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How to Start a Travel Agency: Getting Started

August 09, 2023
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Do you enjoy organizing incredible activities, meeting new people, and travelling? Are you prepared to make the time, money, and effort necessary to establish this fascinating and extraordinarily gratifying career? This is not a “get rich quick” type of career but it is one that we absolutely love!

Starting a travel agency is a great way to see the world and then be able to share those experiences with your clients as you create their dream vacations. Read further as now we embark on this journey to becoming successful travel agents.

Discover How to Start a Travel Agency

Here are the key steps to kick-start your journey in the travel industry and start your own tour company:

Do Relevant Travel and Tourism Courses

Business schools and colleges offer 4-year-degree in tourism. At the same time there are online and independent educators such as travel institute, Alison, Coursera.

The most well-liked travel and tourism courses include:

  • B.A. in Travel and Tourism Management
  • B.B.A in Tourism Management
  • International Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • B.T.A (Bachelor of Tourism Administration)
  • B.H.M (Bachelor of Hotel Management)
  • Advanced Diplomas in Travel and Tourism

After all, having a degree and certification will make you nothing but more credible in the industry.

Perform a Competitive Analysis

When starting in industry, it’s important to understand your market and your place in the market.

Remember your competition has experience. They were where you are now, once; and they are killing it. Learn from them. Figure out why people go back to them for their services and why they hate them, also look at what the client wants that the competition is unable to offer.

By understanding your competitor’s operation model and business, you may be able to avoid pitfalls that could hinder your progress, especially financially. However, do not get stuck in the vicious cycle, as other businesses and CEO’s do not a fairy god mother. There’s no need to follow but just understand.

Choose the Best Path for your Travel Agency: Host Agency vs Independent Agent vs Franchise

The first choice you will need to make on your journey of ‘how to start your own travel agency’ is to decide whether you want to start with a host agency or as an independent agent or own a franchise. It’s a decision you have got to make, and you have got to make it right.

Host Agency

A host agency is an agency that hosts or facilitates independent travel agents. This becomes a tempting option for all freshmen because of low entry cost, flexibility, and less risk. Host agencies provide you everything you need to start with:

  • Utilization of Host Agency License
  • Customizable Newsletters
  • Booking and Promotional Resources
  • Newsletters, Press Releases, Sales Tools, E-Brochures, and Marketing Programs
  • Arrangements for Special Travel
  • 24/7 Opportunities for training, and learning through webinars, and destination events
  • Social Media Resources
  • Negotiated FAM Trips (Agent Familiarization Trips)
  • When new Travel Advisors join the company, earn a referral bonus.
  • Host Agency handles billing and administrative tasks.

Independent Travel Agents

Being a novice in the industry and starting as an Independent Travel Agent is going to be all work and no play, and little harry will be under a lot of pressure as it takes time to build business. It is always recommended to gain some experience first before choosing to become independent.

We know that we cons comes a list of pros; topping the list is you get to be your own boss. Once you gain clients’ trust you will be able to make a steady income which is comprised of consultation fees, commission fees and service fees, FAM trips and exclusive discounts.

Franchise

Another way to start your own travel agency is to own a franchise agency. The franchise agency provides as many benefits as the host agency. The significant difference in both is the fee. Since you pay to purchase a franchise, you own your tour company. Franchise agencies provide you with:

  • Booking and Promotional Resources
  • Newsletters, press releases, e-brochures, marketing initiatives, sales tools, and negotiated special travel deals
  • 24/7 Training, continuous Learning, Webinars, and Destination Events
  • Social Media Resources
  • Negotiated FAM Trips (Extra-cost Agent Familiarization Trips)

Find Niche and Target Market

The most important step in the journey to become a travel agent is to know who your ideal client is. The best way to discover it is to figure out what you enjoy and what you are good at. This is you will be able to monetize your passion and skill.

Here are some further travel-related niches:

  • Honeymoon vacations
  • Corporate travel
  • Adventure tours
  • Sporting events travel
  • Medical travel
  • Destination weddings
  • Foodie tours
  • Pet-friendly travel
  • Senior travel
  • Family travel

Choose a name for your agency and register your tour company

It’s time to take the big leap, choose a name and register your tour company. Make sure to check whether the name you have chosen for your brand is not already taken or like any other travel agency at the state secretary’s website.

Pen Down Travel Agency Business Plan

The following are essential components of a business strategy for travel agencies:

  • New website and company name
  • Physical location of a business
  • Business Organization
  • Niche in the Industry

Establishing alliances with other travel-related businesses, particularly after working as a travel agent for more than a year.

Open a Business Account

It can keep you legally compliant, offer you financial security as some banks don't offer business loans on personal accounts, and help you appear more professional to customers and clients. Additionally, it is simpler to document transactions and manage your business when you have a single account for collecting and paying.

Get your license and permits sorted according to the region you are in as this varies from each.

Build a Website and Choose the Right Platform

Create a simple, understandable, and easy to remember domain name. When attempting to develop a website for a travel business, selecting the appropriate domain name is always crucial. The initial impression that website visitors get establishes your brand and has an impact on your SEO.

⇒ Marketing

Attend seminars and webinars and learn from the industry experts. Figure out what kind of marketing works for your niche and target clients.

⇒ Find Travel Partners

To offer the best prices and to earn more money, partner with travel suppliers to gain multiple benefits such as reduced rates.

A travel supplier can include elements of; destinations/hotels/cruises/airlines/restaurants/attractions/spa, etc.

⇒ Gain Trust

One thing that doesn’t come easy at any point in our lives is trust. This is a difficult step but not an impossible one. You’ll be able to build trust by being easily approachable, quickly responsive to any issues that might arise.

For instance, your client has reached the hotel and the concierge tells them there’s no reservation under that name. What are you going to do about this situation?

Responding to such situations calmly and content will help you build your reputation.

Note: Word of mouth is the best advertising you can get to make new clients trust you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What are some major types of travel agencies?

A1. A few important types of agencies are host, independent and franchise.

Q2. How can anyone make a career in tourism?

A2. Any individual interested in setting foot in the travel industry can start by taking free tourism and travel courses that are available online; such courses require no qualification to nominal qualifications. One interested in knowing it all and then starting their career in travel and tourism can opt for 4-year-degree courses.

Q3. How to start a tour company after 12th?

A3. After completing grade 12, anyone can enroll in online certificate and degree program in travel and tourism, depending on the field and level in which they wish to advance their career in the sector.

Author
Deepti Shangari
Deepti Shangari, a seasoned senior content writer, whose passion to write, manage and conquer knows no bounds. To her, the world is an ever-changing symphony of ecstatic motion, a mesmerizing dance of evolution and unfolding. With each passing moment, life's vibrant tapestry unfurls before her very eyes, inspiring her to craft literary pieces that transcend the ordinary.