Are you interested in starting a travel agency business from home? Do you need a sample travel agency business plan template or feasibility study? Do you want to know what it takes to start a travel and tour company? If YES, then i advice you read on.
It’s not only celebrities that love to go on vacations and cruises. The average human wants to see other parts of the world, he wants to relax and have fun too. If you are able to catch a glimpse of the list of things most people want to do before they pass on, traveling to some part of the world would most likely be on the list for most people.
For others, the need to travel is not born out of pleasure but for businesses, conferences or due to the nature of their jobs. Whichever one it is, the travel industry remains a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to boom and double in size on a yearly basis.
The travel industry is a big industry within the tourism industry. Everyday, people are traveling from one part of the world to the other. And we all know that where there is demand, money is bound to flow and wherever money flows; entrepreneurs are there to tap into such opportunities. The major players is this industry are the transportation companies (Airline, Cruise and Shipping companies and other transporters) and a special category of people that work behind the scenes to ensure that travelers are comfortable on their trips and get value for their money. These people are known as travel agents. Their duties include but are not limited to-:
10 Duties of a Travel Agent
- Making travel arrangements for their clients.
- Creating travel itineraries according to their clients’ interests.
- Hunting for the best prices on services from travel tickets to hotel accommodations and even event tickets.
- Travel ticket booking and reservations.
- Hotel booking and reservations.
- Provision of ground transportation through car rental service companies for clients during their stay in foreign countries.
- Arranging special tours for people who wish to travel or go on vacations.
- Arranging for travel insurance for their clients.
- Providing visa assistance and travel advisory services to clients.
- Providing any form of service or assistance that would improve the travel experience of clients.
There are different ways to venture into this business. So if you are interested in tapping into travel industry as a travel agent, then below is a guide on how to start a travel agency from home.
Before I go into the details of starting a travel agency business online, I want to emphatically state that the information provided in this article does not in any way replace the need for you to conduct a feasibility study, write a travel agency business plan and do your own due diligence.
Secondly, the information shared in this article is applicable to any locality; be it USA, Canada, UK, Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Without wasting your time, below are creative ways on how to start your own travel agency business from home with little or no money.
How to Start a Travel Agency Business Online from Home
1. Starting from home-: Yes, you can easily start a travel and tour company from home with access to the internet, a telephone and the right contacts. This would even help you to increase your profits because you would be able to reduce overheads. From home, you can easily sell travel tickets and provide other travel services to your client if you have a strong internet presence and you are able to gain credibility over time.
2. Independent Agent-: As an independent agent, you would be attached to a much bigger travel agency but you would work on your own. You would help to sell their products and drive customers to their business for commission. As an independent agent, you can have access to resources needed to start a travel and tour company, get the necessary experience, build your own client list and then leave eventually to start your own company. Again, you can start this business from the comfort of your home (bear in mind that some clients would like to schedule visits) and work with more than one travel agency.
Where you decide to set up your travel agency business office will greatly have an effect on how much capital you would need to start. This is an important element to consider when learning how to start a travel agency business. Home-based travel agency businesses usually get by their first days with only a computer and a phone. If you prefer having an office, then you should be aware of the additional costs such as the electricity, furniture, and rent.
4. Consider Buying a Franchise-: You may want to start a travel and tour company without all the stress or experience, well you can when you obtain a franchise from an established travel and tour company. All the training and materials that you need would be provided to you by this company.
5. 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.
6. Have Adequate Client Knowledge
In learning how to start a travel agency business, you should know that there are two main markets you should target. The first market includes consumers and customers that travel. The second market is the business or corporate category.
- Specialty Travel Services-: This kind of travel agency provides service to a selected category of people. For instance a travel agency might choose education as its niche and only provide travel assistance to people travelling abroad for educational purposes. They may help with admission, student visas, accommodation, job placements and similar services for students. Other niches include maternity travel for pregnant women, business travel, vacation, destination wedding services to mention few.
- Corporate Travel Services-: Some companies have departments that take care of travel arrangements for its staff and visitors but due to the recent downsizing that most companies had to do because of the economic recession, a lot of companies now outsource this service to other companies. Corporate travel agents handle inbound and outbound travel services for corporate organizations.
