HOW TO START A TRAVEL AGENCY BUSINESS
Call it a cliché but every Indian college student in their last semester must have planned a Goa trip to impersonate the iconic Bollywood film ‘Dil Chahta Hai’. We never know if it was successful or not. This year, it sure was not successful and even plans for most of us were canceled by the emergence of the noble Corona Virus that hit the world and we are suffering through a global pandemic. Travel is one big part of a person’s life. A trip can change one’s outlook on life. Now when the world is connected through various means of transports, traveling has become easier and more accessible. All you do is book a ticket and leave. Sounds fun right? But alas, it’s not that easy. Traveling to any place away from the comfort of home can be equally distressing if we do not get what we had expected. Sometimes your train ticket is not confirmed on time or you are unable to find a hotel good enough for you or you spend a whole day without food because of your eating preference and none of what you like was available. All this feels like a nightmare which turns true for many who don’t plan accordingly. To make this easier, we were blessed by Travel Agents. People who arrange for us the necessary facilities to travel within our budget. Travel Industry is massive and one of the biggest industries in the world. It contributed to an annual of 2.3 trillion USD globally. The industry is on the rise and people are eager to travel again since the effect of COVID is subsiding. We have our Travel Agencies as the messiah to guide us through our journey and make our trip memorable.
If you are looking to be a part of the huge travel Agency Business then continue to read on and have a look at a few things you must keep in mind before starting a travel agency business.
Understand the Market
To start any business, you must know how the market works around it. What other travel agencies are available? Meet with travelers and do your research about what are the paces traveled by people the most according to the season community. This research will help you understand the market size, strata, variety, and help you build a vision for your travel agency. You can also classify and have a decided niche for the travel agency as to whether it would just cover domestic packages or you will be working internationally. This way you can be more focused and the knitted to your business. Understand the travel agency along with being a market of huge investment and profit is renowned of hospitality service.
Increase your expertise
To open a travel agency, you need to have a lot of information about the travel culture. You should be an expert. Take guidance from travel experts or join some classes to know about how you can manage a travel business. know about the countries and places that you are providing your services to and from. You’ll need to have local connections and access to resources such at hotel, tourist guides, restaurants, etc. Make sure you know it all because your customers will only be convinced and trust you if they see you know what you are doing.
Decide the size and mode of your Travel Agency
These is basic as you’ll need to collect funds for your business according to this plan. Before you open a travel agency, you must decide how you are going to organize your business and the size of it. Are you going overboard and be arranging travel to international destinations or starting with a domestic only? Will you be putting up your travel agency online? Decide how you’ll get funds for all these. The travel agency business runs on commission and you have to give the main amount to the direct service provider and you keep the commission. Decide the percentage of your commission beforehand to avoid any hassles.
Take Permits and License
To start any business in India, you need to have legal permission sorted beforehand to avoid any hassles with government officials. You’ll need to get yourself registered as a business person, get your GST registration, and all sorts of licenses and permits are done. Make sure you are ready with all the paperwork and to take multiple rounds of government offices because opening any business in India calls for this.
Rent a suitable place for office
Rent a place you know will be best for the size of the travel agency you have in mind. The business has a lot of scopes to grow and you can always expand your place but to change your location is a big task. Make your calculations and opt for a place that will be big enough and you don’t have to change your location. Location is also a key to open a travel agency. You can rent a place where the footfall is high such as in the basement of a mall or near a tourist attraction in your city where travellers and enthusiast visit often and are likely to notice you.
Value for money
People do not like paying extra money to anyone. For them, you are only working as an agent who is arranging services and are likely to negotiate your prices with the little research they have done at their home and will not be convinced to do business with you if you keep the prices on the higher side. Have a price range that is similar those set by other agencies. You can change them according to the facilities and luxury.
Create an e-commerce platform
With time changing and the movement of people from store to online is rising at a steady pace, setting up your business online along with offline store is a good option. To open a travel agency online, you need to set up a user-friendly glitch-free website or an app. Appoint a technician who would be available at all times to prevent any probability of site going down as it is a big turn off for users. Make the online interface easy to use as it’ll be used by people of all age groups who are not tech-savvy. The easier and smooth the handle is the better will be the inclination of customers in using the site, creatively categorize your travel packages based on time and luxury.
Marketing and Social Media
Nowadays, marketing holds one of the prime spots if we think of important things required to start any business. To open an travel agency, you must know the people who can make a good customer base, a network of art enthusiasts who can help you with marketing your business. Along with propagating your travel agency on different platforms, set up their Instagram and Facebook page so that idea reaches a diverse audience of that medium. Market your website as much as you can. It is an investment that never fails. You can go for on-page and off-page SEO of your site. Use various discount offers to attract the audience and take proper feedback from the customers who have purchased from you and if they would recommend your service to their friends. You can also set up a WhatsApp Business profile for keeping the customers intact and providing them with various personalized offers according to their needs. Also, invest in offline advertisements. Handout pamphlets to people in your locality so that they know a new travel agency has been set up near them.
Starting any business takes a good amount of planning. It often takes a few years to get a business off the ground even with the best-laid business plan and advanced marketing. To open any business, one should be ready to work hard and show a lot of perseverance and determination. Any business will have good and bad days but it depends on the owner how they want to go about it. All the best!