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What Are the Best Tips for Starting a Travel Agency?

Lainie Petersen
Updated Jan 28, 2024
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When starting a travel agency, it is important to develop a business plan that specifies the location of your business as well as the genre of travel in which you wish to specialize. If you are planning on starting a home business, you may wish to work with one of the many travel agencies that contract with home-based travel agents. If you wish to establish your own brick-and-mortar travel agency, you will also need significant capital to get your business started. Depending on the jurisdiction in which you live, you may need to meet licensing and bonding requirements. In all cases, you should become familiar with the laws and regulations governing travel agencies as well as travel in general.

Fortunately for entrepreneurs, there are several travel agency start-up options available. Although starting a travel agency from scratch is possible, in some countries, such as the United States, you will be required to hire experienced travel agency personnel to staff your company. In addition to rules about staff experience, United States law requires owners of standalone travel agencies to meet other security and financial stability requirements. If you are set on starting a conventional travel agency, you may wish to work with a franchise company that has expertise in establishing new travel businesses.

A popular option is starting a travel agency that you can run out of your home. In many cases, you will partner with an existing travel agency and share your commissions with them in exchange for their support services. You can do business on the phone, via the Internet, or even in person with trusted clients.

The Internet has made it easy for many people to make their own travel plans. If you want to compete with online travel services, you will need to establish a niche within the industry for your business. For example, you may wish to specialize in providing business or corporate travel services to small and medium-sized companies that cannot afford employees to manage travel for their company. You may also want to specialize in a particular geographic region. If you have traveled to an area many times and are very familiar with it, you may be in a good position to educate customers about tourism opportunities and to book them in and with reliable hotels and vendors. Another alternative is starting a travel agency that books travel for people in different demographics, such as retirees, singles, or the disabled.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.
Discussion Comments
By Mor — On Jun 28, 2011

One of the things I find most useful when going to a travel agent is their expertise.

They know this too, which is why they often advertise that their agents are experts on particular regions.

I think if I was starting a travel agency business I would think hard about how to get across that I was going to be able to offer advice.

A travel blog might be a good start, as it would show that you and your employees had been to the places they are suggesting.

Word of mouth is going to be your best advertising though, so you really want to wow customers as much as possible.

By browncoat — On Jun 28, 2011

A very successful internet start up travel agency business thought up a particular niche and made a lot of money out of it.

The people behind this company realized that cruise ships often have empty berths which could be offered at a large discount as the date of departure gets closer. They liaise with the cruise companies and make it into a win win situation for everyone.

I believe they started out as a small family business and now employee quite a few more people.

It's a really good example of a niche travel agency that offered something that you couldn't get on your own.

Because I do most of my shopping around online for flights. There are a lot of cheap companies that don't pay travel agents, and therefore don't get mentioned by travel agents when you are booking.

But I'm happy to give money to this company, because they get me something I can't get for myself.

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
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