The Differences Between a Tour Operator and a Travel Agent

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Essay: The differences between a tour operator and a travel agent

Many people are confused about a tour operator’s and a travel agent’s job. These two jobs seem sound similar but actually, they play the different roles in providing tours or holidays to consumers.

For easier undertanding, a tour operator acts like a chef in a restaurant who prepares and cooks the meal in the kitchen. So, there’re lots of things he has to do like choosing which tours to organize, doing research to figure out what people want, then combining all aspects (accommodation, transport, meal, flight,..) into a tour, negotiating with partners for a better deal. Next, he hires and trains staff to be guides, resort representatives... After that, he designs brochures and plans the advertising campaign. And once the tour is sold, he works directly with the agent in accepting bookings or with the partners in sending room lists or flight manifests. In contrast, a travel agent, as a waiter takes your order and forwards it to the chef. She contacts directly the consumers and helps them to choose a suitable tour based on carriers, resorts, travel amenities as well as plans itineraries. Then, she records and confirms reservations, sends invoices to customers and issues tickets and vouchers. Moreover, she has to hire cars, sell insurance as well as order stocks of brochures for rack display.

Although the job of a travel agent is not as much and hard as a tour operator’s but they’re both essential to satisfy the consumers for the amazing and unforgettable experience.
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