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Travel Agent Resources

How to Start a Travel Agency From Home

By Courtney Eisen

February 22, 2024

Are you interested in starting a travel agency from the comfort of your own home but unsure where to begin? Look no further! In this article, we will provide you with a detailed breakdown of the steps you need to take and important considerations along the way. So, let's dive in!

First things first: Are You Planning on Joining a Host Agency?

Before embarking on your journey, it's crucial to decide whether you will join a host agency or venture into this endeavor independently. Opting for a host agency can save you valuable time and money as you ramp up your business. Here's why:

  1. Utilize your host agency's certifications and licenses, leveraging their expertise and reputation.

  2. Benefit from the host agency's volume, which opens doors to benefits programs and better commission tiers.

  3. Establish credibility through affiliation with your host agency, gaining the trust of potential clients.

  4. Access a supportive community that can guide you through unfamiliar territory.

  5. Host agencies, like ours, are free, making it a no-brainer choice.

However, if you decide not to join a host agency, be prepared for a more challenging and costly journey. Without the support and volume of a host agency, you will need to:

  1. Obtain sellers of travel licenses in Florida, California, Hawaii, and Washington State.

  2. Acquire your own ARC, IATA, and CLIA credentials.

  3. Invest time in building volume to qualify for benefits programs and higher commission tiers.

  4. Pay to join a travel consortium like Travel Leaders or Virtuoso.

  5. Set up systems for invoicing, tracking, and processing commissions.

  6. Maintain Errors and Omissions Insurance for yourself and your team members involved in booking travel.

Think About The Clients You Want to Attract

To effectively establish your brand, it's essential to analyze your network and consider the types of clients you want to attract. While choosing a narrow niche may seem appealing initially, it can limit your potential business and stability. For instance, if you solely focus on selling cruises and all-inclusive resorts, your business may suffer during industry disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diversifying your clients and the travel products you offer increases your chances of weathering such storms. By selling a wide range of travel options, you streamline your clients' travel experiences and boost your agency's profitability. Moreover, avoiding a niche approach allows you to gain more referrals. For example, if you exclusively sell all-inclusive resorts, you miss out on referrals from luxury clients seeking Forbes Five Star properties worldwide. Attracting ultra-high-net-worth clients can significantly stabilize your income, even during global financial crises.

Develop Your Brand

Once you have identified your target clients, it's time to create a solid brand that caters to their needs. Consider the following elements when developing your brand:

  1. Logo: A good logo should look clean and legible, regardless of its size. Ensure your logo works well across various platforms, such as your website, business cards, and social media profiles.

  2. Brand Name: Choose a brand name that can withstand the test of time and potential expansions into other travel sectors. Check the USPTO database to ensure no trademarks exist for your chosen name. Additionally, search online to confirm that no one else is using the name. Lastly, secure a domain name that aligns with your brand.

  3. Color Palette: Utilize tools available to create a visually appealing color palette. Ensure your text and background colors offer sufficient contrast without straining the reader's eyes. Incorporate an accent color to make essential elements, such as website buttons, stand out.

Creating a brand requires time, effort, and financial investment. Avoid the mistake of creating a brand only to discover trademark conflicts later on. Rebranding can be costly and disruptive. Therefore, choose a brand name that allows flexibility in the travel products you sell and the clientele you serve, rather than limiting yourself to a niche.

Create Your Official Business Entity

Now that you have a business name, it's time to transform your idea into an official business entity. Depending on your preferences, you can establish a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or another suitable entity. Ensure that your entity's name matches your brand name. For example, if your travel agency is named "Blue Water Travel," your entity name should be "Blue Water Travel LLC." If they don't match, you may need to file for a DBA (doing business as) with your state, incurring additional costs.

Once your entity is set up, obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the official website. This number is crucial for tax purposes and opening a business bank account. Keeping your personal and business expenses separate is essential for maintaining clean accounting practices.

Remember to keep all important documents on file for easy reference while operating your agency.

Get Your Credentials

Obtaining credentials depends on whether you choose to join a host agency or pursue them independently. Joining a host agency simplifies the process, as they provide the necessary credentials. However, if you decide to acquire your own credentials, refer to the list provided earlier in this article. This includes obtaining seller of travel licenses, IATA certification, insurance, and other relevant administrative items.

Complete Travel Agent Training, Or Not

If you're new to the travel industry, consider undergoing travel agent training to shorten your learning curve. Most training programs focus on teaching you how to use booking tools effectively, which is invaluable knowledge. Access to Global Distribution System (GDS) training may be more challenging if you're not affiliated with a solid host agency, so make sure to ask about that when shopping around. Our travel agent training program, which is free for accepted participants, offers comprehensive training beyond booking tools. We have intense courses with proven methods for both sales and marketing. We encourage you to explore our program before deciding on a host agency, as our training covers a wide range of topics and strategies that set our agents apart from the average travel agent.

It's important to note that not all travel agent training programs are equal. Many programs misguide agents, particularly in marketing and sales tactics, resulting in limited income potential. Therefore, exercise common sense and conduct independent research outside the travel industry. Our training, for instance, provides agents with unconventional strategies that have proven to generate exponentially higher earnings.

Start Gaining Your First Clients

Now that you have all the necessary requirements to legally and competently sell travel, it's time to focus on gaining your first clients. Word-of-mouth referrals play a significant role in this industry, so leverage your existing network. Establish an active presence on social media platforms, create a professional website, and actively participate in in-person networking opportunities. Ensure that everything you create reflects your unique value proposition as a travel agent.

Get Started With LuxRally Travel

If you're eager to start a travel business from home and aspire to earn six or seven figures, our program at LuxRally Travel may be an ideal fit for you. We offer free travel agent training, do not charge our agents fees to be a part of our host agency, and cover errors and omissions insurance as well as licensing fees. The only initial expense you will incur is the cost of creating your LLC or other business entity, as well as any investment you want to make into developing your own brand (i.e., a website, logo, etc.). Alternatively, you can sell under our brand, significantly reducing your startup and operating costs. We usually recommend that agents do not create their own brand when first starting out, as it doesn't boost earnings. There are, of course, always exceptions to the rule, but we candidly mentor our agents to help them maximize their income. In fact, we take a loss on new recruits until they start selling. Consequently, we are very motivated to help you hit the ground running.

Suggested Article: Our Host Agency Reviews

In conclusion, starting a travel agency from home requires careful planning and consideration. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can establish a professional and successful business. Remember, the travel industry thrives on client referrals, so prioritize building strong relationships and delivering exceptional value. Good luck on your journey to becoming a successful travel agent!

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