5 Ways to Start a Travel Business

According to Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), the travel and tourism industry in U.S. generates $1.3 trillion in economic activities every year. That’s equal to $40,000 a second, $2.4 million a minute, $148 million an hour, and $3.4 billion a day.

So if you are someone looking to establish a new business, the travel industry offers you a great number of opportunities.

Travel agent
photo credit: Walt Jabsco / Flickr

Here are 5 ways you can consider before making the final decision:

1. Home-based Travel Services

If you are looking to run a travel services business from home, the Internet makes this a real possibility. You can easily have a website of your own and sell travel packages, flight tickets, and book hotels for people looking for such services. Being home based your overhead costs can be kept low. Strong networking with other travel related businesses are the key to success in running a successful travel service business.

2. Independent Contractor

This is a great option for someone who loves the freedom of being his or her own boss. The independent contractor can have his or her own client list and work for a large travel agency. This is a perfect option for someone who is new in the travel industry with small amount of capital. As you will be working for an established travel agency, you can take advantage of the reputation of the large agency when he or she ultimately starts his or her own travel agency.

3. Niche Business

Finding a perfect niche is the key in establishing a successful small to medium sized travel business. You can sell tours to some specific countries, attractions or specific class of people. For example you can specialize in activity holidays or country specific trips.

Sian from Baby Friendly Boltholes specializes in family travel: “We focus on family friendly holidays and because of this our customers trust us more than the bigger brands. We have strict criteria that hotels and resorts must comply with to be featured on our site and I feel our care and dedication comes through in the service we offer.”

Business travel

4. Corporate Travel

Although corporate travel is just another travel business niche, it deserves a separate mention for the opportunities it offers. Many large, multi-national companies arrange yearly tours for all their employees but do not want the hassle. So as specialist in corporate travel, you would look to take all the stress away from your clients. Over time your experience and reputation, as a corporate tour organizer will grow, making the job easier. Maintaining long-term relations with clients is the key to success in this type of business.

James from Ampersand Travel offers corporate travel services amongst other specialized trips to the UK and Asia: “At Ampersand we understand that every booking is different and our customers have different requirements. This is why we developed our corporate travel knowledge and expertise to ensure we provide the best possible service along with the tailor made holidays we run with consumers too.”

5. Franchise

Having the right to use the name, brand and trademarks of an established travel business is a great way to start a travel business. The main advantage with franchising is that you don’t have to work hard for years to establish reputation, as most people are well aware of the standard of services by the main organization. You usually receive support from the main organization as well in the form of marketing and networking.

The above 5 options are all viable and some may will suit better than others. They all depend on different levels of time and financial investment and carry different levels of risk. Make sure you prepare a complete business plan before starting the business.