If you ask any entrepreneur, starting a business comes with its fair share of challenges.
Starting a travel agency requires a great deal of effort, dedication and most importantly passion.
If you're willing to put in the effort to build your own business, you're going to want to follow the critical steps to creating a successful brand.
We've created a guide that covers each step of the process - from making key financial decisions, to launching and marketing your business the right way, and tips/strategies on how to grow your business effectively.
💡 Introduction To Starting A Travel Agency
Is Starting A Travel Agency Right For You?
There are many factors to consider when starting a travel agency.
We put together the main pros and cons for you here:
Pros of starting a travel agency
You can put as much time into the business as you'd like. If you like the work and have some initial experience, you can start small and manage all aspects of the business on your own.
• Ability to start your business from home
It's not necessary to have a physical storefront or office space to get your business started. You can do everything from the comfort of your own home, at least in the beginning!
• Little startup costs required
The cost to start a travel agency costs significantly less money than most businesses, ranging anywhere from 62 to 39,461.
• Rewarding work
Starting a travel agency can be really rewarding work. After all, you are solving an immediate issue for your customer and you're working on something you truly care about.
With businesses and processes changing daily, there will always be demand for new features, products and services for your business. Additionally, there are several different business models and pricing tiers you can implement that will allow you to reach all types of customers.
• No overhead costs
To get your travel agency started, there are no costs associated with overhead, storage, packaging, etc. This will save you a lot of time and money!
• Meaningful business connections
You never know who you will meet as a travel agency. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!
• High margins
The gross margins for your travel agency are typically around 90%, which is considerably high and allows you to grow your business and manage costs easily.
• Quick build time
The average time it takes to build your product is quick - typically around 7 months. This will allow you to bring your product to market faster.
• Pick & choose the clients you work with
Travel Agencyes have the ability to choose the clients they work with. You have the freedom to work with only a few loyal clients or with hundreds of clients!
• Control of workload
With starting a travel agency, you have the unique ability to choose how little or how much you want to work. You also have the freedom to decide which projects you want to work on, and can turn down the ones that do not interest you.
• Gain exposure and experience
This career allows you to gain experience working for multiple different businesses - which will benefit your resume and also keep things interesting for you!
• Unlimited income potential
With starting a travel agency there is no cap as to how much income you can make. The stronger your business skills and the more energy/time you put into your career, the more you'll make.
• You are your own boss!
With starting a travel agency, you are the one to make decisions for almost all of the operations. Calling the shots can be empowering and liberating!
• Higher likelihood of getting referrals
This business is all about referrals, which can be a a very impactful way to attract and retain customers. It's critical that you have a great referral program in place that incentivizes your customers to tell their friends about your product.
• Simple business model
A travel agency has the advantage of a simple business model, which makes launching and building the business more seamless.
• Control your own destiny
Starting A Travel Agency allows you to control every aspect of your life and make your own dreams come true every day.
• You can decide who you work with
Gone are the days of working in a toxic work environment with employees that you may not vibe with. As a small business owner, you get to decide who you work and surround yourself with.
• Express your opinions
With starting a travel agency, you can express your opinions and knowledge to your audience, which allows you to build your own reputation and identity.
• You can work from anywhere!
Not only can you start your travel agency from home, you can also run your business from anywhere in the world. This is the entrepreneur dream.
• You get to inspire others
Your business is one that encourages and inspires others, which in itself, can be very fulfilling.
• High Hourly Pay Rates
On average, the hourly pay rates are high for your travel agency - which means quality of clients is often superior to quantity of clients.
• Never a dull moment
With starting a travel agency, there is truly never a dull moment. Your job offers a lot of variety and allows you to meet interesting people from all walks of life.
• Various different ways to make money
With starting a travel agency, there is not just one business model to choose from. This field is amazing in that there are various different ways to make money. Although this may complicate things, it's great to have different options and sources of revenue.
• Can build solid foundation of clients
It's unlikely you will have one-off customers as a travel agency. Typically, you have a solid foundation of clients that use your product and services regularly.
Cons of starting a travel agency
• Crowded Space
Competition is high when it comes to your travel agency, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and understanding where the demand lies.
• Longer Sales Process
A travel agency can be a big time and money investment for your customer, so it's important you plan and predict a longer conversion funnel and stay in communication with potential customers.
• Work can be inconsistent
As a travel agency, the amount of work assigned to you and schedule tends to be more inconsistent, which may make your income less stable. It's important to set boundaries and budget accordingly based on the amount of work you plan to have.
• Lack of benefits
With a travel agency, you are typically self-employed and responsible for finding your own insurance, which can be quite costly and time-consuming.
Often times, as a travel agency, you typically work alone and do not have much face-to-face interaction with other team members.
As a travel agency, you typically pay self-employment taxes which can be quite high. It's important to understand what you will be paying in taxes each year so you can determine if the work you're taking on is worth it.
• No safety net
Typically, as a travel agency, you do not receive a consistent pay-check and instead earn money based on your transactions each month. During the slow periods, you typically take away less since the job is based on commission. It's important to budget accordingly for the slow times.
• Stressful work
This line of work can be stressful for both you and your clients. This type of transaction is a significant financial decision for your client, so expectations are very high for you. Although this career path can be very rewarding, it also comes with its challenges and stressful moments.
• Time commitment
With starting a travel agency, all responsibilities and decisions are in your hands. Although this is not necessarily a negative thing, work life can take over at times. This can place a strain on friends and family and add to the pressure of launching a new business.
• Be prepared to get out of your comfort zone!
Although this is exciting for some entrepreneurs, it can be a big challenge for others! You may find yourself in uncomfortable social and business situations, jumping into tasks and responsibilities you aren't familiar with, and pushing yourself as far as you can go!
• Minimal physical activity
A big part of starting a travel agency is sitting at a desk for the majority of the day starting at your computer. Some may enjoy this, but others may struggle with sitting for the majority of your day without much physical activity.
• Learning Curve
When you start your own business, you no longer have upper management to provide you with a playbook for your roles and responsibilities. You should know the ins and outs of every aspect of your business, as every decision will come down to you.
• Easy target for criticism
Since your travel agency has the ability to reach a large audience, you'll need to be able to handle criticism. The internet can be a cruel place, and regardless of your intentions, many people will disagree with you and even take their criticism too far. To survive in this industry, you'll need to have tough skin (or at least learn this along the way).
• The job can be demanding
This is one of the major disadvantages starting a travel agency. It's important to understand that you may need to make yourself available on a 24/7 basis.
- Discount Travel (4.5K Alexa Ranking)
- Viator (6.96K Alexa Ranking)
- JapanTravel (25.4K Alexa Ranking)
- China Travel Agency, Small Group & Private Tour Service (35.7K Alexa Ranking)
- Small Group Tours & Travel, Big Adventures (80K Alexa Ranking)
- Luxpitality - Revenue $410K/month
- Spread Your Wings Travel - Revenue $2K/month
- Wandering Aunt - Revenue $1.1K/month
Let's take a look at the search trends for travel service over the last year:
How To Name Your Travel Agency
It's important to find a catchy name for your travel agency so that you can stand out in your space.
