Travel Agency Management
TRAVEL AGENCY MANAGEMENT 10
Travelbusiness management is an important sector of tourism. It helps inmaking the tourism area a successful one. Over the years tourism hasgrown greatly with investors having interest in investing their fundsto the industry. Countries with tourist attraction sites havebenefited from tourism it being one of their main sources of revenue.It is of great help in improving inter-country relationships sincecountries have to relate well with each other so as to promotetourism. Steps have been adopted to conserve the environment andpreserve its components. Wildlife services have been created toprotect the wild animals from poachers. Wildlife attracts people fromother countries more since animals are highly appreciated. The worldin general has joined forces to try and fight poaching for thebenefit of the current and future generation(Marvell 2005).In this study paper I intend to address the travel agency since Ihave great desires to work in this sector as a travel agency. So whatdoes travel agency involve?
Travelagency is a public company or private businesses that provide tourismand travel service to the citizens of a country on behalf of othersuppliers. The suppliers include car rentals, airlines, hotels,cruise lines, package tours and railways. Apart from dealing withnormal tourists other travel companies have a department that workstowards making travel arrangements for business people. They maketravel arrangements for people travelling all over for businesspurposes. In some cases, other travel agencies concentrate onbusiness and commercial travel.
Thetravel companies are sometimes assigned to operate as sales agents byforeign travel companies. They improve the countries tourismattraction and convince people on why they should get services fromcertain travel companies. The agencies get the opportunity to dealwith individuals closely hence they have the upper hand in convincingthem which service to use. Most tourists visiting countries areusually new to the area. They ask around wanting to know the bestservices they can use, this puts the travel agencies at disposal intelling them the most preferable company.
Theexact role is to function as an agent, with the responsibility ofselling travel services and products in place of the supplier. Theydo not have any stock in hand. For the company, package holidaycannot be purchased from the supplier until there is a customer’srequest. The ticket or vacation package is sold to the agency at aprice that is lower than the regular price. The profit made is thusthe difference between the price that has been advertised which isthe one the customer pays and the discount given to the agent. Inmost countries, companies or individuals selling tickets have to geta license allowing them to operate as travel agents.
Incertain countries, airlines do not give the agencies commission,forcing them to charge a premium per sale. Other companies still paycompanies a certain amount as commission for being able to sell theirproduct. Big tour companies have the capacity to do this since theywill be better off selling at a cheaper price than if they choose tocharge higher. It is beneficial for both the agency and thebusinesses. The business gets a commission and the company does nothave to carry out distribution campaigns and advertisements. It willbe costly for business to market their products instead of payingcommissions. Commissions to agencies are a cheaper and better option.Taking part in advertisements is expensive in terms of finances andtime. Advertising may also fail to attain the desired goal makingthem lose much money.
Largeragencies dealing with tourism offer extra industrial operations. Theservices may include books for travel guide, providing in-houseinsurance, car rentals, timetable for public transport. For the mostpopular holiday, the companies offer services of a bureau de change.
Itis a requirement for a travel agent to give travel advice to thecustomers. However, this package is no longer applicable due holidaysbeing packaged in groups. Other company chains seem to create aconcept of “holiday supermarket,” where customers could usebrochures to select their holiday package and book at the counter.The customers rarely have contact with the agencies they just seethings in paper and exchange money. That is just about it nocommunication going on between the two parties. Economic and socialchanges have highly contributed to this aspect. In today’s worldeveryone thinks about themselves and not others. Decisions are madefrom a personal level not caring about people in their surroundings.
Accordingto the tradition, the major source of income for travel agencies iscommission. Commissions are paid for cruise lines, railways, touroperators, sightseeing tours, hotels and car rentals. Commissions aredifferent which depends on the supplier and the product. The agenciesalso get other motivation, benefits and bonuses from tourism andtravel companies as an encouragement for them to promote theirproducts. The customer is not informed on the amount the businessreceives. Money exchange, selling of insurance, timetables of publictransport and travel guides are other sources of income(Singh 2008).
