The tour and travel industry is growing fast and is, in fact, amongst the largest industries in the world. According to an estimate, the global contribution of the tour and travel industry is over US $ 7.6 trillion. This industry is vast and involves direct and indirect businesses such as transportation, accommodation, and entertainment.
There is a vast scope for growth of your startup online travel business due to the ever-increasing demand for the services from the tourists and travelers. This is one of those businesses that can be run successfully online, even from home. There is no need for setting up a brick and mortar office that needs huge funds and other expensive resources.
An online travel agency can be set up and run right from your home. You can start with little funds. You can start the business on your own in the beginning without help from experts or professionals. Later on, as the company grows, you will hire employees to cope up with the increasing demands from the customers.
Here Are Useful Tips To Help You In Establishing An Online Travel Business Successfully
01. Plan Everything In Advance
If you are interested in setting up an online travel business, plan its every little aspect in advance. Do not start anything in a hurry as it may prove to be costly at the end in many ways. Don’t forget that there is numerous tour and travel related businesses in the market, making a cut-throat competition.
So, the planning will depend a lot on the type of business you choose. For example, if you want to be a home-based travel agent, you will be looking for a host travel agency. The agency will take you as an independent contractor. For such a business, you need to adopt a straightforward planning approach.
On the other hand, if you want to go for a step-by-step approach to move up gradually from one stage to the other, then the planning will be a lengthy process. Your approach should be flexible to accommodate for any new development and unforeseen events.
A business plan made well ahead of starting an online business will be your guiding force. It will not let you divert much from the set path. This helps in managing your limited resources as well.
02. Know Your Niche Well
There are already many travel agencies and related businesses operating in a given locality. They have grabbed a fair amount of market share due to their aggressive marketing. So, how are you going to lure the customers for your new travel business?
You should do everything to stand out from the competition. A perfect way to ensure this is to offer the services that very few of the agencies are providing to the tourists. But what are these unique services? You need to find it out. In other words, you should know your niche well to compete efficiently in a given market.
One of the best ideas to find out your niche is to get a firsthand experience of the market. You should interact with the travelers and tourists to know what new problems they are combating at present. If you can identify these problems or issues, you should try to come out with the right solutions. These robust solutions will be your tour and traveling niche. So, attend industry events and observe the products or services delivered to the tourists. Ask yourself as to what more products or services the customers are still missing and provide them to the tourists. You should think of delivering a valuable service.
Before starting a travel business, do some market research to know what kind of a travel agency will be serving the people usefully. For example, there may be a need for an agency that caters to the traveling needs of married couples who look for a destination adventure honeymoon. Think about such emerging travel needs of people in your area and provide them with exceptional services. Overall, you should do something unique to make a name for your travel agency in a saturated travel market.
03. Use A Host Agency
When you start an online travel business, primarily a travel agency, you should think of using a host agency. Most independent agents opt to go with a host agency. Others want to have their own accreditation when they plan to start their own travel agency.
If you are a new agent, it is advisable to use a host agency. A host agency is beneficial when you are looking for a low startup cost and high commissions. You will also get administrative support from the agency. But if you are an experienced agent who has already built relationships with the suppliers, then you can opt for own accreditation.
04. Decide On Your Funding Resources
Another critical thing to remember when planning your online travel business is funding. Where will you get funds to run your travel agency? The requirement of finance will depend mainly on what type of an agency or traveling business you want to run. A brick and mortar agency will require a more massive loan from banks. But an online agency can be run with a smaller fund requirement due to low overhead expenses.
However, in both the cases, know how you will obtain funding. You need financial help for creating and designing marketing materials like professional website design. You need websites for online and offline businesses. Then, funding will be essential to source for materials like flyers, business cards, and many more.
So what funding options you will explore? You can look for a variety of funding resources ranging from personal loans to angel investment, and venture capital funding. You can also borrow money from parents, relatives or friends to conduct the business during the early days of setting up the company. Remember that consistent cash flow is essential to meet some unexpected expenses.
But make sure that you take your well-thought-of business plan to the lenders. They will evaluate your business prospects before deciding on an amount of loan.
05. Make A Branding Strategy
After you know your niche well and have a funding strategy in place, it is now important that you think of creating a brand image. This is crucial as the travel industry is competitive. Your business must stand out. Branding is all about how you want to make your customers feel about your travel brand. How should they think when they come to your website to look for travel related services? Answer this question precisely. You should give them a specific vision for your brand.
You should be able to give your customers a substantial reason to use your services and not just book a trip from your website. For instance, for tourists attractions in the USA, you may provide tourists one day free touring service. It will attract a lot of travellers to your business.
Another great way to have an excellent brand image is a logo. Your travel agency’s logo design must be unique so that it stands out from many other logos of similar businesses. Your target audience will see your logo everywhere on your advertisements, brochures, website, etc. So, make sure that it is an impressive symbol of your agency.