Here are some general tips to consider when naming your travel agency
- Avoid hard to spell names: you want something easy to remember and easy to spell for your customers
- Conduct a search to see if others in the space have the same name
- Try not to pick a name that limits growth opportunities for your business (ie. if you decide to expand into other product lines)
- As soon as you have an idea (or ideas) of a few names that you love, register the domain name(s) as soon as possible!
Why is naming your travel agency so important?
The name of your business will forever play a role in:
- Your customers first impression
- Your businesses identity
- The power behind the type of customer your brand attracts
- If you're memorable or not
It's important to verify that the domain name is available for your travel agency.
You can search domain availability here:
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
Although .com names are the most common and easiest to remember, there are other options if your .com domain name is not available. Depending on your audience, it may not matter as much as you think.
It's also important to thoroughly check if social media handles are available.
As soon as you resonate with a name (or names), secure the domain and SM handles as soon as possible to ensure they don't get taken.
Here's some inspiration for naming your travel agency:
- Heaven Holidays check availability
- Fairytale Travel Agency check availability
- Joyful Vacation, Inc. check availability
- Smart Fly Tour & Travels check availability
- Sun & Moon Touring Company check availability
- Westshore Travel Group check availability
- Exploration Safari check availability
- All Around Travel Services check availability
- Royalty Travel Solutions check availability
- Long Journeys check availability
- All Season Travel Group, Inc. check availability
- Top Class Tours check availability
- Perfection Dreams & Tours Travel check availability
- The Destination Crafter check availability
- Beyond Borders, Inc. check availability
- Micro Family Vacations check availability
- Hot Spot Gateways Inc. check availability
- Anywhere Tour & travel Co. check availability
- Forest Ventures Inc. check availability
- 5 Start Blitz Company check availability
- Weekend Voyage check availability
- Travel Destination check availability
- Luxury Destinations check availability
- Honeymoon Leisure Group check availability
- On the Go Vacations check availability
- Heaven Tour & Travel check availability
- SkyFly Travel co. check availability
- InnerSea Vacation Services check availability
- Economical Travel check availability
- National Pride Travel Services check availability
- Let's Go Adventures check availability
- Universal Tours check availability
- Continental International Travel check availability
- Airborne Corporate Travel check availability
- Miles Holidays check availability
- Adventures Travel Co. check availability
- Tourfinders check availability
- Express Vacations, Inc. check availability
- Travel Treasure check availability
- Holiday Business Travel Inc. check availability
- Leisure Travel Agency check availability
- Pleasant Vacations check availability
- Golden Express Travel Agency check availability
- Pacific Leisure Adventure Group check availability
- Cool River Tours check availability
- Across the Ocean check availability
- Ace Leisure Group check availability
- Tourmania check availability
- Global Sightseeing Tours check availability
- Waterways Travel Agent check availability
- 5 Star Travel Corp. check availability
- Evergreen Travel Vacations check availability
- Pheonix Discoveries check availability
- Jet Set Travel House check availability
- Universal Journey Company check availability
- Premium Resort Travel Company check availability
- Link Travel & Tourism check availability
- Woodside Travel Plaza check availability
- Tropical Vacations check availability
- Central Travel & Cruise check availability
- Wilderness Travel Group check availability
- World Street Travels check availability
- 5 Star Dream Trip check availability
- Breathtaking Discoveries check availability
- Happy Tour & Travels check availability
- Sea Turtle Travel Co. check availability
- Liberty International check availability
- Pic-a-Place City Travel check availability
- Vacation Escapes check availability
- Express Mission Trips check availability
- Celebration Trips Co. check availability
- New Wave Treasure check availability
- Paradise Explorers check availability
- Up On the Sky Agency check availability
- Advantage Tours check availability
- Cheap check availability
- Secret Misstep Co check availability
- DifficultTravel check availability
- Third Trigger Off check availability
- InterstellarTravel check availability
- Rapid Trip Place check availability
- Arduous Locomote check availability
- Outward check availability
- The Independent Locomotion check availability
- Upward Voyage Place check availability
- Ordinary Go Collective check availability
- Chief Organization Group check availability
- Jaunt Place check availability
- ExtendedTravel check availability
- The Rapid Trip check availability
- Occasionally Agency check availability
- Ordinary Move check availability
- Grapple Travel check availability
- Domestic Go Spot check availability
- Rapid Travelers Co check availability
- Frequent Jaunt Pro check availability
- The Country Locomotion check availability
- The Difficult Trips check availability
- Extensive Trips Collective check availability
- CoordinatingAgency check availability
- Slip Co check availability
- Change Of Location Place check availability
- Less Jaunt check availability
- The Official Locomote check availability
- The Difficult Trip check availability
- Speed Locomote Place check availability
- Journey Pro check availability
- East Journey Collective check availability
- The Recent check availability
- Move Pro check availability
- Travels Group check availability
- Journeys Place check availability
- Adventures Spot check availability
- Jaunt Group check availability
- The Rough Trip check availability
- Daily Locomote Pro check availability
- CheapTravel check availability
- The Frequent Trips check availability
- Continental Go Pro check availability
- The Longer check availability
- Adventure Co check availability
- The Global check availability
- ArduousTravel check availability
- Commercial Journey Trading Co check availability
- The Cheap Journeys check availability
- Hurried Travel check availability
- Cheap Jaunt Place check availability
- Extensive Trip Collective check availability
- Comfortable Change Of Location check availability
- Novel Travel check availability
- Interplanetary check availability
- Extensive Journeys check availability
- UnlimitedTravel check availability
- Distance check availability
- Total Ticket check availability
- Wide Trips Pro check availability
- Astral Change Of Location Place check availability
- The Fast Trip check availability
- Playfully Agency check availability
- Speed check availability
- Administrative Applicant check availability
How To Create A Slogan For Your Travel Agency:
Slogans are a critical piece of your marketing and advertising strategy.
The role of your slogan is to help your customer understand the benefits of your product/service - so it's important to find a catchy and effective slogan name.
Often times, your slogan can even be more important than the name of your brand.
Here are 6 tips for creating a catchy slogan for your travel agency:
1. Keep it short, simple and avoid difficult words
A great rule of thumb is that your slogan should be under 10 words. This will make it easy for your customer to understand and remember.
2. Tell what you do and focus on what makes you different
There are a few different ways you can incorporate what makes your business special in your slogan:
- Explain the target customer you are catering your services towards
- What problem do you solve?
- How do you make other people, clients, or your employer look good?
- Do you make people more successful? How?
3. Be consistent
Chances are, if you're coming up with a slogan, you may already have your business name, logo, mission, branding etc.
It's important to create a slogan that is consistent with all of the above.
4. Ensure the longevity of your slogan
Times are changing quickly, and so are businesses.
When coming up with your slogan, you may want to consider creating something that is timeless and won't just fade with new trends.
5. Consider your audience
When finding a catchy slogan name, you'll want to make sure that this resonates across your entire audience.
It's possible that your slogan could make complete sense to your audience in Europe, but may not resonate with your US audience.
6. Get feedback!
This is one of the easiest ways to know if your slogan will be perceived well, and a step that a lot of brands drop the ball on.
