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How To Start A Tourism Business: Actionable Insights For 2021 & Beyond

  • Business Management

Are you researching how to start a tourism business?

Since COVID, there are considerations that didn’t exist previously for travel businesses looking to enter the market. For example, you will have to put careful thought into how you approach safety, insurance, branding, and marketing for your company.

To take some of the unknown out of the process, we have gathered some helpful insights for you. As with any start-up, there are many moving parts to bring together before you reach the point of lift-off.

Overall, you need to have a clear strategy, a good business idea, and be willing to put in the work.

starting a tourism company

How To Start A Tourism Business: Step-By-Step Instructions

1. formulate a plan for your business.

First, you need to develop a clear business plan .

Before setting the entity up, you’ll need a concise vision and understanding of what the business will look like and the direction it is going in. Here are some important aspects to cover:

Consider Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Why will people sign-up with your company? What makes you great and stands you out from the competition? Is there something that you are going to do differently that travelers should know about?

Consider the answers to these questions and proudly claim them in your marketing materials to attract your ideal customers.

Mull Over Your Target Audience

You have a passion that is driving you to start a travel business.

It's this passion that is going to shine through and attract your ideal clients. Walk in knowing precisely who these clients are and what drives them to you, in particular.

From there, you can work on creating marketing messaging to reach them and draw them to your company.

Design Your Tours For Post COVID-19 Travel

How To Start A Travel Business In 2021

As we emerge from the pandemic, safety while traveling will be top of mind for your clients.

Reconnection is going to be another aspect that travelers will be chasing. After months apart, there is lost time with family and friends to make up for.

When designing your tours, keep these two factors top of mind. Travelers will want reassurance that they can travel with peace of mind while having a great experience with their loved ones. As a travel company or tour operator, they will be looking to your expertise to guide them through the unknown terrain of traveling post-COVID.

Work Out Details For The Day-To-Day Operations

It’s essential to figure out the small print around how you will operate day-to-day.

Establish things like your operating hours, who you need to appoint to your team, and where you will work from. Also, consider your asset and equipment requirements and when and how you plan to go to market.

Estimate Your Costs

Naturally, you want your operation to be viable so that you can make a living off doing what you love. To get an idea of where you will be money-wise, you need to draw up a financial plan.

Steps To Start A Travel Company

Work out exactly what your business costs will be. Keep in mind that you might have start-up and day-to-day running expenses, as well as costs related to suppliers and vendors once you're operating.

With this information, you can establish how much you need to charge clients for your service or offering.

Take a minute to check whether this is relative to what your competitors charge and suited to the market you are targeting?

As you will likely have start-up costs initially, you may not make a profit right away. See if you can put a number on how many tours or how much revenue it will take to get you to this point. Make a note of this and allow a little wiggle room for the unexpected.

2. Sort Out The Legal Stuff

The next big step in how to start a tourism business is to set up your operation to trade legally.

Register Your Business

First, you need to pin down a name and register your company.

Some of the different legal business structures include sole proprietors, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLC), and corporations. Select a suitable one based on your expected annual turnover, whether you are operating alone or with a partner, and whether you wish to carry liability personally.

Open A Bank Account

What Do You Need To Start A Business

Open up a dedicated company bank account so that you can keep your personal and business finances separate.

Complete Your Tax Registration

The next step is to register your business for state and federal tax.

The type of taxes and date you’re liable to pay will depend on what legal entity you operate as. Business tax returns can get pretty complicated. So, it’s a good idea to appoint a professional tax practitioner who can ensure that you are registered correctly and prepare your returns.

Get Liability Insurance

All companies face unknown risks. To operate legally, lawfully, and safely, you need to get liability insurance at a minimum. This will protect you in the case a guest or employee has an accident.

Other insurance types to look into include Workman’s Compensation, Accounts Receivable, Property, and Errors and Omissions insurance.

Apply For Your Local Permits and Licenses

Depending on what kind of company you are starting, you may need local permits or licenses to operate, for example, a tour operator license.

Check in with your local tourism body or nearest government office to see what the requirements are.

Note that these can differ from state to state, so if you work in a state other than the one you are registered in, you may need to factor this into the equation too.

Permits and licenses required for travel businesses

3. Develop Your Branding and Marketing

When researching how to start a tourism business, you’ll hear how critical it is to establish a brand image. It should represent who you are and speak to your audience.

On top of that, you need a clear marketing strategy to grow your customer base and get your brand online. Some of the first things to focus on are to:

  • Put up a website
  • Sign up to a bookings and payment platform provider, like WeTravel
  • Design a company logo
  • Start an online blog
  • Set up social media accounts
  • Claim your Google My Business profile
  • Create profiles on review platforms
  • Sign up with OTAs, travel agents, or vendor partners
  • List on local directories

From there, it helps to know how to really sell your tours . Also, take a look at how your competitors market and sell their products. You can use the information to do even better.

4. Get The Right Tools, Technology, Team, and Equipment

Before you launch your business, be fully prepared with everything you need on the ground and to make things happen behind the scenes.

How To Put Together A Business Team

We’ve just mentioned some of the most important digital and technological considerations, including having a website, payment platform, social media accounts, and more.

Of course, you need computers, phones, and to furnish an office. You’ll need software and apps, like social media management or remote working tools.

You might also require equipment to host your tours or carry out your service, such as vehicles, radios, bicycles, and so on.

The last thing here is to hire a top-notch team. The people who work for you make or break your client experience, so choose them wisely.

5. Square Up Your Accounting

Finally, put your accounting systems in place. Keeping track of finances is vital to your business’s success, so having a formal process from the get-go is a must.

You’re Now Ready To Launch

From your research on how to start a tourism business, you'll know that it's no easy feat. But, after running through the points above, you’re now ready to launch and set up for success. Congratulations and good luck; let the real work begin.

Are you interested in finding out more about WeTravel’s booking and payment platform for your business? Watch the short clip below, or get in touch with us for a demo .

starting a tourism company

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How to Start a Tourism Business from Scratch

Dreaming of starting your own tourism business? Imagine leading exciting tours, sharing beautiful destinations with others, and building a business around your love of travel. But how do you begin?

In this guide, we'll show you the essential steps to get your tourism business off the ground. We'll explore practical strategies and key considerations to help you turn your passion for travel into a successful business venture. Get ready to embark on an entrepreneurial journey and learn how to start your tourism business, one step at a time.

1. Start with Market Research

starting a tourism company

Conduct thorough market research to identify your target audience, competition, and potential niches in the tourism industry.

Market research helps tourism businesses identify their target markets. This involves understanding potential customers' demographics, interests, and preferences.

For example, research may reveal that a particular destination is popular among adventure-seeking millennials, while another attracts retirees looking for relaxation.

Here's how to research the market:

  • Identify Target Audience : Determine the demographics, interests, and travel preferences of potential customers.
  • Utilize Online Tools : Use Google Trends, social media insights, and travel forums for data on popular destinations and trends.
  • Analyze Competitors : Research competitors’ offerings, strengths, weaknesses, and customer reviews.
  • Attend Trade Shows : Gain insights into industry trends and network with professionals.
  • Test Concepts : Run pilot tours and gather feedback before full-scale launch.

2. Create a Business Plan

Create your own business plan from your market research. What should it include? A comprehensive business plan outlining your business goals, strategies, financial projections, and marketing strategies.  

Create your own tour business plan with these steps:

  • Set Clear Goals : Outline specific, measurable objectives for your business.
  • Outline Strategies : Define key strategies for operations, customer service, and tour development.
  • Financial Projections : Include startup costs, revenue forecasts, and break-even analysis.
  • Marketing Plan : Identify your target audience and marketing channels.
  • Market Analysis : Summarize findings about customer needs and competitors.
  • Operational Details : Describe daily operations, staffing, and tour schedules.
  • Risk Management : Identify potential risks and mitigation strategies.
  • Sustainability Practices : If relevant, include eco-friendly operational plans.
  • Funding Needs : Detail required capital and potential funding sources.
  • Exit Strategy : Plan for future business transitions or sale.

3. Choose a Legal Structure

starting a tourism company

Choosing the right legal structure for a tourism business is crucial. Sole proprietorships and partnerships are simpler but have personal liability.

LLCs offer balance, while corporations provide extensive liability protection, but involve complexity.

Here's what you can do.

  • Evaluate Liability and Complexity : Consider sole proprietorships and partnerships for simplicity with personal liability, LLCs for balanced liability protection and ease of operation, and corporations for extensive liability protection but with more complexity.
  • Assess Ownership and Taxes : Choose a structure based on the number of owners, preferred tax treatment, and financial practices.
  • Plan for Growth : Select a structure that aligns with your future growth plans and scalability.
  • Understand Legal Implications : Recognize how each structure affects legal responsibilities and operational procedures.
  • Consult Experts : Seek advice from legal and financial professionals to make an informed decision.

4. Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Obtain the necessary licenses and permits required for your tourism business, which may vary by location and the type of services you offer.

  • Research Local Requirements : Investigate the specific licenses and permits required in your area and for the type of tourism services you plan to offer.
  • Check with Government Agencies : Contact local, state, and federal agencies to understand all regulatory requirements.
  • Prepare Documentation : Gather all necessary documents, such as identification, business plans, and insurance proof, required for the application process.
  • Apply in a Timely Manner : Submit your application well before your planned start date to avoid any delays in launching your business.
  • Stay Updated on Renewals : Keep track of expiration dates and renew licenses and permits as needed to ensure continuous compliance.