Mostof the agencies feel that they have to protect their clients andthemselves against the event that a commercial failure occurs, whichcan either be that of their suppliers or their own. They will saythat they are surety bonded, meaning when a failure occurs, customerswill be guaranteed to get a holiday that is equivalent to the lostone or if they would want a refund.
InUnited Kingdom, there are three types of agencies: miniples,multiples and independent companies. Multiple is various nationalchains. They are owned by international organizations, for example,Thomson Holidays that is a part of AG and TUI, being the Germanmultinational. Tour companies that are large have in recent timesbought travel agencies that control the market. There are agenciesthat are more general than others and they have great influence inthe business. The companies buy them in order to direct the manner inwhich their products are distributed. It gives them an upper handsince apart from offering service and products they get to controltheir distribution. They buy chains that deal with their productsthat are referred to as vertical integration. They are able to carryout their operations while controlling their products in the market.
Inthe United States, the types of businesses are Independentconsortium, mega and regional agencies. Examples of Mega agencies areAmerican Automobile Association and American Express. Independentagencies offer services to a niche market or a unique market. Theyrun with the purpose of satisfying the needs and wants of aparticular group of people of the area. They operate for the benefitof people living in a suburb/ slums or take a bus to town, or aparticular group that is into the same activity, like golf, tennis,football or sporting events.
Consortiaare defined as a group of independent companies that work togetherand try to negotiate the rates that they prefer with hotels so as tooffer affordable rates for clients. It allows them to be better offthan other agencies in the competition. The agencies get anopportunity to have the upper hand and dominate the market. Theyoperate better as a group with good performance as compared to theindividual companies. As a result, the rates provide extra bookingsfor the hotels participating in the program.
Thereare two approaches travel agencies look at choose from in carryingout their activities. One is the multi-destination, outbound,traditional travel business. It is based inn the original location ofthe traveler. The other approach is the one that focuses on thedestination, inbound travel agency. It is located in the traveler’sdestination and offers expertise on a particular place. Currently,the former is mostly a large operator than the other while the latteris known to be a much smaller and independent operator.
Travelagencies in the 21stcentury
Sincemy desire is to become a travel agency manager I have beenresearching on different travel agencies and how the public respondto them the following is an account of my findings. That the publicis using the internet in today’s world of technology because ofthis, travel companies have started to sell their services andproducts to passengers through the internet. It enables them getclose to the customers and it is less costly and timely. People likegetting services at the comfort of their homes without having totravel around in order to get what the desire. Airlines have nooption, but to move with the trend in order to be relevant in thebusiness.
Asa result, airlines have gradually not seen the need of seeking theservices of travel agencies. Selling the tickets online has made themto no longer pay commissions to agents. Layers have been removed fromthe distribution of the package holiday, making travel agencies getdis-intermediated due to a reduction in cost since 1997. However,they remain relevant in certain areas such as cruise vacations. Incruise vacations, the agents account for 77% of the bookings and 73%of travel package. Cruises still need the services of the agents dueto their specialty they are known to be extravagant andsophisticated. In the year 2009, the size of the market for travelagencies has declined significantly. Further improvement of thetechnology slowly deteriorates their relevance in the travel andtourism industry.
Torespond to the situation, the agencies have created internet servicesby developing travel websites. The websites have detailed informationand capabilities to of online booking. They offer the services onlinemaking them remain a bit relevant to the society. Going online hasalso enabled travel companies to have confidence in their operationsfew of the companies still seek their agency services. Travelagencies that operate online include cheapTickets, CheapOair, Orbitz,Travelocity, Priceline, Hotwire.com, Expedia and Webjet. Travelagencies further adopt the services of main computer reservationsthat are also referred to as Global Distribution Systems. It allowsthem to sell and book airline tickets, hotels, car rentals and otherservices. Other travel websites give visitors the opportunity tocompare flight and hotels rates with other companies at no cost. Theymake it possible for visitors to choose the packages considering theprices, amenities and nearness to a landmark or city(Gee 1990).
