Are you a passionate traveler with entrepreneurial skills? Then starting a travel agency can be a great career choice for you.
As a travel agency, you'll be responsible for providing all the travel and tourism-related services such as accommodation, transportation, sightseeing, tour guides, local adventure, etc.
Starting an online travel agency is a lot easier than you might think. You'll need to perform market research, get a few necessary certifications (such as your IATA number), study competition, build a website, and do proper marketing.
Here are some real life success stories of starting a travel agency:
1. Spread Your Wings Travel ($24K/year)
Marissa Daniels (from Charleston, SC, USA) started Spread Your Wings Travel over 3 years ago.
Hey! My name is Marissa Daniels, and I am a millennial travel agent! I began Spread Your Wings Travel in February of 2019. Prior to 2019, I wanted an extra source of income just to have an extra cushion. I did mystery shopping, took surveys online, drove for Postmates and DoorDash, worked at a grocery store, anything I could find for extra money. I also did, and still do Brand Ambassador events as well- but those things didn’t fulfill me. I was doing them to get extra money, but it didn’t have a purpose and it wasn’t paying me as much as I wanted, so I stopped it all and just gave it to God. I let Him handle it.
Spread Your Wings Travel offers all-inclusive vacations (most under $1000 per person), cruises, luxury villas, cabins, domestic travel and more! The main thing that people like about my business is that I have a payment plan option. I like to have that option for them because not everyone is able to pay for a vacation upfront.
2. Luxpitality ($4.92M/year)
Patrick Burkhardt (from San Diego, California, USA) started Luxpitality over 7 years ago.
We are Patrick Burkhardt and Rigel Bitterman, Co-Founders of Luxpitality. We work with 4 and 5-star boutique and lifestyle hotels that are either independent or part of small brands. We assist our hotel partners by generating incremental leads focusing on groups, meetings, retreats, and incentive trips.
Over the past 5 years, we have grown our hotel portfolio to over 650 hotels around the world that all compliment each other and are the perfect fit for our new-age corporate group clients. No matter where they go in the world we have the perfect option for their next meeting or program.
3. Wandering Aunt ($13.2K/year)
Robin Finney (from Dallas, Texas, USA) started *Wandering Aunt * almost 3 years ago.
Hello! My name is Robin Finney. I am a writer, international model, nomad, and founder of Wandering Aunt. I design and create solo travel and photoshoot experiences, lead souls retreats for people who wish to travel solo yet aren’t ready to do so on their own, offer intuitive card readings, and lead online workshops to support people in bringing their vision to life.
I officially began my business in July 2019 and it started to gain traction in December 2019. I took some time to really discover what it is that I want to offer and build as part of my brand. I attract clients who are wishing to gain more confidence in their life and discover their own unique essence.
4. Flight Expert Bangladesh ($18M/year)
SALMAN BIN RASHID SHAH SAYEEM (from Dhaka, Bangladesh) started Flight Expert Bangladesh over 5 years ago.
Hello, I am Salman Rashid, Founder & CEO of Flight Expert. It is the first-ever online travel agency in Bangladesh. Our uniqueness was to build a state-of-the-art online travel agency with services focusing on Bangladesh primarily. This country has never before enjoyed taking assistance from any online travel agency.
However, the best part is that we achieved 50% more revenue in October 2021 than our pre-covid highest number on sales in a month, interestingly, and we are aiming to hit breakeven by March 2022 if all goes well in the market.
5. CuddlyNest ($2.8M/year)
Ritesh Raj (from Orlando, Florida, EE. UU.) started CuddlyNest over 5 years ago.
I’m Ritesh Raj, the co-founder, and COO of CuddlyNest, an accommodation booking platform for travelers. I have a travel tech background of over 13 years—so I’ve been at it since 2009!
That means focusing on all kinds of travelers, who are looking for all kinds of property types, with all kinds of budgets. Our inventory currently includes over four million properties of all types in 80k+ cities!
6. Pack Up + Go ($5.4M/year)
Lillian Rafson (from Pittsburgh, PA, USA) started Pack Up + Go over 6 years ago.
Hi! My name is Lillian Rafson, and I’m the founder + CEO of Pack Up + Go. We’re a travel agency that plans curated getaways around the United States. The catch? Your destination is a surprise until the day you depart! Since launching in 2016, we have sent 25,000+ travelers to 100+ destinations nationwide.
- Plane/Train Trips
- Road Trips
- Outdoor Road Trips
- Staycations Each of our trip types includes reservations at a top-notch hotel, curated itineraries full of recommendations for things to do, see, and eat in the destination, and 24/7 in-house traveler support.
7. The Travel Secret ($1.2M/year)
David Adler (from San Diego, California, USA) started The Travel Secret over 4 years ago.
TheTravelSecret gives you access to pricing on travel that is not available to the public. Membership automatically gives you access to our platform where you can book hotels, cars, cruises, flights, vacation rentals, homes, activities and even travel insurance at a discount. Unused timeshare inventory is also made available to our members where you can book weeklong stays for a steep discount at more than 500,000 different properties around the world.
We serve a wide array of demographics, from solo travelers to large families across all ages. Since you can basically book anything that you book right now, even business owners are now starting to use the platform to save money on travel.
8. Whisked Away Surprise Travel ($180K/year)
Charlotte Curry McGhee (from Charlotte, North Carolina, USA) started Whisked Away Surprise Travel over 5 years ago.
