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Start a Travel Agency Business – Complete Guide

travel agency business

How to start a travel agency business

Are you planning on setting up a travel agency business in your country and want to know how to go about it? This article will give you some guidance you need to get started. We can also help you prepare a comprehensive feasibility study/business plan on how to start a travel agency business. Place your order.

So, In this travel agency business guide we shall look at the following:

  1. Introduction to travel agency business.
  2. Top Reasons why you should invest in the travel agency business.
  3. How the travel agency business works.
  4. Capital Required to setup a travel agency business
  5. What is required for starting a travel agency
  6. Information on IATA Accreditation for a travel agency business
  7. Travel agency business income and profitability projection
  8. Challenges and risks involved in the travel agency business.
  9. How to market and attract patronage for the travel agency business

Introduction to the travel agency business

Travel agencies around the world are raking in millions in earnings, and any country where there is a high number of people who travel within and outside the country monthly and yearly would be a top destination to run a travel agency business. Before we proceed, here is what a travel agent does. A travel agent is in charge of planning trips in and out of the country for his clients, this includes, booking flight tickets, researching and booking the cheapest and quality hotels in the travel destination of your clients.

As a travel agent, you should determine what scale to operate on. On a small scale, you can be a an individual travel consultant for an IATA accredited travel agency. On a medium scale, you can own a franchise of an established accredited travel agency. On the large scale, you can choose to start your own travel agency and apply for IATA accreditation.

To become good at being a travel agent, you may have to intern at a travel agency establishment for some years, or work as a full staff. After gathering enough experience about being a travel agent, you can then leave and start yours. The reason for this is because working in the field before branching out will help you get the necessary contacts and experience needed to thrive in the industry. To start your own travel agency, here are some things you might want to know;

Top Reasons why you should invest in the travel agency business.

Here are 5 top reasons to start this business right away:

  1. People travel in and out of your country on a daily basis.
  2. A travel agency can be started with little capital. All you need basically is your laptop and Internet connection.
  3. It’s highly profitable. The travel industry turn over billions of dollars every year
  4. You can run it from your home or from a small office on a small scale.
  5. You enjoy great discounts for your own, friends and family travels

How the travel agency business works.

What exactly does a travel agent do? What are the duties of a travel agent? What does the job entail? Well, the travel agent is very important to families and individuals who wish to travel to other countries or states for vacation, business or tourism. Being a travel agent involves these:

  1. Affiliating with an accredited agency or starting your own travel agency.
  2. Source for and find people who wish to travel out and within the country, but are too busy or inexperienced to plan for their trip.
  3. Your job would be to help this people plan their trip, including booking flight tickets, notifying your clients of any travel freebies, booking hotels at discount prices and generally making sure they have a successful trip.
  4. These people pay you for your services.
  5. A Travel agent can also sell plane tickets and event tickets in other countries
  6. Repeat process starting from step 2.

Capital Required to setup a travel agency business

How much you need exactly to start your travel agency depends on the scale of your operation and location. In the United states, Canada for instance, you will require between 500 – 3,000 US dollars, in Nigeria, you may need between 50,000 – 10,000,000 naira. For residents in other countries, you can determine your capital requirements by summing up individual items in the “What is required for starting a travel agency” section below according to prices in your country. We have compiled some cool ways to raise capital for a new business

What is required for starting a travel agency

Depending on your scale, whether you want to start as an individual travel consultant, a franchise owner or a travel agency operator, you would require some or all of these.

  1. An office: This is for those who may wish to startup on a larger scale and become IATA registered operators. Having an office is a major requirement for accreditation. Rent an office space in a major city to position your business better.
  2. Laptop(s): A laptop is required for booking airlines online, booking for hitels for your clients, etc. You should invest in good laptops, new or refurbished (if you are operating on a low budget)
  3. Printers: Buy a printer or more for printing important documents.
  4. Website: You need a website for marketing, showcasing your agency, for signing up clients. An ideal website for this should cost between 250 – 700 dollars (75,000 – 250,000 naira).
  5. Booking Software: Invest in a good booking software to enable you process clients’ booking orders, and manage payments.
  6. Internet connection: Subscribe for data from your network provider. You would need a lot of it. If you plan on running a large travel agency outfit, get a router.
  7. Employees: You need to hire employees to become a registered IATA operator. Employ 2-3 people to work with you. A travel agency employees’ starting salary varies,so find out what agencies in your country pay. If you are operating as an independent travel consultant, you may not need to hire employees.
  8. Business name / company registration: A business name or company registration, gives your business some form of credibility. It is a major requirement for intending IATA operators. Visit your country’s company registration agency or begin the process online.
  9. Licensing and IATA Accreditation: Get information about local licenses you need to operate as a travel agent in your city/country. On the other hand, if you need IATA accreditation, some of the benefits of being accredited by IATA includes: Authorization to sell tickets for domestic and international airlines, global recognition with unique IATA number and permission to use IATA logo, access to international IATA suppliers for partnerships. See more & how to go about IATA accreditation here.

Information on IATA Accreditation for a travel agency business

Accredited IATA operators are always the first to get notifications of airline ticket reductions and they also get notified of other freebies. The cost for becoming a registered IATA Operator is quite high but however, if you are starting up as an independent travel consultant, you do not need to bother about IATA accreditation as you can always make use of the IATA number of an accredited agency you are affiliated to for a lesser fee. And all you need to do is approach the agency and offer to serve as a company sales outlet or representative.

Note: IATA stands for International Air Transport Association.
Learn more about IATA.

Travel agency business income and profitability projection

Profitability will depend on a lot of factors like how much time you put into the business, your marketing efforts, and so on. With a steady and consistent patronage, you can make up to 10 times (income) your initial start up investment in a year.

Challenges and risks involved in the travel agency business

The challenges you may encounter while running your travel agency are:

  • Low customer turnout due to apathy of most people towards using travel agencies.
  • Distrust from customers. People are always careful about giving someone money to help them plan their travels. This is because of the increasing number of fake agencies scamming people.
  • High capital needed to start and run this business.
  • You may have to work long hours and at odd hours also to be able to thrive in this business.

How to market and attract patronage for the travel agency business

  • Go online. Build a website or a blog that lists your services online.
  • Offer value added services.
  • Give excellent customer services as well.
  • Source for and offer amazing discount offers to clients.
  • Print and distribute flyers.
  • Send out bulk SMS and emails
  • Advertise in the local and international media if you can.

So, dear entrepreneur, we wish you a successful travel agency career as you embark on this business, but before then, you may need a professional business plan prepared for this business. We encourage you to pre-order now.

The information contained in this guide will help any one in the United States, UK, Wales, Germany, France, Canada, India, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, China, and other countries planning on starting this business. Travel agency business is a global busines. Please share!
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