How to Start a Travel Agency Business

The business of running a travel agency is tough, stressful and requires people skills. The agency is built on service delivery, networking and lots of communication.
 Communication is done through your website, fax, over the counter and telephone conversations. You need to register your business, do lots of network and get contractual agreements.
If you want to get ahead of your competitors offer quality service, discounts and promotions to customers. Tailor your services to their needs and try full service. Full service involves ticketing, hotel reservation and airport shuttle arrangements.
The laws binding establishing an independent travel agency differs from one country to the next. In some African countries all you need is a business name to start the enterprise.
Apply for a Loan
You need money to start a travel agency business so apply for a loan from a commercial bank. Provide collateral such as landed property or a house you own.
Join a travel based association or group for insider knowledge or soft loans. Trade cooperative groups in some countries provide soft loans to members.
Your agency needs a credit account in your company name because most transactions are done on your company’s current account.
Staffing your Enterprise
Some big travel agencies have over a hundred staff members. A small startup company could hire a proficient receptionist, accountant, clerical office and management staff. You might also need drivers, sales agents, sales clerk and manager.
Get a Consultant
You need to hire a travel consultant with knowledge of travel agency. Ask your local cambers of commerce for information concerning travel agency business.
Independent tour operators sell holidays and tickets. To compete with big brands the agency needs to leverage on discounts, promotions and excellent service
You need to network with airlines, tour guides, hotels and transport companies for best deals. It takes time to build a strong reputation, brand and relationship with your network partners.
Joining a travel agency trade association is very important because of many benefits and resources you get.

Register your Company
You need to register your company and get insurance cover. Find out the availability of your business name and use the same name for your domain name. There are few permits and licensing you need to start the enterprise.
Build a Website
A travel agency without a website is bound to fail in today’s reality. Hire a website developer to build a good website that showcases all your services.
The site should have digital images of holiday locations and travel destinations. Offer discounted airline tickets including full services such as airport shuttle and hotel booking.
Your websites needs traffic so use search engine optimization techniques and online advertisement. Advertise your travel agency through Google Adwords and Facebook adverts.
Get your business on yellow pages, online directory and use travel forums. Don’t forget the power of social media channels. Another added bonus is if your travel website accepts online card payments on booking.
How Much Does It Cost?
The question is how much does it cost to start a travel agency.  You need contractual agreement between hotels and airlines to issue tickets.
The agency needs an office in a business district or close to residential buildings. The interior design should be appealing and tasteful.
Factor lease costs, contractual agreements, staff wages, utility such as telephone charges and permit fees. You can consider running a host agency business by partnering with a bigger one.
Your business needs lots of promotion to attract customers because it’s highly competitive. What differentiates each agency is the quality of service and brand name.
Promote your agency in newspapers and travel magazines. Use electronic media such as radio and television. Use posters billboards, handbills and complementary cards.


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