Starting any business from scratch requires a strong sense of entrepreneurism and a little kick of risk-taking. This is especially true with at-home travel agencies which require adequate commitment and a passion for the travel agency, but also offer a variety of benefits in the long term. So, if you think that you are ready to give both to the process, here is a list of some major steps to starting an at-home travel agency:
Find your place in the ecosystem
Just like in a natural ecosystem, everyone in the travel industry must find their own roles. There is no one who is perfect at everything, and, similarly, travel agents cannot specialize in every aspect of travel for every type of consumer. An important part of establishing your travel agency is figuring out what your travel agency will specialize in. All-inclusive vacations in the Caribbean Islands, affordable backpacking around Europe, or group trips to exotic destinations; the options for that specific something are endless.
Establish your brand
Establishing your travel agency’s brand relates not only to choosing a company name but also creating your company’s culture. Find a name that will speak to your target market. If you are trying to reach a younger generation, for example, do not use a reference that was popular in the seventies. It is also important to decide on and instill the way in which your company will run. Decide on what will be your most prominent way of communication with your clients, your preferred public relations vehicle, and the work style of you and your potential employees.
Choose your structure
It is also important to determine the technical details of your travel agency. Under which company structure will your travel agency be registered? What kind of ownership and liability do you plan to hold in the firm? These options should be discussed with your tax advisor in order to reap the best financial benefits for your agency.
Prepare the financials
It may seem like an extra step, but setting up a separate bank account for your travel agency is an effective way to monitor your company financials as well as file separate taxes for your agency in the future. Remember, it is always best to draw a line between the personal and the business. This is another aspect that should be addressed with your tax advisor.
Research laws and regulations
Some states require certain licenses or permissions for practicing travel agents and travel agencies. Researching and finding out about such regulations is critical prior to starting up your business in order to make sure that you are complying with your state’s laws and giving your travel agency a clean slate to begin operating on.