Ask friends, family, strangers, and most importantly, those that are considered to be in your target market.
Here's some inspiration for coming up with a slogan for your travel agency:
- Dare to explore the world
- Reward your soul
- The world is waiting for you
- Experience adventure with us
- Travel without stress
- Just travel. We'll do the rest
- Wonderventure escapade
- Fly high with us
- Experiencing the majesty of the world
- Soul reward experience
- All aboard!
- Your eyes deserve the world
- It's your time to travel
- We'll travel you anywhere
- Experiencing moments of life
- New travel treats for you
- Discover what the world can offer
- Creating memorable trips
- Budgetarian travel agency
- Finding new possibilities
- Let us handle your next destination
- Maximizing your vacation getaway
- Planning your dream trips
- Unleash your adventurous soul
- Travelholics Adventure
- Inspire to explore
- Travel is life for sure
- Travel addiction Squad
- Specially made travels for you
- Collect memories with us
- Explore. Travel. Experience
- Making your adventure easy
- World memories begin here
- Stop. Just go and travel
- Package tour made for you
- It's A Bit Of A Travel.
- Distance Flights, Free Trips
- From National To Internationalistic
- Good Honest Travel Since 1896.
- Come Is What We Do
- Dial Down The Travel.
- Work Hard, Borrow Harder
- Work Hard, Get Harder
- Where's Travel?
- Free Travel, Let's Start Today!
- Overseas Travel - A New You
- Distance Travel, Let's Start Today!
- Interstate Travellers Are What We Do
- Distance And Insistent
- Travel Is The Buzz.
- Transportation Is What We Do
- Feel It - Travel!
- Work Hard, Traverse Harder
- Travel, What Else?
- Foreign Visits Are What We Do
- Foreign Travel, Redefined
- Ding-Dong! Travel Calling!
- For The Travel You Don't Yet Know.
- You Can On A Travel, Can Do!
- Free Travel, Satisfaction Guaranteed
- Travel Unscripted.
- Make The World A Better Place With Travel.
- Free Travel - A New You
- Travel, Good.
- Don't Say Brown, Say 'Travel'.
- Travel Will Make You Feel Better.
- If You Can't Beat Travel, Join Travel.
- Overseas Travel, Let's Get To Work
- From Intensive To Comprehensive
- Travel The Best Of The Litter.
- Distance Travel, Take A Seat
The Consulting Business Model
When implementing a consulting business model, you have a number of approaches to choose from:
Here are a few of the most common consulting business models:
1. The Time-Based Model
This is one of the more traditional consulting business models - where your rate, terms, and scope of work are outlined at the very beginning of the project.
Typically, with this model you would choose a day rate or an hourly rate.
2. The Project-Based Model
With a project-based model, you and your client agree on the scope of work you will be performing for a set amount of money.
There is typically a contract in place which covers the deliverables and expectations from both parties.
3. The Retainer-Based Model
The retainer model involves providing ongoing service for your clients over a specific period of time.
You may not provide a specific deliverable for your client, but instead, a broad scope of work over a set period.
4. The Consulting-Firm Model
This model is becoming more and more popular. The consulting firm model involves hiring freelancers or employees to complete work for your clients on your behalf.
Typically, in this situation, you still manage the relationship with the client, but you delegate some or all of the work to your team.
Which model should you choose?
The best way to determine which business model you will choose is to research other entrepreneurs or agencies in your space that are offering the same or similar service.
This will allow you to identify your competition, set your pricing, and determine your target audience.
🎬 How To Start A Travel Agency
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Travel Agency
If you are planning to start a travel agency, the costs are relatively low. This, of course, depends on if you decide to start the business with lean expenses or bringing in a large team and spending more money.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “pre-opening” costs of starting a travel agency and outline the costs you should expect for each:
- The estimated minimum starting cost = $62
- The estimated maximum starting cost = $39,461
|Startup Expenses: Average expenses incurred when starting a travel agency.||Min Startup Costs: You plan to execute on your own. You’re able to work from home with minimal costs.||Max Startup Costs: You have started with 1+ other team members.|
|Office Space Expenses|
|Rent: This refers to the office space you use for your business and give money to the landlord. To minimize costs, you may want to consider starting your business from home or renting an office in a coworking space.||$0||$5,750|
|Utility Costs For Office Space: Utility costs are the expense for all the services you use in your office, including electricity, gas, fuels, telephone, water, sewerage, etc.||$0||$1,150|
|WiFi & Internet: Whether you work from home or in an office space, WiFi is essential. Although the cost is minimal in most cases, it should be appropriately budgeted for each month!||$0||$100|
|Total Office Space Expenses||$0 (min)||$7,000 (max)|
|Employee & Freelancer Expenses|
|Payroll Costs & Fees: Payroll cost means the expense of paying your employees, which includes salaries, wages, and other benefits. This number depends on if you decide to pay yourself a salary upfront and how many employees you have on payroll. At first, many founders take on all responsibilities until the business is up and running. You can always hire down the road when you understand where you need help. Keep in mind, if you do plan to pay yourself, the average salary founders make is $50K.||$150||$250|
|Employee Hiring Expenses: Apart from payroll and benefits, there are other hiring employees costs. This includes the cost to advertise the job, the time it takes to interview candidates, and any other turnover that may result from hiring the wrong candidate.||$1||$2|
|Employee Rewards: It's vital to acknowledge and reward workers, whether they hit their goals or do a great job. This does not have to be costly. In fact, simply taking workers out to a meal or giving a gift or bonus is among the many ways to show how the worker is valued!||$0||$100|
|Total Employee & Freelancer Expenses||$151 (min)||$352 (max)|
|Website Builder: The cost of your website will vary depending on which platform you choose. There are many website builders on the market, so it's important you choose the right one for your business and overall goals. To learn more about your options + how to build a great website, check out this article.||$10||$500|
|Web Designer: Web design includes several different aspects, including webpage layout, content creation, and design elements.If you have the skills and knowledge to design your website on your own, then outsourcing this to an expert may not be necessary. There are plenty of other ways you can design a beautiful website using design tools and software.||$200||$6,000|
|Domain Name: Your domain name is the URL and name of your website - this is how internet users find you and your website.Domain names are extremely important and should match your company name and brand. This makes it easier for customers to remember you and return to your website.||$12||$200|
|Business Email Hosting Service: An email hosting runs a dedicated email server. Once you have your domain name, you can set up email accounts for each user on your team. The most common email hosts are G Suite and Microsoft 365 Suite. The number of email accounts you set up will determine the monthly cost breakdown.||$1||$15|
|Website Hosting Costs: Server hosting is an IT service typically offered by a cloud service provider that hosts the website information and allows remote access through the internet. A hosted server can help you scale up and increase your business’s efficacy, relieving you from the hassles of on-premise operations.||$0||$300|
|Website & Live Chat Tool: If your business values high-end customer service, you must consider utilizing a website chatbot. Website chatbots play a pivotal role in converting site visitors into long-term customers. Typically, there are different tiers of pricing and features offered by Live Chat service providers.||$0||$200|
|Total Website Costs||$223 (min)||$7,215 (max)|
|Business Formation Fees|
|Small Business Insurance: Depending on which state you live in and the business you're operating, the costs and requirements for small business insurance vary. You can learn more here.||$500||$2,000|
|Permit and License Fees: Depending on your industry, there are certain licenses and permits you may need in order to comply with state, local, and federal regulations. Here is an article that goes over all the permits and licenses you may need for your travel agency.||$50||$700|
