An online travel agent is basically a website dedicated to travel related matters. The website can be dedicated solely to travel information, travel deals, or any combination of these. Over 1.4 billion people regularly book travel every year, and almost half of that being done online.
Before deciding to become an online travel agent, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the web portal services offered by all the major travel websites. There are some sites that can give you unlimited booking options, whereas there are those that are more specific to what you are looking for. Most of them also offer an array of travel related tools. These can help you with your research and make booking easier. The booking tools that most of the sites have is generally a search function.
These functions allow you to search through the site to find out what features the website offers, and how easy it is to get started. Once you have decided on what type of site you are interested in, you can then check the various available packages to find the one that best fits your needs. It's always a good idea to do a little bit of comparison shopping before committing to a particular package.
When choosing a travel agent, you should consider how many years the person has been active. Experienced travel agents tend to work with more travelers and often know the best deals available. You will also want to determine if the travel agent has recommendations from clients, and is not a fly by night operator.
Another thing to consider when selecting an online travel agent is their experience. Find out if they have any awards or commendations to back up the credentials they present. A number of the major travel portals include customer testimonials, so you can evaluate how the agent is in contact with other customers.
You should also ask for references and recommendations from other online agents if you don't already have one, as they can provide valuable insight into the reputation and expertise of the online travel agent. You can also ask them if they would be able to recommend another travel agent.
Travel agents who provide information online typically have a wealth of knowledge about travel. They can answer your questions regarding travel related issues and help you make booking decisions. This includes researching travel deals, getting the latest travel news, and keeping you informed about any discounts, promotions, and special offers. You may also get information on what time is best to go for a particular destination, the weather during the travel season, etc.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you don't have to travel physically, you don't need an agent. A great travel agent can help you save money by doing research on the best time and place to travel and by offering tips on how to avoid overspending. A good travel agent can also offer you the assistance you need to plan your trip in the event of a medical emergency and keep you organized and safe while traveling.
Keep in mind that a travel agent can sometimes cost you more than booking your flight and accommodation separately. If you book online, you will need to pay a fee to access the information on the website provides you with. Some travel agents will even charge you to create your itinerary and submit it to them, although this is usually free of charge.
When choosing an online travel agent, consider their background and reputation. Make sure they are experienced, and know their business. Be wary of agencies that charge for their services or charge you monthly fees for a long-term account.
Make sure the agents have the experience and know how to keep you informed. Find out if the company has a reputation for providing excellent customer service and for refunding any changes or cancellations if necessary. If you have any concerns, be sure to let them know.
Once you've made your selection, be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau and the Department of Transportation to find out if there are any complaints against any of the travel agents you're considering. You may find that you don't have to worry about dealing with someone who has a bad track record.