digital travel agency

Types of Travel Agencies

In my last post, I wrote about the perception of the travel agent and a bit about what the job entails. There are a few different types of travel agencies. The Retail Agency is also known in the industry as a “brick and mortar”. These are often independently owned, possibly a small chain, sometimes a larger national chain or a franchise member. These may have only employees or they may be what is known as a “hybrid” where they have both employees and outside or independent agents working with them.

A Travel Management Company, sometimes called a TMC, might have several divisions or businesses under them. They may handle large or small corporate or government travel. Some may have other divisions in the travel sector. They might have in-house call centers, or even a virtual call center where their employees work from home offices but are linked to the main office through a network. Most virtual call center agents started in-house and because of their skills and experience are able to work remotely with little desk-side assistance

Online Travel Agencies focus most of their sales direct to the internet consumer, and I would venture to guess many of you have been customers of one or more of the larger ones. They do have in-house support, customer service representatives and possibly even agents that will take calls and will make reservations.

Finally the fastest growing agency model is the Independent Agency. Sometimes this is an individually owned and operated agency, or a one-person operation. This could also be a larger agency that “hosts” independent agents. Some people refer to independent agents as “home-based” agents. I prefer to get away from this term, since other jobs one does remotely, such as a realtor or are not called “home-based”. The independent travel agent is often travelling for work or they are in their communities meeting people and expanding or maintaining their network.