These steps help ensure that your tourism business meets all legal requirements and operates smoothly.

5. Select a Location

starting a tourism company

Choosing the right location for a tourism business is crucial. It can affect visibility, accessibility, and target customers.

Here are some points to consider:

  • Consider Proximity to Attractions : Select a location close to popular tourist destinations or areas of interest to attract more customers.
  • Evaluate Accessibility and Visibility : Ensure the location is easily accessible by public transport or has ample parking, and is visible and easy to find for tourists.
  • Understand Local Regulations : Research local zoning laws and regulations to ensure your business can operate smoothly in the chosen area.

6. Acquire Resources

starting a tourism company

Secure the necessary resources, such as vehicles, equipment, technology, and skilled staff, to deliver your services effectively.

  • Invest in Essential Equipment : Invest in the necessary vehicles, equipment, and technology tailored to the type of tours or services you offer.
  • Hire Qualified Staff : Recruit skilled and experienced staff to ensure high-quality service delivery.
  • Utilize Efficient Technology : Adopt relevant technology solutions for bookings, operations, and customer management to streamline your business processes.

7. Develop Branding

starting a tourism company

Develop a strong brand identity, including a memorable name, logo, and tagline that resonates with your target audience. Strong brands not only attracts customers but also foster loyalty and trust.

  • Craft a Unique Brand Identity : Select a name, logo, and tagline that embody your business's spirit and appeal to your target market. Tools like Canva for design, Shopify 's Business Name Generator for name ideas, and Looka for logo creation can be very helpful.
  • Ensure Brand Consistency : Maintain a uniform brand appearance and tone across all platforms. Use tools like Adobe Spark for creating consistent marketing materials and Buffer for cohesive social media management.
  • Leverage Brand in Marketing Strategies : Base your marketing efforts on your brand identity to strengthen your market presence. Tools like Hootsuite for social media management and Mailchimp for email marketing can integrate your branding into various marketing channels effectively.

Branding is the guiding compass that will shape your marketing strategies, customer interactions, and the overall reputation of the business in the competitive world of tourism.

8. Boost Online Presence

starting a tourism company

Create a professional website and establish a strong online presence through social media, online advertising, and search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Create a User-Friendly Booking Website : Use platforms like WordPress or Squarespace to build a website that showcases your tours, optimized for mobile users.
  • Use Social Media Wisely :
  • Instagram & Pinterest : Post beautiful photos and videos of destinations.
  • Facebook : Share updates and ads, and engage with customers.
  • Twitter : Tweet quick updates and respond to customer inquiries.
  • YouTube : Upload virtual tours and customer testimonials.
  • Optimize for Local Search Engines (SEO) : Improve your website's ranking in local search results, like 'near-me' searches, by using relevant keywords and creating quality content.
  • Try Online Advertising : Use Google Ads for targeted advertising to reach potential clients.
  • Keep Content Fresh : Regularly update your website and social media with new and engaging content.

9. Expand Marketing Strategies

Implement marketing strategies to attract tourists, such as content marketing, partnerships with travel agencies, and targeted advertising.

  • Engage in Content Marketing : Develop and share engaging content such as travel blogs, videos, and social media posts that highlight your tours and destinations.
  • Collaborate with Travel Agencies and Resellers : Build partnerships with travel agencies and tour resellers to expand your market reach and visibility.
  • Utilize Targeted Advertising : Employ targeted online advertising through platforms like Google Ads and social media to attract specific customer demographics.
  • Partner with Local Hotels and Accommodations : Establish partnerships with local hotels and accommodations to create joint packages or promotions.
  • Connect with Tour Affiliates : Work with affiliate marketers who can promote your tours to their audiences for a commission. TicketingHub gives this option to tour operators and even enables resellers to track their own bookings in a dashboard.

10. Build Tour Packages

Design and package your tour offerings, considering factors like itinerary, pricing, inclusions, and customer experience.

  • Design Attractive Itineraries : Create engaging tour itineraries that cover key attractions and unique experiences.
  • Set Competitive Pricing : Determine pricing that offers value to customers while remaining competitive in the market.
  • Define Package Inclusions : Clearly specify what is included in each package, such as meals, transportation, and entry fees.
  • Focus on Customer Experience : Ensure each tour package offers a memorable and satisfying customer experience.

11. Choose a Booking and Reservation System

Centralize management of your tours with a booking software solution.

Set up an efficient booking and reservation system to manage bookings, payments, and customer information.

Why do you need a booking system?

  • Streamline Bookings and Payments : Automates the booking process, making it easier for customers to book tours and for businesses to manage payments.
  • Organize Customer Information : Centralizes customer data, enabling better customer relationship management and personalized service.
  • Improve Operational Efficiency : Reduces manual workload, minimizes errors, and enhances overall operational productivity.

12. Develop Customer Service Guidelines

starting a tourism company

Develop excellent customer service protocols to ensure tourists have a positive experience and receive timely support. Tourism businesses strive to provide personalized assistance to travelers.

This involves understanding the unique needs and preferences of each customer and tailoring services accordingly.

Here are suggestions for what these protocols could include:

  • Personalized Interaction : Training staff to recognize and adapt to individual customer preferences, tailoring services like tour customization accordingly.
  • Prompt Communication : Establish standards for swift and clear communication with customers across various channels (email, phone, social media).
  • Comprehensive Training for Staff : Develop thorough training programs focusing on customer interaction, problem-solving, and knowledge about destinations and services offered.
  • Effective Feedback System : Set up a process for collecting and responding to customer feedback, using insights to improve services and address concerns promptly.
  • Emergency Response Protocol : Includes guidelines for handling emergency or unexpected situations, ensuring customer safety and satisfaction.

In wrapping up our guide to starting a tourism business, remember that your journey is filled with opportunities and challenges. Key steps like market research, choosing the right business structure, getting licenses , and picking the right location lay the foundation for your success.

Focus on creating appealing tour packages, setting up an easy booking system, and building a strong brand and online presence. Don't forget the importance of having a skilled team and providing excellent customer service to make each tourist's experience memorable.

Stay adaptable and responsive to market changes and customer needs. With determination and a well-planned approach, you're well on your way to launching a successful tourism business that delights travelers and stands out in the market. Good luck on your exciting new venture!

FAQ Section

1. how do i start my own tour company.

To start your own tour company, follow these steps:

  • Research the Tourism Sector : Understand your market sector, focusing on local tourism and high-demand areas like guided winery tours or airport transportation services.
  • Develop a Unique Selling Proposition : Identify what sets your tour company apart from others in the local tourism community.
  • Secure Operating Capital : Gather the necessary funds, possibly from business partners or potential lenders, to cover business costs and operating capital.
  • Handle the Legal Stuff : Obtain a tour operator license, register your business to trade legally, and ensure you have proper insurance, including liability insurance.
  • Set Up a Business Bank Account : Separate your personal and business finances.
  • Create a Strong Brand Story : Use free social networking sites, like Facebook page, to build your site's online presence and connect with your customer base.
  • Plan Your Services : Whether it's guided tours, rental houses, or transportation services, ensure they align with local tourism needs and safety regulations.

2. How does a tourism company work?

Tourism companies operate within the hospitality industry, providing guided tours, package deals, and transportation. It generates revenue by offering these services directly to customers or through collaboration with local bed and breakfasts and other business owners.

Success relies on understanding customer needs, offering a personal touch, and efficiently managing operating and monthly costs.

3. How do you plan a tourism business?

Planning a tourism business involves:

  • Market Analysis : Spend time understanding leisure capacity and preferences within your local tourism body and the broader market sector.
  • Financial Planning : Calculate business costs, including potential rental fees, and plan for enough operating capital to cover your business until it grows to attract more business.
  • Operational Planning : Consider viable business options, from guided winery tours to airport transportation services. Ensure compliance with all local safety regulations.
  • Marketing Strategy : Utilize applicable online directories and review platforms to enhance your tourism company's online presence. Consider purchasing ad space or creating an executive summary to attract new customers.
  • Network and Collaborate : Connect with local tourism communities, engage with other tour guides, and explore partnerships for package deals.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance : Register your business, understand the necessary legal stuff, and secure a tour operator license and proper insurance.

Do I need prior tourism industry experience to start my own tourism business?

While prior experience can be beneficial, it's not always necessary. A passion for travel and a willingness to learn and adapt are equally valuable. You can gain experience and knowledge through research, networking, and relevant courses.

How can I secure funding for my tourism business, especially if I'm just starting out?

Securing funding can be done through various means, including personal savings, loans, grants, or seeking investment from partners or investors. Creating a solid business plan and financial projections can help attract funding.

What marketing strategies are most effective for promoting a new tourism business?

Effective marketing strategies include building a professional online presence, leveraging social media, collaborating with travel influencers or agencies, and offering promotional deals or packages. Identifying your target audience and crafting compelling content are key to successful marketing.

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Tourism Tattler

Beginners Guide to Starting a Tourism Business

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Your Beginners Guide to Starting a Tourism Business

Writing for WikiHow, Claire Fess provides eight steps on how to start a tourism business .

Table of Contents

Definition: Tourists are people who travel outside of their home-base environments in order to spend time visiting a different environment in either a business or leisure capacity. Both vacationers and those on business trips are considered tourists, and they may be touring either domestically (within their home country) or internationally. A tourism business is any business that centers on catering to tourists’ needs.

Beginners Guide to Starting a Tourism Business

Step 1: Decide on which sector of tourism you would like to focus.

