24 Travel Agency Success Stories (2024)

Updated: November 19th, 2023
Start A Travel Agency

24 Travel Agency Success Stories (2024)

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 linking travelers to providers of 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.

To maximize earnings, negotiate discounts from the industry service providers, and charge travelers within the market rate.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a travel agency:

1. Spread Your Wings Travel Agency ($84K/year)

Marissa Daniels, the founder of Spread Your Wings Travel, came up with the idea for her millennial travel agency while scrolling on Facebook and seeing vacation deals posted by her sponsor. Realizing that she could get paid for something she already loved doing, she started her travel agency and hit $100,000 in travel sales within a year. With plans to reach $200,000 in sales by the end of the year, Marissa offers all-inclusive vacations, cruises, luxury villas, and more, with a payment plan option to make travel accessible for all.

How much they make: $84K/year
How much did it cost to start: $200
Current team size: 1

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How I Started A $2K/Month Side Hustle Selling Vacations

Marissa Daniels runs a successful travel agency, Spread Your Wings Travel, that hit $100,000 in sales within a year of launch and provides payment plan options for its all-inclusive vacations, and she hopes to help 100 families supplement their income through the business.

About
Marissa started Spread Your Wings Travel Agency about 5 years ago
Revenue
Marissa grew the business to $7K/month
Costs
It cost Marissa $200 to start the business
Read by 17,128 founders

2. Luxpitality ($4.92M/year)

Patrick Burkhardt and Rigel Bitterman, co-founders of Luxpitality, came up with the idea for their business while working in the hospitality industry. They saw a shift in the market with new-age clients looking for more localized and authentic experiences, and decided to focus on connecting these clients with independent boutique hotels. Since their launch in 2015, they have grown their hotel portfolio to over 650 hotels worldwide and have become one of the top 5 representation companies in the US.

How much they make: $4.92M/year
Current team size: 3

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How We Built A Million Dollar Business That Connects Companies With The Perfect Hotels

Luxpitality co-founders discuss how they grew their business to over 650 hotels around the world, generating $410,000 in monthly revenue by assisting new-age companies to set the perfect stage for their meetings.

About
Patrick started Luxpitality about 9 years ago
Revenue
Patrick grew the business to $410K/month
Read by 6,881 founders

So... can you actually make money with a travel agency?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

3. Flight Expert Bangladesh ($18M/year)

Salman Rashid, Founder & CEO of Flight Expert, came up with the idea for his business after realizing the potential of online travel agencies in Bangladesh. Seeing the decline in revenue in his family's offline-based travel agency, Salman suggested starting an OTA to his father. Despite initial skepticism, Salman recognized the need for better technology, service culture, and the value of brand trust in the industry, leading to the launch of Flight Expert in 2017.

How much they make: $18M/year
How much did it cost to start: $80K
Current team size: 60

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I Started The First Online Travel Agency In Bangladesh And It Now Makes $18M/Year

How a first-time founder grew the first-ever online travel agency in Bangladesh to 700+ airlines and one million-plus hotels worldwide, with a 50% increase in revenue in October 2021 compared to pre-Covid sales and aiming to hit break-even by March 2022.

About
SALMAN started Flight Expert Bangladesh about 7 years ago
Revenue
SALMAN grew the business to $1.5M/month
Costs
It cost SALMAN $80000 to start the business
Read by 5,568 founders

4. CuddlyNest ($2.8M/year)

Ritesh Raj, the co-founder and COO of CuddlyNest, came up with the idea for the accommodation booking platform after years of traveling to over 100 countries and realizing the pain points of finding diverse types of accommodations. Alongside his co-founder, they decided to create a centralized platform that offers all kinds of properties for all types of travelers. Since its launch, CuddlyNest has raised over $14 million in funding and has plans for continued growth and expansion.

How much they make: $2.8M/year
Current team size: 72

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How We Solved A Major Pain Point With Travelers And Built An All-In-One Booking Platform [$21M Sales in 2022]

CuddlyNest has become the only online travel agency that offers all types of accommodations in one platform, with inventory currently including over 4 million properties of all types in 80k+ cities, and is expecting to hire more than fifty new employees in the coming months.

