TRAVEL AGENCY BUSINESS PLAN
Are you planning to start an online travel agency from home? Today, traveling has been much easier than it used to be a decade ago. There are many travel agencies these days taking care of everything that has to do with traveling.
Starting a travel agency at this present time won’t be a bad idea.
Travel agency provides a lot of services to clients starting from booking of flight, to find a good taxi, to booking hotels and resort reservation, to providing information about specific destinations.
If you have always had a love for traveling and providing traveling advice, you should start a travel agency so as to compliment your passion. Though relatively competitive, it is a very lucrative business and doesn’t require too much capital to start.
It is also an industry that is not affected by the economy because people must travel and some are too busy for the running around and so will need traveling agencies to do the running for them.
Here is a business plan for starting an online or home based travel business.
1. Conduct a Market Research and Find Your Niche
The travel agency is a vast industry with many niches. You have to conduct a market research to find out the kind of travel agency that is hot in the market and would suit you. Use the needs of the market to decide on the niche you should launch your travel agency in.
For example, corporate or academic travel may be what might be in high demand from a travel agency in your locality, but you won’t know until you conduct a market research. This will be helpful when choosing a travel business name to use.
During the research, also inquire about the startup cost for the niche that you might choose. Travel agency expenses are not more than office rent, office equipment like computer and phone lines, furniture and electricity.
So, don’t skip this step as if you do, you will find yourself to blame.
2. Check Local and State Laws
After you must have decided on the niche of travel agency you want to embark on, you need to make sure you are complying with the applicable laws concerning starting a travel agency.
Depending on your location, some paperwork will be needed to become established as a recognized business in your state. You will need to register your travel agency with the appropriate agents of government and apply for a Tax ID number.
Also, have it in mind that you will be needing a corporate account to operate this business.
3. Create a Travel Agency Business Plan
Not only does a business plan help you run your agency effectively, it also helps you secure funding from investors in the case you might need additional capital. If you will need financial backing from investors for your travel agency, your business plan must be professionally written to include a great deal of information.
Don’t rush into creating your business plan. Try to gather enough information before coming to conclusion.
Notwithstanding, if creating a business plan is something you are not sure of yourself that you can do, kindly outsource it to a professional business consultant.
Also, you may likely find samples of a travel agency business plan if you search online. There is also business plan software that can ease the process for you too.
4. Get a Location
I know you must have heard about home-based travel agency. Yes, they exist. But, check out the top travel agencies, are their offices located at home? if you want to join the top players in your market, you will need to get a location for your travel agency.
Contact real estate agent to find a good retail space for your business. Space should be large enough to accommodate clients while also housing furniture, marketing materials, and office equipment. There should also be enough car parking space too.
Location most suited for this kind of business is where the business is needed which include places like flight booking channels, hotels and airports. Your location should also reflect your brand image.
5. Market Your Travel Agency
You don’t just start a travel agency and sit down waiting for clients, you must market aggressively to your target clients. Making your business visible to the local people in your city is also a way to position your business for success.
You will need to have a promotional plan in place and be ready to spend money on the business card, logo design and also online marketing. Advertise your business in newspapers, billboard, hangout fliers etc.
Social media is still another channel you can use to market your business. you will have to create an account on social media platforms specifically Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These are social sites your potential customers are always visiting. You should take your business to them.
Creating a website is also a must. This is where you will be directing your traffic from social media to so as to engage them with your content. A well- designed website conveys professionalism to potential clients and it is the best way to convert interested customers.
How to Start a Tourism Company
Do you have the mindset to start a tourism business but don’t have the confident to kick-start because you are not clear about some aspect of the business? Tourism business is a very profitable business if you are well-informed about the business and how you can make money with it.
Why Do People Travel
People travel from one town to another, one city to another, one country to another and one continent to another for different purposes. They include;
- Conferences: This can be academic, religious, economic and so on.
- Leisure: People travel for relaxation, to ward off stress, to initiate and complete a healing process.
- Health: People travel to get better medical assessment and assistance.
