Centrav Resources

How Many Travel Industry Segments Can You Name?

Millions of people have the time, money, motivation, and means to travel, whether for pleasure or business. A complex industry has evolved to promote travel and to serve the needs of travelers. To a person who is new to the industry—and even to those who are a little more seasoned—navigating the waters can be tricky. The Travel Institute can help you gain the knowledge you may not even realize you need through programs like the TRIPKIT®.

Fully understanding the many moving parts in the vast travel industry and how they can help you reach success can be overwhelming but very important.

Suppliers Suppliers own the goods and services travelers use, including transportation, food, accommodations, entertainment, and attractions. Airline and railroad companies, car rental companies, hotels, and cruise lines—are major suppliers. Restaurants, nightclubs, museums, theaters, and others also may be considered suppliers, though on a smaller scale. 

Your job as a travel counselor is to help your clients choose the service or supplier best suited for their needs. Because there are thousands of suppliers, it’s important that you develop preferred relationships or take advantage of existing preferred partnerships through your agency or consortium. These relationships will benefit your client, the suppliers, and you by creating an alliance of trust, quality, and reliability. 

Distributors Distributors act as intermediaries between suppliers and travelers, helping travelers obtain the goods and services owned by suppliers and helping suppliers promote their products in the marketplace where travelers can find them. 

A travel agency is a distributor because it acts as the intermediary between the client and the supplier. Your role as a travel professional is to understand the clients’ needs and match them to the best supplier of services. A travel agency also acts as the marketer or seller of supplier products to the client. Other distributors include tour operators/packagers, consolidators, and destination management companies. 

Supporting Businesses There are many businesses in the travel industry dedicated to providing services that help travel professionals be efficient in their roles. These include global distribution systems (GDSs), travel insurance companies, customer relationship management tools (CRMs), and host agencies. Host agencies are travel businesses accredited by ARC, IATA, and CLIA, and they affiliate with independent travel agents in an independent contractor agreement. These businesses provide travel counselors with the tools and services they need to support distribution to the client. All independent agents are 100% the owners and operators of their businesses, and they are not employees of their host agencies.

Supporting Organizations Supporting organizations aid, educate or regulate the travel industry. For example, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) is a trade association that lobbies governments and speaks to the public on behalf of its members. National tourist offices (NTOs) are government agencies that promote travel to their countries; for example, the German National Tourist Board with offices in New York and Los Angeles promotes travel to Germany from the United States. Finally, The Travel Institute is a nonprofit organization that has been the premier educational resource for travel professionals at all stages of their careers since 1964. It educates hundreds of thousands of travel professionals through introductory training, certification, specialist courses, webinars, and more.

These four segments of the travel industry are closely linked, and the divisions among them are not sharp. For example, airlines supply seats and services for air travel, but they also distribute, market and sell their products directly to consumers as they have done for many years. Additionally, a few large corporations may own companies in several segments of the industry; for example, one corporation may own hotels, rental car companies, travel agencies, and travel-software companies. 

We hope you enjoyed this fabulous excerpt from The Travel Institute’s TRIPKIT program.  

Remember that an educated travel professional saves travelers’ time and money and provides peace of mind for agents and clients alike. To start building a solid foundation on the critical areas all travel professionals must have to be successful, check out the TRIPKIT today.

Guida Botelho

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