About
Ritesh started CuddlyNest over 7 years ago
Revenue
Ritesh grew the business to $233K/month
Read by 3,097 founders

So... can you actually make money with a travel agency?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

5. Pack Up + Go ($6.6M/year)

Lillian Rafson came up with the idea for Pack Up + Go during her travels in Riga, Latvia, where she met two women on a surprise vacation with a European travel agency. Realizing there was no similar service in the United States, Lillian decided to become a surprise travel agent herself. With a $50 investment in the domain, Pack Up + Go was born and has since sent over 25,000 travelers to 100+ destinations across the US.

How much they make: $6.6M/year
How much did it cost to start: $250
Current team size: 30

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How I Started A $450K/Month Travel Agency That Curates Surprise Vacations

Find out how Lillian Rafson started a travel agency that plans surprise getaways around the United States and sent 25,000+ travelers to 100+ destinations nationwide since launching in 2016, with a business model that takes a 20% service fee for planning trips and earns commission on hotel reservations.

About
Lillian started Pack Up + Go over 8 years ago
Revenue
Lillian grew the business to $550K/month
Costs
It cost Lillian $250 to start the business
Read by 7,813 founders

6. The Travel Secret ($1.2M/year)

David Adler, founder of TheTravelSecret, came up with the idea while on vacation in Puerto Vallarta. After attending a timeshare presentation for a $2,000 discount, he realized there must be other hidden travel discounts available and wanted to create a platform that would give people access to these exclusive deals. TheTravelSecret now serves a wide range of demographics and aims to help people travel more for less money.

How much they make: $1.2M/year
Current team size: 2

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How I Started A $30K/Month Travel Discounts Website

TheTravelSecret provides a platform where members have access to pricing on travel that is not available to the public, booking hotels, cars, cruises, flights, and vacation rentals at a discount.

About
David started The Travel Secret about 6 years ago
Revenue
David grew the business to $100K/month
Read by 7,254 founders

So... can you actually make money with a travel agency?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

7. Whisked Away Surprise Travel ($180K/year)

Charlotte Curry McGhee, founder of Whisked Away Surprise Travel, came up with the idea while on a weekend trip in Savannah, GA. As a passionate trip planner, she realized that she could turn it into a business and provide stress-free surprise trips for clients who couldn't decide where to go. After researching and finding inspiration in a similar company, she launched Whisked Away and has seen exponential revenue growth since then.

How much they make: $180K/year
Current team size: 1

article

How I Turned My Passion For Travel Planning Into A Successful Business

Whisked Away Surprise Travel is a curated travel service for clients overwhelmed by the planning process, with revenue growth exponentially increasing each year since its launch in March 2017.

About
Charlotte started Whisked Away Surprise Travel about 7 years ago
Revenue
Charlotte grew the business to $15K/month
Read by 10,056 founders

8. Rayna Tours ($6M/year)

Manoj Tulsani and Kamlesh Ramchandani, founders of Rayna Tours and Travels, started their business a decade ago with no experience in the travel industry. Despite the challenges, they grew their venture into one of the UAE's leading destination management companies, earning over $40 million per year. Their success is attributed to their focus on exceptional customer experience, strategic investments in their own infrastructure, and the use of advanced technology to provide convenient travel services.

How much they make: $6M/year
Current team size: 670

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How We Started The $35M/Year Dubai's Leading Tour Operator

Rayna Tours and Travels, founded by Kamlesh Ramchandani and Manoj Tulsani, began its journey as a small travel counter inside a Dubai hotel, and has now grown into one of the UAE’s leading destination management companies with earnings exceeding $40 million per year.

About
Manoj started Rayna Tours over 18 years ago
Revenue
Manoj grew the business to $500K/month
Read by 6,642 founders

9. The Vacation Hunt ($480K/year)

Roshni and Jeffs' idea for The Vacation Hunt came about after they planned a surprise vacation for a friend who loved the concept. They decided to start a business around it, offering surprise vacation packages where travelers fill out a survey and receive clues to their destination over social media. Since launching in 2017, they have been featured in news outlets like the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and rely on word-of-mouth and customer referrals to attract new clients.

How much they make: $480K/year
Current team size: 2

article

This Couple Makes $40K/Month Planning Surprise Vacations

The Vacation Hunt, run by Roshni and Jeff, is a surprise travel service that has gained popularity through social media sharing and word of mouth, offering unique packages that are created individually for each traveler based on their survey responses.