You have several options to choose from when it comes to establishing a business in tourism :

  • Transportation service. This sector involves transporting tourists to, from and around the tourist destination.
  • Travel agencies. Travel agencies are the 1-stop-shop for everything involved with visiting a place, including transportation, accommodations and attractions.
  • Tour Operator. A tour operator typically combines tour and travel components to create a holiday. They prepare an itinerary.
  • Destination Management Company . A DMC possesses extensive local knowledge, expertise and resources, specialising in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation and program logistics.
  • Accommodation. These include hotels, guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, hostels, rental houses, lodges and any other place tourists may stay while travelling.
  • Guided tours and tourist guide. A guided tour service or professional tourist guide is a tourism business that specializes in providing informative and entertaining tours through an area’s local attractions.
  • Hospitality. A hospitality business pertains to any food or beverage establishment that tourists may frequent.

Step 2: Take your geographical location into account.

Your local tourist attractions are good indicators of what would and would not make a successful tourism business venture. For example, if your area is secluded from the populace and dense with wineries, then guided winery tours, local bed and breakfasts, and airport transportation services are all viable business options.

Step 3: Size up the competition.

Thoroughly research the tourism businesses in your area before you decide which business in tourism is right for you. You will want to choose a tourism sector that is not overly congested, and one that you can contribute something unique to.

Step 4: Write a business plan.

Your business plan is the blueprint for your tourism business, and should include the following sections:

  • Executive summary. Describe your business’s purpose, name, location, personnel needs, tourism business management staff, market sector, competition, marketing plan and financial projections.
  • Tourism business summary. This should detail how the business’s ownership will be distributed and the start up requirements (funding, assets and location).
  • Products and/or services. You need to outline the products and/or services your business will be providing for tourists.
  • Analysis of the market. Provide information about your target market and your competition. Tourism business strategy. Describe how you plan on running your business, marketing your business and pricing your product or service.
  • Financial summary. State your projections for your business’s expenses and income.

Step 5: Procure the necessary funds.

Present your business plan to potential lenders and/or business partners in order to obtain the start up and operating capital you will need to run your business in tourism.

Step 6: Select a business location.

If you plan to operate a walk-in travel agency or an accommodation establishment, there are 3-things to consider. They are location, location, and location!

Step 7: Obtain all applicable business licenses.

Get the necessary business licensing through your local government’s business regulatory agency.

Step 8: Market your tourism business :

  • Use social networking sites . Set up accounts/pages on free social networking sites such as Linked In .
  • Create a website for your tourism business. Be sure to hire a specialist for search engine optimization (SEO) in order to maximize your site’s online presence. List your business on all applicable online directories and review websites.
  • Advertise in print mediums. Take out ad space in newspapers, magazines and trade/lifestyle publications.

Source: www.wikihow.com/Develop-a-Tourism-Business

Read more on this topic:

  • 10 Steps To Starting Your Own Tourist Transport Business
  • How To Streamline Your Tour Operator Business
  • 10 Tips on Selecting Tour Operator Software
  • 10 Tips on Tour Quoting
  • How to Keep Tour Itineraries Current
  • So you want to be a tour operator?
  • The Role of Tour Operators in Safari Bookings
  • 13 Tips to surviving as a Small Tourism Business
  • Effective Sales Secrets For Small Businesses

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How to Start a Tour Company? (Definitive Guide:2024)

Home » Blog » How to Start a Tour Company? (Definitive Guide:2024)

Start a Tour Company

  • Do thorough market research and develop a solid business plan
  • Create a unique brand identity and effective marketing strategy
  • Develop tailored tour itineraries by collaborating with local experts
  • Prioritize safety protocols and staff training
  • Integrate technology like online booking and tour management software

To start a tour company could be the best decision if you are a traveler and simply good at organizing things.

Regardless of how you want to initiate the business, extending the steps below is advisable while crafting a satisfactory plan.

A business owner covers everything from market research and developing a good business plan to acquiring necessary licenses and insurance.

The tour operator sector has rapidly flourished recently, largely attributable to the surging demand for authentic and involving travel.

This diverse industry offers adventure tours, cultural exploration, and well-planned experiences for all travelers.

The growing demand for expert guidance and local knowledge creates better opportunities for startups.

Table of contents

Importance and benefits of starting a tour company, step 1: research and planning, step 2: legal and financial considerations, step 3: branding and marketing, step 4: operations and logistics, step 5: technology integration, step 6: hiring and training staff, step 7: launch and growth strategies.

Starting a tour company lets you pursue your passion, make money, support your local economy, and connect cultures.

Beyond that, several tour companies will permit you to enjoy time freedom and financial security.

In this way, you can develop your travel business based on excellence and long-term relationships with clients.

Steps to Start a Tour Company : Comprehensive Guide

Firstly, when starting a tour company, it needs proper market research, including the tour industry.

Start by researching the local and regional tourism market, identifying popular spots, visitors to these places, and competitors.

Collect information on the age bracket, gender, preferences, and the latest trends for these tourists for awareness of what will guide your tactics.

Research and Planning before starting a tour company

Consider your target community and competitive advantages, knowing the market well, to gain an edge over competitors.

Think of these aspects as age, interests, budget, and travel style, which can appeal to a specific audience for your tour packages.

Finding a diverse audience through adventure tours, food experiences, or cultural immersion can attract loyal followers.

A detailed business plan developed in advance acts as a guideline to sustain your business and thrive in the tourism sector.

But your mission, vision, and objectives include a strong financial and operational plan with a detailed marketing strategy.

Here’s the 8 Steps to Launching a Travel Agency: The Beginner’s Guide

Accordingly, decide what type of business entity is most suitable for launching a tour company, whether it be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.

For each of those buildings, such as partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies, there are pros and cons concerning liability, tax factors, and operational requirements.

Also, research the legal and financial aspects deeply with the help of experts so that it is easy for you to make a sound decision.

Legal and Financial Considerations before starting a tour company

As soon as you have chosen the business entity, you must proceed and register your tour agency with the right government entities.

The need for that may require securing licenses, permits, and certain certificates for the tour and travel business sector from within your geographic zone.

Get familiar with local procedures and, above all, fulfill all obligations.

The appearance of strong financial systems is an asset for processes of cost reduction and management of cash flow.

Allocate the budget for the accounting software and seek the professional help of an accountant to have effective record-keeping, manpower management, and tax return preparation.

However, you should look for other solutions, for example, mini-credits from banks or investors, to have enough funds for your future company.

Following, the market’s distinctive brand identity directly affects the company’s brand; it might be distinctive from the competitors. 

Choose a name and create a logo and visual identity that is appealing and, at the same time, reflects your customer’s expectations of what you give them.

As the brand goes through different channels and touchpoints in marketing, a consistent message will be key to building brand recognition and loyalty. 

Branding and Marketing to start a tour company

Work out an integrated marketing strategy that will utilize both the digital and physical spaces of marketing.

Define your USP and manage its promotion across various channels like social media, email campaigns, content marketing, and traditional advertising.

By using customer content and positive reviews from other customers, your brand seems more reputable and credible to new customers.

The internet’s essential role in modern society makes it crucial. Improve your ranking by using the right SEO, staying active on social media, and trying online advertising like PPC.

Expand your reach through offline marketing channels such as trade shows, local events, and partnerships with hotels, restaurants, and related businesses.

Create Your SEO-Friendly Travel Agency Website in Simple Clicks…

If you favor written guidance, then please continue reading: How to Create a Travel Website with WordPress

Create tailored itineraries and packs that authentically cater to your target market’s preferences and opinions.

Work out jointly with local specialists, tour operators, and adventure service providers to develop tailored, exciting tags that bring to mind your location’s iconic things.

Make sure every itinerary includes well-planned active and cultural activities, along with time for rest.

A successful tour starts with solid and safe transportation and the perfect accommodations.

Align with well-known conveyance companies of a reasonably good reputation, which will provide your customers with preferable rates.

Search for and judge accommodations that correspond with your brand and aim to afford high-quality and diverse services and facilities.

When running a tour company, safety concerns are the number one thing to consider. Establish safety protocols, conduct risk assessments, and make sure to follow industry regulations.

In addition, consider the necessary permits; for example, agree on fully training your employees in emergency protocol, first aid, and crisis management.

Moreover, keep in mind proper coverage that caters to the protection needs of your company as well as those of your clients while starting a tour company.

Meanwhile, establishing a sophisticated booking and reservation system is one way to automate the operations of the company.

Invest in simple software or an app that customers can use to book the tour, make payments, and update reservations for them.

Integration of online booking systems can boost the customer experience and make your clients more comfortable by providing you with more convenience.

Technology Integration before starting a travel company

Do not isolate this in a single location, as inspired by the site’s well-being. Make your online visibility wider through various channels as well.

In the same way, use social networking sites to promote your tours and keep your current and potential listeners informed with informative posts. 

As you are considering expenditures for tour management software to improve efficiency, you can see an amazing outcome.

Use these instruments to better plan routes, manage inventory, allocate resources, and communicate with customers.

The benefits of a unified workflow are the improvement of customer service and employee satisfaction, both for customers and employees.

Many travel agency owners use WP Travel to start their tour companies. As they provide these features …

Features of WP Travel

  • Easy Booking System: User-friendly interface for booking tour packages
  • Multiple Payment Gateways: Many online payment options for booking tours
  • Supports Integration: Integration with woo-commerce and Zapier
  • Booking Management: Advance dashboard for managing bookings and payments
  • Email Notifications: Automatic confirmation emails to customers after booking trips

The tour guides and support personnel who represent your company and provide unique experiences are core elements of your facility.

