Traveling brings about a number of benefits to an individual – visiting other places, experiencing other cultures, meeting new people – you gain more knowledge of the world you’re living in. That’s why many people love to travel.
Statistics from the U.S. Travel Association revealed that in 2011, a whopping $1.9 trillion USD in economic activity was generated from the travel industry including $813 billion USD in direct travel expenditures. Just shows how big the market of traveling is.
In the past, a travel agent’s main function is just to know the flights’ availability and then issue a ticket to customers. Now, they have more dynamic roles. They provide an array of time-saving services to customers – from ticketing to tour arrangement and creating itineraries – all these in a complete travel package.
If you love traveling and you have the resources to start a business, why not start a travel agency yourself?
Decide on the type business
There are different paths you can take in getting into this business. Choose if you want to be a franchise owner of an established agency, an independent agent, or a home-based agent.
- Household: This is the cheapest way to get into this business. It has low overhead cost since you operate from your home. You only need to have a computer and internet connection, and probably a telephone for possible calls.
An advantage of this type is you can work in your own time and at the comfort of your home.
- Independent agent: You get to work for an established agency as an independent contractor. You can work from home or in the office of the travel agency you’re working for.
- Franchise: You purchase the rights to run a canned business – everything has been prepared and you need to do is to set it up. You can use the name of the agency, its business concepts and running methods.
There are also those who work for corporations but this is hard for starters who don’t have a name yet.
Register your business
Ask authorities if you need a license to start your own agency. Most cities require this even if it’s a home-based business.
There really is not much needed equipment in this one. Basically, you only need computer units and a good internet connection for transactions.
Set-up a location
If you don’t have that much capital, you can just work from your home. If you have money to spare, you can look for a space within the metro.
Get into training programs
Enroll in training programs and seminars to increase your knowledge on the trends in the business. Joining travel agency associations will expand your contacts list and get you the chance to join trainings as well.
Apply in recognized organization like the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This of course will cost some money but it can be a good addition to your credentials.
Research interesting destinations
Since many people visit tourist destinations, it becomes too crowded and turns out to be less enjoyable.
Do a thorough research on tourist hot spots and other interesting destinations. Surprise your customers by suggesting exotic places that only few people know of.
Promote your services
Produce eye-catching brochures, flyers and posters. Create a website to promote your agency. Many customers prefer the comfort of doing transactions over the internet.
Offer timely information and travel advisories. Handle all the dirty work of traveling to provide smooth and enjoyable services to your customers.
The travel market is a really competitive one. You have to offer more than they ask for to stay in the game.