Sunday, November 24, 2013

Starting a Travel Agency

These days, travel agents may work from home or at an office as most travel arrangements are made online. To start a travel agent business, it is helpful to have a working knowledge of travel agent software, customer service experience and experience in travelling to different parts of the world. If you want to start your own travel agency, here are some tips given by, when starting a travel agency business.

Decide whether to become an independent travel consultant or owner of a travel agency. Independent travel consultants earn commissions for the work they do for a travel agency. Consultants may work from home or in an agency's office. As a consultant, you may be limited in the types of travel services you can provide clients. Purchasing.a franchise allows you to build a business on an already successful brand, but you may still be limited in the types of services you can provide. Starting your own agency allows you to sell a wider variety of travel services while allowing you keep all the proceeds from each sale.

Determine the types of travel services to offer to clients. Travel services include transportation arrangement  (air, train, boat, car, hotel and resort reservations, cruise packages and specialized tour packages such as eco-tours or city-based tours. You may also want to specialize exclusively in family travel, senior travel, corporate travel or academic travel to set your business apart from other travel agencies.

Lease a space for your travel agency or work from home. Contact local commercial real estate agents to find available retail space. Choose a space in a busy retail area with ample parking. The space should be large enough to meet with clients while housing computer equipment, furniture and marketing materials. If working from home, create a space that allows you to work comfortably at your computer while providing adequate storage for computer equipment and software, marketing materials and files.

Create a website. Include a description of travel services, contact information and on-line booking options. Invest in computer software programs that process client bookings and payment from your website, track online marketing campaigns and captures email addresses.

Purchase general liability or home-based business insurance. Protect your business in the event of a lawsuit or settlement. Worker's compensation insurance may be necessary if hiring employees. This insurance helps pay the costs incurred through an accident or injury at the workplace.

Create marketing materials. Create materials such as brochures, business cards and flyers to promote your travel agency. Build a client list that includes email addresses, travel preferences, past travel destinations. Send email updates of travel specials, events or other information of interest to clients each business quarter to encourage sales.

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