|Trademark: Filing trademark registration will protect your brand and prevent other businesses from copying your name or product. USPTO has several different types of trademarks, so the cost to apply can vary (typically anywhere from $400-$700).||$0||$700|
|Lawyer Fees: Although you may want to avoid attorney fees, it's important that your business (and you) are covered at all costs. This comes into play when creating founder agreements, setting up your business legal structure, and of course, any unforeseen circumstances that may happen when dealing with customers or other businesses.||$0||$1,500|
|A Patent: Patents provide protection against others stealing or selling your idea.Securing a patent can be very valuable, but it's important that you are 100% sure this will be a smart business move for you, or if this is something to consider down the line.The process of securing a US patent can be both lengthy and pricey, and typically includes filing an application with the USPTO.||$5,000||$15,000|
|Set up business: LLC & Corporations: The first step in setting up your business is deciding whether your business is an LLC, S Corp or C Corp. The cost for this depends on which state you form your business and which structure you decide on. We put together an article that goes over the 10 Steps To Setting Up A Business.||$50||$500|
|Total Business Formation Fees||$5,600 (min)||$20,400 (max)|
|Design Programs & Software: These programs might include the Adobe family of design tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and others. This is typically a monthly subscription ranging from $10-$50/mo.||$0||$50|
|Email marketing tool: If you plan to grow your email list and email marketing efforts, you may want to consider investing in an email marketing platform (ie. Klaviyo, MailChimp). We put together a detailed guide on all of the email marketing tools out there + the pricing models for each one here.||$0||$100|
|IT Support: IT support installs and configures hardware and software and solves any technical issues that may arise.IT support can be used internally or for your customers experiencing issues with your product/service.There are a variety of tools and software you can use to help with any technical issues you or your customers are experiencing. This is a great option for businesses that do not have the means to hire a team of professionals.||$150||$2,000|
|Accounting & Invoicing Software: It's important to have an accounting system and process in place to manage financials, reporting, planning and tax preparation. Here are the 30 best accounting tools for small businesses.||$0||$50|
|CRM Software: CRM (customer relationship management) software system is used to track and analyze your company’s interactions with clients and prospects. Although this is not a necessary tool to have for your business, implementing this, in the beginning, may set your business up for success and save you valuable time.||$12||$300|
|Project Management Software: You may want to consider using a project management and collaboration tool to organize your day-to-day. This can also be very beneficial if you have a larger team and want to keep track of everyones tasks and productivity. For a full list of project management tools, check out this full list here.||$0||$25|
|Internal Communication Tool: If you plan to have multiple members on your team, you may want to consider an instant message tool such as Slack or Telegram. The cost is usually billed per month (approx $5/user/month) or there are freemium versions available on many platforms.||$0||$20|
|Social Media Management Tools: If you plan to do social media marketing for your travel agency, you should consider investing in a social media automation or publishing tool. This will save you time and allow you to track performance and engagement for your posts. Here is a list of 28 best social media tools for your small business.||$0||$50|
|Payroll Software: The main purpose of payroll software is to help you pay your team and track each of those payments (so that you don't have to do it manually). If you do not have any employees or have a very small team, payroll software may not be necessary at this stage. Here are the 11 best payroll tools for small businesses!||$0||$200|
|File Hosting Service: It's important to make sure the information for your travel agency is stored and protected should something happen to your computer or hard drive. The cost for this is affordable and depends on how much data you need to store. To learn more about the different options and pricing on the market, check out this article.||$0||$299|
|Total Software Expenses||$162 (min)||$3,094 (max)|
|Advertising & Marketing Costs|
|Business Cards: A travel agency involves quite a bit of customer interaction, whether that is attending tradeshows, sales calls or simply having face to face interaction with prospective clients. Business cards are a great way to stay front of mind with your clients.||$0||$50|
|Networking Membership Fees: Joining local networking groups or your chamber of commerce is a traditional yet effective way to promote your travel agency - but these fees add up! It's important to choose the right group(s) that align with your business and help with growth.||$0||$250|
|Direct Campaigns, Printing and Mailing: Although it may sound old-school, traditional marketing methods can be a cost-effective way to drive awareness for your brand. This includes flyers, postcards, sales letters, coupons, special offers, catalogs and brochures.||$0||$300|
|Press: If your business and story is unique enough, press and media attention may come to you, but odds are, you may need to do your own outreach and budget for this. We put together a guide here that discusses different press opportunities (both free and paid).||$0||$500|
|Google Ads: With Google Ads you have the ability to control how much you spend by simply setting a monthly budget cap. Additionally, with these ads you only pay for results, such as clicks to your website or phone calls! It's okay to start with a small budget at first and make changes accordingly if you see valuable returns.||$0||$300|
|Total Advertising & Marketing Costs||$0 (min)||$1,400 (max)|
|Total Starting Costs||$62 (min)||$39,461 (max)|
Raising Money For Your Travel Agency
Here are the most common ways to raise money for your travel agency:
What Skills Do I Need To Succeed In Starting A Travel Agency?
As a travel agency, there are several essential skills and characteristics that are important to identify prior to starting your business.
Let’s look at these skills in more detail so you can identify what you need to succeed in your day-to-day business operations:
Advice For Starting A Travel Agency
We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.
Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a travel agency:
Patrick Burkhardt, founder of Luxpitality ($410K/month):
It’s ok to make mistakes if you learn from them.
Read the full interview ➜
Robin Finney, founder of Wandering Aunt ($1.1K/month):
So often we compare ourselves to others and tell ourselves we “should” be farther along. When in reality, what works for one person may not work for you. We are all wired differently and must find what works best for each of us.
Read the full interview ➜
Marissa Daniels, founder of Spread Your Wings Travel ($2K/month):
Do research before starting. If you want to start a business - research before you pay anything.
Read the full interview ➜
Write a Business Plan
Writing a business plan from the start is critical for the success of your travel agency.
Because this allows you to roadmap exactly what you do, what your overall structure will look like, and where you want to be in the future.
For many entrepreneurs, writing out the business plan helps validate their idea and decide whether or not they should move forward with starting the business.
You may want to consider expanding upon these sections in your business plan:
- Executive Summary: Brief outline of your product, the market, and growth opportunities
- Overviews and Objectives: Overview of your business, target customers, and what you need to run your business
- Products and Services: Specifics on the products and services your business will provide
- Market Opportunities: Analysis of customer demographics, buyer habits and if your product is in demand
- Marketing: Outline of your marketing plan and how you plan to differentiate yourself from other customers
- Competitive analysis: Analysis of your competition and the strengths and weaknesses therein
- Operations: Hierarchal structure of the company and what it will take to run the business on the day-to-day
- Leadership Team: Detailing roles and responsibilities of each manager based on their specific skill-set
- Financial Analysis Understanding of all expenses, operating budgets, and projections for the future.
