If you’re the type who’s passionate about traveling and all the planning that comes with it, you might as well commodify that enjoyment.
Consider turning into an independent travel agent by kickstarting your own hotel booking agency at home! Contrary to how it initially sounds, setting up your own little tourism company isn’t as costly compared to other more lucrative enterprises that demand a whole lot of logistics.
That established, a study packed with solid figures also reveal how more and more entrepreneurs are entering the tourism space. According to ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents), “75% of the study participants have a cruise niche and earn an average of 14% commission.” The same study also reveals that the most effective independent travel business leaders aren’t exactly the most experienced. This just goes to show that anyone determined to make it, with the right resources and research, can succeed.
Here are the top considerations to start a hotel booking agency at home:
Know your niche
This can’t be emphasized too much. Knowing who your target market is, what their interests are, where they’re most likely to travel, and what perks they enjoy is valuable information that can turn into a hefty ROI. Many newbies in the business of independent travel marketing often fall under the one-size-fits-all trap. Selling everything can be tempting, especially when you have access to many resources and companies—but this also exposes you to immediate competition from almost everyone in your industry; when you’re simply beginning. This might not be the best move.
Determine which specific demographics you’d like to cater to and find out what types of hotels and which areas you’re most likely to include in your scope. Know that a niche market is one not so many business leaders have explored just yet. There’s a lot of potential in that route.
Come up with a feasible business strategy
This one is pretty basic, but it still needs to be said. An efficient business plan prevents anyone from going astray with finances and direction. While having several creative ideas is needed to stand out, it is ultimately vision that paves a much clearer path. That being the case, writing and planning every single detail to a T is crucial.
Business plans should include sales strategies, market analysis results, and budget targets. As much as possible, try sticking to your budget and operate only within your means.
Face the legal red tape
Positively, travel agents don’t have that much of a challenging time processing a license. No particular qualification or training or even testing is called for. Generally, only fill-out forms need to be submitted as far as federal laws are concerned. Florida, California, Hawaii, and Washington, however, have their laws when it comes to setting up travel agencies. Whatever your case is, running an underground travel agency—meaning one that isn’t registered—ca only harm you and your customers. Avoid the pitfalls of legalities by getting this aspect over and done with when you can.
Contacting a host agency is also an easier alternative you can consider, as they can first-handedly help you with licensing and the registration process.
Plan Your Marketing Methods
For your business to get customers, they’ll have to hear about it first. Mastering social media and the digital space is now very much imperative to get ahead in the game. From speaking with memes to crafting engaging and non-tacky graphic designs, being able to effectively communicate your brand message efficiently across several platforms is important.
Find out what form of advertising speaks to your market the most. Because this may be an overwhelming endeavor, independent travel agents can resort to working with digital marketing companies such as Edge Online and other similar companies one can work with remotely to help out with advertising efforts.
This not only frees your load, but you can also focus on what you need to do most. What’s more, you don’t have to consistently be on your feet thinking of how to better sell your company because you have experts who do that for you. Should you find it better to work on marketing methods yourself, just make sure you can stick to a schedule that’s feasible for you.
As mentioned earlier, stick to your budget, too. Know how much money you can allocate and work only within your allowable figures. If you think it’s more beneficial, don’t shy away from working with a business partner. This often almost makes everything a lot simpler for entrepreneurs because they have someone else to split the financial weight with.
In the end, what matters is you actualize the dream you have for yourself, all while selling the promise of relaxation, comfort, and perhaps even luxury to your customers. Are you ready to kickstart a hotel booking agency at home?