Travel Service Business Idea

Home Based Travel Agent Business Opportunity

TravelLinesExpress 6/23/2008

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Business Summary:

If you enjoy traveling and would like to share your knowledge with others, you may find the travel business to be a good option. There’s a lot more to being a travel consultant or travel agent than obtaining airplane and hotel tickets. You may find yourself providing a travel service like organizing complicated itineraries for clients, and arranging destination weddings in Mexico or Paris. You could work for a large travel concern as an independent contractor, with your own hours and clients. A niche business, e.g. for travelers with disabilities or for eco-tourists only, is an easy way to become an authority in a limited field.

Start Up Cost: $2,000 – $20,000

Can Be Home Based?: Yes

Can Be Operated Part Time?: Yes

Skills Required:

There is a lot of competition in the travel field. Lots of people prefer to get on the computer and plan their own trips from beginning to end, with no travel consultant involved. You’ll need some experience and niche knowledge to persuade potential clients that you can make their trip more rewarding. In addition, you’ll need to keep adding to your knowledge base by researching new travel destinations. Your experience and self-confidence can help win over clients – and your emphasis on personal, pampering service will keep those clients coming back.

How Much Can You Earn:

Travel consultants earn their money from commissions (paid by the hotel or the cruise line) or from the end user or client. The median annual income of travel consultants is reported by the industry to be $27,640. However, home based travel services, that lower expenses considerably, are not included in this figure. Leaders in the industry say that if you are a powerhouse sales person, you can definitely earn a six figure income as a travel agent.

Understanding Customers:

You are likely to find that your customers come from specific groups, including those uncomfortable with the Internet and those planning very complex trips. You’ll also assist first-time cruisers, insecure eco-tourists and those who want to take advantage of your specialized knowledge. All of these client types will want some handholding to reassure them that you’ve got the situation under control. Remember, for every satisfied client, you have a fan that will recommend you to other potential customers. If you’re working in corporate travel, you may have to handle a number of last minute changes and semi-emergencies, remaining poised and professional throughout. Your clients will expect you to be able to handle any contingency, and of course, you won’t let them down.

Marketing Strategy:

Make the most of your business contacts in your area – send them brochures describing your new venture. Advertise generously in local papers and on local websites. Place ads in community newsletters and on your town’s website. You’ll need to have your own website, too, covering all the products and services you offer. See if you can land a few speaking engagements with civic groups and social clubs – just giving a little travelogue on Mayan ruins would be a big step toward getting name recognition.

Requirements:

Certification, while not required, is a nice plus for your resume. It’s offered by the International Airlines Travel Agent Network as well as by The Travel Institute. Many professional organizations exist for travel professionals, and their certificates would look great on your office walls. If you work at home, you’ll need a professional home office. Your computer should have all the necessary programs for travel professionals. You’ll need a fax / copier, a printer, plenty of room for your travel literature, a phone line, a cell phone and a digital camera. Your website should go up as soon as the budget allows.

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