Learn more about how to write a business plan here
Determine Which Business Bank Account You Need
There are hundreds of banks out there, and it can be overwhelming to find one that's right for your business.
Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- Location - Is your bank close enough that you can easily make deposits or get cash?
- Low Fees - Make sure to understand any and all fees associated with setting up and maintaining your bank account. Ask for a list - banks usually try to keep this hidden and in the fine print.
- Online Banking Services - Make sure you can easily navigate through your online portal and you have easy access to everything you need.
- Line of Credit - What do your options look like (even if you don't need this now, you may need this down the road).
- Every bank has something that differentiates them from the rest, so make sure whatever that is applied to your needs and values.
Check out this list of the 13 Best Banks for Small Business in 2020 and what makes them so unique.
Setting Up Your Travel Agency (Formation and Legal)
When it comes to setting up your business, you may find yourself in a place where you have to make some financial and legal decisions.
The first thing you'll want to decide on is whether you want to be an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp.
These three options are found to be the most common when starting a small business, and all serve to protect your personal assets and also provide you with certain tax benefits.
- LLC: All income and expenses from the business are reported on the LLC personal income tax return.
- S corp: Owners pay themselves salaries + receive dividends from profits.
- C Corp: C Corps are separately taxable entities that file a corporate tax return (Form 1120). No income tax is paid at the corporate level and any tax due is paid at the owners individual expense.
Depending on where you're conducting business, you'll also want to consider securing the proper permits, licenses and liability insurance.
Need to start an LLC? Create an LLC in minutes with ZenBusiness.
How Do I Pay Myself As A Small Business Owner?
Most entrepreneurs start a business to do something they love- but at the end of the day, you still have bills to pay (maybe now more than ever).
But it's important to strike the right balance - if you pay yourself too much, you could be putting your business at risk.
There are two common ways to pay yourself as a business owner:
1. Owner's Draw
Many entrepreneurs pay themselves through an owner's draw. This means that you are technically sean as "self-employed" through the eyes of the IRS and are not paid through regular wages.
At the point that you collect money from the draw, taxes typically are not taken out - so make sure you are prepared to pay these taxes once you file your individual return.
As an owner who takes a draw, you can legally take out as much as you want from your equity.
This type of compensation is suited for Sole props, LLCs, and partnerships. If you’re an S corp, you can pay yourself through both a salary and draw if you choose.
If you decide to pay yourself a salary, you will receive a set and recurring amount. This will be taxed by the federal government and the state you reside in.
The reality is that it can be really complicated to set your own salary, so we have some tips for you to consider:
- Take out a reasonable amount that allows you to live comfortably but also sets your business up for success
- Consider the number of hours you are working weekly + the type of duties you are performing.
- Set your salary based on your industry-standard, location, and profits (or projected profits)
- Look at your P&L statement: Deduct your own pay from that amount. This is important so you can first tackle important business expenses, and then pay yourself from the amount leftover.
- Pick a payroll schedule (and stick to it)! In the US, it's most common to pay yourself and employees twice a month.
To learn more about how to pay yourself and what is a reasonable amount, check out this article.
How To Price Your Travel Service
One of the most challenging aspects to starting a travel agency is determining how much to charge for your travel service.
When businesses under-price their product, this can be extremely detrimental to their bottom line and reputation.
Often times, businesses under-price their products to drive demand and volume, but that last thing you want is for customers to view your product/service as "cheap." Additionally, this can have a big impact on the type of customer you attract, which can be difficult to recover from.
On the other hand, when businesses over-price, this tends to be just as damaging to the business.
When customers buy, it's likely that they will explore the internet and look at other competitors to ensure they're getting the best value + deal. This is why it's so important that you research your competition and understand where you land in the marketplace.
Here are some factors to consider when pricing your product:
Understand your customer
It's important that out of the gates, you identify the type of customer you want to attract and how much they're willing to pay for your service. One great way to do this is by surveying your customers. Here are some important items you'll want to takeaway:
- Customer demographic: Age, gender, location, etc.
- Buying habits of your customer: What they buy + when they buy
- Level of price sensitivity with your customer
All of these segments will help you identify the type of customer you're attracting and how to price your product accordingly.
Understand your costs
When pricing your travel service, it's critical that you first identify all of your costs and consequently mark up your travel service so you can factor in a profit.
The actual cost of your travel service may include things like:
- The actual cost to make the product (ie. raw materials, supplies, manufacturer).
- Shipping + overhead fees
- Operating costs to run your business
You may want to consider creating a spreadsheet with every single expense involved in operating/owning your business. This will give you an idea as to what you need to generate in order to at the very least, break-even and will help you price your products to factor in a profit.
Create revenue goals
When determining the price of your travel service, you'll want to create goals for revenue + how much profit you want your travel agency to make.
This process is simpler than you may think:
- Think about your breakeven cost (by completing the above step).
- Create a revenue goal based on your break-even cost
- Evaluate the # of items you plan to sell in a given period (make sure this is a realistic number)
- Divide your revenue goal by the number of items you plan to sell
This figure will help determine your estimated price per product in order to meet your revenue goals.
Evaluate your competition
The last piece in determining how to price your travel service is by simply looking at your competition.
The best way to do this is by finding like-minded businesses that offer product(s) with similar perceived value. Then, you can compare prices of the different businesses and determine where your travel service fits best in the marketplace.
All of these factors play an equal part in pricing your travel service, so it's important you evaluate each one individually to come up with an accurate price that will help optimize your business from the start.
Rate Calculator: How to Calculate The Price For Your Travel Service Services
Our calculator is designed to be simple and easy to use.
The goal is to help you set realistic expectations and understand the hourly rate you should be charging to make your desired profit.
Please input below:
Identify Target Customer
A very critical piece in building travel agency is to identify your ideal target customer.
- Develop a niche and create a consistent brand that reflects your target customer.
- The colors, logo, content, and overall website should resonate with your target customer and should draw them in by helping them solve their specific "need".
Building an MVP (Minimal Viable Product)
When building a travel agency, it's critical that you first validate your product/service rather than rushing to build it right away.
This could save you months, if not years of building the wrong product/service.
If you're hoping to decrease any sort of risk that comes with launching your travel agency, designing a prototype can be a great way to de-risk your situation.
The point of your travel service prototype is that it doesn't have to be perfect.
In the beginning stages, it doesn't matter how rough V1 of your prototype is, it's more important to just get started and you can always refine from there based on feedback from your network and most importantly your customers.
How To Build A MVP
Here are several different ways of building a prototype/MVP:
- Start by building a landing page to see if customers actually need your product and if they are willing to pay for it
- Build a very basic version of your idea and ask for immediate feedback from potential customers
- Present a problem and solution via Facebook/Instagram Ads and see what the response is like
Marissa Daniels, founder of Spread Your Wings Travel dives deep into the process of designing and prototyping their product:
As a graduate student studying Marketing & Communications, I knew that I had to market myself as a travel agent. No one will know that you’re a travel agent unless you market yourself. Primarily, I began promoting my vacation deals on Facebook to my friends and family and it was slow in the beginning. My advertising wasn’t too appealing, as I thought it was.