You also need to know the category of people that use travel and tour companies so as to understand who your clients would be and how you would reach them. Most of the people who make use of travel and tour services are-:
- Newly wedded couples going on honeymoon.
- Businessmen and women visiting other countries for business.
- People who are relocating from one country to another.
- Students who want to go on excursions or for summer vacations.
- People travelling for vacation.
- Special groups going on tours like religious groups, clubs and social groups.
- Other random travellers.
These are just some of the people who use travel and tour companies and for your business to thrive; you should try to have a package for everyone. You can organize trips for kids during summer, offer special packages for businessmen, and help with honeymoon planning services. As a travel agent, you are handling a job which is based on performance and the amount of people you successfully book for traveling. As long as you know how to handle the business well, you might possibly earn about $100,000 annually.
Writing down your plan will assist in providing you a solid foundation, and will assist you also to secure fund from investors if you require additional capital to begin your business.
8. Check your state and local government guidelines to start a travel agency
Based on where you reside, you may have to file the necessary paperwork so as to be able to legally carryout your business. You will also need to file the appropriate paperwork to become legally incorporated in your state and L.G.A.
- Register your business-: After you have chosen the type of Travel and Tour Company you want to start from the ones listed above, you should register your business with relevant authorities before you commence.
9. Equip your office-: Whether you choose to operate from home as an affiliate or you want to float your own company, you would need some office equipment like a telephone, computer, fax machine, internet connection, files and cabinets, tables and chairs and other things that you would need to perform your job smoothly.
10. Open two bank accounts
The first account should be for your business as an independent travel agent, where all your track funds coming in to and as well going out of the business will be kept while the other account should keep hold of all the money that your clients will provide to book their trips.
11. Look for companies you will work with
Contact various travel companies to negotiate package deals you can offer or to determine the kind of referral commissions you can be earning. When you are dealing or are in business with more than one company, you can get more to offer your clients and this can provide you with additional money.
12. Join organizations and societies specifically for travel agents
Next, you would have to register with professional bodies like International Air Transport Association (IATA) or work with an agency that is already licensed. This license would enable you obtain airline tickets on behalf of your clients. You can also join the Nigeria Society of Travel Agents (NSTA), or the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents (NACTA). If possible, you can join the three to boost your business largely. These organizations and societies can maximize your visibility to consumers along with your credibility as an agent.
13. Network with other travel agencies
Get connected to a travel agency that can serve as your connection between the airlines, accommodations and cruise lines. Once these connections are available, you can acquire additional time to make much connections in the industry.
14. Advertise your business-: The most important thing in this business is not registering your business or having a fancy office. The most important thing is getting clients to patronize you. You can get clients through the following means-:
- Advertising in Newspapers and Magazines.
- Having a Search Engine Optimized website.
- Purchasing Marketing leads and Making cold calls.
- Getting listed on business directories.
- Sending Proposals to corporate organizations.
More Tips for Starting a Travel Agency Business from Home
Make sure that you have fair knowledge of the different aspects of travel. This includes cruises, air travel, and popular vacation destinations.
- Decide whether you want to sign up for a travel business franchise or start independently.
- Make sure you have an office which would be able to accommodate your business and your clients well.
- Advertise your business by creating your own website. People should be able to book over the Internet or via phone.
- Make sure you have already opened a business bank account. This includes credit card and checking account.
- Aside from your website, you can advertise your business through ads put up in newspapers, magazines, or through other websites online.
- Beginning a travel agency business can be done with little or no experience. You do not need any special certification or licensing.
- As an independent travel agency, you can select among several specialties. Make research what you think is the best in your area before choosing your specialty. As a travel agency, you can focus solely on cruises, luxury travel, vacation homes, or standard travel specializing in booking hotels and flights.
- You should consider taking a few business courses so you can learn more about how to begin and maintain your business more efficiently and effectively. These courses are available nationwide at local community colleges and online. Any fees paid to participate or to be enrolled in the course are tax deductible as a business expense.