15 Steps To Become a Travel and Tour Agency from Home

Tour Agency from Home 

Are you interested in starting a travel agency business from home? Do you need a sample travel agency business plan template or feasibility study? Do you want to know what it takes to start a travel and tour company? If you answered yes, then I advise you to read on.
The service industry is critical in the economy of most countries, and many entrepreneurs build their businesses around this industry. Travel agencies are part of the service sector, and this line of business contributes to the economies of most countries of the world, especially countries that attract loads of visitors throughout the year or countries whose citizens travel a lot.
It's not only celebrities who love to go on vacations and cruises. The average human wants to see other parts of the world, he likes to relax and have fun too. If you can catch a glimpse of the list of things most people like to do before they pass on, traveling to some part of the world is on the list for most people.
For others, the need to travel is not born out of pleasure but for businesses, conferences, or due to the nature of their jobs. Whichever one it is, the travel industry remains a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to boom and double in size every year.
The travel industry is a big industry within the tourism industry. Every day, people travel from one part of the world to another. And we all know that where there is demand, money is bound to flow; wherever cash flows, entrepreneurs are there to tap into such opportunities.
The significant players in this industry are the transportation companies (Airlines, Cruise and Shipping companies, and other transporters) and a particular category of people who work behind the scenes to ensure that travelers are comfortable on their trips and get value for their money. These people are known as travel agents. Their duties include but are not limited to the following:

10 Duties of a Travel Agent

  • Making travel arrangements for their clients.
  • Creating travel itineraries according to their clients' interests.
  • Hunting for the best prices on services from travel tickets to hotel accommodations and even event tickets.
  • Travel ticket booking and reservations.
  • Hotel booking and reservations.
  • Provision of ground transportation through car rental service companies for clients during their stay in foreign countries.
  • Arranging special tours for people who wish to travel or go on vacations.
  • Arranging for travel insurance for their clients.
  • Providing visa assistance and travel advisory services to clients.
  • Providing any form of service or assistance that would improve clients' travel experience.
  • Since you are interested in starting your own traveling agency, it is essential to understand what traveling agencies do and how they make their money. Of course, one of the best ways to know how travel agents work and earn their money is to work and understudy a successful travel agent.
  • It is easier to know the trade secrets of a business when you are involved in the business's day–to–day running; that is when you are employed in the business. So, if you want to know how travel agents work and make their money, your best choice is to seek employment in a traveling agency company.

6 Discreet Ways Travel Agents Make Money

For this article, we willically state some of the critical responsibilities of a travel agent and how they make their money. Some travel agents might be creative enough to create nonconventional ways of earning money, so you should understudy a successful travel agent around you. It makes it easier for you to learn the ropes before starting out as a travel agent.
Now let us consider how travel agent work and how they make their money as well;

a. Travel Agent Sell Transportation

Part of what travel agents do is that they sell transportation to an individual who wants to travel. Most people find it easier, faster, and more convenient to buy their flight, train, and ship–cruise tickets from a traveling agency. What travel agents do is believe this ticket is at a discounted price. When they sell the ticket, they make money, enter an agreement with the transport company, sell their tickets, and earn commissions as agreed.

b. Travel Agent Sell Lodging

Another critical business activity of travel agents is selling lodgings to their clients. Selling lodging means that they help in making both local and international hotel reservations for their client. If you want to travel to a country and intend to stay in a hotel, travel agents must help source suitable hotels that fit your needs and budget and then book the needs on your behalf. Sometimes, the traveling agent might have a business relationship with the hotel. In this regard, they make their money from commissions.

c. Travel Agent Sell Tickets to Entertainment Activities

Travel agents also sell tickets for entertainment activities all around the world. For example, suppose you intend to travel from Lagos to Los Angeles to attend The Grammy Awards ceremony. Getting your ticket via a traveling agent will be easier because they know how to handle the logistics of securing such tickets that might seem scarce. Well-established travel agents learn how to negotiate with big-time event planning organizations locally and internationally to be their accredited agents. When travel agents sell tickets on behalf of their clients, they make their money via commissions.

d. Travel Agent Consult for Individuals and Organizations

Another business activity that travel agents do is that they serve as travel consultants to individuals and organizations. Some prefer talking to an experienced and well-versed travel agent before choosing holiday destinations. If you are at a crossroads between two tourist destinations, it will pay you to speak to a travel expert, and you will be well guided to make a good choice that you will be glad you did. Of course, you will be charged a consultation fee, but you will surely get value for your money.

e. Travel Agent Arrange Trips, Vacations, and Excursions for Clients

Travel agents arrange trips, vacations, and excursions, et al., for their clients. Creative travel agents package affordable vacations (transportation, lodging, and sightseeing inclusive) and market them to interested individuals. Most people who ordinarily would not want to go on vacation alone usually take advantage of such an offer.
Some travel agents also go as far as packaging trips for people who want to spread payment over some time. They target schools, corporate organizations, and even religious bodies to sell their various travel packages. In this regard, they make their money (profits) from selling their travel packages; of course, they would have factored in all the costs involved in organizing the vacation/excursions, e, and added their profit.

f. Visa Procurement

Another business activity that travel agents do is help in counseling and procuring visas for their clients – they prepare their clients for visa interviews, etc. The. y handles all the logistics for obtaining travel and transit visas. They make money via commission or via the fee they charge. The fees or commissions vary from country to country.
As was stated earlier, there are other legal ways travel agents make their money. Some travel agents refer clients who have immigration challenges to immigration lawyers, and they earn their commissions.
Now, you understand the different ways to venture into this business. So, if you are interested in tapping into the travel industry as a travel agent, below is a guide to starting a travel agency from home.

