How to Start a Travel Agency

How to Start a Travel Agency

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How to Start a Travel Agency

If you’re looking to start a travel agency, you’ve come to the right place since we’re going to show you exactly how to do it.

We’ll start with key travel agency industry fundamentals like how big the market is, what the key segments are, and how revenues and profits are generated.

Then we’ll discuss keys to not only starting a travel agency, but succeeding in it!

How Big is the Travel Agency Industry?

There are 11,108 travel agencies in the U.S. and they generated $34.0 billion in revenue last year. This represents an annual growth rate of 2.5% over the last five years.

What are the Key Segments of the Travel Agency Industry?

Travel agencies are segmented by its bookings. The main segments of the industry are Tour and packaged travel bookings, followed by Cruise bookings and International and domestic airline bookings. Accommodation bookings and other bookings account for the remainder of the industry’s revenue.

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What External Factors Affect the Travel Agency Industry?

A number of factors affect the performance of the travel agency industry. These drivers include:

  • International trips by US residents: A lot of international trips by US residents are made through travel agencies. This year, international trips are expected to increase as well as the travel agency industry.
  • Consumer spending: Travel spending is counted as a consumer expense. An increase in the consumer’s tendency to spend money, affects the industry positively.
  • Domestic trips by US residents: Domestic trips are also booked through travel agencies. The travel agency industry is affected by domestic trips in the US in the same way as international trips.
  • Percentage of services conducted online: Availability of online travel arrangements reduces the number of consumers booking their travels in actual offices of travel agencies. This year, there’s an increase in services conducted online.
  • Consumer Confidence Index: High consumer confidence index also means that consumers have higher tendency to spend on travels.


What are the Key Customer Segments in the Travel Agency Industry?

Leisure travelers are, by far, the top key customer segment for the travel agency industry. Corporate travelers make up the next largest segment of the market and other travelers account for just 4%.

What are the Key Costs in the Travel Agency Industry?

Wages – 35.4% of the industry’s revenue is allocated to wages.

Depreciation – Only 0.4% of the industry revenue is accounted for depreciation.

Other – Advertising and marketing costs account for 4.3% of revenue.

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What are the Keys to Launching a New Travel Agency?

1. Determine your specialization.

Developing a niche can help you become known as an expert in that area, and can lead to referrals. You may decide to specialize in your own favorite destinations, or in offering services to a niche market (e.g. seniors, religious groups, etc.)

2. Choose your location.

Travel agencies that target leisure travelers can easily work from a home office. However, if you are targeting corporate travelers, it is vital to rent a space that conveys your professionalism. A location in the central part of the city is a good spot for corporate travel agencies.

3. Invest in quality equipment.

Whether you start a home or office-based travel agency, you will need basic office equipment like a computer with reliable internet connection, fax machine, printer, and telephone. Make sure to have good quality equipment to avoid delays and hassles.

4. Get certifications.

Complete courses offered by travel agency organizations like American Society of Travel Agents. This is not required by most states but it does contribute to your credibility as an agent. The more certifications you have, the more confidence your clients will have in using your services.

5. Comply with legal requirements.

Apply for a business permit, file taxes, and meet state and local requirements. Make sure that you are knowledgeable about travel rules and regulations to ensure your clients have a safe and pleasurable experience.

6. Establish an online presence.

Most travelers nowadays look for destinations and travel packages online. Having a large following in your social media accounts connect you to more prospects. Post relevant content, introduce your products and services, and run promotions online to encourage your followers to share your business to their circles.

7. Nurture client relationships.

Travelers rarely travel just once, so stay connected with your clients after their trips. Make your clients’ first interaction with you or your agency is a pleasurable one. You can easily accomplish this by responding quickly to their needs and providing the best travel deals within their budget. You can also ask for reviews at least a week after their travel to know where you should improve and which practices work well.

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What are the Typical Startup Costs for a New Travel Agency?

Starting a travel agency can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000, depending on the type of agency you’ll start. Travel agencies can be run independently from home, in an actual office, or through franchise.

How much do Travel Agency Operators Make?

A travel agency manager salary ranges from $30,000 to $78,000 per year.

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Additional resources in the Travel Agency Industry

For additional information on the travel agency market, consider these industry resources:

 

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