How to Set Up Your Own Independent Travel Agency from Home
Maybe you love to travel, or have a great deal of experience and knowledge about vacation destinations. Maybe you just like the idea of working from home and discussing the best vacation spots! These days, most people make their travel arrangements via the internet, which opens a door of opportunity to work as a travel agent from home. Here are a few tips and guidelines for getting started.
Find out your state’s laws regarding licensing
Some states require travel agents to be licensed. If such is the case in your state, you’ll need to find out what is required to obtain your license. Certain fees may apply and will need to be considered as part of your start-up costs.
How you set up your home office will affect your efficiency and productivity. You will need an area devoted to your business, with a filing cabinet, telephone, and computer equipped with a fast internet connection such as dsl or cable. Your computer will also need appropriate travel software, such as SABRE. You also might consider investing in a headset so that you can speak with a client on the phone while finding information on your computer.
Find a niche
You’ll want to specialize in a particular area of travel to determine your target market and keep your focus. Some possibilities are cruises, family vacations, spa retreats, and honeymoons. Go with what appeals to you and where the market is strongest.
Find a reputable agency through whom to work
While you will be working as an independent travel agent, working with a reputable travel agency that will support you in meeting your business goals is worthwhile. Look for a company that has a good reputation, particularly in your niche, with a strong online presence. Such companies can help get you started with a client base, and often make a point of hiring agents who work from home. It saves the agency overhead costs and working under their “umbrella” will save you the work of getting clients from scratch.
Set competitive fees
There is a lot of demand for travel agents and the business is lucrative, but because of its popularity there is a great deal of competition. You’ll want to find out what a typical agent charges and set your fees accordingly. You might also consider offering some services for free for promotional purposes, especially at the beginning of your business venture. And be sure to pamper your clients and keep them “grandfathered in” to your original rates if you raise them later.
Include marketing in your budget
You might consider hiring a professional to work with you in marketing your business. Such experts abound online, and their fees vary. Usually, they offer various packages with different options to fit your marketing needs. You can also use social networking (such as Facebook and Twitter) to circulate your name and promote your business.
It’s exciting to live in a day and age when technology has opened up the possibility of working from home as a travel agent. Get your clients excited along with you, and you’ll be in business!