If you have a knack for logistics, scheduling, networking, problem-solving, deal hunting and giving your clients the personal touch they crave, you may have what it takes to start a travel agency.
Business acumen is required to own any business, of course. Even though travel agencies are losing some business to the ease of Internet booking sites, nothing can replace the savvy and expertise of an experienced travel agent. Someone with experience can iron out the myriad details that go into creating a seamless travel experience custom tailored to fit each client’s needs.
If this sounds like a point by point bulletin of your resumé, learning how to start a travel agency business might be your ticket to a rewarding and successful career.
[photo credit: fdcomite]
How Big Is The Travel Agency Industry?
IBIS World reports annual revenue from travel agencies at about $35 billion. Although the industry has seen an annual growth of 3.8% in the last five years, the Bureau of Labor statistics predicts that competition from online travel booking websites will result in a 12% drop in travel agency employment rates.
Why Starting A Travel Agency Now Is A Good Idea
Although Internet booking sites are cutting into the call for travel agent services, the speed of modern life in the 21st century limits the amount of time would-be travelers have. A person in the modern world doesn’t have time to spend time researching the best deals on every airline, cruise line, hotel, restaurant and entertaining attraction along the way.
As a result, many of these harried travelers still find value in engaging the personal services of a live travel agent who can take on the responsibility of arranging every detail to make their trip go smoothly.
There is value and peace of mind in the time saved if you can provide quality and reliable trip services, insider services, and the best deals and amenities to clients who entrust you with their itinerary.
Travel Agency Business Facts
Here are some facts and figures about the travel agency business you should consider:
Travel agency business startup costs
Estimates run up to $100,000, depending on whether you are working as an independent, through a host agency or franchise or opening a brick-and-mortar travel agency under your own brand.
How much do travel agents make?
According to Payscale.com, a travel agency manager salary ranges from $30,000 to $78,000 per year. A travel agent can bring in $26,000 to $52,000 per year.
How much do travel agencies charge?
The American Society of Travel Agents states that most travel agencies will charge service fees to cover the cost of the time and labor in researching and putting together an itinerary as insurance against clients who do not follow through and book the planned trip. Typical service fees range from $100 to $350, depending on the complexity of the trip. Besides the service fee, clients generally only pay the cost of the trip as the agency receives the majority of its revenue through arrangements and commissions with hotels, airlines, restaurants, cruise lines, and other tourist attractions.
How do travel agencies find customers?
Word of mouth is age-old, tried and true marketing technique. Provide quality services and your clients will refer their friends to your agency. Print, radio and TV ads can also get your name out there, along with the 21st-century techniques of posting online ads, establishing an active social media presence and having a professional website. Public relations through speaking engagements and newsletters (print or digital) let potential customers know about current specials and destination packages you are offering to drive business to your door.
What skills are required?
Proactive salesmanship and follow through, hard work ethic, determination and perseverance; scheduling, logistics, the ability to network with business partners to get your clients the best deals and add-on services, communication skills, knowledge of competitive options and current promotions, detail-oriented, the ability to read and understand contracts and clarify the fine print for clients, the ability to simplify the complex, solving problems before the client knows they exist and interpersonal skills to make the client feel valued and well-looked after.
What do I need to operate a travel agency?
At a minimum, you will need a business license and business bank account, business card, phone, basic office supplies, computer, printer and printer supplies. Business stationery, brochures, and insurance are also recommended. Depending on the nature and structure of your business, you may also have to provide rent for your office space, furniture or hire additional travel agents. A professional website and working relationships with airlines, hotels, and popular tourist attractions are also helpful.
Travel Agency Business Ideas
Do you offer domestic/international packages?
[photo credit: TOTORORO.RORO]
[photo credit: Robert Pratt]
[photo credit: Nicolas Boullosa]
[photo credit: Complete Merchandise]
[photo credit: Mighty Travels]
[photo credit: Kassandra Bay Resort & SPA]
Struggling with what to name your travel agency? Here are a few ideas:
|Honeymoon Destinations||Savannah Bound|
|Family Adventures Travel||Global Connect|
|Travel ’n Time||Wilderness Treks|
|Vision Tours||Tropical Travelers|
|Escape from Reality||Road of Dreams|
|Jungle Journeys||Memory Makers|
|Wild Blue Yonder||Wizards of Travel|