What is a retail travel agency? This is how they operate

馃晵 4 min.

If you are reading this article, the chances are you have an interest in the wonderful world of tourism. You will see in the following sections that there are ample opportunities to create or grow a travel agency. First of all, you need prior knowledge of the market, to conduct an analysis of the right tools to offer the services demanded by travelers, but especially you should be aware of the Special Regime for Travel Agencies that will define the operations performed and how they are invoiced depending on the nature of the service offered to customers.

Retail travel agencies are companies that provide their customers, people who want to travel, with services (such as these examples of tourism products) at their destination. These companies act as intermediaries between the tourist and the tourist packages organized by wholesale agencies. A retail agency does not offer its services to other agencies.

What is a retail travel agency for?

These companies are responsible for providing their clients with the trip of their dreams within their budget. They can offer tour packages created by a wholesale company or they can create their own by combining various services in the sector.

When we talk about retailers, we are referring to those travel agencies that offer services directly to the end user, the tourist. Therefore, they provide an intermediary service between a wholesaler and the customer. They have the task of preparing, organizing and selling the services to the tourist so that the trip they are going on is tailored to their liking.

What types of retail travel agencies are there?

There are different forms that a retail business can take in this area of the tourism industry. For example, a retail travel agency can have the following characteristics that differentiate it from other companies.


In other words, they offer trips previously created by wholesalers, to send people to places different from their hometowns and tailored to their needs.


Their role is to welcome visitors to the area where they are located.

Online Travel Agencies

Also known as OTAs. The European Graduate Center (CEUPE) explains that many retail companies do not have a physical presence and, as a result, offer services but do not usually act as advisors to their customers.

Brick-and-mortar agencies

This is the traditional form that is still in use. It allows for more direct service and for tourism professionals to get to know what the client is looking for and to advise according to their preferences.


They offer travel services in a specific niche. These could be for learning languages abroad, adventure and extreme sports, honeymoons, business travel, senior travel, luxury travel, etc.

What differentiates a retailer from a wholesaler?

Basically, retailers choose travel packages that can be adapted to their target market and then recommend and sell these services and package tours to travelers. They are the intermediate company that has to respond to the needs and preferences of the end customer.

Wholesalers, on the other hand, are the ones responsible for creating these vacation packages. They are in contact with hotels, airlines and guides for various excursions. They are also in contact with retail companies that will offer these services to the end user.

Sometimes, retail travel agencies can partner with other agencies to form what are known as travel agency management groups. These groups are “entities” with greater competitive strength in terms of coordination and bargaining power with suppliers.聽

What a retail travel agency needs to do to keep customers happy

The role that these companies play, in itself, can bring a great deal of happiness to people: never forget that a good vacation or a trip to a dream destination can be a great source of joy!

But the service has to be right to fulfill this purpose. However, at the same time, if a company in this sector does not manage to get everything just right, it can ruin one of the highlights of the year for their customers. Here are some tips to ensure that the business runs smoothly and builds customer loyalty:

  • Assess customers carefully. Who doesn’t spend months eagerly awaiting their trip of the year? For this reason, companies in this sector need to listen to their customers, find out their preferences and passions and, with this information in hand, advise them on the trip they are going to like the most, in line with their budget.
  • Offer advice. A change of scenery is always a new cultural experience. A retail travel agency should also give guidelines to travelers so that they know what they can expect to find in the destination and also what practices will make their experience much more beautiful and enriching.
  • Use technology to improve efficiency. Technology helps any experience to be faster and deliver better results. To stay in touch with wholesalers, there are services such as those offered by Hotelmize, which allow the use of big data applied to booking management that helps to find better services and save on costs.
  • Mize is an AI-driven Travel-tech startup company that allows travel companies to increase their hotel bookings鈥 profits by more than 35%, optimizing their purchasing rates post-booking in a fully automated procedure. Mize monitors and processes millions of bookings and billions of US$ value each year.

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