Choose professionals who deeply understand your product, are passionate about your brand, embrace customer service, and embody your brand’s values.

Take a deep dive into backgrounds and interviews precisely to make sure you’ve got the best possible staff.

Invest in a training program that your employees can use as a reference as they learn the skills and knowledge.

Put topics such as client care, language and culture awareness, secure methods, and tour planning, among others.

Emphasize continuing education to provide them with an opportunity to both expand their expertise and broaden their skills.

Create a tour company where employees interact and express themselves in an environment emphasizing collaboration, open dialogue, and performance.

Encourage outstanding performance by being rewarded for it, while also providing opportunities for improvement and careers.

Learn More: 5 Ways to Grow Your Travel Business with Technology

Finally, set up a quality, carefully thought-out launch activity so you can create an atmosphere of hype surrounding your tour company.

Invite local media personnel, notable figures, and future buyers to a tasting tour or a launching seminar.

Use social media and other marketing tools to announce the launch and welcome people for an unforgettable experience.

Constantly ask for client and industry partners’ feedback to identify our stumbling blocks and clarify the evolving trends.

Launch and Growth Strategies

Conduct surveys, monitor online reviews, both actively and proactively and maintain communication with the team.

Use the findings to improve your services and work methods for total customer satisfaction.

Repeating the same marketing campaign pays off once you have proven yourself in the market.

Discover new tour routes, expand into new regions, and collaborate with businesses like yours to seize opportunities.

Regularly assess your growth potential and seize opportunities aligned with your long-term goals and vision.

This business employs effective management tactics and a dedicated implementation process to provide customers with the best experiences.

To succeed, conduct market research, create a business plan, build a brand, optimize operations, and create a positive culture.

Starting a tour company offers opportunities for travel lovers to bring happiness through good experiences to the public choosing the top WordPress tour operator software .

Be flexible, and take the opportunity to improve to maintain competitiveness.

Only with compliance with ethics and principles, careful planning, and a strong will can you bring to life your vision to open a well-performing tour company.

Following our strong manual, focusing on pride and quality, and attracting loyal travelers who leave with great memories of success.

Let’s launch your travel booking website today!

Let it be your charming location and professional ability that will lead you through its meal tours, horror stories, and street art, just to mention one. Besides, be aware of what you are committing and not more than what you can successfully execute.

Utilize social media platforms, conduct local giveaways, and don’t forget to offer some free tours.

Illustrate your brand as much as possible, but make sure you don’t stretch yourself too thin. Before starting a tour company, keep enough time to maintain your brand image quality. Recruit dynamic staff who reflect the ideals of your organization, especially when it comes to delivery.

At a minimum, allocate 15-20% of that revenue into the budget. Though the bed and breakfast offers travelers a friendly place to sleep, the business will not be sustainable if guests do not book regularly.

You can get  WP Travel Pro  to start creating your travel and tour booking website within minutes without any hassle of coding.

Get WP Travel Pro

Yam Bahadur Chhetri is a content writer and vivid contributor to the WordPress community and a WordPress enthusiast with an experience of 7+ years in the relative field. He also loves to develop WordPress Themes, Plugins, and custom WordPress development for clients.

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  • Travel Tips

How To Start A Tourism Business

Published: December 12, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

by Harlene Byerly

  • Plan Your Trip
  • Sustainability

how-to-start-a-tourism-business

Introduction

Welcome to the exciting world of starting a tourism business! Whether you have a passion for adventure, culture, or relaxation, venturing into the tourism industry allows you to share your love for travel with others while creating a profitable business. However, like any entrepreneurial endeavor, starting a tourism business requires careful planning and execution to ensure its success.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps involved in starting a tourism business. From conducting thorough research to providing exceptional customer service, we will cover every aspect to help you build a thriving enterprise in the tourism industry.

The tourism industry is flourishing, with millions of people around the world seeking unique travel experiences. By tapping into this demand, you have the opportunity to not only fulfill the desires of adventurous travelers but also contribute to the local economy.

Before diving into the exciting journey of launching your tourism business, it’s important to understand that careful preparation is key to success. With the right strategies and a deep understanding of the industry, you can position yourself as a trusted and sought-after provider of unforgettable travel experiences.

Throughout this guide, we will explore each step in detail, offering valuable insights and tips to help you navigate the challenges and make informed decisions. From researching the tourism industry and defining your niche to securing financing and building a strong team, we will guide you towards establishing a thriving business in the travel industry.

Additionally, we will highlight the critical aspects of developing effective marketing strategies to attract and engage customers, as well as provide insights on providing exceptional customer service to create a loyal client base.

So, if you’re ready to embark on this exciting journey and transform your passion for travel into a successful business, let’s get started with the first step – researching the tourism industry.

Step 1: Researching the Tourism Industry

Before diving headfirst into the world of tourism, it is crucial to conduct thorough research on the industry. Understanding current trends, market demands, and potential challenges will provide you with a solid foundation for building your business.

Begin by analyzing the overall state of the tourism industry, both locally and globally. Look for statistics and reports that provide insights into the number of tourists, popular destinations, and emerging markets. This research will help you identify potential opportunities and gaps in the market that you can capitalize on.

Next, narrow your focus and identify your target audience within the tourism industry. Determine the types of travelers you want to cater to, whether it’s adventure seekers, luxury travelers, budget-conscious backpackers, or eco-conscious tourists. Understanding your target market will enable you to tailor your offerings and marketing strategies to meet their needs and preferences.

Moreover, researching your competition is essential to identify what sets you apart and ensures your unique value proposition. Study other tourism businesses in your area or niche and assess their strengths and weaknesses. This analysis will help you position your business in a way that differentiates you from the competition and attracts your target audience.

When conducting research, don’t forget to consider the current and emerging travel trends. Stay updated on the latest travel patterns, such as eco-tourism, wellness tourism, or experiential travel. Understanding these trends will enable you to align your business offerings with the evolving demands of travelers.

It’s also important to gather information on the legal and regulatory requirements for operating a tourism business. Familiarize yourself with the permits, licenses, and certifications needed to ensure compliance with local and international regulations. This knowledge will save you from potential legal issues and help you establish a trustworthy reputation within the industry.

Finally, consider reaching out to industry experts, local tourism boards, or professional networks for guidance and advice. These resources can provide valuable insights and connect you with key players in the industry.

By investing the time and effort into thorough industry research, you will be equipped with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions and set a strong foundation for your tourism business.

Step 2: Defining Your Niche

Defining your niche is a critical step in starting a successful tourism business. With a multitude of travel options available, identifying and specializing in a specific area will help you stand out from the competition and attract your target audience.

Begin by assessing your own interests and expertise. What aspect of the tourism industry excites you the most? Are you passionate about adventure tourism, cultural immersion, luxury travel, or sustainable eco-tourism? By focusing on an area that aligns with your interests, you are more likely to possess the knowledge and enthusiasm needed to deliver exceptional experiences to your customers.

Next, consider the market demand for your chosen niche. Conduct market research to determine if there is a sufficient number of potential customers interested in the type of travel experiences you plan to offer. Look for gaps or underserved segments within the market that you can target. This way, you can position yourself as a go-to provider for a specific type of travel experience.

It is also crucial to consider your target audience when defining your niche. Who are the individuals or groups most likely to be interested in your offerings? What are their preferences, needs, and budget constraints? By understanding the specific characteristics of your target audience, you can tailor your services and marketing strategies to effectively reach and engage them.

Additionally, consider the geographic scope of your niche. Will you focus on a specific region, country, or even a single destination? By narrowing your geographic focus, you can develop in-depth knowledge about the area, establish strong partnerships with local suppliers, and deliver a more authentic and immersive experience to your customers.

Remember, specializing in a niche doesn’t mean limiting yourself. It simply means becoming an expert in a specific area of the tourism industry. Once you have established a solid foundation and gained recognition in your niche, you can expand your offerings or target additional market segments.

By defining your niche, you will be able to position your tourism business as a unique and specialized provider, standing out from the competition and attracting customers who are specifically seeking the travel experiences you offer.

Step 3: Creating a Business Plan

Creating a comprehensive business plan is essential for the success of your tourism business. A well-crafted business plan serves as a roadmap that outlines your goals, strategies, financial projections, and market analysis.

Start by clarifying the vision and mission of your tourism business. What is the purpose of your business? What unique value will you bring to the market? Clearly defining your mission will guide your decision-making and set the direction for your business.

Next, conduct a thorough market analysis. Identify your target market, assess the competition, and understand the industry trends. Analyze the demand and potential growth opportunities in your niche. This analysis will help you better understand your market position and develop effective strategies to gain a competitive edge.

The financial aspect of your business plan is crucial. Create a detailed budget that includes both startup costs and ongoing expenses. Consider all the necessary investments such as equipment, marketing, staff salaries, and operational costs. Forecast your revenue and profit projections based on market research and realistic assumptions. This financial analysis will help you demonstrate the viability of your business to potential investors or lenders.

Another critical component of your business plan is outlining your marketing and sales strategies. How do you plan to attract and retain customers? Describe your target audience and the specific marketing channels you will use to reach them. Detail your pricing strategies, promotions, and advertising plans. This section should demonstrate your understanding of your target market and showcase how you will position your tourism business in the industry.