- Sports: People travel from place to place for sports.
Above are some of the reasons why people travel and hence promote tourism.
The tourism business is a broad business in the sense that there are many aspects of it. A person that want to start a tourism business will have to study the different aspects of the tourism business.
Tourism services are provided for tourists. A tourist can be said to be a stranger to the visiting environment and so will need assistance in performing almost all his/her activities in the said environment.
It is in providing these required assistance to a tourist that one can really start a tourism business and make money. A tourist will need assistance with:
The hospitality aspect of the tourism business comes in handy here. A place to live for the time being is very fundamental to a tourist and so accommodation is a key need of tourists and this is why you need to start a tourism business.
Of course human beings need food to function maximally. Food business is a thriving sector of the tourism business.
The local cuisine of the environment can be well prepared and made available to tourists. Even the native cuisine of the tourists can be made available to make them feel at home.
Another reason why you should start a tourism business is because being a stranger in the environment, a tourist will need a reliable means of transportation to take him or her around to desired destinations. Flight tickets can also be booked for them.
- Language Translator
Sometimes, tourists go to countries with languages that he or she is not familiar with and therefore need a translator who understands both his or her language and the language of the environment. This is one way to make money from tourism business.
Most tourist, especially the ones traveling solely for leisure will need a person who is familiar with the terrain and sites of importance or places of tourist attraction as a guide to lead him/her around.
- Sales of Cultural Items/Goods
Most tourists want to take home some goods or items that are indigenous to the countries they visited. This is also a means of income to the tourism business. Local items and materials like clothing, footwear, jewelry, stationary and so on can be beautifully made and sold to the tourists at attractive prices.
Every country is known to have their own cultural heritage and identity. This aspects of culture can be explored to be a source of income for the tourism business. The local dance of the people, local plays and so on can be performed to entertain the tourists.
Having mentioned the different ways of how to make money in the tourism business, it is now left for a person that wants to start a tourism business to decide on the aspect of the tourism business that he/she intends to focus on.
STARTING A TOURISM & TRAVEL AGENCY
Location is very important factor to consider in starting a tourism business. Most tourists want to see exciting sights and sounds. To start a tourism business, one has to be in a location that is easily accessible to tourists.
The environment where a tourism is located has to be such that visit regularly and one that geographically has a lot of tourist attractions. Environments with caves, rocks, stream, waterfalls, museums and so on are suitable environments to start up tourism business.
Tourism Business Plan
A business plan is a very important tool that will help a person intending to start a tourism business. A business plan is a document, more like a roadmap on how to start any business.
Aspects of the business that will be captured in the business plan include:
- The company profile
- The service/products to be offered
- The financial plan
- The marketing plan
- The unique selling point of the business
- The selling strategy and so on.
There are complete courses available for free on writing a business plan and an individual interested in starting a tourism business should study such courses as it will come in handy in providing a guideline for the success of the business.
There are authorities that control business startups and growth in the different sectors of the economy. These authorities issue licenses to business operators which enable them to run their businesses under the provisions of the law.
In starting a tourism business, the appropriate authorities should be contacted and the conditions that need to be met for a license to be issued to operated a tourism business should be taken into cognizance and met in order to obtain a license to start a tourism business.
The world tourism organization forecasts that international tourism will continue growing at the average annual rate of 4%. Did you hear that? 4%! What are you waiting for? Arise and take the steps above on how to start a tourism business and start rolling in the “bucks”!
How to Start an Online Travel Agency Working From Home for Free
Do you know how to become a home based travel agent? Here are the basic steps to becoming a successful travel agent from home.
The internet has increasingly changed the way work is done. This applies for a wide range of businesses including the travel industry.
If you seek to establish a travel agency business and also want to work from home, you can achieve both. This article will show to how to start an online travel agency working from home.
- What Products/Service will you be selling?
As a home based travel agency, you can still function effectively. But what type of services will you be providing? There are several of these travel products. These include car rentals, hotel and accommodation, and special packages such as cruises and incentive programs.
