Differences between tour operators and travel agencies

Tour operators & travel agents are different in Malaysia! And the public has long had the wrong perception. In Malaysia, tour operators and travel agents are different and play different roles. In a factory scenario, a tour operator is like the production department and the travel agent is like the sales department…

A Tour Operator is the organizer and provider of package holidays. It is often referred to as the ground handler. The Tour Company will contract with hotels and resorts, airlines and ground transportation companies such as private cars, buses, vans, ferries and trains, etc. After all necessary prices and information has been collected, the Tour Operator will prepare and distribute detailed tour packages to Travel Agencies in the travel agency guide in Malaysia and even abroad.

The roles and responsibilities of a tour operator booking and arranging:

– Transportation: Chaffered Car, Chartered Bus & Van, Air Ticket, Train Ticket, Ferry Ticket, Cruise Ticket, other transit modes and even special vehicles like pedicab.

– Tour Guide: All tour guides must be licensed by the Ministry of Tourism of Malaysia after attending and researching professional tourist guide courses.

– Sightseeing: Access for tourist destinations, eco tour, adventure tour, jungle trekking, snorkeling and diving, island hopping and even handicrafts or cultural and life experiences.

– Food and drinks: breakfast, tea time or tea break, lunch and dinner either by set, buffet or packaged food.

– Accommodation: Hotels, resorts, serviced apartments, camping areas, dormitories, training camps, chalets, tree houses or traditional houses and habitats suitable for travelers.

– Activities: Telematch, treasure hunt, paintball, teambuilding, meeting outside the office…

– Special events: company dinner, karaoke contest.

On the other hand, Travel agencies do not organize tours. Travel agencies give travel advice to travelers, promote and sell the travel packages they have from different Tour Operators and then administer the travel bookings. Travel agencies are usually located in prime locations with a lot of traffic, such as next to main roads, in busy shopping centers or on the ground floor of a monumental building.

The roles and responsibilities of a travel agent to be:

– Selling ells travel related products and services, especially package holidays to end users on behalf of third party travel providers, such as airlines, hotels, tour operators and travel companies, and cruise lines & etc.

– Most travel agencies have a special department dedicated to travel arrangements for business travelers, while some travel agencies specialize in commercial and business travelers.

– Some also serve as general service agents for foreign travel companies in different countries.

– Act as tour agent:

– Buy tour packages or tour services with discounts and sell for a profit.

– Receive commissions from suppliers and other travel companies.

– Act as ticketing agent for transportation (e.g. airlines, ferry, bus, train & etc).

– Other commercial activities are undertaken: insurance, tour guides, car rental, exchange office, private guide & etc.

– Provide impartial travel advice to the customer.

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If you are traveling with a small group of less than 10 travelers next time, it is recommended that you use a travel agency. Don’t try to find the best travel agency in Malaysia. There is no such myth! Just go with the travel agency that suits your travel needs and budget or the travel agency you most trusted. However, if you are organizing a group tour such as a corporate tour, a Tour Operator can provide you with a more suitable customized service.

The above information is guidelines and advice that 88Holidays has provided to its corporate clients when organizing group travel. It is simple but useful information to help organize a successful company trip with years of experience.