Moreover, it’s important to outline your organizational structure and management team. Define the roles and responsibilities of key personnel and highlight their relevant experience and qualifications.

Lastly, create a timeline with specific milestones and goals. Break down your business plan into manageable phases to track your progress and make adjustments if necessary. This timeline will help you stay focused and measure your business’s growth and success.

A well-structured and thought-out business plan is not only essential for your own guidance but also serves as a valuable tool when seeking financing or investors. It demonstrates your professionalism, commitment, and understanding of the tourism industry.

Remember, a business plan is a dynamic document that should evolve as your business grows. Regularly review and update your plan to adapt to market changes and keep your business on track.

Step 4: Securing Financing

Securing the necessary financing is a critical step in turning your tourism business dream into a reality. Starting a tourism business often requires substantial initial investments, and securing funding will enable you to cover startup costs and ensure smooth operations as you establish your presence in the market.

Start by assessing your financial needs. Calculate the estimated costs for equipment, marketing, staff salaries, rent, and other essential expenses. This will give you a clear idea of the amount of financing you require.

Once you have determined how much capital you need, explore the different financing options available to you. Traditional sources of financing include banks, credit unions, and private investors. Prepare a professional and detailed business plan to present to potential lenders or investors, demonstrating the viability and profitability of your tourism business.

If securing a traditional loan is challenging, consider alternative financing methods such as crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending. These platforms can connect you with individuals or groups interested in supporting your business venture.

Additionally, explore government grants or subsidies that may be available to entrepreneurs in the tourism industry. Many countries and regions offer financial assistance programs specifically designed to support the growth of the tourism sector.

Another option to consider is seeking partnerships or collaborations with existing businesses in the tourism industry. By joining forces with established companies, you can benefit from their expertise, resources, and financial support.

Remember, it’s crucial to present a strong and compelling case to potential financiers. Prepare a detailed financial plan that outlines your projected revenue, expenses, and expected return on investment. Present your business’s unique value proposition, competitive advantage, and growth potential. This will help build confidence and trust with potential investors or lenders.

Lastly, don’t overlook the importance of your personal financial stability. Lenders and investors will often consider your personal credit history and financial situation when evaluating your loan application. Ensure your personal finances are in order and be prepared to provide any necessary documentation.

Securing financing for your tourism business may require persistence and flexibility. Be prepared to explore multiple avenues and adapt your approach as needed. Remember, with the right financing in place, you can focus on growing your business and providing unforgettable travel experiences to your customers.

Step 5: Registering Your Business

Registering your tourism business is a crucial step in establishing its legality and credibility. Proper registration ensures that you comply with local laws and regulations, protects your business name, and allows you to operate with confidence.

The specific registration requirements and process may vary depending on your location and the type of business structure you choose. It is recommended to consult with a legal professional or business advisor familiar with the tourism industry to ensure you complete all necessary steps correctly.

Start by choosing a legal structure for your business. Options may include a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages, so consider factors such as liability protection, taxation, and ease of operation when making your decision.

Next, choose a name for your business and verify its availability. Conduct a thorough search to ensure that the name you desire is not already in use by another business. Register your chosen business name with the appropriate local or national authorities to secure its exclusive use. This will prevent others from using the same or similar name, protecting your brand identity.

Once you have registered your business name, you may need to obtain certain licenses and permits to legally operate in the tourism industry. The specific requirements vary based on your location and the services you plan to offer. Common permits and licenses in the tourism industry include tourism operator licenses, tour guide certifications, food and beverage permits (if applicable), and transportation permits (if offering transportation services).

In many cases, registering your business also involves obtaining a tax identification number or employer identification number (EIN) from the local tax authorities. This number is necessary for tax purposes and hiring employees, if applicable.

Additionally, it may be beneficial to join local tourism associations or industry organizations. These memberships can provide networking opportunities, access to resources, and credibility to your tourism business.

Remember to keep all registration documents, permits, and licenses in a safe and easily accessible place. Renew any necessary licenses or permits as required to ensure ongoing compliance with regulations.

Registering your tourism business contributes to its professional image, legal compliance, and market credibility. By taking care of these essential steps, you will establish a solid foundation for your business to thrive and gain the trust of your customers.

Step 6: Finding the Right Location

Choosing the right location for your tourism business is crucial, as it directly impacts your success and customer satisfaction. The location should align with your target market, provide easy access to desirable attractions, and offer a suitable environment for your operations.

Start by considering the preferences and interests of your target audience. Are they seeking a bustling city experience, a serene natural setting, or a specific cultural destination? Understanding the desires of your target market will help guide your location decision.

Research popular tourist destinations in your area or niche. Look for places that attract a significant number of travelers, as it indicates a higher demand for tourism services. Additionally, consider the proximity to popular attractions and landmarks that align with your business offerings.

Accessibility is another crucial factor to consider. Choose a location that is easily accessible by both local and international travelers. Proximity to transportation hubs such as airports, train stations, or major highways can greatly enhance the convenience for your customers.

Consider the infrastructure and amenities available in the potential locations. Ensure that there are sufficient accommodations, restaurants, and other services that support tourism activities. Availability of facilities such as parking, public transportation, and medical facilities is also important for ensuring a positive experience for your customers.

Assess the competition in the area you are considering for your tourism business. Look for gaps in the market where you can provide unique offerings or differentiate yourself from the existing businesses. However, also consider the benefits of being located in an area with a concentration of tourism-related businesses, as it can attract a larger pool of potential customers.

Explore the local business environment and regulations in the potential locations. Familiarize yourself with zoning restrictions, taxes, and any other legal considerations that may impact your operations. Additionally, seek feedback from local tourism boards or authorities to gain insights into the support and resources available for tourism businesses in the area.

Budget is a crucial factor when choosing a location. Determine the financial feasibility of different locations based on factors such as rental or purchase costs, utilities, and other associated expenses. Balance your budget with the potential revenue and growth opportunities available in each location.

Finally, think long-term when selecting a location. Consider future growth and expansion plans for your tourism business. Make sure that the location you choose aligns with your long-term vision and allows for scalability as your business flourishes.

Finding the right location for your tourism business requires careful consideration of various factors. By choosing a location that meets the needs and desires of your target market, you will set a strong foundation for your business to thrive and attract satisfied customers.

Step 7: Obtaining Necessary Permits and Licenses

Obtaining the necessary permits and licenses is a critical step in starting a tourism business. This ensures that you comply with legal requirements, operate within the established regulations, and maintain the safety and satisfaction of your customers.

The specific permits and licenses you need may vary depending on the nature of your tourism business and the regulations in your location. It is essential to research and consult with local authorities or a legal professional to understand the specific requirements that apply to your business.

Start by identifying the permits and licenses that are commonly required in the tourism industry. These may include tourism operator licenses, tour guide certifications, food and beverage permits (if applicable), liquor licenses (if offering alcoholic beverages), transportation permits (if providing transportation services), health and safety certifications, and any other permits required by your local government.

Research the application process for each permit or license. This may involve completing specific forms, submitting relevant documentation, and passing any required examinations or inspections. Be prepared to provide details about your business operations, such as the types of services you offer, safety measures in place, and qualifications of your staff.

Ensure that you understand the renewal and compliance requirements for each permit or license. Some permits may need to be renewed annually or have specific training requirements for ongoing compliance. Stay informed about any changes in regulations that may impact your business and update your permits and licenses accordingly.

In addition to local permits and licenses, consider any national or international certifications that may enhance the credibility and trustworthiness of your tourism business. Examples include eco-certifications for sustainable tourism practices, industry accreditation, or memberships in recognized tourism associations. These additional certifications can demonstrate your commitment to high standards and attract environmentally-conscious or quality-focused travelers.

Remember that obtaining necessary permits and licenses is not just a legal obligation but also a way to ensure the safety and satisfaction of your customers. By meeting all regulatory requirements, you establish a reputation for professionalism and trustworthiness within the tourism industry.

Ensure that you keep documentation of all permits and licenses in a safe and easily accessible place. Regularly review and update your permits to remain compliant with any changes in regulations.

By obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, you can run your tourism business with confidence, knowing that you are operating within the legal framework and meeting the industry’s standards.

Step 8: Building a Team

Building a skilled and dedicated team is essential for the success of your tourism business. The right team members will contribute to creating exceptional customer experiences, managing operations efficiently, and representing your business’s values and brand. Follow these steps to build a strong team:

Identify Your Needs: Assess the specific roles and skills required for your tourism business. Consider positions such as tour guides, customer service representatives, marketing specialists, operations managers, and administrative staff.

Recruitment and Hiring: Develop a clear job description for each role and advertise the positions through online job boards, industry-specific platforms, and professional networks. Conduct thorough interviews and assessments to evaluate candidates and select individuals who are passionate, knowledgeable, and aligned with your business’s values.

Training and Development: Once you have assembled your team, provide comprehensive training to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills. This includes both industry-specific training (such as local attractions, safety protocols, and customer service techniques) and any specific training required for their roles.

Effective Communication: Foster open and effective communication within your team. Encourage regular feedback and maintain an open-door policy to address any concerns or suggestions. Clear communication channels will improve teamwork, collaboration, and overall efficiency.

Empowerment and Accountability: Delegate responsibilities and empower team members to take ownership of their roles. Establish clear performance expectations and provide regular feedback to ensure accountability and encourage continuous improvement.