Travelagents apply tools that are dynamic in packaging to provide extremeprotection financially travelling services at lower price or sameprice as that incurred by an individual booking online. They haveadopted the provision of professional advice on travelling issues soas to attract more customers.
Travelsites put up hotel rooms for sell online work closely with suppliers,hotels and GDC so as to look for room inventory. When they find aroom, it will contact the hotel to try and get a confirmation afterwhich, they contact the customer with the result. There are otherhotels that can confirm the accommodation immediately. Differentsites collaborate with different suppliers, for this reason, theyhave different hotels that can be confirmed instantly.
Inmaking it all a success, there has to be proper management.Management comes in with ensuring that everything goes according toplan. The set goals and objectives will be achieved with propermanagement. The management is responsible for the overall operationsof the travel agency companies. For the management, an agency managerhas to be appointed to run the affairs of the company. The managerhas to meet certain qualifications relevant to the field. Mostagencies employ managers based on the needs of the company.
AsTravel agency manager I will be able to offer their services intravel companies that sell and promote products related to travellingand holidays. The agencies can either be large chains or independentbusinesses that are small. There are agencies that deal with businesstravel while some can offer information in detail on travel productsand specific locations. Manager’s duties depend on the customerbase and size of the business. Their responsibilities includefinancial and staff management, operations and day to day operationalmanagement.
Amanagers should have the ability to offer professional, specialistand competitive products in the travel market. They have to put upwith the need by providing services such as trips that are tailormade and online bookings. Independent companies may fill the nichethat is created by large companies who close their high street shopswith the goal of cutting costs and trying to venture into onlinesales. It is advantageous since they will divert their resources toone area and become experts the area.
Managershave the responsibility of coming up with strategies to achieve thesales target of sale beyond the set target, despite the products itprovides or its size. Online bookings create opportunities forself-employment and they can reduce the employees in outlets.However, most managers still have staffing issues on their plates asone of the most important roles.
Tasksthat concern management of travel agencies
Motivating the sales team constantly to ensure that they meet their targets and that profitability is achieved.
Regularly meeting the team leaders to inform them on the sale figures and plans of approaching their duties
Assemble the company directors who will recommend on strategy and investigate any future trend and local issues if any.
Supervising on recruitment, selection and retention of employees. Together with matters of the payroll and training of the employees.
Putting together competitions, incentives and bonus schemes.
Looking at issues relating to customer complaints and disciplinary matters
Relating with individuals that are consulted on matters of sale and giving help, advice and encouragement (Fuller 1994).
Lawsregulating the travel agencies
Thereare several regulations that have been put forth to regulate andprotect the consumers. This regulation facilitate the smoothoperation of the travel agencies in matter involving administrativefees, registration or license fee, the required qualification of athe manager who is in charge of the travel agency. Furthermore thecompensation procedure and the proceeding to be followed incase anemployee, the manager or any other stake holder commits a crime.Examples of regulation guiding the travel agency include the 2006travel agents regulation which provides for consumer protection. Inaddition, section one of the travel agencies contains information onthe procedure of establishing a travel agency.
Atravel agency manager should thus ensure that he is familiar with therules and regulation governing the travel agency.
Thetourism sector has expanded over the tears creating a bigger marketfor the travel agencies. They should upgrade their technology so asto capture and meet the growing demand for their services. Theyrequire funds to market and advertise their products especially usingthe internet in order to reach many people. Management is critical toany organization in its endeavor to achieve set goals and objectives.Professional, committed and hard working managers should be employeesto steer the company towards the desired direction.
Fuller,G. (1994). Travelagency management.Cincinnati: South-Western Pub. Co.
Gee,C. Y. (1990). Professionaltravel agency management.Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall.
Singh,L. K. (2008). Managementof travel agency.Delhi: Isha Books.
Marvell,A. (2005). GCEtravel and tourism for AQA, AS double award.Oxford: Heinemann.