If you set up a travel agency you can look forward to do some brisk business. It offers you good money and a secure future. With an increasingly well-off middle class, the country is witnessing a sudden spurt in tourism activities. As the saying goes, you need to make hay when the sun shines; the time is ripe for you to venture into this business in India.
However to do travel business in India, you need to know the ropes well. Setting up and running a profitable – travel agency has become more challenging and competitive. You need to be very good at marketing. Initially success is hard to come by, but you should bide for your time. A good business plan can help you overcome one obstacle after the other.
How to Start Your Travel Business?
Though not mandatory, it will stand you good if you have a diploma in travel and tourism management. Many institutions offer travel classes to this effect. These courses teach you some basic requirements like:
- Computer skills
- Basic accounting
- Basic management
- Custom regulations
- Passport and visa knowledge
- Currency exchange procedures
- Flight and railway ticket booking
- Communication skills
- Manners and etiquettes of other cultures
- Foreign Language
Once you acquire knowledge on these fronts you are qualified enough to start your own travel business.
You can become a recognized travel agent all over the world only if are a member IATA. As a member you have more access to inside information. The card also guarantees you more credibility with vendors. This can provides you with more access and benefits when you travel as a travel professional.
However you can still gain being a non- IATA travel agent. With advent of low cost airlines and their decision not to be part of any GDS, agents can now register with them directly. All they need to do is deposit small cash amount of Rs. 25,000 directly. After you create good customer base you can become a GDS. This will help you negotiate good pricing structure with low cost airlines.
How to Start Online Travel Business?
If you start online travel business, you need to fill up business licenses as required by the government. You must have your own site where people can book flights, cruise trips and even hotels. Unless you promote your site aggressively it may not catch the attention of people. Always specialize in a particular category of travel. This will assure you niche customers. Some such categories include business and corporate travel, honeymoon travel or start adventure travel business only.
Investment you need to Start your Own Travel Business
Like any other business ventures, you will need finance to start your business. An accountant can help you draw a business plan to help you get a loan. You need to approach banks with a credible business plan. You may need the help of a realtor if you tend to lease office space for your venture.
What is a Host Travel Agency? How to become an Independent Travel Agent?
You also have the option to work independently, but for one of the big agencies. The agency for which you work is known as a ‘host agency’. Here you put in efforts for yourself, but use their facilities like office space, copier machines and fax. You also use their client lists. You would need to pay them ‘rent’ or a commission for every sale you make on your own. This kind of travel business entails less risk.
Most importantly offer competitive pricing but not rock bottom pricing. Emphasize on the quality of services. Vacationers can be your best source for referrals. Their recommendation can help you flourish.
Good luck for your travel agency business.