Wondering how to open a travel agency business? The first step is a business plan. All new enterprises require a business plan in order to succeed, and that plan requires researching market availability, calculating start-up costs, and estimating how long it will before your business turns a profit.

Marketing for Your Travel Agency Business

In your business plan, there needs to be a plan for marketing. Most people make the mistake of marketing their business too late. It must start immediately after you start your planning and even before you are actually open for business. Your clients are your livelihood, and you do not have the advantages of a franchise because their marketing is already done nationally for them.

You are the marketing team, and you need to make your presence known. Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce and running print and radio advertisements. Do not forget about the power of the internet because of its reach and economic value. Reach out to other travel agencies because they can give you advice and possibly customers that they do not have the time or expertise to service. Although they are your competitors, they can also be a source of information for advertising and connections.

Government and Finances

The third step in your journey to start a travel agency business is government regulations. Every state and municipality will require different documents to start and run a home-based business. You will have to do your research with your state and city governments to find out the costs and requirements. A possible amendment to your business plan might be encouraged to cover the start-up costs.

The next step is financial. A new business will have to be separated from your personal finances. It is imperative that you open a business account. Not only will this help separate your personal and business finances, but it will also give your business a professional image. When you have to return deposits to customers, your business name will be used instead of your birth name.

Specializing You Travel Agency

After opening your business account, you need to choose a travel specialty. This is where you make the business personal. You can focus on favorite trips that you have taken, choose a specific area of the world, or become a general, all-around travel agency. The choices are endless and are only limited by your imagination. You can book the trips yourself or make income from referrals. Remember those connections you made earlier? Now they can help you earn your living. The goal is to become a travel expert and increase your business from referrals.

After picking your specialty, it is time to increase your presence on the internet. There are multiple ways to increase your internet traffic. Most people today are using social media. Social media could be a boon or bust. Your business could go viral for being well run or because of customer dissatisfaction. You must be active on these types of platforms to show that you are in tune with your customers.

Brand Awareness

Another way is to increase brand awareness and draw in customers is to create a business website. This will allow customers to get to know your business before even talking to you. They could even book packages or appointments on your website, which will help your business grow. Most people get their information from the internet today, so having an internet presence will help you increase the traffic to your business.

While you are expanding your web presence, think about your brand. That is your public persona for your business. Every step you take on the internet should back up your brand image. The stronger your brand, the stronger your travel agency business will be.

Another item you need to think about with a new enterprise is the type of business you will form. You can choose from many different types of entities, including a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation. Each type has its own benefits and limits, but developing a legal entity could possibly protect your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit.

Important Aspects of Starting a Travel Agency

Here is a quick recap of the steps needed to start a travel agency business:

  1. Creating a business plan
  2. Marketing
  3. Researching government regulations
  4. Setting up business finances
  5. Picking a specialty
  6. Building a web presence
  7. Building your brand
  8. Creating a legal entity

If you need help with starting a travel agency business, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.