As you see, I have the destination, a few pictures and I would write a caption that included everything the deal came with. Over time, I thought to myself that I needed a re-do. Therefore, I made an official “Spread Your Wings Travel” Instagram page. One, I knew that people my age are more active on Instagram than Facebook, and two, I needed to expand my business to other platforms. I still kept posting my deals, but I figured that it would be better for clients to initially see how much the price was for the trips, so I changed my posts.
As you're scrolling, this would catch your eye IMMEDIATELY! I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to Paris for under $1000? I kept this same layout of my posts for a while and this is when the traffic on my page began increasing. I thought to myself, I’ve found the answer! However, about a month ago, I wanted to change it up (I’m a Libra, so I’m pretty indecisive, at times). I thought the post lacked color, and plus, I’ve been seeing other travel agents using my layout for their businesses. About a month ago, I began creating these posts.
These are more attractive, the fonts are catchy, the colors jump out at you, and I fell in love!
🚀 How To Launch Your Travel Agency
Build A Website
Building a website is imperative when launching your business, and with the right tools in place, this can be a simple task to check off the list (without having to hire someone).
- Pick a domain name that's easy to remember and easy to type
- Choose a Web Hosting Plan (ie. Shopify, Squarespace)
- Make sure you choose the right theme and design
- Implement the proper page structure (ie. about page, contact page, pricing etc)
To learn more about how to build a stellar website with little stress, we give you all the details on this step-by-step guide.
Best Website Platforms To Use For Your Travel Agency:
There are a variety of websites platforms out there, and it's important to choose the right one that will set you up for success.
Here's everything you need to know about the two most common platforms for your travel agency:
Free and open-source content management system based on PHP and MySQL.
Free to use/open source but you will need to pay for the hosting.
Businesses using WordPress:
The all-in-one solution for anyone looking to create a beautiful website.
- Personal Plan: $12/month
- Business Plan: $18/month
- Basic: $26/month
Businesses using Squarespace:
Once you have chosen the domain, web hosting, and platform, it's time to get started with the design phase.
Themes are a great way to produce the fundamental style and identity of your website - this includes everything from your font design to your blog post styles.
One of the best ways to get started is to simply explore the various themes (free or paid depending on what you're looking for) and test them on your site.
If web-design really isn't in the cards for you, you may want to consider outsourcing a web designer to help bring your vision and brand to life.
Traditional Launch Strategies For Your Travel Agency:
There are various different ways you can launch your travel agency successfully.
Here are a few different strategies to get customers excited about your travel agency:
- Set up a Facebook page for your business. This is a great way to establish an online presence
- Host an event in a fun location with drinks & food. This is a great way to get exposure in the local community.
- Get Press! Pitch your story to the media and you may just land in an amazing publication
- Live sales to get customers excited
- Send a hand-written letter in the mail with a discount on your services to the local community/neighborhoods.
Patrick Burkhardt, founder of Luxpitality dives deep into the process of launching the business:
Oh man!! It’s nice to reflect back on all this from time to time!! While it doesn’t seem like much has changed, you realize how much you’ve learned and since then being able to do it again with more knowledge and quicker ramp-up time really lets you know that you’ve come a long way. One of the things I love so much is that we are in an era where technology is changing so rapidly, the cost and time to launch a company is greatly reduced.
Back in 2014 when this was still a concept I worked from 3:00 am until I went to bed on Luxpitality and with my day job. It wasn’t until March of 2015 that we officially launch Luxpitality and at that point, we pretty much had everything firing.
It’s ok to make mistakes if you learn from them.
The name Luxpitality came to me after 2 glasses of wine so that was checked off my Asana task list pretty quick… I hired a web dev company and a branding agency to create the logo. I must say that creating everything just the way you want is something I am most proud. It has become a reflection and representation of you and people see that.
You do learn a lot of lessons along the way! We will continue to learn and evolve through each stage and knowing there is no end in sight gets me more excited every day. Something super important is practicing patience and being realistic. I am a dreamer and an idealist which makes reality blah.. This was so important for me to practice, finding a healthy balance. Knowing where to invest your time and energy is huge. Pivoting and minor course corrections while still moving forward and taking it all in knowing that it’s all about the vision and mission you started with. With owning a company you will never stop learning and knowledge will come from all the experiences you put yourself through.
🌱 How To Grow Your Travel Agency
Social Media Advertising
Social Media Advertising is one of the leading ways to get the word out when it comes to travel agency.
There are various different Social Media platforms available to you. Some may be more critical for your marketing efforts than others, however, it's important to have an understanding of what's out there and available to you.
Let's talk about a few of the main platforms and what makes them unique:
- Facebook Advertising - more than 2 billion monthly users. Facebook is the best for lead generation + capturing email addresses for e-commerce businesses.
- Instagram Advertising - approximately 500 million monthly users and has a higher audience engagement rate than any other platform. Instagram ads are best for linking to a product page or landing page and reaches the 18-29 age group most effectively.
- Twitter Advertising- Small businesses typically use twitter ads to drive brand awareness, but the platform is meant more for organic engagement (and is not as heavily used for paid advertising)
- Pinterest Advertising - 175 million monthly users and most effectively reaches the female audience. Pinterest is great for promoting products without "promoted". The promoted pins have a way of blending right in.
- LinkedIn Advertising - 227 million monthly users and is geared towards the B2B market and generates the highest quality leads. Great platform for recruiters, high-end products and services that will help businesses
It's important to first define your goal/objective so that you don't waste time and money into the wrong platform:
Here are some different questions to ask yourself as it relates to your goals:
- Do I want to simply drive brand awareness?
- Do I want to drive users to my website to gather information?
- Do I want to increase sales and get my customer to take action?
From there, choose the platform that targets your audience best and start experimenting!
Learn more about social media advertising ➜ here.
Founder Andy Hayes talks about mastering FB ads and the pixel:
The biggest bang for your buck will likely be mastering Facebook and it’s platform - which we all know is pay for play, so you’ll have to come up with a small amount of budget to start for marketing.
We’ve spent countless hours (and paid numerous coaches) before we cracked the code that works for us on Facebook, but it is working really well for us now.
Some of the most important things to know when it comes to FB Ads:
- Start with retargeting (that’s showing ads to people who already know you but did not purchase). Master this - and start building information on your Facebook Pixel - before you do anything else
- Once you have that down, try working with the 1% “Lookalike” audience to prospect for new customers. This may take awhile because your pixel audience is small, so try layering on interests - 1% Lookalike and your largest competitor, for example. Don’t use interest-only targeting until you master this.
- Great photography and videography is key, as is smart copy. Research what’s out there in your industry and constantly test - what works for one company may not work for other people.
- Make sure you have good offers. For example, we have a $5 trial for our subscription, which converts affordably - if we promoted our subscription with the standard $30 front charge, it wouldn’t be as cost-effective.
Improve your SEO
SEO is not just about driving traffic to your site, it's about driving the RIGHT traffic to your site, and ultimately, converting leads into customers.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding what your customers are searching for, otherwise known as "keyword research."