Starting a Travel Agency – Sample Business Plan Template

Before I go into the details of starting a travel agency business online, I want to emphatically state that the information provided in this article does not replace the need for you to conduct a feasibility study, write a travel agency business plan, and do your due diligence.
Secondly, the information shared in this article applies to any locality, be it the U.S.A., Canada, UK, Nigeria, Ghana, etc. Using your time wisely, below are creative ways to start your travel agency business from home with little or no money.
  1. Start from home: you can quickly start a travel and tour company from home with access to the internet, a telephone, and the right contacts. This helps you to increase your profits because you can reduce overheads. From home, you can quickly sell travel tickets and provide other travel services to your client if you have a strong internet presence, and you can gain credibility over time.
  2. Become an Independent Agent: As an independent agent, you would be attached to a much bigger travel agency, but you would work independently. You would help to sell their products and drive customers to their business for commission. As an independent agent, you can access the resources needed to start a travel and tour company, get the necessary experience, build your client list, and eventually leave to create your own company. Again, you can start this business from the comfort of your home (remember that some clients would like to schedule visits) and work with multiple travel agencies.
  3. Consider the start-up costs involved: Where you decide to set up your travel agency business office will significantly affect how much capital you would need to start. This is an essential element to consider when creating a travel agency business. Home-based travel agency businesses usually get by their first days with only a computer and a phone. If you prefer having an office, you should know the additional costs such as electricity, furniture, and rent.
  4. Consider Buying a Franchise- You should start a travel and tour company without all the stress or experience; you can when you obtain a franchise from an established travel and tour company. All the training and materials that you need will be provided to you by this company.
  5. Know your Responsibilities: One of the most essential requirements in learning how to start a travel agency business is to know the extent of a travel business owner's responsibilities. Though the usual knowledge lies in booking cruises, airline tickets, and hotel rooms, there are also additional services thatcan be rendered to clients. These include helping obtain passports and visas, arranging airport-to-hotel transportation, researching different retreats for companies and groups, conferences, or business meetings, and even participating in event planning for birthday parties or weddings.
  6. Have Adequate Client Knowledge: In learning how to start a travel agency business, you should know that there are two main markets you should target. The first market includes consumers and customers who travel. The second market is the business or corporate category.
  7. Specialty Travel Services: This travel agency services a selected category of people. For instance, a travel agency might choose education as its niche and only provide travel assistance to people traveling abroad for educational purposes. They may help with admission, student visas, accommodation, job placements, and similar services for students. Other niches include maternity travel for pregnant women, business travel, vacation, and destination wedding services, to mention a few.
  8. Corporate Travel Services- Some companies have departments that handle travel arrangements for their staff and visitors. However, due to the recent downsizing that most companies had to do because of the economic recession, many companies now outsource this service to other companies. Corporate travel agents handle inbound and outbound travel services for corporate organizations. You also need to know the category of people that use travel and tour companies to understand who your clients would be and how you would reach them. Most of the people who make use of travel and tour services are-:
    • Newly wedded couples going on honeymoon.
    • Businessmen and women visiting other countries for business.
    • People who are relocating from one country to another.
    • Students who want to go on excursions or for summer vacations.
    • People traveling for vacation.
    • Notable groups, like religious groups, clubs, and social groups, go on tours.
    • Other random travellers.
    • These people use travel and tour companies, and for your business to thrive, you should have a package for everyone. You can organize trips for kids during summer, offer special packages for businessmen, and help with honeymoon planning services. As a travel agent, you handle a job based on performance and the number of people you successfully book for traveling. As long as you know how to manage the business well, you can earn about $100,000 annually.
  9. Write down your business plan: Writing down your plan will provide you a solid foundation and help you secure funds from investors if you require additional capital to begin your business.
  10. Check your state and local government guidelines to start a travel agency
    • Based on where you reside, you may have to file the necessary paperwork to be able to carry out your business legally. You must also file the appropriate paperwork to become lawfully incorporated in your state and L.G.A.
    • Register your business. You have chosen the type of Travel and Tour Company you want to start from the ones listed above; you should register your business with the relevant authorities before you commence.
    • 9. Equip your office-: Whether you choose to operate from home as an affiliate or you want to float your own company, you would need some office equipment like a telephone, computer, fax machine, internet connection, files and cabinets, tables and chairs and other things that you would need to perform your job smoothly.
  11. Open two bank accounts: The first account should be for your business as an independent travel agent, where all your track funds coming in and out of the business will be kept. In contrast, the other account should keep hold of all the money your clients will provide to book their trips.
  12.  Look for companies you will work with: Contact various travel companies to negotiate package deals you can offer or determine the kind of referral commissions you can earn. When you are dealing or are in business with more than one company, you can get more to offer your clients, providing you with additional money.
  13. Join organizations and societies specifically for travel agents: Next, you must register with professional bodies like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) or work with an already licensed agency. This license would enable you to obtain airline tickets for your clients. You can join the three to boost your business largely. These organizations and societies can maximize your visibility to consumers and your credibility as an agent.
  14. Network with other travel agencies: Get connected to a travel agency that can serve as your connection between the airlines, accommodations, and cruise lines. Once these connections are available, you can acquire additional time to make many connections in the industry.
  15. Advertise your business-: The most crucial thing in this business is not registering your business or having a fancy office. The most important thing is getting clients to patronize you. You can reach clients through the following means-:
  • Advertising in Newspapers and Magazines.
  • Having a Search Engine Optimized website.
  • Purchasing Marketing leads and Making cold calls.
  • Getting listed on business directories.
  • Sending Proposals to corporate organizations.
Consider taking a few business courses to learn how to begin and maintain your business more efficiently and effectively. These courses are available nationwide at local community colleges and online. Any fees paid to participate or to be enrolled in the course are tax deductible as a business expense.

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