Travel Agent vs Tour Operator
Whom do you turn to, a travel agent or a tour operator, when you decide to go on a vacation in the coming holiday season? To many people who are not habitual vacationers, terms such as travel agent and tour operator seem to be synonymous to be used interchangeably. In fact, there are many similarities between the roles performed by these two title holders for all those who go on vacations and tours. However, there are differences in the functions of travel agents and tour operators that will be highlighted in this article for the benefit of vacationers.
The inclusion of the word agent in travel agent gives a clue to the role and functioning of these people. A travel agent sells attractive tour packages to people interested in vacations. In fact, travel agents are middlemen between tour operators and prospective clients as these people have a client base and are expert in matching tours and vacations according to the needs and requirements of their clients. Travel agents have various packages under their belt and can help a family looking for vacation destinations an ideal tour, customizing the package to make it tailor made for a family. Families go up to travel agents with specific budget, tentative travel dates, and preferred destinations, and it is the job of a travel agent to match the requirements of a family with the best available vacation plan at his disposal. This they do after consulting with tour operators and the plans they have.
A tour operator is the person responsible for actual arrangements of transport and accommodation facilities in any tour or vacations. The hotel, the conveyance, the flight, and all other amenities and facilities are looked after by tour operators. All the finer aspects of a tour are the responsibilities of the tour operators. A tour operator has greater stakes attached with a vacation, and he is also the person who derives maximum benefits through a deal. However, he is also the one who has to sweat right from the preparations to the time when the tourists finally return to the starting point.
What is the difference between Travel Agent and Tour Operator?
• While both tour operators and travel agents are involved in providing a tourist with relaxing and wonderful vacations, there are differences in roles and functions between the two.
• A travel agent is like a waiter at a restaurant as he welcomes the guests and takes orders that are prepared by the tour operator.
• A travel agent has many vacation packages under his belt, and he suggests or recommends tour plans to their clients based upon their budgets and other requirements.
• A tour operator has the responsibility to look after the finer details of a vacation or tour such as hotel, accommodation, meals, conveyance etc.
• With a tour operator taking up the bulk of the responsibilities, his fee is obviously much greater than that of a travel agent.
• With the advent of the internet, more tour operators have obliterated the need of travel agents and are directly providing their services to their clients.
• However, there are people who love to go the traditional way by involving a travel agent before embarking on a vacation.
• Thomas Cook and Cox and Kings are two of the most popular travel agencies of the world.