Here are some tools that can help you choose the right keywords for your travel agency.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner invaluable for discovering search trends.
- Google Search Console is very helpful once your website is up as it shows you what words/phrases are generating traffic.
- Ahrefs and SEMRush are paid tools that allow you to look at results of your competitor's website.
Publish Great Content
Finding keywords is an important piece of the puzzle, but Google also ranks your site based on the actual content you produce, as this is what your customers are reading and engaging with.
There are various different "forms" of content that you may want to consider diversifying on your sites, such as blog posts, articles, studies, and videos.
So let's discuss what google considers "good content:"
- Length - This will vary depending on the page, however, generally having a sufficient amount of content helps search engines recognize that your site is a good source for a specific topic
- Engagement - The longer people stay on your website to read your content, the higher Google will rank your website. It's important to have informative and "thick" content that keeps people reading
- Avoid Duplicating Content - Google will recognize this and may consider your content to have low value
- Ensure pages load quickly - This will also help with engagement and time spent on your website
- Shareability - Create content that people want to share, and is easy for them to share, especially to their social media accounts (ie. "click to tweet" is a great example of this).
Another element of creating good content is creating consistent content.
If (and hopefully you are) publishing content frequently, it's important to stick to a schedule - this helps build brand trust and easy user experience with your customers.
Planning out your content with a content calendar is key to staying consistent.
Here are a few great content calendar tools that can help you:
Backlinks are an important piece to SEO, as they allow for other websites to link to your content.
Search engines recognize that other sites are essentially "verifying" your content and essentially rank you higher because of this.
Of course, some links are more valuable than others and can affect your site in different ways.
For example, if a highly valuable and credible site like the New York Times links to a page on your website, this could be remarkable from an SEO perspective.
Aside from organically getting mentioned from other sites, there are other ways that you can increase and earn backlinks:
- Create infographics with relevant data that people want to share
- Promote your content on different sites/look into "guest blogging"
- Contact influencers/journalists/bloggers and ask them to mention you!
- Write testimonials for other sites in exchange for a backlink
- Leverage existing business relationships
Build A Blog
One of the most effective ways to build brand awareness and grow your business is through consistently blogging.
We've outlined some useful tips for you to consider when creating content:
Consistency and Quantity
Quality is important, but it should be the standard for any content you publish.
What’s more important is consistency and quantity.
Consistency is as simple as committing to publishing and sharing a certain number of posts per week. For me, that’s three per week right now.
This kind of commitment is key, because one day, a random post will blow up, and you will have never expected it.
The easiest mind trap is to think "I’m posting too much", and “I need to give my readers/audience/this platform a break”.
This is nonsense.
There is no such thing as oversaturation. Well, there is, but it is just someone else’s opinion.
For every person that tells you you are posting too much, there is another person that wants even more of your content.
You should ignore people’s opinions on how much you post.
Patience & Persistence
Keep posting, keep trying, and keep putting out good content on the regular. Your time will come, and when it does, it will change everything.
The only thing you have control over is your content.
You can’t control how people will react to it. You can’t control pageviews, likes, or shares.
So the only metric you should focus on is how much content you can put out in a week, month, etc.
Where to share your blog content
I know it sounds obvious, but the best places to share your content is on your mailing list. It is guaranteed traffic and it is a great way to get rapid feedback from your most loyal readers.
Send newsletters often. I have done once a week since starting, and I’m moving to twice a week soon.
Work on increasing your mailing list as well. Look into ways to increase your conversion rate to your mailing list. I added a flyout popup thing to my site and now I’m collecting ~30 emails per day.
An email newsletter is one of the most powerful assets you can have and it is worth its weight in gold.
Reddit is one of my favorite places to promote content.
It is a very scary place because you will often get banned or heckled, but it can really pay off.
Create social media accounts for your blog, the main ones I use:
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn
Set up Buffer and share all of your blog posts to all of your accounts. All of these little shares really do add up.
Automate this as much as possible. I automated all of my social media for Starter Story.
When I started out, I put together a spreadsheet of relevant Facebook groups for my niche, and I would post to these groups whenever I had a big story I wanted to share.
Experiment With Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)
Pay-per-click (PPC) is a performance-based marketing method that allows you to show specific ads for services or products oriented to a very defined target, with the goal that the user visits your website or landing page.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Consider connecting the ad to your corresponding landing page so that the audience receives the necessary information after clicking on the ad.
- Conversion Tracking: When running PPC campaigns, be sure to run the ads with conversion tracking.
- Focus on quality keywords, even if there are few as this will save you time and money. When assessing the performance of a keyword, it's important to track the expense, conversion, and cost per conversion, as well as the ROI.
PPC advertising can be a very important lead generator as long as it's done properly. Your PPC campaign is intended to drive traffic to your website and help the business scale.
Additionally, if the campaign is not having the desired results, you can make the necessary changes immediately to improve them.
Ryan Schortmann, founder of Display Pros talks about their investment in PPC Ads:
My name is Ryan Schortmann and I’m the founder of Display Pros. We are a custom trade show display booth company offering easy to use portable display “kits” for small and medium businesses wanting to get into the trade show game.
It did not take long to come to the realization that to compete at any reasonable level, we were going to need to take the plunge and invest in Pay Per Click ads and display.
From experience, I know that it is important to give Google’s hivemind some time to settle in before each campaign starts seeing consistent results (this is largely dependent on budget).
A certain amount of PPC budget must be viewed as a “marketing research” expense and then you can look at the analytics data and make informed decisions on where to refine, tweak or plain scrap an idea.
Google Shopping was an entirely new concept for me. You can’t assign keywords to products so at first, I was asking myself “How the hell do you refine these?”. Then I found some good reading material and courses and learned of some advanced methods that the pros are using. It turns out you can utilize negative keyword lists combined with the priority setting on each shopping campaign to “shape” the keywords that are coming in and how much you are spending on them.
To learn more about PPC Ads and Google Shopping, check out this video to learn everything you need to know!
Grow Your Email List
The more engaged list of emails, the more engaged customers, which ultimately leads to more sales.
One of the best ways to start growing your list is by providing your customer with something free (or discounted) in return.
This could also be anything from:
- Fascinating case study
- Video series
- Free week of the product
- Discount on the product
Learn more about how to grow your email list and improve email marketing ➜ here.
Dylan Jacob, founder of Brumate states their email collection tactic that is proven to work:
We use Spin-a-Sale for this (you spin a wheel for a discount code in exchange for subscribing to our email list). This has been the best email-collecting tool we have found because the customer truly feels like they won a prize rather than just a coupon code.
Even if a customer doesn’t convert right away, if we have their email we have a 19% chance of converting them into a future customer whether that is through future promotions, new releases, or simply just sending an email at the right time for a purchase to finally make sense for them.
We also have a return customer rate of over 14%, so one out of every 6 people we convert will end up buying from us again with an average order value of over $60.00.
Add an exit-intent popup to your online store
A great way to double, or even triple, your email opt-in rate and to grow your list is to add an exit-intent popup to your site, and offering a discount or content upgrade for subscribers.
