As with any business, starting a travel agency can seem overwhelming, where do you even start?
People see the travel industry as glamorous; and it is, you are lucky that you can travel the world and help your customers do the same, but there is a lot of hard work needed to ensure you are successful
We will share our five tips on how to start a travel agency, covering:
- Researching the right model for you
- Identify your niche
- Create your brand
- Acquire funds
- Secure your first clients
This is where purchasing a franchise can really support and fast track you, if you chose a reputable company
You’ll be partnering with a proven business model, supported by travel professionals who understand the role and the skills and knowledge needed to be successful
You’ll benefit not only from their knowledge but commercial agreements, systems, training and tools
Here are our top tips towards starting your own travel agency, becoming a franchisee and business owner
1. Research the right model for you
Franchising should be based on a tested business model
It is important to research all the different types of models on offer and identify those that align with your vision and values
Franchising is a partnership, you need to get on with the team that will be supporting you, otherwise, it won’t be an enjoyable experience
If franchisors are putting you under pressure to sign via a discount or special offer, beware, your journey should always be at a pace you are comfortable with
Don’t sign franchise agreements, until you have done your due diligence
2. Identify your niche
When starting a travel business, you may think that you should offer every destination or type of holidays to appeal to every single type of customer. However, when it comes to travel, narrowing your offering is best!
You can specialise by destinations or different types of holidays, there is a vast range to choose from, such as weddings, honeymoons, Disney, adventure, touring, special interest etc but why is having a niche is the way to go?
Having a niche helps you set yourself apart as an expert, to enable you to stand out from the competition
Travellers look for personalised service, often preferring to experience off the beaten track areas of the country and immerse themselves in local cultures, a different style to traditional holidays of the past
Finding a niche market will reduce the amount of competition and boost the ability to get your brand visible. For example, focusing on creating a bespoke itinerary for foodies who want to visit Asia will set you apart from people who are selling generic trips to Asia
It will also help you to create your brand name, logo, colour scheme and website, all of these can be tailored to bring your specialism to life
How to find your niche?
Ask yourself the following questions:
Where have I travelled to?
What is my expertise in a country or region?
What styles of travelling have I experienced?
What types of travellers are there in my family, friends and colleagues?
What are the demographics of my local area?
Research the market:
What is trending? Which destinations or types of holidays are selling the most?
Are there any emerging destinations or styles of travel?
Are there many competitors specialising in your area of interest?
Are there many competitors in your local area?
What opportunities are there to market to my local community?
3. Create Your Brand
Your travel agency name is vital to establishing a strong brand. It needs to be catchy, easy to remember and communicate the company’s message. Choosing the right name for your company can be challenging,
Think about the language that describes the type of holiday you want to offer and the level of service you will deliver, add these to cards create a range of different combinations.
For the ones you like, check Companies House to confirm there isn’t another company with that or a too similar name
Next, check a website domain purchasing site to confirm that both the .com and .co.uk are available, we would always recommend purchasing both to protect your brand, as well as any variations such as holiday/holidays
Roleplay making and receiving calls from customers and using the names, does it flow and feel natural?
Once you have a decided-on name, make sure you secure the domains name as soon as possible
4. Acquire funds
Setting up a travel agency requires time, love and money
The cost of starting a business depends on the package you opt for
It can be so easy to think I’ll take the entry package, but if this doesn’t give you the level of support needed, you are setting yourself up to fail, ensure the package selected is right for you and gives you all the skills, knowledge, tools and support you will need
It is essential you factor in not just to cost of initial investment, but the ongoing monthly fixed costs to market and run your business
You will need funds to generate sales whether this be driving traffic to your website, attending events or social media advertising
We will forecast your business first years costs and cash flow, which will support your application if seeking business loans
5. How to get your first clients
Avoid anyone telling you to rely on friends and family and acquaintances to float your business, yes, they will supplement you, but should not be your main marketing source
A holistic approach is best covering the above, driving traffic to your website, social media, local marketing and partnerships
We will train you in all these areas