Build a Positive Work Culture: Create a positive work environment that promotes teamwork, respect, and a shared vision. Recognize and reward outstanding performance and foster a culture of continuous learning and professional growth.

Team-Building Activities: Organize team-building activities to foster camaraderie and strengthen relationships among team members. Activities such as retreats, team outings, and team-building exercises can promote collaboration and improve employee morale.

Retaining Talent: Implement strategies to retain top talent, such as offering competitive salaries and benefits, providing opportunities for professional growth and advancement, recognizing and rewarding achievements, and creating a positive work-life balance.

Support and Leadership: As the leader of your tourism business, provide guidance, support, and mentorship to your team. Lead by example and inspire your team to deliver exceptional customer service and exceed expectations.

Regular Evaluation: Conduct regular performance evaluations to assess individual and team performance. Use this feedback to identify areas for improvement, provide further training if necessary, and reward outstanding achievements.

Remember, building a team is an ongoing process. Continuously invest in your team’s development, foster a positive work culture, and adapt as your business grows and evolves. With a strong and motivated team by your side, your tourism business will thrive and deliver unforgettable experiences to your customers.

Step 9: Developing Marketing Strategies

Developing effective marketing strategies is essential for promoting your tourism business and attracting customers. A well-crafted marketing plan will help you reach your target audience, build brand awareness, and create opportunities for increased bookings and revenue. Follow these steps to develop your marketing strategies:

Identify Your Target Market: Clearly define your target audience, including their demographics, interests, and travel preferences. Understanding your target market will enable you to tailor your marketing efforts to their specific needs and preferences.

Create a Compelling Brand Identity: Develop a unique brand identity that resonates with your target audience. This includes creating a memorable logo, crafting a compelling brand story, and ensuring consistency in your messaging, visuals, and overall brand experience.

Build a Professional Website: Invest in a well-designed and user-friendly website that showcases your offerings, highlights your unique value proposition, and provides a seamless booking experience. Optimize your website for search engines to improve its visibility and attract organic traffic.

Utilize Social Media: Leverage social media platforms to connect with your target audience, share engaging content, and build an online community. Identify the platforms where your audience is most active and develop a content strategy that aligns with their interests. Utilize enticing visuals, customer testimonials, and user-generated content to showcase the experiences your tourism business offers.

Implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your website and online content for relevant keywords and phrases to improve your search engine rankings. Conduct keyword research to identify the terms that your target audience uses when searching for travel-related information, and incorporate those keywords naturally throughout your website and content.

Content Marketing: Produce valuable and informative content that educates, inspires, and engages your target audience. This can include blog posts, travel guides, videos, and infographics that showcase the unique experiences your tourism business offers. Share your content through your website, social media channels, and email newsletters to attract and retain customers.

Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with social media influencers, travel bloggers, and local influencers who align with your target audience and brand values. Collaborating with influencers can help expand your reach, build credibility, and generate buzz around your tourism business.

Engage with Online Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor, Google, or Yelp. Respond promptly and professionally to both positive and negative reviews, addressing any concerns and showcasing your commitment to excellent customer service.

Participate in Trade Shows and Industry Events: Attend travel trade shows and industry events to connect with travel agents, tour operators, and potential customers. Engage in networking opportunities, distribute brochures or promotional materials, and showcase your unique offerings to captivate the attention of potential partners and customers.

Track and Analyze Data: Utilize web analytics tools to measure the performance of your marketing efforts. Track website traffic, conversion rates, and customer behavior to identify areas for improvement and to make data-driven decisions for optimizing your marketing strategies.

Remember, effective marketing is an ongoing effort. Regularly assess the performance of your marketing strategies, adapt to changing trends, and refine your approaches based on the insights gained from analyzing data and customer feedback.

By developing and implementing strong marketing strategies, you’ll be able to raise awareness of your tourism business, attract your target audience, and establish a solid presence in the industry.

Step 10: Setting Up Operations

Setting up efficient and smooth operations is crucial in ensuring the seamless delivery of services and creating memorable experiences for your customers. This step involves establishing operational processes, acquiring necessary resources, and implementing systems to streamline your tourism business. Follow these guidelines to set up operations:

Define Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Develop detailed SOPs for each area of your tourism business, including reservations, customer service, tour operations, logistics, and administrative tasks. SOPs provide consistency, ensure quality, and serve as a guide for your staff to follow.

Procure Necessary Resources: Identify and acquire the necessary resources to support your operations. This may include vehicles, equipment, technology systems, safety gear, office supplies, and any other items specific to your tourism offerings. Maintain and regularly update your resources to ensure they are in optimal condition.

Establish Booking and Reservation Systems: Implement a reliable and user-friendly booking and reservation system to streamline the process for your customers. This system should allow for easy online bookings, efficient communication with customers, and accurate tracking of reservations.

Manage Inventory and Suppliers: Establish relationships with reliable suppliers to ensure a consistent supply of necessary items, such as food and beverages, equipment, and other operational supplies. Implement an inventory management system to track inventory levels, monitor stock, and reorder items in a timely manner.

Ensure Safety and Security: Prioritize the safety and security of your customers and staff. Implement strict safety protocols, provide necessary training, and regularly inspect and maintain safety equipment. Stay updated on health and hygiene regulations to provide a safe environment for your customers during their travel experiences.

Train and Develop Staff: Invest in training programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of your staff. Provide comprehensive training on customer service, tour guiding techniques, safety procedures, and any other areas specific to your tourism business. Foster a culture of continuous learning and professional development among your team members.

Implement Quality Control Systems: Establish processes for monitoring and maintaining the quality of services provided by your tourism business. Conduct regular inspections, gather customer feedback, and assess performance metrics to identify areas for improvement and address any issues promptly.

Build Partnerships and Networks: Establish partnerships and collaborations with local suppliers, attractions, and other tourism businesses. These partnerships can offer additional services, create cross-promotional opportunities, and expand your customer base. Engage in networking activities and attend industry events to build relationships and stay connected with the larger tourism community.

Implement Environmental Sustainability Practices: Embrace sustainable tourism practices to minimize your environmental impact. Implement waste management systems, conserve energy and water, encourage responsible travel behavior among customers, and support local conservation initiatives. Communicate your commitment to sustainability to attract environmentally-conscious travelers.

Regularly Review and Improve Operations: Continuously evaluate and refine your operational processes. Seek feedback from customers, monitor performance indicators, and stay abreast of industry trends to innovate and improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your operations.

By setting up operations effectively, you lay the foundation for delivering exceptional experiences to your customers. Efficient operations will help you provide seamless services, cultivate customer satisfaction, and position your tourism business for long-term success.

Step 11: Providing Exceptional Customer Service

Providing exceptional customer service is vital for the success of your tourism business. It not only ensures customer satisfaction but also fosters loyalty, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations. Follow these steps to deliver outstanding customer service:

Train Your Staff: Provide comprehensive training to your staff on delivering exceptional customer service. Teach them effective communication skills, active listening, problem-solving, and conflict resolution techniques. Ensure they understand the importance of personalized and attentive service.

Create a Customer-Centric Culture: Foster a customer-centric culture within your tourism business where everyone understands the significance of exceeding customer expectations. Emphasize the importance of empathy, responsiveness, and going the extra mile to create unforgettable travel experiences.

Personalize Customer Interactions: Treat each customer as an individual and personalize their experience whenever possible. Address them by name, remember their preferences, and anticipate their needs. This level of personalization makes customers feel valued and understood.

Respond Promptly: Aim to respond to customer inquiries, requests, and feedback as quickly as possible. Whether it’s through phone, email, or social media, ensure you have dedicated channels and staff to address customer inquiries promptly.

Handle Complaints with Empathy: Approach customer complaints and concerns with empathy and a desire to resolve the issue. Listen attentively, apologize if necessary, and take swift action to rectify any problems. Turn a negative experience into a positive one by going above and beyond to address any issues.

Create Memorable Experiences: Look for opportunities to surprise and delight your customers. Whether it’s a welcome gift, a personalized itinerary, or a special tour experience, find ways to make their journey memorable and unique.

Solicit and Act on Feedback: Encourage customers to provide feedback and reviews and proactively seek ways to improve your services based on their input. Use feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to enhance the customer experience.

Train for Cultural Sensitivity: In the diverse landscape of tourism, it’s crucial to train your staff to be culturally sensitive and respectful towards different cultures, customs, and traditions. Understanding and appreciating cultural differences will allow you to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for all customers.

Anticipate and Address Potential Issues: Identify potential pain points or challenges that customers may face during their travel experience. Take proactive measures to anticipate and address these issues before they become problems. This can include providing detailed pre-travel information, clear instructions, and proactive communication during the trip.

Empower Your Staff: Empower your staff to make decisions and resolve issues on their own. Provide them with the authority and tools they need to address customer needs quickly and efficiently without having to seek constant approval.

Monitor Customer Satisfaction: Regularly assess customer satisfaction levels to gauge the success of your customer service efforts. Utilize surveys, feedback forms, and online reviews to gather insights and make data-driven improvements to your services.

Remember, exceptional customer service is an ongoing commitment. Continuously monitor and improve your service quality, adapt to changing customer needs, and strive to exceed expectations. By providing exceptional customer service, you will build a loyal customer base and establish a strong reputation for your tourism business.

Step 12: Evaluating and Adjusting Your Business Model

Evaluating and adjusting your business model is a crucial step in the ongoing success and growth of your tourism business. Regular assessment of your business model allows you to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Follow these steps to effectively evaluate and adjust your business model:

Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define measurable KPIs that align with your business goals and objectives. These may include revenue targets, customer satisfaction ratings, website traffic, repeat bookings, or any other metrics specific to your tourism business. Establish benchmarks for each KPI to monitor performance and progress.

