Evaluate which option suits you best: focus on a niche or promote all types of travel. Focusing on a specific niche, such as luxury cruises or romance travel, can sometimes be beneficial as it makes it easier for you to focus on specific customer needs and expectations. This strategy can also narrow the competitive range.

4. If you decide to start either an independent home based travel business or become a referral agent, you have to get in touch with other travel agencies and negotiate your contracts that must include your referral fees and commissions per booking.

5. If you are seeking the protection of an already deep-rooted agency, signing a contract with a host agency is probably the best option for you. You will rely on the host agency’s connections to do your booking. In such cases, your commissions from the provided agency will be split with the host company.

6. Despite the fact that not all travel companies require a CRS, if you decide to go solo and start an independent agency, it might be convenient for you to purchase a computer reservation system. This way you will have the possibility to work directly with travel service suppliers and make different types of reservations.

7. Create a business outline and make sure to take into consideration variables such as start-up expenses and possibilities to finance your business. Don’t forget to plan some strategy for finding new clients and keep your agency functioning until you actually start making a profit out of it.

8. Make sure you contact specialized agencies to provide you with all the necessary information about licenses and permits. Then you can go for starting a travel agency from home.

9. Become a member of the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents and other similar travel associations. Being a member of these associations will not only improve your image as a home based travel agent, but it might also provide you with new training opportunities and new customers.

10. Make sure you create an adequate home-based working space and buy all the necessary equipment: a computer, a printer, a fax machine and a telephone.

Choosing the Right Airline Travel Agency

A good and reliable airline travel agency unlocks more options and a wider range of services compared to what can be searched on the internet. Moreover, being able to converse with real people at a physical location is found to be more convenient and comforting to many flight customers. It is significant to know that in case any problems occur, there is a travel agency to help resolve the conflict.

Generally, anyone can claim to have travel agencies just by operating businesses. In the United States, it is said that the eleven states which demand business registration only call for filling out of a form and paying fees. With these, the bigger problem lies on which travel agency a customer can trust for the hassle-free experience when it comes to buying airplane tickets. This article will discuss the several factors that customers may consider in choosing the right airline travel agency.

Factors to Consider

The first factor to consider is the agency’s basic services. It is important to know about their hotline, the number of days they are open in a week, amateur or professional email addresses, as well as their internet connection. These are deciding factors so customers will know whether they can instantly reach the company after sending an e-mail or calling the company’s landline in just a minute or two.

After this, it is also recommendable to examine the size of the agency. However, bigger agencies are not necessarily better compared to the smaller ones. If the flight is intended for an individual or a family, a smaller agency might be more compatible. Conversely, if the flight being managed is for a group of a thousand people, then bigger agencies might provide better services.

Moreover, the reputation of the agency should also be noted. Being able to know what previous customers experienced with the agency and its services can build or break the trust of potential customers. Opinions of family members, relatives, co-workers, or friends who had past experiences with various agencies is a good start in choosing the right one.

The fourth factor is the agency’s speciality on a specific travel type. There are two types of travel – business and leisure. While all agencies might be willing to help, if a specific agency specializes on business travels rather than leisure travels, it is more likely that its services more corporate-focused. Customers need to keep this in mind and straightforwardly ask the agency about the primary travel type it can serve.

Lastly, the packages and promos offered by travel agencies can be a plus factor, especially to those with limited budgets. Comparing travel promos of various agencies can determine which one is the most affordable despite having the same set of services. Customers, however, should be aware that there are agencies with little or no background which are providing airfare prices which are too good to be true.

Details About Working With an Online Travel Agency

When you are looking to book your next vacation or your next business trip, you may be considering using an online travel agency. Before you decide to do so, however, you should be aware of what to expect from an online travel agency so you can determine how best to match that to your own unique needs. There are several different levels of service in which to classify online travel agencies, the level you need depends on your trip requirements as well as your personal travel and leisure preferences or desires.

Quite simply, you should be able to find an online travel agency that can fulfill any expectation you may have. Whether you prefer self-service travel plans where you do all of your own searching and booking, or a full-service online agency that handles every detail on your behalf, there are many options available. Depending on the type of travel you will be undertaking, there are also various options that you can consider among online travel agencies. Some specialize only in travel packages, while others offer a la carte menus of travel services for you to pick and choose.

There are several expectations, however, that are universal to all online travel agencies. These have to do with the minimum level of service provided and the quality and competitiveness of the types of travel being sold. It is best to qualify the online travel agency on all of these expectations before you choose to enter into partnership with them for the travel you are seeking to plan.

The first universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is having a variety of destinations and packages available to choose from. It does not matter what specialty the agency might have, from full-service travel to niche travel such as cruises or unusual destinations. No matter what is being sold, you always want to partner with an agency that provides options. While the first option you see may very well end up being the best choice or the best value, you will have no means of determining that unless other options are available for comparison. Good self-service travel sites will readily offer you comparison information. Full-service online travel agencies should compile that same information and present it to you when you are in the process of making a decision.

The second universal expectation you should have when using an online travel agency is that they offer the same basic types of vacations from more than one carrier or provider. For example, you can choose between two major airlines for the same New York-to-Miami flight leg of your trip. If an online travel agency represents only one brand, they are not truly a travel agency; instead, they are a representative of that brand. If only one brand were offered, customers would have no means of evaluating whether the services and products offered were of value or were worthless. Having a number of providers to choose from when selecting hotel or airfare or cruise line shows that the travel agency is actively updating its site with the best prices and options currently available.

The third universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is price competitiveness. Although travel agencies sometimes charge fees to travelers in order to off-set their cost of doing business, those fees must be fair. The charges for the actual travel services you see published through online travel agencies should be no more than what you would pay if you went directly through the provider, and, in fact, less if bundled with other services.

The final universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is a service-level guarantee that ensures you get what you pay for and are treated in a courteous and appropriate manner. Online travel agencies should also offer some form of a guarantee for your purchases that no foreseeable action on their part or the part of the service provider will interrupt your travel. They cannot warrant against freak or random occurrences, but they can ensure that their own offerings are solid before offered.

Perhaps the best thing about using an online agency is the availability of customer reviews and feedback you can read before making a final purchase. Another nice convenience, for repeat customers, is the ability to create your own customer profile that allows you to save certain options in your preferences that will streamline future vacation planning. You can save time and hassle by storing any corporate or membership discount numbers, frequent flyer numbers and other pertinent information on your customer profile.