Updated March 2024 – The tourism sector is now more competitive than ever, meaning that new or rebranded tour companies often find it difficult to attain the booking rates they need to survive. One way of solving this issue is to partner with travel agencies. Travel agents are effective resellers of your offerings, as they are often used by travelers who want to streamline their booking process as much as possible.

Tour operators joining forces with travel agencies is a powerful way of expanding both parties’ visibility and attracting customers. Working in tandem with travel agencies presents unique opportunities for partnership, and can have long-lasting effects on the success of your tour business. This guide will walk you through six different types of travel agents, all of which have different advantages to forming partnerships with. Rezdy’s online platform allows tour operators and travel agents to make their processes more efficient. Share information with your business partners, take bookings and offer real-time availability data with our centralized management tool.

What are the different types of travel agents?

Types of travel agent

There are several different types of travel agents, with each offering tour operators a separate strategic benefit to partnering with them. Finding the right reseller may involve several steps, but doing so will likely enhance the visibility of your business, increasing your market presence and revenue.

Independent travel agents

Independent travel agents are self-employed individuals who offer their services to tourists looking to book their next holiday. Tourists then customize and book their accommodation and activities in a private consultation. Independent travel agents are not employed by any agency, allowing them to offer a completely personalized service to their clients.

Tour operators can partner with independent travel agencies by granting them access to their tours and packages. As the tour operator, your products are then accessible to a more varied clientele, allowing you to explore new markets for your offerings.

Benefits of partnering with an independent travel agent include attracting a broader customer base, developing a network of sales agents for future reference, and gaining direct feedback and market insights from customers.

Online Travel Agents (OTAs)
GetYourGuide mobile

Online travel agents (OTAs) are digital platforms that have grown in popularity in the past few years. They allow consumers to book all their travel services, including flights, hotels and activity packages, online. Unlike an independent travel agent, OTAs allow you to compare prices and options to ensure you receive the best deal.

Tour operators are able to list their offerings on OTA platforms, making them accessible to a vast audience across the globe. OTAs also allow you to update live availability and offer competitively-priced special rates for a limited time to incentivize a purchase.

The vast audience and increased visibility of your organization are major advantages when partnering with OTAs. For this reason, partnering with OTAs more often than not increases bookings and revenue for your business. OTAs also provide valuable analytics data on the preferences of your customers and any noticeable booking trends for your services.

Visitor information centers

Visitor information centers actively provide travelers with information and knowledge about the local area. Typically, local tourist boards or councils operate them with knowledgeable staff managing them and containing details of attractions, accommodation, and services in the local area.

To partner with a visitor information center, tour operators should actively provide them with promotional information about their offerings. Alongside supplying brochures and pamphlets detailing their offerings, tour operators should also ensure that the staff are well-informed about their tour company to effectively recommend their offerings to travelers.

Partnering with visitor information centers increases local awareness of your business, which could be appealing if you are looking to expand into new locations. It may also drive more bookings from visitors who plan their tours spontaneously. Moreover, partnering with a visitor center will build your organization’s credibility with the local tourism board.

Hotel and concierge services

Many hotels include a concierge service, who can assist guests in making travel arrangements. A hotel concierge often books tours and provides recommendations of local attractions for guests looking for something to do during their stay.

Similar to a visitor information center, providing promotional materials to hotel concierges is crucial to ensuring they recommend your offering. You may also wish to offer exclusive deals or packages for guests of a particular hotel after you have developed a network with the establishment.

Partnering with a hotel concierge allows you to tap into the hotel’s existing customer base. Concierge services are one of the most direct distribution channels for your business, possibly leading to repeat business or referrals from satisfied customers.

accommodation providers are types of resellers

Inbound tour operators

Inbound tour operators create and manage travel experiences for visitors to a country. The package often bundles accommodation, transportation and tours into one deal for a large group of people.

Local tour operators can offer these groups unique experiences or specialized tours to attract a large number of visitors at once. Doing so may require clear communication with the inbound tour operator to find out what their customers are specifically interested in.

Partnering with an inbound tour operator diversifies your customer base to a market you may have otherwise had difficulty reaching, and may lead to a steady flow of customers from that market over an extended period.

Global Distribution Systems (GDS)

Global Distribution Systems (GDS) are vast, computerized network systems designed to distribute a particular product to a global audience. A GDS enables transactions between travel agencies and service providers, such as airlines, hotels and car rental companies.

Local tour operators can build their offerings into a GDS, in order to allow travel agents worldwide to view and book their services. To ensure your offerings are viewed competitively, ensure they are described thoroughly and priced attractively.

Partnering with a GDS can significantly expand your reach as a tour operator. Travel agents around the globe are able to view your offerings and offer them to customers, leading to increased bookings from around the world.

Why partner with travel agents?

Strategic partnerships with various types of travel agencies can enhance your business’ market presence. Effective marketing of your business through a travel agency can encourage repeat customers, and help your business stand out in a highly competitive industry. Each of the different types of travel agents have their own strengths and opportunities for partnership.

What are the different types of travel agents

Rezdy’s online platform brings tour operators and travel agents together. Offering streamlined bookings, live availability trackers and many more customizable features, our software is the ideal partner to integrate across all your partnerships. Contact us today to book a demo and find out how our platform can help make managing your business more efficient.


Now that you have a clear understanding of the different types of resellers, you may be wondering about the best way to connect with them. Joining a tour operator marketplace is one way to help alleviate the stress of partnering up with multiple resellers.

For instance, Rezdy Channel Manager is a marketplace platform designed specifically for tour operators. Through Rezdy Channel Manager, you’ll be able to connect with thousands of resellers with a click of a button.

Rezdy’s Marketplace platform simplifies the overall reselling process into 3 simple steps:

  1. List your products
  2. Set your commission rates
  3. Let thousands of agents and resellers resell and promote your products

Ready to take the step to boost your bookings with Rezdy Channel Manager? Book a demo today.

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