Travel agencies basically act as agents who sell travel tickets and products like hotel reservations and others. It should be understood that they would provide services free of charge to the traveler. Instead, the agencies gain profit through commissions on the total cost of the tour. The commission will be taken from the advertised cost or price of the tour.
In this day and age when the internet offers online means of booking for an airplane and travel accommodation, some people believe that they are already obsolete. However, there are still a lot of benefits that travel agencies offer to travelers which cannot be obtained when you book and arrange for a tour on your own. First of all, they free you from the hassles of arranging your own tour. They make everything simple and convenient for you. Most of all, they can get you considerable discounts on fares and accommodations.
There are also various types of travel agencies offering specific services that may be of advantage to your travel needs and preferences. First, there are the general travel agencies and agents which act like ambassadors of tourism. For example, an agency whose headquarters is located in Hawaii may establish offices in other parts of the world. These offices then will advertise and promote tourism to Hawaii where the central office is based. It tries to get and provide better deals to customers so that there will be a higher chance that the customer will book again next time. These better deals they may find from many airlines and hotels.
There are also travel agencies which have specific departments or may specialize on dealing with commercial and business travel. The needs of people who need a business travel may differ from the needs of people requiring commercial and leisure travel. Thus by specializing or appointing specific departments to handle such conditions will allow the travel agency to provide better services to clients.
They may also vary by class. Some are national chains owned by a corporation; others may be franchises from international or national agencies; others still are members of recognized associations; the rest may be independent or owned by local individuals. The national chain class of travel agencies implements consistent pricing and policies regardless of the destination and may offer the best international service to customers. Franchises can provide same perks to clients while locally owned agencies may not have the promotions and price discounts offered by other classes of agencies. The independent types are known to service niche kinds of markets like school field trips, church and sports team who are looking for affordable travel packages. Agencies who are members of associations earn through membership fees instead of commissions.
Some of them may also specialize on shipping cargos and therefore would not be a good choice if you are looking for agencies to cater you with personal or business travel. There are travel agencies offering trips to just about anywhere. These agencies are known as multi-destination. The niche agencies specialize on tours to certain parts all over the world like Greece, Italy, etc.