Starting an Online Travel Agency

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Starting an Online Travel Agency Business Overview:

Starting an online travel agency is a great way to help people find the perfect vacation while being your own boss and starting your own small business. The travel industry is always popular, even in questionable economic times. People still go on vacation, they just might choose a closer location or they may choose to drive instead of fly. But these people still need the help of travel agents to book their hotels and travel packages. It’s a good idea to write up a business plan before going too far with your travel agency. Specializing in a certain niche—such as cruises, European vacations or safaris—is a great idea because you can really stand out from the other agencies with a well-defined focus. You’ll realize when you start an online travel business that not only can you operate it from the comfort of your own home but you can work as much or as little as you want. Even if you’re not an experienced travel agent, this is still one of the best business ideas to get into today because there is a lot of assistance available to you. You can buy a franchise agency or partner with a host agency which acts as a liaison between you and the airlines, cruise lines and tour companies. Their experience can help you learn the ropes while still making money and helping people with their travel arrangements. When you have learned how to start an online travel agency on your own, you can break away from the host company and make the arrangements directly with the airlines, cruise lines, etc. Since this is an online business idea, you will need to have a website where your potential clients can go to review your services, your fee structure and perhaps read testimonials from satisfied travelers. It is also a good idea to join travel agent organizations to increase your profile in the travel community and to raise the confidence of potential customers in your company. Associations you could join include the American Society of Travel Agents and the International Air Transport Association. Once your business is up and running and you are comfortable with the process, you could offer additional services on your website like vacation home swapping. Then, not only would you earn one-time fees from travelers booking airfare and hotels, you would earn regular monthly fees from your members. The travel industry is booming and there is always room for a new agency to join and help travelers have the perfect vacation experience.

A Day in the Life of an Online Travel Agency Business Owner:

This article brought to you by Business Ideas! If you enjoyed this article, make sure to subscribe to the Business Ideas Newsletter to get ideas sent straight to your email inbox.Your day will begin with a check of your business email to see if you have any new potential customers inquiring about your services. You will contact them to discuss their needs and proceed with their travel arrangements. You will also spend some time during the day marketing your business in various online publications that cater to your target audience.

About Your Customers:

Your customers will be individuals, couples and families looking for excellent travel planning for business or personal getaways.

What You Need to Start:

  • Business plan
  • Marketing plan
  • Travel agent experience, partnership with a host company or a franchise
  • Website
  • Computer with finance software

The Good:

  • Even with today’s do-it-yourself travel sites, travel agents are still very much in demand.
  • The startup costs are low.
  • Travelers will pay hefty fees for your knowledge in your area of expertise.
  • You can run this business part-time and from home.
  • This business is scalable; you can offer additional services over time.

The Bad:

  • If you are not an experienced travel agent, it can take some time to learn all the secrets of the industry.
  • You will need to be patient while your reputation and your client list grow.


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