More than one billion of people worldwide travel annually and have bring top-dollar revenue for travel businesses. It’s a growing industry that has grown in total revenue for five consecutive years, starting from 2009, amounting 1,245 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 (source: Statista.)
Indeed, there is no shortage of opportunities, which are amplified by the increase of use of the Internet for travel planning and booking. If you want a pie of the multi-billion dollar market, here are three travel business models that you can consider.
Be a travel agent
If you like travelling, and you are good at planning and organising, this might be the right job for you. Your customer service skills could be of great help, too. Most young people think being a travel agent is all about going on trips. However, agents may spend long periods of time in front of their computers or laptops. So, you should be ready for that, too. Most of the time travel agents book business and leisure travel and help customers decide on various deals and packages in order to find the best possible arrangements. They also make reservations for transportation, hotels, car rentals and complete tour packages. They are well informed about a great number of destinations and familiar with their travel requirements and currencies, local customs and attractions. Agents must also assist the clients on a last-minute basis.
Some agents get the opportunity to go on so called “Fam Trips”, a short name for “Familiarisation Trips”. This is a free or low cost trip for travel agents, and it is provided by travel operators or airlines wishing to promote their services. This way they can see exactly what the specific place looks like, what goes on, actually get the real feel for the place, so that later on they can recommend it to the customers.
Offer travel services
As all other industries the travel industry is also becoming more and more competitive. This means that travel agencies and their agents should increase the quality and type of their services. When it comes to that, travel agents are really important. They arrange all kinds of domestic and international travel, everything from accommodations to different transportation, including car rentals and tour packages.
They also assist their customers with passport and visa applications, travel insurance and other requirements. Travel insurance is very important and it covers trip cancellation, flight accident, medical expenses, lost luggage, and other losses suffered while travelling. It is arranged to cover the exact duration of the trip, or as a “multi-trip” policy covering unlimited number of trips. There are lower and higher medical-expense options depending on the medical costs in the countries. Travel agents are also legally responsible to advise their customers if vaccinations are required. There are even some small independent travel insurance companies, which offer an alternative route into the travel industry, if being a travel agent isn’t for you.
Good travel agents have the individual profiles of their frequent clients. They know everything about them, the flyer number, airline seating preference, smoking or non-smoking designation and anything else that could help them organise good custom-designed trips. In order to protect their clients and themselves against commercial failure they are surety bonded, which means that in the case of a failure, the customers are certain to get either an equivalent holiday or a refund.
Create an online travel business
Travel is a huge industry. It contributes a lot to the economy of any country. It is not expected to reduce soon. So, it is definitely good to start a service-based travel business from home. Many people research their travels, but still most of them end up taking a travel agent to make bookings and arrangements.
Your business can be based on referring travellers to travel companies, or you can choose to earn money by providing the same service yourself. You can decide to book all types of travel or choose to focus on specific client group’s needs which are not addressed in details by agencies.
Whatever you choose, you get an opportunity to make money by helping others enjoy and discover new places. Good luck in your endeavour!