The First Travel Agency – THOMAS COOK
A travel agency is a private retailer or public service that provides travel and tourism services to the general public on behalf of the accommodation or travel suppliers to offer a different kind of travelling packages for each destination.
It is a travel agency which packages and processes all the attractions, amenities and ancillary services of a country and presents them to tourists. That’s why travel agency is known as image builder of a country. A prospective travel agency is one which make arrangements of travel tickets (air, rail, road and sea): travel documents (passports, visa and other documents required to travel): accommodation, entertainment and other travel-related services from principle suppliers.
6 Areas of service in travel management agencies:
· Travel Management
This would be the core function and the one which agencies engaged in organizing business travel which have always performed. This area of services would include the management and reservation of transport tickets search of accommodation, car rentals, etc.
· Passenger assistance
On a trip there may be many unforeseen problems and issues which need to be resolved: repatriation due to illness, accident a emergency, lost luggage or documents, etc.
Consulting services include a large number of aspects which are related, more or less directly, with travel: information of interest for the traveller, cost optimization, advice on travel policies, etc.
· Marketing and internal communication
Due to its experience, a travel management agency can be very helpful in preparing travel policies for companies as well as its proper and effective communication to employees.
The proper and constantly updated use of technology is vital, not only for requesting and comparison of travel services (tickets, accommodation) etc but also for such diverse aspects as billing management.
· Leisure services
In some cases, some travel management companies offer direct discounts or improved conditions on travel and leisure activities for the employees and their relatives at the companies for which they work.
The introduction and development of railways had a profound effect on transport. It helped cheap, swift, and easy travel possible for the new middle and working class, which resulted in growth of travel. The railway in the beginning was responsible for carrying goods. The rail link between the Liverpool and Manchester was started in 1830. The railway network, which at first was to carry goods has now been the single means of mass movement.
The birth of organized rail travel and the concept of tourism appeared in the year 1841. The man behind this idea was Thomas Cook, known as a pioneer and the greatest travel organizer of the time. Once he booked railway seats, he prepared a program and travel sold the tour program at the specially reduced fares. He collected as many as 570 passengers. By the process of booking and selling of the tour programs he learned that service is a product, it can be sold as products. People are ready to buy travel service. People do not mind paying money for relaxation and leisure. He realized that selling of service to the travelers can be a business.
He registered the first travel agency ever. Travel agency is a business organization to provide services to the travelers. Encouraged by the success of his first venture Thomas Cook arranged similar tour programs by chartering trains .He arranged many more excursion trips on a fully commercial basis.
As traveling requires support and service from different agencies, services provided by different organization, Thomas Cook combined the travel related activities and offered to the travelers as a single package. Now travelers can buy tour as single package. His idea was continuously supported by the other agencies such as transport and hotels.
By 1855, Thomas Cook had extended his field of operation to the other countries. Now he was organizing relatively complex tours and excursions comprising small travel lines. For this purpose he established guidebooks, periodical and Cook’s Excursionist and Tourist Adviser. These publications motivated people to travel. People came to know new destinations and facilities available at different places.
Thomas Cook opened a bank in 1879. After that, banking and foreign currency exchange was added to his business. It helped to transfer the traveler’s money. Later, financial institutions were also accommodated within the umbrella of tourism.
In 1887, Cook developed a system of hotel coupon (voucher/service order), which helped to gain trust in travelers and guaranteed quality of service from the hotels. The voucher system solved the problem of “Here and there” that is time and space gap. The travelers do not need to carry big amount of money anymore. Service agencies were also guaranteed of business. Hotels developed the Point of sale and travelers fell secure.
Another important development, which can be associated with Thomas Cook, is the support in pleasure travel. The large-scale movement of people to various places like sea beach, resorts, and spa was the result of organized conducted excursion trips by Thomas Cook.