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If you are somebody who loves to travel and loves nothing more than spending hours and hours on the internet researching destinations then setting up your own travel business will be right up your street. The travel industry can be a really good industry to get into, the set-up costs are relatively small, making it accessible to all and it is something that you can do just by yourself if you are not interested in taking on staff. It is however, a rather competitive industry and finding your niche can be difficult. Read our how-to-guide for more information about setting yourself up in the travel business.
Plan your travel agency
A business plan is essential, no matter what industry you want to get into. As a travel agent, you could work with a host travel agency if you wish and operate alongside them as an independent travel agent. In this case, your business plan could be relatively simple. If you want to build up your own travel agency, however, your plan would need to be more intense, especially if you need to attract investors. Luckily, there is plenty of advice online with regard to creating a business plan.
Brand your travel agency
You need to create a brand for your travel agency that tells the customer exactly who you are and what you believe it. Try and use graphics, colours and font that try and convey this message and use a tag line that tells the customer what you are passionate about. Once you have created this branding, you want to protect it so that others can’t use it. You can get the ins and outs of trademarks explained here to see if pursuing trademarking would be beneficial to your business.
Deal with the legal side
Spend some time investigating to see if you need a special license to operate as a travel agent in your part of the world. You should also spend some time figuring out the legalities of your business entity and whether you will need to register as a company in your area. If you are going to hire employees, you should also make sure that you are complying with employment laws at all times. You could also read our blog post on hiring the best employees if you will be looking to take on staff.
Conduct market research and find your niche
As previously mentioned, the travel industry is quite saturated and so in order to succeed as a start-up, you will need to find out exactly what your local community want in an agent. It is no good, for instance, specialising in package holidays to Europe if your local clientele is more interested in luxury cruises. Get out in your community and speak to your potential customers to try and find out exactly what your niche should be. It might help you build links when you are ready to open up business too.
Determine your funding strategy
If you are planning on setting up on your own rather than working with a host travel agency, you are going to need money for marketing and perhaps some start-up money to rent office space or hire employees. Figure out how you will access this funding from the very start so that there aren’t any nasty surprises once you are in the thick of setting up your business. Consider approaching investors, taking out a loan or if you could possibly self-fund.