About
Roshni started The Vacation Hunt almost 7 years ago
Revenue
Roshni grew the business to $40K/month
Read by 8,859 founders

10. Urban Hiker SF ($45K/year)

After leaving her job at Google, Alexandra Kenin took time off to explore San Francisco and realized that others might want to experience the city's hidden gems. With inspiration from local hiking groups, Airbnb experiences, and coupon promotions, she started Urban Hiker SF, offering urban hiking tours that have attracted thousands of tourists and corporate clients, generating up to $8,000 per month in revenue during the peak tourist season. Alexandra also established herself as an expert on hiking in San Francisco by writing a book and partnering with travel marketplaces and DMCs.

How much they make: $45K/year
Current team size: 0

article

Leaving Google And Starting A Hiking Tour Business

Alexandra Kenin started Urban Hiker SF in 2012, offering urban hiking tours around San Francisco and making $40,000 to $45,000 every year, with corporate tours being the biggest money maker, and has also written a book, Urban Trails San Francisco, which has sold over 8,000 copies since its launch in 2016.

About
Alexandra started Urban Hiker SF over 11 years ago
Revenue
Alexandra grew the business to $3.75K/month
Read by 8,848 founders

11. Cubby Inc ($24K/year)

turn out to be a game-changer. Listening to feedback and constantly improving based on customer needs is crucial for the success of any business. Trusting your instincts and having the courage to take action is also key.

How much they make: $24K/year
Current team size: 1

article

How I Made Luggage Free Travel Experience A Possibility

Cubby is an online luggage storage marketplace that launched in July 2019, storing 700+ bags and expanding to 10 cities in the US, with plans to be in major cities across the country by the end of the year.

About
Sangeetha started Cubby Inc almost 5 years ago
Revenue
Sangeetha grew the business to $2K/month
Read by 6,409 founders

12. SkyAlliance ($33.6K/year)

Andrew Norton, an airport security officer at Heathrow Airport, came up with the idea for SkyAlliance while witnessing passengers who had missed their flights and faced exorbitant fees to rebook. Recognizing the need for a solution, Norton built a travel search engine to help people find affordable flights and hotels. Despite facing setbacks and financial constraints, Norton persevered and launched the successful business, generating over £2,300 in monthly income.

How much they make: $33.6K/year
Current team size: 1

article

How This Airport Security Officer Is Building A Profitable Travel Search Engine

An airport security officer built a successful travel search engine, SkyAlliance, generating an average income of £2,300/month and last month welcomed over 3,500 unique web visitors, all from starting with no knowledge of web design, coding, or software development.

About
Andrew started SkyAlliance about 5 years ago
Revenue
Andrew grew the business to $2.8K/month
Read by 5,948 founders

13. HelpStay ($48K/year)

After working in various roles in the IT industry, Shay Gleeson had a passion for travel and noticed that many backpacker hostels offered free accommodation in exchange for help. He decided to create HelpStay, a subscription-based volunteering platform that connects travelers with hosts who need assistance. Since its launch in 2014, HelpStay has generated an average monthly recurring revenue of $4,000 and has built a community of travelers who can explore the world with purpose.

How much they make: $48K/year
Current team size: 3

article

How I Started A $4K/Month Platform That Offers Opportunities To Go Volunteering Abroad

This case study details the success of HelpStay, a subscription-based volunteering platform, which currently has an MRR averaging approximately USD $4,000 and has utilized a Facebook group as a low-cost source of both traffic and paid signups.

About
Shay started HelpStay about 10 years ago
Revenue
Shay grew the business to $4K/month
Read by 6,527 founders

14. Visa List ($264K/year)

Hari realized that the visa application process lacked a one-stop online resource for travelers. He decided to aggregate all relevant information and present it in a simplified format.

How much they make: $264K/year
How much did it cost to start: $100
Current team size: 0

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How I Launched A $5K/Month Website About Tourist Visas And Got 150K Users In The First Month

Visa List is a successful micro start-up that provides one-stop visa information for travellers, earning $5000/month on average with 350K monthly active users and has helped over 2 million users with their visa requirements, all starting from a personal frustration with visa processes.

About
Hari started Visa List almost 6 years ago
Revenue
Hari grew the business to $22K/month
Costs
It cost Hari $100 to start the business
Read by 15,380 founders

15. Five Star Thailand Tours ($720K/year)

Nok, the co-founder of Five Star Thailand Tours, came up with the idea for his business after realizing the lack of quality choices for booking boat tours in the popular tourist destination of southern Thailand. He saw a demand for a mid-range boat tour option that focused on providing excellent service at a reasonable price. Starting from a rented beach shack, Five Star Thailand Tours has grown to generate over $750,000 in annual revenue and has welcomed customers from 119 countries worldwide.

