If you were to search the internet for the online travel agencies which can provide cheap air tickets, then you would be amazed to find so many of them coming up in the search results of search engines. It does not cost much to develop a website on travel and offer products to the customers. A little investment in website development, payment gateways, APIs and a thoughtful online marketing effort can make your website rule the search engines where the people search for the cheap flights, hotels and holiday packages.
As a customer, you need to find out whether it is an agency which works directly on behalf of the travel product suppliers or is it only a front-end store or affiliate of the agency. Why is this distinction important? A reputed agency cares for its brand image and works to provide total customer satisfaction, right from the correct selection of products and suppliers at the commencement of travel to the end of travel. It has the leverage, due to its market standing and financial strength, to negotiate the best deals and pass these on to the customers. At the same time, its influence acts as a check on the prices of the travel product supplier. On the other hand, the affiliates of these big agencies cater to a smaller and niche segments. These affiliates have to produce differentiation in services provided by them since, for products, these are dependent on agencies.
Having understood the key difference between the travel product aggregator agency and an affiliate, you can negotiate the deals in a better way with both of them. The online agencies operate either in business-to-consumer (B-to-C) segment in which they allow individuals to book tickets online, or in the business-to-business (B-to-B) segment in which they work with the affiliates and, through them, with the customers. So, when you visit the website of an affiliate, but you would not be able to make out that it is the website of an affiliate, the prices mentioned on it are a little higher than its agency since it would not be allowed to sell products at a lesser or equal rate to that of agency. Further, there could be full affiliates or part affiliates. Part affiliates are those who have arrangements for some selected products only, not all products. It is common for affiliates to provide only cheap air tickets and hotels from agencies. Therefore, while making the searches, you might find that even the affiliates could also be delivering unique packages which you do not find with agencies.