If you are planning to set up your own travel business, it is important to explore the market prior to taking the plunge. A little due diligence is never a bad idea. However, you must keep in mind the basic difference between a travel agent and a tour operator.
While a travel agent usually sells holiday packages and deals, the latter will ensure that these very trips are organized in a planned manner.
Starting your own travel agency
To start with, you could as well operate as a travel agent right from the comfort of your home with a laptop, an internet connection, smartphone, and a telephone. As far as building clients is concerned, you could start off by networking among your friends, family, and peers. But you must be prepared to face stiff competition at every step especially as this is an industry that is almost saturated and you might come across a tour operator or a travel agent dotted along prime centres of the cities and towns.
Cost of starting your travel business
There are several aspects that will determine the cost of starting this agency. Few of these factors have been explained in brief in the paragraphs that follow. Learn more for making your investment strategy cost-effective.
- Operating location/Premises
If you are not operating from your own premises but someone else’s, you will have to take into account the rent that you will have to pay. The premises should not be a problem as long as you are not hiring any staff. The moment you hire staff or personnel, the location definitely matters as no one will want to work at a location that is remote.
- Recruiting staff
It is best at least in the interest of the company that you recruit the expertise of staff that has been working in the industry before. Hiring fresh candidates might delay your travel business from taking off promptly. You have to shell out money for paying off their salaries. Although your firm will be considered as a start-up, the salary you pay has to be at par with the industry standards.
- Promoting your brand/business
Advertising or marketing definitely plays a crucial role in promoting your brand. Initially, you must invest a little more in advertisements till the time your business does not take off well. Talk to friends, peers, and family members and through word of mouth; you can promote your business. It is very important to have a strong client base so that your travel business takes off successfully.
- Offer services online
These days everyone wants to book tickets and avail other services and products from the comfort of their homes or offices. It is mandatory to buy a domain and host your website with the help of a reliable hosting company. To find out how you can lay your hands on financial aid to make your dream come true, you can explore the various loan options.
Travel agency trade associations
In order to get visibility in the travel business, you must be associated with trade associations. Two such bodies include the Global Travel Group and ABTA that offers membership to various tour operators and travel agents. There is a membership fee that you must pay.
What will be your ROI?
Since the ROI or the profits you earn in this business is “commission based”, you get to enjoy a certain percentage of the fee that goes to the tour operators. As far as the commission amount is concerned, it varies from one travel agent to another and from one tour operator to another depending on the sectors to which they conduct tour packages and plans.