Hello! My name is Charlotte Curry McGhee and I started Whisked Away Surprise Travel. Whisked Away saves travelers from hours of planning and overwhelm, giving them the curated surprise trip of their dreams!
Since starting the business in March of 2017, I’ve seen revenue grow exponentially each year, with many clients booking their second surprise trips with Whisked Away within months (or weeks!) of returning.
9. Rayna Tours ($6M/year)
Manoj Tulsani (from Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates) started Rayna Tours over 16 years ago.
Manoj: Kamlesh Ramchandani and I (Manoj Tulsani) are the founders of Rayna Tours and Travels. Fueled by our deepest interest in travel and entrepreneurship, we kicked off our business journey a decade ago from a small travel counter inside a five-star hotel in Dubai.
Kamlesh: We’ve been in the industry for over a decade and have now become a niche provider of destination management services in Dubai. As a one-stop, customer-oriented business for all travel needs, our main organizational goal is to design and craft travel services and packages in such a way that each of them ideally responds to the dynamic market trends as well as our clients’ specific travel requirements. We offer our full suite of travel solutions through our wholly-owned Rayna Group.
10. The Vacation Hunt ($480K/year)
Roshni & Jeff (from Washington D.C., Washington, D.C., USA) started The Vacation Hunt about 5 years ago.
Hi - we are Roshni & Jeff and we have sent hundreds of travelers on vacations around the world - without them knowing where they were headed!
Your surprise destination is the birthplace of an iconic government safety campaign! Surprise trip clue #1 for Jennifer, Grayson, & Andrew! #surprisevacation #familytrip #thevacationhunt
11. Urban Hiker SF ($45K/year)
Alexandra Kenin (from San Francisco, California, USA) started Urban Hiker SF over 9 years ago.
Hi all! My name is Alexandra Kenin and I run a tour business called Urban Hiker San Francisco, or Urban Hiker SF.
I’ve sold over 8,000 copies since the book came out in November 2016. While working on the book has been fun, and I’m working on a second book, Urban Trails East Bay (Berkeley, Oakland, and other cities east of San Francisco), this is more of a branding play than a money maker. I’ve only made $5,000 total for the book for the countless hours I spent on it.
12. Cubby Inc ($24K/year)
Sangeetha (from Dallas, TX, USA) started Cubby Inc about 3 years ago.
Hello guys! I’m Sangeetha, the Co-founder, and CEO of Cubby. My love for travel coupled with expertise in customer service has been instrumental in the formation of Cubby. “Take memories, leave footprints”- has always been my traveling mantra! It’s interesting because that’s how cubby was born too - making memories without photobombing luggage!
We started out the year 2020 right by being selected to exhibit at the Startup Grind’s Global Conference 2020, at the Silicon Valley. We are very excited to expand across the nation and help many more travelers go un-bagged!
13. SkyAlliance ($33.6K/year)
Andrew Norton (from England, United Kingdom) started SkyAlliance over 3 years ago.
Hello. My name is Andrew Norton and I am the CEO & Founder of SkyAlliance Limited®. SkyAlliance is a travel search engine which allows you to find cheap flights, hotels, holiday packages and car hire all over the world.
5 years ago I knew nothing about web design, coding and software development, and today, I own a company that sends people away to various destinations and supplies them with another means of travel, all based on the 3 elements I knew nothing about.
14. HelpStay ($48K/year)
Shay Gleeson (from Dublin, Ireland) started HelpStay over 8 years ago.
I’m Shay Gleeson and I started HelpStay in February 2014. HelpStay is a subscription-based volunteering platform where travelers of all ages can exchange their time, skills, and talents for accommodation. Our motto is ‘Give a little help, stay for free’.
It’s exciting to curate a real community where our members can travel the world with a purpose, and benefit the communities they visit. Our typical member is aged between 18-38 years old, time-rich but cash-poor - educated to a high level and interested in traveling and giving back.
15. Visa List ($120K/year)
Hari Krishna Dulipudi (from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) started Visa List about 4 years ago.
Hi, I’m Hari and I built Visa List a year back and is my third successful micro start-up.
Currently, Visa List has made $5000/month on average with 350K Monthly Active Users and its growing at 60%. Visa List has helped over 2 million users with their visa requirements
16. Five Star Thailand Tours ($720K/year)
Nok (from Krabi Province, Thailand) started Five Star Thailand Tours over 6 years ago.
Hey there! I’m Nok, co-founder, and director of Five Star Thailand Tours. We've helped over 30,000 travellers in southern Thailand connect with local boat captains to experience incredible and authentic private snorkelling and boat tours.
We are proud to employ 100% local tour guides and boat captains, contributing money directly back into the local economy, and providing a sustainable income for those who need it the most. Throughout our time in business, we have ensured our prices remain fair and competitive to our customers; while prioritizing a fair and sustainable income for our hard-working team.
17. Gifted Travel Network ($15M/year)
Meredith Hill (from Morrisville, NC, USA) started Gifted Travel Network over 9 years ago.
Meredith Hill is the founder of Gifted Travel Network, a travel host agency created to support travel advisors and their brands.
18. Blue Sky Luxury Travels ($5M/year)
Shanna Dickerson (from Virginia Beach, VA, USA) started Blue Sky Luxury Travels about 12 years ago.
- Shanna Dickerson is an Owner & CEO at Blue Sky Luxury Travels.
- Blue Sky Luxury Travels is a boutique ultra-luxury travel agency. Our expertise includes the Caribbean & Bahamas, Fiji, The Mediterranean & Hawaii, but our services are available worldwide.
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