Self-Education and Upskilling
Before starting your own travel business, look for training opportunities. For instance, you could enroll in a community college travel agent course that introduces you to various types of bookings, reservation software, and the legalities associated with operating a travel business. Make sure you join the American Society of Travel Agents so that you can get access to webinars and other educational resources that are specific to your new job.
Select a business model.
Decide whether you’ll start as a referral agent, join a host agency, or launch your own independent travel business. As a referral agent, you will refer clients to travel companies and earn a commission on each reservation made. If you join a host agency, you will be able to book reservations with a variety of companies and will earn travel agent commissions on bookings. If you decide to open your own travel agency, you will almost certainly need to make your own contacts and figure out how much money you get for bookings.
Evaluate the niche benefits.
Determine whether you want to sell all types of travel or specialize in a particular type of travel. Occasionally, concentrating on a particular type of travel, such as adventure travel or honeymoons, simplifies targeting a specific type of customer and reduces competition.
Fees and commissions should be negotiated.
Make contact with travel companies if you intend to establish a referral business or an independent travel agency from your home. Negotiate referral commissions if you intend to act as a referral agent. If you want to start your own travel agency, make sure you get contracts that include commission rates for each booking.
Contact the Airlines Reporting Corporation to inquire about wholesale airline and Amtrak booking rates and commissions. Contact the International Airlines Travel Agent Network for commissions on international flights (see Resources).
Sign a Contract With a Host
Join a host agency if you prefer to conduct business under the auspices of a well-established firm. Reservations will be made through the host agency’s system and contacts. In most cases, your business will split commissions with the host agency that travel companies provide. Certain host agencies may charge a one-time setup fee and monthly fees.
Consider Investing in a Reservations System.
Consider purchasing a computer reservation system if you intend to open your own travel agency without the assistance of a host agency. This may enable you to make reservations with a broader range of travel suppliers directly. However, many travel companies do not require you to use a CRS when making reservations.
Establish a Business Plan
Organize your thoughts into a business plan. It should include information about your launch expenditures and how you intend to finance your business. Additionally, your company strategy should include information about how to obtain clients. Additionally, your business plan may assist you in staying on track if you include specifics about how you want to operate your business until you begin to earn a big profit.
Obtenez une licence d’exploitation.
Acquire a business license. The majority of states demand this of all enterprises, regardless of size or location. The department of licensing and inspections in your area can help you figure out if your business needs a license or permit for travel.
Join Travel Organizations
Assure that you are a member of travel associations, such as the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents. Membership in a travel group can help you improve your professional image and open the door to commission and training opportunities.
Acquisition of Liability Insurance
Ensure your home-based travel business against errors and omissions. This will protect you if you make a mistake and your travel client sues you. You may, however, be required to reimburse clients for some of your errors out of pocket, as error and omissions plans frequently include a deductible. For instance, your insurance may stipulate that you must pay the first $1,000 of any claim out of pocket.
Establish an Office.
Establish a home office or workplace where you can handle reservations and other company chores. A computer, printer, telephone, and fax machine are required.
Distribute the News
Develop a website for your travel agency. You can use this website to inform prospective consumers about your travel services and even enable them to book their own travel online. Disseminate information about your travel business. Advertise using fliers, print advertisements, and web advertisements. Utilize radio and television advertising opportunities as well.
If you wish to employ a CRS, consider partnering with a host agency. They often give people access to these systems at low prices, and many also offer CRS training.