Top 7 tips for starting your own travel agency
People around the world often take trips to different locations to unwind and recover from their daily routines. They get a change of scenery, explore different cultures and potentially meet new people. Many of these people use the services of a travel agency to take care of different matters along their trip.
Provided they had a good experience, these tourists will then become lifelong clients of the travel agency and even recommend their friends and family. As a travel agent who is starting out, it is crucial for you to have a robust marketing strategy. This will expose you and your agency to a wide audience, many of whom can become long-term customers.
Complete The Necessary Certifications
Many countries and states require travel agents to have the necessary qualifications to operate as such. This varies from location to location, and as such, you will have to check in with your local government.
You should have at least a college degree in business management. This will equip you with the necessary skills needed to run a business like a travel agency properly. In case you don’t, you should at least acquire certifications even if the authorities do not require them. Doing so will add to your credibility as a travel agent and people would be more likely to take you seriously.
Find Out Your Specialization
Developing a niche can aid you in becoming a specialist in that particular area. What kind of people you want to cater to, what kind of locations or destinations you would like to deal in, or the kind of services you want to offer to a niche market are some of the things you should consider.
Doing so will make you into an “expert” in a particular field and may contribute to referrals. You must then decide which areas you want to specialize in and work towards growth in the particular niche.
Complete The Legal Requirements
Some countries require that a travel agency have certain permits and licenses before they are allowed to operate. This varies from location to location so it is best to check if your country or state requires you to do so. In case it does, you should promptly apply for the permits and fulfill all the requirements as soon as possible.
This is also a good time to get your taxes in order and register with the local tax authorities. This may include formally naming your business and filing a DBA and an Employer Identification Number.
You may also want to acquire accounting software to track your finances and taxes. Several accounting software automatically calculate your taxes leaving you without the hassle of manually calculating them every time.
Create A Website For Your Agency
A website is basically equivalent to a business card these days. By creating a proper website for your travel agency, your clients will have a platform on which they can get all the required information. This gives a professional perception to your clients and they are more likely to take you seriously.
Take special care to make sure that your website is aesthetically pleasing and informative. Make sure everything is properly linked and optimized for different search engines to rank up in searches and the like.
Unless you have a solid understanding of the whole process, it will be best to hire a professional to create and maintain a website for you. This will allow you to minimize mistakes and they can help you with optimizing content along the way to ensure you reach the maximum number of people.
Establish An Active Social Media Presence
It goes without saying that an active social media presence is crucial for any business to survive in the 21st century. You must therefore ensure a presence on multiple social media platforms. Instagram and Twitter allow you to reach out to a large audience while Facebook can be more intimate.
Typically images and other graphical content performs better on social media than text posts. As such, you want to make sure that the majority of the content on your social media account consists of images and graphics. You may want to make some posters to advertise your agency and any offers that you may have running at the time.
You can find multiple poster maker services online such as PosterMyWall which will allow you to create a poster for yourself in a few minutes. Simply put in the required details and images and you will end up with a poster of choice.
A travel agency used one such poster to advertise their services and offers. Doing so allows them to visually communicate to their audience and deliver their message instantly, as compared to a text post.
As you will be facilitating your clients throughout the various stages of their travel, it will pay both you and your customers if you have some sort of partnership with certain people. This can be the airline, the hotel, restaurants, or even spas that can offer discounted rates for your customers.
Your clients will have an incentive to choose you over others as you can save them money on expenses on their trips and your partners will have a sure customer when they visit. You will have to reach out to these establishments and discuss a partnership agreement beforehand.
Once you have a partner or two, you can advertise the fact on your travel posters as well along with any discounts and such. You can create such a poster in a few minutes using various services online such as PosterMyWall. It is as easy as adding the details in the relevant fields, adding in some images and graphics and it will create the poster automatically.
A travel agency did so and used a poster to advertise discounted rates on their partnered airlines. The clients get all the required information and are more likely to use the offer to avail discounted rates while the airline receives a customer who is sure to use their services again.
Start A Blog
Creating a blog for your travel agency is a great way to generate social media traffic. You can write blogs, create lists and share photos of destinations to engage your existing and future clients. It also provides them with ideas and such for their future travels and trips.
You can also ask clients and customers to write reviews of their experiences and trips which you can share on this blog. These will act as testimonials and give your readers an insight into the experience from the perspective of a customer and are much more likely to believe them.
Frequent customers can be asked to become long-term contributors to the blog where they share their reviews and experiences.
The key to the success of any kind of service provider lies within the quality of the services and the kind of experience they can provide. An agency can spend thousands on promotion and marketing but if the clients are not having a good experience then the agency will not succeed. As long as you give your clients an experience worth remembering, not only will they return but send their friends and family your way as well.