Other services and products include airline loyalty, travel insurance and emergency services and many more.
- A Business Partnership is Highly Essential
Operating a successful online travel agency requires partnership. This is the lifeblood of the business. But who are these partners? They consist of tour or activity providers. These are businesses which are on ground and will offer direct services to clients. Such include hotels or other types of accommodation arrangements, car hire services, flight companies, tour services and many others.
This partnership is bound by an Agency Agreement that allows you as the travel agency to resell their products.
Under such an agreement, the client or consumer pays for the service while you pay the net rates to the provider(s).
- Choosing a Host Agency
These agencies offer you the incentive of using its booking numbers, therefore presenting a unified front as a single agency. This is highly crucial for a new online travel agency business. The benefits of host agencies are enormous.
Any host agency you choose has its numerous benefits. Hosting agencies provide different business models. You get to choose which best fits your needs. Some host agencies require the payment of a one-time fee only. You get to retain every commission made.
Others charge a fee for each booking made without a commission split, while others will require a commission split.
- Advantages of Using a Host Agency
One of the major benefits of using a host agency is the low start-up requirement. It significantly lowers your cost of doing business. Others include ready support for your online travel agency, training, helpful tools, using its accreditation as well as access to its Seller of Travel (SOT) license.
In spite of its obvious benefits, there are those who would prefer not to use this option. If you are one of such persons, other options like joining a co-operation, operating independently or buying an online travel agency franchise are available.
- Patience is a Necessity
Starting an online travel agency as with other businesses requires a reasonable amount of time to stabilize. For a new business, it is usually challenging getting your first clients and maintaining steady patronage at the early stages. You will need to also understand that there are peak seasons. This means that apart from such periods, patronage is usually low even for established online travel agency businesses.
We recommend that you maintain your current job while gradually building your travel agency business. This is because if you depend on it for some income from the onset, you are likely to get disappointed. A lot of work is necessary to build a strong brand.
- Choice of a Niche
If you are surprised, you shouldn’t be. There are several online travel agency niches you can choose from. These can be effectively run from the comfort of your home. Some of these include wellness travel, specialty cruises, lifestyle or libertine travel, organized tours and special needs travel.
Others are women-only travel, travelers with pets, adventure travels, luxury travels and those for honeymooners. There are several more niches you can pick from.
It is necessary when picking a travel niche that you choose those with a higher demand. This should also align with your interest.
- Do you have a Source of Funding?
In other words, have you made adequate financial preparations for your proposed online travel agency business?
Luckily, running a successful online travel agency business from home will cut down significantly on funding. This is because you do not need a brick and mortar office. This takes up a substantial amount of your start-up costs.
With your computer and an internet connection, the funding requirement is significantly reduced. Having the right relationships are important to your success.
- Consider Sorting Out All Legal Issues
There are several laws that apply to different types of businesses. This includes travel agencies operating from home.
Such laws may vary from one state to the next. Whatever the case is, you should ensure that you abide by all stipulated guidelines. The legal structure of your business is also crucial to its smooth running or otherwise.
- Create Catchy and Effective Ads
Because your business is done entirely online, you should pay special attention to your marketing strategies. You need to create highly engaging ads with catchy infographic content. You may want to seek/hire the services of experienced graphic designers to get the job done. You also need marketing tips to sell your business to your target market.
- Is Your Business Deserving of Trust?
This is an important question that you will need to ask yourself. To build trust, you will need to establish a close relationship with your clients. A good thing with starting an online travel agency from home is that you set your pace. You should genuinely care for the needs of your clients.
In other words you should go the extra mile to satisfy your clients.
Once they know of your willingness to make them comfortable and happy, you would have won over some dedicated clientele.
We have discussed on how to start an online travel agency working from home. If you have followed to this point, you would see that there are definite steps that contribute to success.
Above all, your clients should not be taken for granted. Your whole aim should be to maintain the trust of these clients and to give them the picture of a reliable and well run business. The benefits are tremendous!