Travel Industry Terminology

See below a description of some of key travel industry jargon.  We are also pleased to offer you a free training course introducing you to the travel industry - worth 35 ATP points!  click here to register  with our sister company

We also have included some useful links relating to travel industry terminology below.

Retail Travel - Travel Agents sell foreign package holidays, flights, car hire, hotels, theatre tickets, coach, British rail, and tailor made holidays to the general public. They make their money through commission from selling the above services. Viewdata remains the tool used for booking the majority of package holidays and charter flights in the UK.Companies using viewdata include First Choice, Thomson, Thomas Cook, Libra, Crystal, Unijet, Panorama and JMC.Travel Agents use Viewdata to check availability for holidays.

Business Travel - Often called Travel Management Companies, these large specialist travel businesses handle business travel arrangements for corporate customers. Clients are usually contracted for 3 to 5 years and management fees are charged for travel services. There is fierce competition for business travel accounts. The main skills required in business travel are client relation skills, Computer Reservations System (CRS) skills and excellent knowledge of fares. Retail Agents can also handle business travel accounts, but generally these are smaller often local companies looking for a specialist service. Click here to learn more about CRS training.

Tour Operators - These are travel companies which organise package holidays and sell them through travel agents or directly through the internet. There are many departments involved in making up a package holiday. Contracting Departments contract cut price deals with hoteliers abroad and other services such as aircraft, car hire, coach etc, Operations Department put the deals together and devise the packages, Sales and Marketing Departments firstly research the resorts and once the brochure has been compiled send Sales Execs to Travel Agents to promote the brochure, Brochure Production departments use in-house and outsourced methods to create the brochures, Reservations Departments take reservations directly from public, from agents or process bookings from the website, Ticketing Departments issue the flight tickets or check e-tickets, Admin Departments issue the hotel vouchers and organise all the necessary paperwork for the client, Overseas Departments inform the Reps and hotels in the resort of passenger lists, Accounts depts keep a track of payments and commissions...etc. Tour Operators can be as departmentalised as explained above or as small as two or three people taking on the duties of all the above to produce a specialist package holiday such as 'sailing', ' adventure hols' etc. The most common reservations system in tour operators is ATOP however most tour operators have their own tailor made system because of the varying sizes of companies.

Incoming Tour Operators - These are companies who specialise in 'land arrangements' (hotels, restaurants, ferry, car hire, excursions - everything but flights) for those travellers coming into the UK or Europe. These travellers are often groups of people although individual arrangements are also made. Working in the 'Incoming' Sector usually requires strong linguistic and organisational abilities. These companies do not require any licences. They often have their own in-house system or a system called Tourplan linked with a WP. Their sales departments build up strong contacts with travel agents abroad and usually have good negotiators for all levels of hotel accommodation. The sales teams therefore travel extensively around the UK and around the world.

ABTA - Association of British Travel Agents. Agents must pay a bond to ABTA to sell foreign package holidays which is usually proportioned to their annual turnover.

IATA - International Air Transport Association. Agents can sell flights without an IATA licence but can only issue tickets with a licence.

ATOL - Air Travel Organisers Licence - This is required by Tour Operator to make up package holidays.

Viewdata - Travel Agents make package holidays reservations through this system, which accesses directly into the Tour Operators system.

CRS - Computer Reservations System-Those agents who have IATA licences or sell lots of flights usually have one of the Computer Reservations systems which accesses directly into the airlines system. These are mainly Sabre, Galileo, Apollo, Pars (Worldspan).

F.I.T - Fully inclusive tour- These are holidays tailored to the clients requirements as opposed to buying a package holiday.

VA1 & VA1 - Previously known as BA1 & BA2. These are exams in advanced fares & ticketing.

Dynamic packaging – This is when consumers buy flights over the internet and find their own hotels and/ or car hire and put their own holiday together. Many internet travel businesses have vast lists of travel products to choose from, however these holidays are not as yet insured under a bond if one or more travel company fails (unlike ABTA bonded agents).

Implants - These are satellite travel departments within the business travel clients premise. Travel staff are employed by the travel company but can offer a more 'personal service' to the clients within their offices.

Charter flights - Tour Operators hire aircraft for whole seasons at a discount and sell them to the public in the form of a package. Any surplus seats are sold through travel agents.

Scheduled flights - IATA sets all fares internationally so that there are no fluctuations in price due to currency. Schedule fares are therefore quoted from a fare rule book which is computerised or manual.

Direct sell - These are travel companies which sell direct to the public and not through agents.

Wholesale - These are departments within tour operators who take reservations from travel agents.

Also - check out these sites for even more travel industry terminology:


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