Reports published by the US Travel Association show that almost $2.1 trillion was generated as economic output in the year 2014, with direct spending by international and domestic travelers averaging $2.5 billion every day, $ 1.8 million every minute and $29398 every second. With so much money being generated by the industry in the US alone, starting a travel agency business would seem to be the ideal thing to do. However, many travel agents find that the going gets tough due to all OTAs and so many other travel agents to compete with. So why would someone choose you, unless you can offer something special! We won’t delve into the role of a travel agent, for you already know that. Today, we help you answer some of the questions related to starting a travel agency business:
Starting Your Own Agency Vs Working as a Consultant
The first thing that you need to do is to decide whether you wish to start off as an independent travel consultant for established travel agents or start off with your own travel business. Working as a travel consultant makes things a wee bit easier, but this means that you earn commission for the work you do for the agency. On the other hand, having your own business is way more rewarding. You get to sell a wider range of products, keep all proceeds and build a brand. Yes, you will hardly get to stay in the office, but there are all sorts of technologies which ensure that you can book tickets 24 x 7, 365 days a year, without having to be in the office. After all, mobile travel agents need solutions which allow them to get out of the office and expand their clientele, without having to suffer a loss in bookings.
Physical Issues to Deal With
Start off by leasing space for your agency. Work from home is also an option, but you would want to ensure that you create a space that exudes a working environment and offers storage space for computer equipment and files.
Equipment should include a computer (PC or notebook), a mobile phone, a printer, fax machine, and copier (or an all-in-one system), and reliable, fast internet access.
If you are a travel agency employee working from home, you will have access to your agency’s software systems for reservations. As a new independent business owner, you’ll most likely be working with a host agency that can provide wider access to the GDS.
A valuable tool is TTS Web Agent that is designed to work on Windows, Macintosh, or Linux, on desktops and laptops.
And finally, start investing in marketing material such as business cards, brochures, and flyers to promote your travel agency. Promote your new venture within your family and friends and move onto colleagues and neighbors. Slowly, you will be able to increase your reputation and see your clientele grow.
Technical Issues to Deal With
You need to deal with all sorts of technicalities, the least of which is choosing the right online air booking solution to integrate on your website, especially if you don’t enough time to focus on the on the online sales. For that, you may want to take a look at this easy to implement and use air internet booking engine.
The first decision that you need to make is to become an IATA travel agent or a Non-IATA travel agent. IATA travel agents require a lot of investment and complex procedures, so it might make sense to become a sub-agent or a Non-IATA/independent travel agent, as this usually requires very little investment and doesn’t have as many complex procedures. If you’re already a Non-IATA/independent travel agent, the solution TTS Consolidator and a partnership with an IATA agency that is using the solution can help you to issue tickets and bring some much-needed automation to your business, putting you in the league of IATA agencies. It gives you better ticketing solutions as well as the ability to improve the price search results so that you can ultimately improve your services.
You would also want to invest in a few essential tools. Technology for travel agents has changed dramatically over the years, and it can have a huge impact on the way you process your orders and run the business. For example, Travelport Mobile Agent is a tool that gives flexibility and mobility to your work. This unique solution lets you carry your work along with you so that you can process your orders on-the-go and not get stuck in your workplace.
Remember, the technicalities of opening a travel agency vary from region to region and also on the GDS market share. Ultimately, what makes successful travel agents in today’s world is offering value-added solutions, mastering the consolidation/host agency business, offering quality services and choosing the right applications for travel agents.