How much they make: $720K/year
Current team size: 9

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How We Started A $60K/Month Private Snorkel Tours Business In Thailand

Five Star Thailand Tours has grown from humble beginnings, selling boat tours from a rented wooden beach shack, to generating revenues in excess of $750,000 per annum, with room for further growth, by offering mid-range, semi-private boat tours for travelers seeking quality service at an affordable price.

About
Nok started Five Star Thailand Tours over 8 years ago
Revenue
Nok grew the business to $60K/month
Read by 6,348 founders

16. Gifted Travel Network ($500K/year)

How much they make: $500K/year
How much did it cost to start: $100K
Current team size: 22

article

How Meredith Hill brought the travel agency back to relevancy

Gifted Travel Network generated $30 million in sales from travel reservations made using their credentials in 2019, promoting travel entrepreneurship through offering professional development programs, exemplary service and a supportive community.

About
They started Gifted Travel Network over 11 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $41.7K/month
Costs
It cost $100000 to start the business
Read by 856 founders

17. Blue Sky Luxury Travels ($5M/year)

How much they make: $5M/year
Current team size:

article

Shanna Dickerson: Building a Luxury Travel Empire

Blue Sky Luxury Travels is a multi-million dollar, ultra-luxury travel agency that offers worldwide services, including weekly rates ranging from $10,000 to more than $1 million for their network of luxury villas, private islands, and yacht charters.

About
They started Blue Sky Luxury Travels almost 14 years ago
Revenue
They grew the business to $417K/month
Read by 742 founders

18. Tripadvisor ($1.37B/year)

How much they make: $1.37B/year
Current team size: 2956

article

HOW I GOT HERE - STEVE KAUFER OF TRIPADVISOR

Tripadvisor is a global travel advice network with over 1 billion reviews and recommendations from almost 8 million companies that generated 902 million U.S. dollars in global revenue in 2021, representing a 49% increase from the previous year.

About
Stephen started Tripadvisor about 24 years ago
Revenue
Stephen grew the business to $114M/month
Read by 986 founders

19. Total Travel Solution ($240K/year)

Nishan Rajakaruna, the CEO & Founder of Total Travel Solution in Sri Lanka, came up with the idea for his travel agency after reading a tea-export company's brochure that mentioned being a "total tea solution." He decided to create a company called Total Travel Solution and partnered with a leading travel agent in Spain, which changed his life and made TTS a successful company. Despite challenges in the tourism industry, TTS remains a leading travel agency in Sri Lanka.

How much they make: $240K/year
How much did it cost to start: $1K
Current team size: 5

article

How I Built A Niche Travel Agency That Pulls In $300K/Year [Sri Lanka]

Total Travel Solution is a 6-figure (USD) company that sells the best quality Sri Lanka and Maldives tour packages to tourists from all over the world, generating a sales revenue of about USD 2 million from 2012 to 2018 while maintaining their growth through honest, trustworthy, and high-quality services.

About
Nishan started Total Travel Solution over 12 years ago
Revenue
Nishan grew the business to $20K/month
Costs
It cost Nishan $1000 to start the business
Read by 2,606 founders

20. Captain Experiences ($1.2M/year)

Jonathan Newar, the Co-Founder and CEO of Captain Experiences, came up with the idea for the business while trying to book a fishing trip in Houston, TX. Frustrated by the lack of an easy, user-friendly platform for booking fishing charters, he decided to create Captain Experiences. Since its launch in March 2020, Captain has become the largest platform for booking fishing guides in the US, with over 1,200 guides partnered, 47,000 hours booked, and an average review score of 4.9/5 stars.

How much they make: $1.2M/year
Current team size: 10

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How We Make $100K/Month Booking Thousands Of Fishing Trips In The US

Captain Experiences, a platform for booking outdoor sports guides, has reported booking over 47,000 hours in outdoor sports and partnering with over 1,200 guides since launching in March 2020, with a 4.9/5 star review average.

About
Jonathan started Captain Experiences about 4 years ago
Revenue
Jonathan grew the business to $100K/month
Read by 1,923 founders