A travel agency is a company that deals in the sale of travel services and products. The term encompasses all aspects of the tourism and hospitality industry, including both import and export of passengers and goods, as well as the distribution and sale of hotel rooms around the world.
As a company that specializes in travel, you want to be sure that your travelers have the best possible experience. This means understanding their needs for health care, insurance, and security. It also means providing them with high-quality service from the moment they contact your agency until they return home safe and sound. Here are some tips on how to start a UK-based travel agency.
The Importance of Customer Satisfaction
Your first and most important priority is to provide clients with the best possible service. The earlier you start, the more chances your business has to succeed.
A reliable customer service training course can help you get up to speed quickly. In addition to formal training, you will also need to become a skilled professional. You’ll need to be able to handle any situation that arises and answer any queries your clients may have. You will need to have a strong English proficiency as well, so take advantage of the opportunities that surround the language on the Internet.
The Cost of Starting a Travel Agency
There are various aspects of setting up a travel agency, which means that it is more than likely that you will need to spend some money. It is not necessarily a one-off payment that you will be required to make at the beginning.
You will likely need to pay annual fees for your business license, pay for certain staff costs and cover start-up costs such as the office space and computer hardware. However, this is quite normal and you do not need to worry about breaking the bank. You can hire the services of a trusted consulting company such as the Go Tell a Friend.
A good rule of thumb is that you should not be paying more than £150 a month for office space.
What to Know About the Industry
Your first step to starting a travel agency is to know everything you can about the travel and hospitality industry. This means finding out about the factors that influence the business.
Many factors will have a positive or negative effect on the travel and hospitality industry, including market size and regulations, as well as popular tourist attractions and holiday destinations. Travel and tourism is a growing industry worldwide, with revenue of more than $9.8 trillion expected in 2018.
Having an understanding of how the industry works will help you expand and diversify your company. In fact, the travel and hospitality industry is the second largest employer in the world, with tourism generating 1.1 million jobs.
Tools You’ll Need for Your Business
It’s important to have a computer and a printer. They should both be networked and readily accessible, so that you can easily print or scan your documents. If you don’t have your own, then you need to ensure that you find a reliable source so you can borrow one to get going. It’s always a good idea to get your business started in a modest manner, so it doesn’t take a big investment of cash.
You may also require the help of a lawyer or other legal expert to create the necessary legal documents, such as incorporation papers. As the agency grows, it can cost more to ensure that everything is in order. You can find many local or online resources that will enable you to learn more about what the law dictates for your business.
Where to Start – Digital Marketing
Making your first few sales can be challenging. You need to figure out how to reach travelers and convince them that your company is the right one for them to hire. You need to advertise your services online and in various newspapers, radio stations, and magazines.
Set up Google Adwords
Although Google Adwords doesn’t appear to have the best reputation, it is still the most powerful tool to market your travel business. Utilizing Google Adwords will help you discover new customers, traffic to your website, and improve the conversion rates of all of your existing customers.
Build a Compelling Website
A robust website is the first thing a customer will see when they search for you online. With a powerful and professional website, you’ll be able to showcase everything you have to offer.
Where to Start – Sales and Distribution
Sales and distribution are essential to the success of a travel agency. You need to secure the right locations in which you can host seminars and entertainment events, and you need to place adverts in travel-related newspapers and magazines. You need to spend time visiting travel fairs and attending travel shows in London, Manchester, and Birmingham, where you can network with travel-related companies. The research required to begin your travel agency should take between three and six months.
Growth, however, should come much more quickly. With marketing and advertising, you can market your travel agency to individual holidaymakers and eventually travel companies. With social media, you can directly interact with your clients and connect with them through various channels.
The first thing you need to do before you launch your travel agency is to make sure you have a solid understanding of the needs of the traveler. Not every trip requires the purchase of a package or a flight, but you should be well-versed in the current travel trend in your particular location.
Depending on your area, there are a number of ways you can ensure you are up to date with travel industry trends. If you are in the London area, it would be a good idea to consider working with industry associations to see which tour operators are attending the various trade shows.
If you are in the US, it would be a good idea to attend trade shows in your area. You will have the chance to speak to potential clients and get their feedback on your travel agency.
One of the most important things you can do to start a travel agency is to develop content that people will find informative and useful. Use written and spoken language to help your clients make good choices about what to do and what to avoid when they are traveling to and within the UK.
Following and engaging with what clients of your travel agency are interested in makes them much more likely to reach out to you for more. This gives you the opportunity to know how many people are coming through your doors and what the trend is. If it seems as if there are more people traveling to certain parts of the UK, you might consider opening a branch in those locations.
Create an online booking portal
You should also create an online booking portal for your business.
When starting a travel agency business in the United Kingdom, you need to have a clear vision of what your ideal customer needs. In turn, you should have a thorough understanding of your industry.
Thus, the most important thing to do is learn as much as you can about the travel industry and other local travel agencies. The better prepared you are, the better it will be for your business and your clients.
Click here to learn more about How to Start a Travel Agency UK.
Please note that all good travel agency firms should have a Certificate of Incorporation and that all the travel agency firms should have a valid Tax ID Number.
Find more information relating to travel agency UK, and Travel Agency Companies here.