How to Start a Travel and Tour Agency
Starting a travel and tour agency needs only little capital. It can be a fun, exciting, and profitable business for any aspiring entrepreneur. The business has a high potential since the travel and tour industry is steadily growing as the population increases and per capita income continuously expands its market. Besides the income from the business is the chance to enjoy the perks of travelling at wholesale prices.
A travel and tour agency sells services and products relating to travel. As such, besides the expected airline tickets; you can also sell tour packages, car rentals, cruises, hotel accommodations, and many other items to supplement your main product line.
Here are the important things to do in setting up this business:
1. Decide first on the type of travel agency you want to setup. If you have substantial capital you may want to be an IATA (International Air Transport Association) member so that you can issue airline tickets. However, it is possible for non-IATA agencies to partner with IATA agencies to be able to obtain tickets for their customers.
2. Register your business. Come up with a meaningful name that will leave a favourable impression on your target market and register it with the DTI if sole proprietor or SEC if a corporation. Then get a barangay clearance before obtaining a mayor’s permit and registering with the BIR. Later on you may want to be accredited with the Department of Tourism to improve your marketing.
3. Find a suitable location. Go to where your customers are plentiful. Your place will also make a statement on the quality of your service. So do not locate in a rundown, crime ridden, out of the way location.
4. Apply with IATA if you wish to issue tickets yourself. After you have established your local legal requirements you can now apply for IATA membership. Note that you will need several million pesos for this. If you plan to be an IATA agency you should go to their website at www.iata.org where you can download their application form and read carefully the procedures on how to fill out this form.
5. Buy the necessary equipments. Only standard office equipment is needed. A computer with internet connection, a fax machine, and at least two telephones.
6. Train your employees well. A wrong booking may land your customer in the wrong country! Therefore those in charge of talking with the customers must already know what to do because mistakes will be very costly. Training in computer reservation systems like Amadeus or Abacus is important for efficient operations.
7. Join a trade association. It would benefit your business if you will join a travel agency association. You get trainings, familiarization tours, plus the credibility in belonging to a national group. Besides the other requirements, you usually would need the endorsement of a member of the association for your application to be accepted.
8. Market your business. There are many ways to market your business. Travel agencies here often resort to advertising in the newspapers. Some pay for spots in the yellow pages. There are many who focus on direct marketing and have a sales person or themselves make sales calls on corporate clients. However, besides all these, it is now vital to have a website and do some internet marketing for there is where an increasing number of customers look for their travel agencies.
The travel business is booming and now may be the best time to take advantage of this trend. With only a moderate amount of capital and a lot of energy, a person may find financial success and personal fulfilment in this venture. To find out more about this business you may attend a one day seminar on the topic.
Click here to view details of the training program: How to Start a Travel and Tour Business >>>
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. 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.