Collect and Analyze Data: Gather relevant data on your business performance, customer feedback, market trends, and industry benchmarks. Utilize analytics tools, customer surveys, financial reports, and website metrics to gain insights into the effectiveness of your business model.

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses: Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your current business model. Identify areas where you excel and where improvements are needed. Assess your competitive advantage and identify opportunities to differentiate your tourism business from competitors.

Stay Updated on Industry Trends: Continuously monitor the tourism industry for emerging trends, technological advancements, and changing customer preferences. Keep abreast of the latest developments to ensure your business model remains relevant and competitive in the evolving market.

Seek Customer Feedback: Actively seek customer feedback through surveys, reviews, and direct communication. Understand their needs, preferences, and expectations. Use feedback to identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to better cater to your customers.

Review Financial Performance: Regularly review your financial performance to assess the profitability and sustainability of your business model. Analyze revenue streams, expenses, and profit margins. Identify opportunities to optimize costs, increase revenue, and improve financial performance.

Experiment and Innovate: Embrace a culture of experimentation and continuous improvement. Encourage your team to generate innovative ideas and test new strategies. Pilot new initiatives, products, or services to evaluate their viability and impact on your business model.

Adapt to Market Changes: Adaptability is key in the tourism industry. Monitor market changes, such as shifts in customer behavior, regulatory updates, or economic factors, and be prepared to adjust your business model accordingly. Stay proactive and agile to capitalize on emerging opportunities and mitigate potential risks.

Implement Adjustments: Based on the insights gathered from evaluation and analysis, make the necessary adjustments to your business model. This may involve refining target markets, modifying products or services, adjusting pricing strategies, optimizing distribution channels, or revamping your marketing approach.

Monitor and Measure Results: Continuously monitor the impact of the adjustments made to your business model. Assess the effectiveness of the changes against the established KPIs. Track customer response, revenue growth, and overall business performance to determine the success of the adjustments.

Iterate and Repeat: The evaluation and adjustment of your business model should be an ongoing process. Regularly revisit and reassess your strategies, seeking ways to innovate and improve. Embrace a mindset of continuous growth and evolution to stay ahead in the dynamic tourism industry.

By regularly evaluating and adjusting your business model, you can ensure that your tourism business remains relevant, competitive, and responsive to the needs of your target market. This continuous improvement will set the stage for sustained success and growth in the ever-evolving tourism landscape.

Congratulations on reaching the end of this comprehensive guide to starting a tourism business. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you are well on your way to building a successful venture in the exciting world of travel and tourism.

We have covered a wide range of topics, from researching the tourism industry and defining your niche to securing financing, registering your business, and developing effective marketing strategies. We have also emphasized the importance of providing exceptional customer service and continuously evaluating and adjusting your business model to stay competitive.

Remember, starting a tourism business requires careful planning, dedication, and a deep understanding of your target market. Take the time to conduct thorough research, identify unique opportunities, and build a strong team to support your vision.

As you embark on this journey, embrace creativity, innovation, and a strong customer-centric approach. Stay informed about industry trends, monitor customer feedback, and adapt to market changes to ensure your business remains relevant and continues to exceed customer expectations.

Success in the tourism industry relies on providing unforgettable experiences that captivate travelers and create lasting memories. Embrace the diversity and beauty of the destinations you serve, and always strive to deliver excellence in every aspect of your tourism business.

We hope this guide has provided valuable insights and guidance to help you establish a thriving tourism business. Remember, the journey may have its challenges, but with passion, perseverance, and a well-executed plan, you have the opportunity to create an unforgettable and successful tourism venture.

Wishing you the best of luck in your journey to success!

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  • AI Product Description Writer

></center></p><h2>How To Start A Tour Company: Essential Guide</h2><p><center><img style=

In this guide of how to start a tour company, we’ve included some actionable tips for each section so you can start creating your profitable business.

The Overview Of The Tour Operator Industry

The travel industry is a large and growing field. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) defines tourism as the social, economic, and political activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one year for leisure, business, and other purposes. It is a crucial industry to the economy. Tourism accounts for around 10% of global GDP ($7 trillion), directly employs 1 in 9 people globally and provides over 260 million jobs. Here is how to start a tour company.

1) Market Research

You’ve got to know your market. Doing target market research is a crucial step in starting up, and it can help you understand the tourism industry and your competitors.

While many people think that they are the only persons who have ever thought of starting their own tour company, and so they have no competition, that’s not the case. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who had thought of starting their own tour company before you did, and there will be even more after you do so.

Target market research is vital because it can help you make informed decisions about how to proceed with your tour operator business. Also, the research helps you avoid mistakes that could lead to failure. These include being blindsided by things like an influx of new competition or unexpected changes within the travel industry. Research saves time and money as things can go awry later due to the lack of proper preparation beforehand.

starting a tourism company

2) Research Your Competitors

The first step to starting a tour company is understanding what competitors are doing, and the tour idea they prefer. Look at their websites, social media accounts, and reviews. Find out what tours they offer, where they operate, and how much it costs to join in on the trip.

You can also ask around town or online if anyone has had a good experience with these companies. This will help you build up an idea of who’s good at what they do, and their areas of weakness.

Once you have done this research on your competitors, it’s time to start thinking about ways in which you could stand out from them. Ask yourself questions, such as what unique qualities set your tour operator business apart from other tour operators? Could there be gaps in the target market where no tour operator has yet stepped in?

starting a tourism company

3) Name Your Tour Business

As a tour operator, when choosing a name for your company, make sure it’s easy to spell and pronounce so that you get your first tour faster. You don’t want people to have trouble with it or think they’ve heard of you before when they haven’t.

Such mistakes can make it hard for you when selling tours. Also, pay attention to how long the name is. It should be short enough that people can remember it easily but long enough so that its meaning doesn’t get lost in translation.

An excellent way to come up with names is by combining words like “sun” and “beach.” Or try using your name as part of the tour guide business name, like Jane’s Tours. If none of those ideas work for you, then choose something else.

Finally, ensure that no one else has used this exact combination of words as their business name. If someone has registered an identical trademark, then chances are they’ll sue you if they find out about yours immediately or in the future.

starting a tourism company

4) Choose a business structure

  • Sole proprietorship: This structure is easiest to set up because it requires the least amount of paperwork, but you don’t get any tax benefits or protection. The business and its owners are the same people, so if something goes wrong with your tour operator business, there’s no insurance policy or other safety programs to help protect you against financial loss.
  • Partnership: Partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships in many ways. They’re also easy to set up, but give some liability protection to partners who invest money into the tour business, for example, if one partner dies, goes insane, or opts out of the tour business. The partnership agreement should include details about how much each partner contributes financially and what happens if someone wants out of their investment early on. This will help keep everyone happy during difficult times.
  • Corporations: Corporations offer even more protection than partnerships because shareholders have limited liability, which means if something goes wrong with the company due to negligence from management etc., then most creditors cannot sue shareholders personally. This helps keep them safe from losing everything overnight if a risk occurs.

starting a tourism company

5) Register Your Business

The next step is registering your tour business with the state and federal governments. You’ll need to do this to get a tax ID number, which you can use for things like getting a business bank account and paying taxes. For this purpose, you’ll also want to register your company with the IRS and each local agency that governs businesses in your area.

The city, county, state tax commission, and chamber of commerce require you to submit paperwork for their purposes, and they all have different requirements for how often these forms must be submitted, and whether or not they’re free.

If you’re starting a tour company in New York City, for instance, then there are several groups that you need to share your details with.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) will ask for your tour operator business name, contact information, and address. The DCA also requires that you submit a copy of your business license from each state where it operates tours.

starting a tourism company

6) Finance Your Business

Your first step will be to finance your tour business. You will need to cover the costs of marketing, training, equipment, and more. In addition, you will need to pay for insurance, other operating costs, and any travel expenses you incur.

It would be best if you planned on having at least $20,000 available in savings or other investments upon starting your tour company. This is the bare minimum amount of capital most banks require when applying for a business loan. You don’t have to save that much if you don’t intend to apply for a loan in the near future.

If this seems like too much money to save up, but you need financial support to start your company, then consider getting a personal credit line from your bank instead. That way, you’ll still have access to financing but won’t have to wait until after being approved for an actual loan before being able to begin operations.

You’ll also need to consider the costs of starting your tour business, such as purchasing a vehicle, office supplies, and marketing materials. In addition, you will need to pay for insurance, other operating costs, and any travel expenses you incur.

starting a tourism company

7) Find Office Space And Equipment

Once you’ve decided to start a tour company, it’s time to consider all the equipment and office space you’ll need. First, you need office space. There are various types of offices available, including those in shared spaces, which can be more affordable, or private offices that are more expensive.

Depending on the size of your company and how many people serve in the tour guide department you have, you may also need some computers and printers. In some cases, you’ll need to have phones, fax machines, and other business equipment.

It would be best if you also considered purchasing furniture such as desks or chairs for each employee and office supplies like note pads or folders so everyone can access important documents when needed.

If you’re starting a mobile tour company, you’ll need to consider the vehicles you will use and how many employees will work with you on each tour. You may want to hire a bus or van to fit all your equipment and employees comfortably.

