How to Start a Home Based Travel Agency
Posted in Tips and Resources
Travel agents today no longer need to set up an office in a highly commercialised area to attract travellers and potential customers. With the aid of the internet and other online tools, travel agents can already manage operations from the comfort and convenience of their own home. In fact the Sydney Morning Herald reports that “An estimated 1400 travel consultants are now working as "home based" or "mobile" agents, taking their laptops and knowledge to consumers.”
If you plan on starting your own home based travel agency, then the following tips can help you succeed with this new venture:
Choose a field of travel where you want to specialise in
Some agents choose to offer a wide range of travel services and deal with a variety of customers as they find it more productive especially when a particular sector is not doing very well. While there are also others who prefer to build their reputation and specialise in an area of travel. According to a Yahoo travel article, “It will be up to you to decide how and in what you would find most beneficial to specialise in.” However, it is wise to note that focusing on a travel niche may help you develop a more defined marketing strategy.
Make a space at home for your travel business
Although a home office may not be necessary, it would be better to create a space that is exclusively for your travel business so you can organise documents and other travel papers, if any. Home Based Travel Agents Online, a website offering valuable resources for home based travel agents, advises to transform “a corner of your bedroom or other room where you can shut the door and be away from being bothered by the kids or pets, even your spouse.” This is so you can concentrate with your business and avoid distractions.
Prepare the tools you need to manage your business
The Work At Home Woman, a blog dedicated to helping women succeed in building home based businesses, says that “Some items that you will need are a computer, internet access, a phone, fax machine, a printer and a website to promote your business.” You would also need to prepare other marketing materials such as business cards and brochures to advertise your business.
Get the necessary licences and certifications
As we’ve discussed in our previous article, you need to get a licence in order to be legally recognised as a travel agent. Licence requirements and certifications may vary from each state; thus, it’s advised to enquire about your area’s travel agent regulations.
Find a host agency
For those who are new to the industry and haven’t established a network to fully operate as a travel agency yet, Houston Chronicle suggests signing up for a host agency. “The host agency will allow you to book travel using its contacts and may also provide training and support as you get started.” They may also cover some of the required travel agency licencing and allow you to use their accreditation numbers for the International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIAN), and similar memberships, instead of getting your own. However, they may charge up-front costs and take some portion of your commission.
Pros and Cons of Starting a Home Based Travel Agency
Like any business venture, it is also essential that you weigh the pros and cons of setting up a home based travel agency first to determine if this type of business suits you. The Sydney Morning Herald says that “this concept offers a less stressful and more financially rewarding model of selling travel.” It also requires a minimal startup costs and makes it possible for travel agents to run their home based travel business without quitting their day job as it is more flexible.
However, there are also downsides of a home based travel business. One is that customers may not easily trust an independent agent and choose instead a more established business. And according to Travel Market Report, “Many home-based travel agents are still at a disadvantage when it comes to supplier relationships – despite the fast growth of the home-based sector.” This is because they are not as visible as storefront agencies, which poses a challenge to suppliers.
Is a Home Based Travel Agency a less stressful and more financially rewarding model of selling travel? (tweet this)
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What do you think? Is a home based travel agency right for you? Do you think it is the best way to help you achieve your career goals as a travel professional? Leave a comment below.