How To Set Up A Travel Agency In The Philippines
Starting A Travel Agency In The Philippines
The Internet has made it possible to put up a travel agency at home with very little capital. Those with the resources could aspire for more by putting up an actual office and if you have sufficient capital you could become an IATA (International Air Transport Association) member. Here are some tips for those who may want to consider starting a travel agency business:
Consider your resources. You may want to directly issue your own tickets for airlines, but to do so, you must be an IATA member—to qualify, you would need millions of pesos. As of January, there are 114 members according to data from the PIATA website. PIATA is the Philippine association of IATA members. You could go to the IATA website (www.iata.org) to look for the requirements if you want to put up an IATA-accredited travel agency.
Look for a niche where you can compete. A start-up needs to focus on a market where his resources and capability give him a good chance of success against established players. Without a competitive edge, you will lose against those more experienced. You can add more targets later on once you have already secured a foothold.
Get a location that will suit your target market. If you will be selling to mostly corporate clients, then it would not only be convenient but presentable to have an office in a central business district. If you plan to cater to tourists, you are likely to do well if you look for a place where there are plenty of tourists, like the tourist belt in Manila. However, if you aim to concentrate on retail domestic travelers, you must study where they are most likely to need the services of a travel agency.
Register your business. Starting a travel agency is one business where it is critical that you are properly registered or else you would not be able to do business with airlines and other large transport providers. To save on time and effort, go online first to register your name. Go to the Department of Trade and Industry website (www.dti.gov.ph) if you will be a sole proprietor or to the Securities and Exchange (www.sec.gov.ph) if you will be a corporation. It would be best to get the services of a reliable accountant who is licensed and experienced in business registration and taxes to guide you in the process.
Make sure you have equipment needed. Only standard office equipment is needed. You must have at least a computer with a good Internet connection, a fax machine, a printer and two phone lines. Besides your office furniture like table and chairs, have at least one filing cabinet to store your documents and receipts.
Train your employees well on ticketing procedures. An error will be very costly to correct so invest in thoroughly training employees. Knowledge on one of the popular global distribution systems like Amadeus is indispensable. Customer service is extremely important in the travel business and having knowledgeable employees is essential.
Look for other potential sources of revenue. There are many other ways to make money in the travel agency business. For example, one of the most popular is operating your own tours. Another source of income is selling travel insurance.
Getting into the travel agency business is not as simple as it seems. To learn more about this business, BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts a seminar entitled, “How to Start a Travel and Tour Business.” Contact (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205-0133, or visit www.businesscoachphil.com for details.
Click here to view details of the seminar: How to Start a Travel and Tour Business »
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-4, Sunday, February 23, 2014. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.