Tourism: Marketing and Tour Operator

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In the tourism industry, travel agents, tour operators etc. are considered the intermediaries (distributors). Their main task is to bring buyers and sellers in the field together and reduce transaction and supply/ownership costs between buyer and seller, instead of completely eliminating an intermediary (such as a distributor). Benefits of Tourism Intermediaries
For the producer:

* they are able to sell in bulk (for example: hotels) and might be able to transfer a certain risk to the * tour operator depending on the contracts made
* reduce promotion costs

For the Consumer:
* avoids search and transaction costs (by purchasing inclusive tour) * gain from specialist knowledge of tour operator
* often gain most from lower prices

Disadvantages of Tourism Intermediaries
The use of intermediaries by producers, such as hotels, will result in the loss of margins and in the loss of influence in the distribution process. 
For the consumer choice may be reduced and prices increase, especially with the further concentration and consolidation of tourism intermediaries. 1.2 Integration, consolidation and concentration

The term integration is an economic concept to describe formal linking arrangements between one organisation and another. (Cooper – Fletcher 2005) Horizontal integration
This occurs when two tour operator or two travel agents amalgamate, either through merger or takeover. The main reason is to ensure the extended geographical spread of outlets to ensure representation in al regions 
Vertical integration
A certain linking occurs along the production process. For example airlines establish their own tour operating company (British Airways.) But the most common form of vertical integration within tourism intermediaries is when a wholesaler/ tour operator purchase or merge with a travel agency chain. 
One good example of wide range of integrated activities is the French conglomerate Groupe Accor:

3.4 Integration...
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