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How to Become a Travel Agent & Start a Travel Agency

These days, you can start your own travel agency from home with minimal cost. You don't have to lease office space, hire a staff or buy expensive equipment. You can operate your travel agency exclusively online and even grow a local customer base.

A common question people have about getting started is, "Do I need a travel agent license?"

No. You are not required to obtain a specialized license to operate as a travel agent. You also do not need to be certified.

However, a general business license is typically required to operate a business, and certification and association memberships will certainly look good to clients.

Put Together Your Plan

An important part of starting any travel business is a business plan. Planning prior to launch can help you cut costs, increase profits and speed up the success of your travel agency business.

An easy way to write your plan is to view other sample travel agency business plans first. You can get ideas, see potential start-up and operating costs and projected financials that can help you with your own planning. From there, you can use low-cost business planning templates to turn the process into a simpler "fill-in-the-blank" task.

Professional Travel Consultant Julie Botteri has years of travel business experience, and she shares the ins and outs of the travel industry, showing you exactly what you need to succeed.How to Start a Travel Agency

Botteri shows you:

  • How to acquire key skills, what training you need and where to get it

  • Steps to making a booking for your client, how to work with suppliers and how to establish relationships that get you higher commissions

  • Secrets to getting clients, including low-cost options, high-volume business travel & special interest groups

Travel Agency Start-up GuideGo!

Set Up Your Travel Agency Software

As a travel agent, you will need some sort of platform for booking your trips and managing your travel information. There are a variety of providers, and you can generally test out their programs before you buy. This is a great way to comparison shop to find out which solution is right for you. Some popular travel agent software programs include Dolphin Dynamics, Travel Booster and Orbitz for Agents

Get Your Travel Business Website

Let's say you are starting an online travel business website where you won't be using travel agency software. You will still need a travel business website to inform customers about your products and services. Fortunately, you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to do this because you can build your own website for cheap with OnlineAgency.com.

You can also accept credit cards from customers worldwide through your website without paying any money up front. Use a merchant account service like PayPal that deducts a small percentage from each customer purchase, so you never have to pay any money out of pocket.

Want to really professionalize your site?

Don't spend a lot of money! Design your own logo for about $50 and get a toll-free phone number with a flat monthly rate of about $2 plus calls. You'll instantly gain customer respect, and visitors will think you spent a fortune, but you really didn't.

Travel Agent Training

Although training is not required to become a travel agent, it can help you build your business faster and generate more income. Here's why:

  • To plan and organize trips for clients, travel and tourism specialists need to understand how to use computerized reservation systems. Travel agent training programs can teach you how to operate a computer reservation system for airlines, plus popular tourist destinations and vacation packages that you'll need to know about to better serve your clients.
  • Travel agents also need to know about the top vacation destinations where people want to visit. They also need to be knowledgeable on tours and travel packages available in these areas. Courses can teach you this.
  • Working for yourself is entirely different than being employed for another company. If you want to launch your own travel agency, enroll in a course that also provides help in starting a business.
Travel Business Marketing

Advertise Your Travel Services Online
If you have a vacation property, a tour business or travel service, you can get access to millions of interested customers online with a travel directory like RealAdventures. Find customers who have money to spend and want help planning a vacation. It can't get much easier than this. Get Your Listing

Local Online Search Directories
Online search directories can be a cheap, easy and effective way to reach local customers. You can list your business location, contact information, special offers and more. Plus, many sites allow customers to rate the businesses, give feedback of write testimonials.

Customer comments can be a great selling tool - and they're free! Local search sources that are affordable and receive substantial traffic include: Google Local, Yelp, Super Pages and more specialized site Trip Advisor.

Internet Marketing Tips for Your Tourism Business
If you plan to work from home, most likely you'll want to take advantage of the internet for its low-cost advertising benefits. The reason I like this guide is that is narrows down advertising techniques specifically to the tourism business: you'll spend less time and money on the "trial and error" method of marketing.

  • Attract customers through free search engine listings, online directories and special linking techniques
  • Use tourism newsgroups to reach your target market
  • Tips on winning awards and then using them to promote your site
  • 10 ways to find great mailing lists & use email to effectively find new clients

Get it nowInternet Marketing Tips for Your Tourism Business

2014 Home Business Start-up Checklist!

Home Business Start-up ChecklistGet the complete checklist free! Follow step-by-step ...from choosing your niche to bringing in customers.

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