The role of the tour operator is to essentially sell accommodation, transport, activities and transfers in a combined all-inclusive package. The travel industry is highly structured, and businesses within the industry tend to specialize in one or a small number of functions driven by their core business. Understanding the structure of the travel trade is important for a company in developing its core business strategy, making marketing decisions, and investing for growth. Travel agencies are perhaps the most visible companies in the travel trade. Their primary businesses is to resell accommodations, transportation services (including airplane and train tickets, car and bus transfers) individual services including guide and translator services, and package services such as sightseeing tours. Within each agency, there is often a focus on either inbound or outbound trade, with the outbound agencies focusing either on ticketing services and accommodation bookings, or on package holidays. Travel agencies generally serve a mix of long and short haul markets, although some specialize in long haul markets. Outbound tour operators create and market travel products to customers in their own markets that are usually long haul travelers seeking a specific experience in a foreign destination. Inbound tour operators create and market travel products and services to customers mainly in long haul markets. Customers in countries far away generally do not have in depth knowledge of a destination or the service providers in that destination, may not speak the language, and may not feel comfortable making their own arrangements. The nature of travel agency business is to provide holiday-related services such as ticket booking, transfer arrangement, hotel room booking and arrangement of ground transportation, venue selection and booking for MICE activities. The scope of business of travel agents was narrow and confined to selected services. Moreover, the business was managed with small investment. It was risky business as it was depending upon the natural and socio-political along with cultural factors. A number of restrictions were imposed by the government on travel agents and tour operators for entry into tour operation business. Tour operators had no choice, but to deal with other problems like confirmation of hotel rooms, safety in travel, quality of foods, travel documents, volatile political system, language differences, cultural differences, cumbersome and tedious travelling, long journey, etc. The history of professional travel agency business started with a day-long excursion tour for his 570 friends in the Temperance Society from Leicester to Loughborough in 1841. He took the services of the British Railway. All his friends were charged one shilling for this excursion. That excursion tour was accompanied with a band to play typical hams and a picnic lunch of hams along with the afternoon tea for refreshment. Tourism involves the movement of people. That movement might either be within their own countries – which is called “domestic tourism” – or to and from other countries – which is called “international tourism”. In recent years, rapid advancements in information technology, particularly the Internet, have created enormous opportunities for traditional travel agencies to target their tourism offerings to a wider market. In response to the increasing demand for tourism information by the travelers, many travel agencies have established websites to promote their services and products. These websites plays an important role in mediating between customers and companies as a channel for information acquisition and business transactions. Recent developments in information technologies , in particular the popularity of the Internet in the early 1990s,have changed the way that tourism businesses communicate with its customers and the way that promotion and sales of tourism products are conducted. Tourism represents a unique segment from the business environment because the services achieved cannot be tested before the purchase. Travelers have to believe the indirect or virtual experience. This is why the way you present the travel destinations is one of the most important success factor. Potential travelers can choose between contacting a travel agent or going online when planning a trip. Travel agents are having quite a success in creating professional catalogues and brochures, where consumers can find important and well selected information combined very well with nice photos, useful tips and tricks, guiding maps and so on. Travel Agents vs. Online Booking: Tackling the Shortcomings of Nowadays Online Tourism Portals represents a qualitative study that aimed to identify the reasons that lead many consumers still rely on traditional travel agencies instead of booking their trips through Internet.
The purpose of the Article is to investigate young tourist’s behavior in planning a trip, to understand how young people make decisions when they decide to go on a trip, in their country or in a foreign country, the process of searching information and their opinions about travel agencies services and about using Internet for planning a trip.