If you are interested in building a career in the travel industry and become a home based travel agent, starting a home based customer service might just be the optimal solution. Your new business could focus on guiding your customers through the best travel agencies selection process, or you could simply make money by doing the research yourself and book their reservations. There are also several available possibilities related to the way you will organize and carry your business. You could choose between booking and whipping into shape all kinds of travel for your customers or develop yourself in a specific niche. Regardless of which way you decide to develop your business, you will have the possibility to make a living and help other people to enjoy their travelling endeavors at the same time.
Here are some guiding tips on how to start your own travel agency from home:
1. Before starting your own travel business, try to get some specific training. Taking a travel agent course will help you get acquainted with reservation software, types of booking and all the legal information about operating a travel agency.
2. There are several options you can choose from: you can become an independent travel agent and build your agency from scratches, work as a referral agent or agree to work for a host agency. If you decide to work as a referral agent, you will become the link between the customer and the travel agency; you will work on commission and receive a referral fee for each new client you bring to the agency. Working with a host agency implies that you will be using exclusively the host agency’s connections for booking reservations for your customers. You will be working on commission and get paid for each new client who makes a booking. In exchange, if you decide to start your own travel agency, keep in mind that you will have to build up your own contacts list and negotiate your fees.
3. Evaluate which option suits you best: focus on a niche or promote all types of travel. Focusing on a specific niche, such as luxury cruises or romance travel, can sometimes be beneficial as it makes it easier for you to focus on specific customer needs and expectations. This strategy can also narrow the competitive range.
4. If you decide to start either an independent home based travel business or become a referral agent, you have to get in touch with other travel agencies and negotiate your contracts that must include your referral fees and commissions per booking.
5. If you are seeking the protection of an already deep-rooted agency, signing a contract with a host agency is probably the best option for you. You will rely on the host agency’s connections to do your booking. In such cases, your commissions from the provided agency will be split with the host company.
6. Despite the fact that not all travel companies require a CRS, if you decide to go solo and start an independent agency, it might be convenient for you to purchase a computer reservation system. This way you will have the possibility to work directly with travel service suppliers and make different types of reservations.
7. Create a business outline and make sure to take into consideration variables such as start-up expenses and possibilities to finance your business. Don’t forget to plan some strategy for finding new clients and keep your agency functioning until you actually start making a profit out of it.
8. Make sure you contact specialized agencies to provide you with all the necessary information about licenses and permits. Then you can go for starting a travel agency from home.
9. Become a member of the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents and other similar travel associations. Being a member of these associations will not only improve your image as a home based travel agent, but it might also provide you with new training opportunities and new customers.
10. Make sure you create an adequate home-based working space and buy all the necessary equipment: a computer, a printer, a fax machine and a telephone.