If you consider yourself as someone who loves and enjoys traveling, being keen on the planning process, and likes helping others to get the experiences of travelling, then you may have considered starting a travel agency.
Although starting a travel business is somewhat difficult, a travel business can be fairly low-cost to initiate. You can even get away with limited staff and little cost.
On the other hand, success is basically reliant on getting the exact niche in an aggressive market. Therefore to be able to succeed, you’ll need to put a great arrangement of effort into your market research, branding, marketing and promoting.
Here are a few tips of advice you need if you want to get started in the business-travel industry:
Step 1: Plan your travel agency
There is no room for mistakes. Every industry needs a business plan –what kind of travel business do you plan on starting? It can be a home-based travel agent, and if that’s the case you need to find a host travel agency, then you’ll be an independent contractor. If this is the type of travel business you’d like to start, the business planning process should be fairly straightforward.
However, if you’re looking into starting your own business from the ground up, you’ll be looking at a much more lengthy planning process and you’ll also have more flexibility to build a business that’s all your own.
The kind of business plan you’ll need to start a travel agency will vary depending on what kind of funding you’re looking for. Is it a loan or investment from an investor or venture capital firm? Alternatively, are you starting a travel agency using your own savings, without seeking outside investment or loans?
Whatever your specific reasons for writing a business plan for your travel business are, the most important thing is that you write one. The travel industry is fragmented, and having a clearly defined niche and a plan will help you stand out. Writing a business plan will help you narrow in on what your goals are, and establish a clear, focused vision going forward.
Step 2: Conduct market research and find your niche
What kind of travel agency do you plan on starting? Moreover, what kind of travel agency does the industry or your local community actually need?
There is a need to do market research to find out what kind of travel agency the market really needs. It can be the travel market that provides destination adventure honeymoons for young couples who would rather go backpacking than relax on the beach while some prefer luxury travels/adventures.
The kind of travel company should remain relevant in the age where more travel-related bookings are made online. Start by researching the travel market in general; find out who the major players are that you’ll be competing against, conclude who your ideal customer is, and classify what they want.
Step 3: Brand your travel agency
When you’ve already settled on what the market looks like and what precise niche you’ll be filling, it’s important to get down in creating a strong brand name.
The travel industry is so competitive that you are obliged to create a well-developed brand that will overall help your business be eye-catching.
There should always be an option as to why your customers should use your services rather than just book a trip themselves. What experience can you endow with that others can’t?
Your travel business’s brand tactic must determine who you are.
Step 4: Deal with the legal side
A travel business is a fairly simple one to set up. In most locations, you won’t need any specific licenses or certifications to start a travel business, but specific licensing requirements will vary by state and country. Beyond specific licenses, there are general licenses that you’ll need before you start any type of business.
However, the business structure you choose will depend largely on your plans for your business, and how you intend to fund it.
You’ll also want to formally name your business, which involves filing a DBA, or a “doing business as.” You’ll also need to apply for a Federal Tax ID number, otherwise known as an Employer Identification Number.
Step 5: Determine your funding strategy
Fortunately, your starting costs should be fairly low. You won’t have expensive equipment to buy, and you probably won’t need extensive space in the beginning.
It’s good to have a plan in place for how you will acquire funding. You will require finances for marketing materials for online such as your business website, and offline such as flyers, brochures posters, business cards, and others. Your initial funding budget will also likely go toward any advertising. You may also decide to rent office space and hire employees, which is a somewhat a big expense.
Many travel agencies are self-funded, since they have low initial overhead and can be started fairly easily.
Step 6: Choose a location and hire employees
Subsequently, make a plan for the logistics of opening your travel agency to the public.
The number of employees you will need to hire depends on how you will start until you decide to expand your business. You can also consider remote employees, or you’ll want to to set up your business location.
However, as with employees, you’ll find that a physical location isn’t always an absolute necessity.
Whether or not you prefer to go this direction, it will depend on your explicit niche and brand. Still, it’s undoubtedly a decision to regard as.
If you are a person who is very keen and interested in traveling, why not plan this type of business for you?
Featured image credit to Platform London/Flickr