How to Start Travel Agency Business
Travel agents offer different services to their customers. Among them are, for instance, booking hotels and plane tickets, finding cruise packages and many more. Today, the profession offers a lot of flexibility. Despite that, there are a few simple steps you should follow in order to start travel agency business on the right foot.
Step 1 – Solo or not
Your small business can either include an entire travel agency or just one independent travel agent – you. If you choose to work solo, you will receive commissions for the agencies with which you connect. Working as a consultant sounds less glamorous. However, you will be able to work from home. In addition, it is much more affordable. Nevertheless, a travel agency can specialize in more services and it can easily build partnerships with other travel companies.
Step 2 – Services
No matter which of the two you choose, you will need to decide on the type of service you are going to offer. For example, you can focus on resort and hotel reservations, transportations arrangements, cruise tours and etc. Also, you can select a particular sphere like corporate, family or honeymoon travel.
Step 3 – At home or at the office
As it was already stated, independent travel agents can work from home. The same goes for travel agencies, as long as they are not too big. However, if you can afford to hire an office space, don’t think too much. This type of travel business will often require you to meet with your clients. Therefore, an office may be even a must.
Step 4 – Come up with a business plan
To do that, you may need to have some more knowledge on the sector. If you don’t, do consult with an expert or someone who has an experience in the field. When writing your business plan, try to consider all the possible scenarios.
Step 5 – Estimate startup costs
Here you do not have much flexibility. Regardless of whether you intend to work as an independent travel agent or to run a travel agency, you will need to invest some money in your idea. Estimate the amount of capital you will need to start your business. Take into consideration everything, including additional costs.
Step 6 – Get to know the local government policies for starting travel-related business
Depending on where you live, the rules and regulation on founding a small travel agency business tend to differ greatly from one another. Therefore, take the time to research all the paperwork and licenses you are going to need.
Step 7 – Insurance
Do not forget to insure your business. It will be helpful in case of settlement or lawsuit. In addition, it will cover the cost on any possible workplace injuries.
Step 8- Know your Responsibilities
One of the most essential requirements in learning how to start a travel agency business is to know the extent of a travel business owner’s responsibilities. Though the usual knowledge lies in booking of cruises, airline tickets, and hotel rooms, there are also additional services which can be rendered to clients. These include help with obtaining of passports and visas; arrangement of airport-to-hotel transportation; conducting research on different retreats for companies and groups, conferences, or business meetings; and even the participation in event planning for events like birthday parties or weddings.
Step 8 – Build a network
Start by creating partnerships with other travel companies and agencies. This is a common practice for many travel agencies. In that way, you will have the chance to increase both your clients and profits. Also, you can join different organizations for travel agents. This is one of the best ways to meet people from the business, create new contacts and improve your skills and knowledge on the market.
Step 9 – Launch a website
Today, many clients prefer to work with agencies who offer online services, like online booking. That is why, if you really want to establish yourself as a name in this sphere, you will need to create a website for you agency. As a matter of fact, if you invest enough on this, you will be able to work from home.
Step 10 – Marketing
Take advantage of all types of marketing. From social media and radio ads, to flyers and business cards, the more the better. Don’t forget to create a client list with email addresses and client preferences. In that way you will be able to send out offers and promotions to your most active customers.
Without a doubt, this list of tasks is very long. Nevertheless, travel agencies and even independent travel agents have the chance to enjoy good profits, especially when they take into account these tips.