Here's an example of what that might look like:
One thing that I spent years NOT doing, that I now kick myself about, is adding an "exit intent pop-up" to our site, which lets people enter a sweepstakes to win a Xero Shoes gift certificate.
That one idea has added over 100,000 subscribers to our email list, which is one of our most effective marketing channels.
Improve Your Email Marketing
Different types of emails
Here are the most common types of email campaigns you can send to your customers and their benefits:
- Welcome emails - the perfect way to provide information from the start with a clear CTA. Make sure to tell your customer everything they need to know about your product or service.
- Newsletters - a great way to give customers updates or send out your latest content
- Product launch emails - the quickest (and easiest) way to increase sales is by selling to current customers. Make sure they're the first on the list to know about your new product
- Promotional emails - promote discounts, deals coupons etc. Try and make this feel exclusive and for a limited time only
- Abandoned cart emails - give your customers a reason to complete their purchase!
Here's a great resource for finding curated email designs, for all types of email campaigns!
Abandonded Cart Flow
The abandoned cart workflow is one of the most effective strategies for turning your lead into a customer, and a powerful tool to have if you're an e-commerce business.
Think about all the times that you went on a shopping frenzy only to add items to your cart and then either forget or realize nows not the right time to pull the trigger.
Then, minutes later you receive an email saying "Hurry up! Your cart is waiting - and we want to provide you with 20% off your order."
Maybe that's the special touch (and discount) you needed to pull that trigger.
Implementing this workflow can automatically trigger this for your business every time a customer abandons their cart.
Here's a great example of an abandoned cart email from Brooklinen:
Things they do well:
- Showcase 5-star reviews from other customers
- Offer a small discount + free shipping
- Great design + clear call to actions!
🏃🏼♀️ How To Run Your Travel Agency
How To Retain Customers For Your Travel Agency
Retaining customers is one of the most effective ways to grow your travel agency.
Oftentimes, it's easy to find yourself focusing on generating new customers, vs retaining your current ones.
Look at it this way - you are 60-70% more likely to sell a new product to an existing customer than you are a new customer.
That's not to say that finding new customers and revenue streams is not important, however, the easiest (and most inexpensive) source of new revenue is right there in front of you.
Here are some ways you can retain customers for your travel agency:
- Responding to comments on social media
- Send discounts (or freebies) to loyal customers
- Provide valuable content, for free
- Write a hand written thank you note
- Provide awesome customer service and build relationships with customers
To find out more tips and tricks on retaining customers, check out this article ➜ here
Patrick Burkhardt, founder of Luxpitality dives deep into the process of attracting and retaining customers:
When we first began we worked with hotels and clients all over the world. We also had a larger sales team of independent contractors. We realized that our bandwidth was being stretched too thin. We pivoted to a more domestic approach and said let’s get this right and then expand. It was great because it organically mapped out the next 10 years just by focusing on geographical markets.
Let’s perfect the market in our backyard and then apply the momentum to the next stage of the business. Since doing so we have become one of the top 5 representation companies in the States, retained almost 100% of our customers while growing through referrals and building an amazing portfolio of over 200 hotels in North America.
I believe that time in the market is also helping us. We have amazing partners and the conversations over time have become easier. There is more content out there for people to research and more people are talking about us. I remember the first hotel partners we approached. It took months for them to buy-in so we pivoted to a model that made our partnership mutually beneficial. It was another aha moment for us and we still use that same practice today.
Social Media and PR really helped get us into the next stage where customers were now reading about us and after a call, they would research who we were. Not just our company but about us personally. Here is a cool article that has been referenced several times.
PR did a lot for us and our name was getting out, however, it became quite costly. I see the value and need for this to build credibility but we had to pivot again. We asked ourselves how are we going to get the word out in a more cost-effective way. Investing money into a copywriter was one and creating a clear brand on social media being another.
Don’t ever stop moving forward, be adaptable and make minor course corrections.
Adding services and asking what else we can help with, from our current clients has been huge. It serves two purposes, one being that we are continuing to give our clients the best service possible and it increases our margins without having customer acquisition costs.
Diversify Your Product Line
Adding new products to your business is a great way to expand into new markets and grow your business.
It's important to note that adding new products and diversifying may not be in the cards for you right this moment, and that's okay. You can always consider it down the road.
Here are some reasons you may want to considering adding/diversifying your product
- Meeting the needs of your customers
- Establish yourself as a top provider in your industry and stay ahead of the game with competition
- Resistance to downturns/trends fading
- Create new revenue streams
Word of Mouth
The most tried and true way to grow a travel agency is through word of mouth - some entrepreneurs would say it's more important than all social media.
Why you should focus on word of mouth:
- Consumers trust word of mouth above all other forms of marketing
- 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising
- 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe it is the most effective form of marketing
Learn more about word of mouth in our guide: 30 Ways Founders Grow Their Business ➜
How To Crush The Sales Process For Your Travel Agency
You may find yourself in a spot where you're ready to hire a few (or many) salespeople to support the sales conversion process.
Regardless if you have one or thirty salespeople, it's critical that you assign them specific roles and responsibilities to nurture the client and provide excellent support.
Mike Korba, co-founder of User.Com walks us through the entire sales process and which teams are responsible for what:
User.com Sales Process
Each user and account is qualified with a specialist. For business leads, they are handled by the sales team, and if they are qualified we give them a demo, more than often at the end of their fourteen-day trial. If they’re happy they’ll add a payment, and get an account manager, so a customer support and success team who will help implement the solution and to use the technology.
Sometimes, users will convert naturally on their own, after using the freemium product and finding it to be something that they will find beneficial.
After they convert, we help with onboarding, give them some personalized tips for their specific business or industry to grow plus all kinds of support, for whatever they need - something we take huge pride in.
The team is right now more than 30 people, with more than half working on the IT and product side, and the rest are in three teams: Support, Marketing, and Sales who all work together very closely.
Build a Referral Program
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the word out about your business and acquire new customers. Especially when you are starting out, it’s important to build a solid referral program to encourage existing customers to help you find new ones.
A great way to do that is by offering a reward (ie. credit on your service or cash) to customers that refer you to their friends and family.
A fantastic referral program will help with clout, credibility, and establishing yourself in the space.
We put together the best resources on the internet to help you start your travel agency.
- Social media tools such as YouTube, Medium, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn
- Productivity tools such as Dropbox, Slack, Microsoft Office 365 or Google Suite
- Payments tools such as Stripe, Apple Pay, Venmo or Paypal
- Analytics tools such as Google Analytics
- Platform tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud, GoDaddy, Amazon or Mindbody
- Affiliate tools such as Amazon Associates
- Accounting tools such as Google Sheets
- Design tools such as Adobe Suite or Canva
- Email tools such as MailChimp
- Blog tools such as Squarespace
- How To Start A Home Based Travel Agency: Tom Ogg
- How to Start a Travel Agency Business | Including Free Travel Agency Business Plan Template
- Top 5 Things To Know Before Becoming A Travel Agent
- How I Started A $1.8K/Month Travel Business While Traveling Around The World
- How I Started A $2K/Month Side Hustle Selling Vacations
- How We Built A Million Dollar Business That Connects Companies With The Perfect Hotels
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