It’s okay to begin with cheaper vehicles in the initial stages of your business.

starting a tourism company

8) Hire Employees

When hiring employees, look for people who are passionate about your tour operator business and share your vision. You want to hire people who are good at what they do and have a good work ethic.

They must also have good communication skills so it will be easier to work with them. Also, it would help if you considered hiring honest, trustworthy, reliable individuals who can help take care of all aspects of running the tour company by themselves when needed.

starting a tourism company

9) Set Up Accounting And Software Systems

Now it’s time to transition from the initial planning phase into the implementation stage. You’ve identified your customers’ needs, set up a tour business plan and budget, and selected a location for your tour company. It’s time to start building your brand. The budget can give you a rough picture of what the start up costs.

One of the most important aspects of any successful small business is accounting. If you want to ensure that everything runs smoothly in your company, make sure that you have an accounting system in place from day one.

As a tour operator, your goal should be to set up a system that will allow you to track finances easily while also giving you access to essential reports on sales and expenses so that you can see where money is being spent or earned at any given point in time.

For software systems specifically designed for travel companies, or other businesses with similar needs, look for something like QuickBooks ProAdvisor Service, which has been designed specifically with small businesses like yours in mind. It makes managing finances easy by providing real-time visibility into account balances without requiring extensive training or technical know-how from anyone who wants access.

starting a tourism company

10) Create Policies And Procedures, Handbooks, And More

Once you’ve figured out the capital you need for a tour agency, it’s time to get organized. You might be tempted to skip this step since it feels like a lot of work when you have so many other things. But if you don’t think through how your business will operate, it will be harder for employees and potential customers alike to understand how they fit into the picture.

Starting a tour business can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here to help you. We’ll walk you through all the steps of getting started in the industry. These include researching your competitors and market, finding office space and equipment, hiring employees, setting up accounting systems, and having a good business plan.

The easiest way to do this is by creating policies and procedures that spell out everything from how often each of your tour guide should give tours to which tasks each employee is responsible for. Once these policies are established, ensure they’re written down in an easy-to-read handbook or manual, and keep them up-to-date.

The handbook should also include information about anything that could affect your organization’s operations. These include office hours, emergency contact numbers, and even where mail should be sent if there’s no receptionist on duty. If possible, consider providing an online version as well of the manual. This way, employees can access critical information from their phones while on the go.

starting a tourism company

11) Create A Marketing Plan To Get Clients And More

If you want to start a tour agency, it will be essential for you to create a marketing plan. Marketing is the process of promoting your business to potential clients. Knowing where to start can sometimes be challenging, especially when you’re just starting.

Many tour operators understand that the good way is by creating an effective marketing business plan that helps guide your business and gives direction on how much money should be spent on advertising and other forms of promotion each month/year.

The first thing that needs to happen before creating an effective marketing business plan is figuring out where all the funds will come from so that there will be enough money left over for advertising and other promotional activities later.

This step involves calculating all costs of running a successful tour company for the best tour experience, such as monthly rent payments for office space or vehicles used during tours and any staffing expenses. Anything explicitly related to running this type of business venture.

Once the costs are calculated, it’s time to decide how much money should be spent on advertising and other forms of promotion each month/year. A good rule of thumb is that you should spend about 5% of your monthly gross income on marketing and advertising.

starting a tourism company

12) Create A Website

It’s the first thing potential customers see when they search for your business, and if you don’t have one of your own, they’ll end up on another site anyway.

If you’re starting out and don’t have the budget for a custom-built site from scratch, try using a free basic website builder. Some of these free platforms offer templates that can be customized with just a few clicks of your mouse, so even if you have zero web design skills, there’s no reason you can’t create something that looks professional and presentable in under an hour.

starting a tourism company

Challenges Of Running A Tour Company

Running a tour company can be stressful. The overhead alone is challenging to manage, and you must maintain a safe environment for your clients while still providing great service. This is made even more challenging because any problems with your tour operator business will reflect poorly on you as a person and your strong brand as an organization. Here’s what to know when running a tour company;

1) Providing A Profitable Product

Your profit margin is the most important thing to consider when pricing a tour. When pricing your services, you must remember what percentage of profit you want to make. It would help if you also looked at how much money it will cost for you and your staff, such as paying for gas or hiring tour guides.

Once you have these two factors in mind, you can easily determine how much each person gets paid per hour and calculate the overall cost of bringing someone on tour. You also need to allow online bookings for smooth flow of your business.

Then you can compare this number with other tours in your area and see if yours is priced relatively or if they’re too high or too low compared with their competitors’ prices. If other factors affect the tour pricing, such as special gear needed, those should be included when calculating costs so customers know exactly what they’re paying for before signing up.

starting a tourism company

2) Providing Customer Service

As a tour company with tour guides, providing customer service is an integral part of the job. Customers will book your trips because they want to have fun, but they’ll also choose you over your competitors because of how well you treat them.

Customer service doesn’t mean giving customers what they ask for exactly as they imagine it. It means going above and beyond their expectations in ways that keep them coming back for more. You can do this by offering unexpected perks, like free bottles of water during long hikes or free snacks on long bus rides.

As a tour operator, you could even go so far as to offer guided tours at discounted prices and give tours twice a week instead of just once. This is to ensure that if someone missed out on seeing something cool last time around, there’s still another chance. The possibilities are endless.

starting a tourism company

3) The Overhead Can Be An Issue

While the cost of being a tour operator may not be astronomical, it can still be an issue if you don’t have a business plan. For example, your staff costs will increase as your company grows. You’ll need more people to handle website maintenance, ensure social media presence, and customer service inquiries. And unless you want to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the rest of your life, that means hiring outside contractors during off hours or paying overtime rates when working with existing staff members.

Another significant expense is vehicle maintenance and fuel costs, especially if you’re using vans or buses rather than smaller cars or motorbikes as part of your fleet. This is where planning ahead becomes essential. Do some research online about which brands have been known to last longer in harsh climates, such as those found in Southeast Asia, before investing too much money upfront into vehicles that could break down within weeks.

This is likely due to poor construction quality issues caused by excessive heat exposure during manufacturing processes. Also, ensure they are equipped with air conditioning units because while they might seem like luxuries today, they’ll become necessities tomorrow.

starting a tourism company

For many years, Gondola has worked with a vast range of clients and tour operators globally. Our mission is to ensure that tour and activity companies get compelling websites. Our latest technology and innovative tools will ensure that your tour website stands out from the competition. You might want to check out our official website to understand how you can benefit from our presence.

Also, you can contact us today, and our experts will ensure that all your answers are professionally answered, including how to set up a good booking system.

Starting a tour company can be a great way to gain experience and earn money. The key is putting work into planning and preparing before you start to avoid unnecessary costs and risks. We hope this piece helps you understand how to start a tour company and steer it toward success as a tour operator.

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Vitaliy Levit

Vitaliy is the founder and CEO of Gondola. After several years of running his own whale watching and sailing charter operation in Spain, he discovered that the tours & activities industry was missing a simple way to build a powerful website that actually works.

BUSINESS STRATEGIES

How to start a travel business

  • Rachel Bistricer

Get started by: Creating a website →  | Getting a domain →

How to start a travel business

If you're passionate about providing exceptional travel experiences and managing a range of services, starting a travel business could be an exciting venture for you. This guide will walk you through the steps of initiating and operating a successful travel business, including the advantages and challenges involved in starting a business , how to go about creating a business website  and how to generate revenue in the travel industry.

What is a travel business?

A travel business is a service-oriented business  that offers a variety of travel-related accommodations, amenities and services to clients. Travel businesses typically provide services such as:

Trip planning and reservations

Transportation services, including flights, car rentals and transfers

Accommodations, such as hotels, resorts and vacation rentals

Tour packages and guided experiences

Travel insurance and assistance services

Why start a travel business?

The travel industry outlook shows healthy growth ahead, with projections estimating it will see a compound annual growth rate of 3.47% globally through 2028 . This points to promising opportunities if you're considering launching a travel business. With travelers spending billions annually on accommodations, transportation, and related services, the travel sector drives substantial revenue. And as people increasingly seek personalized, one-of-a-kind travel experiences tailored to their preferences, demand is rising for travel companies that can deliver on this. By understanding what today's travelers are looking for and offering customized services that help create meaningful trips and memories, you can position a new travel business for success amid the industry's continued expansion. Tracking trends and honing in on underserved niches can help you capitalize on the sector's upward trajectory.

How to start a travel business in 7 steps

Decide on a travel business niche

Create a business plan

Select a business structure

Obtain business financing or capital

Set up accounting and bookkeeping services

Source specific travel equipment

Register your travel business

01. Decide on a travel business niche

By focusing on a specific market segment, such as adventure travel, family-oriented vacations, luxury travel, wellness retreats or sustainable tourism, you can craft tailored offerings that cater to the unique preferences of travelers within that niche. Specializing allows you to differentiate your services, position yourself as an expert in the chosen area and effectively target people seeking those particular travel experiences.

02. Create a business plan

Develop a comprehensive business plan  that covers key aspects of your business planning 

including identifying your target market, summarizing your executive strategy, implementing a marketing strategy  and projecting your financials. This plan serves as a roadmap for your business and aids in conveying your vision to potential investors when seeking funding. It should also include other important business information such as the  type of business  you plan to start and your choice of a business name . 

Here’s a travel business plan template to get you started:

Travel business plan template

Executive Summary

Business Name:  [Your Travel Business Name]

Business Structure:  [Sole Proprietorship/Partnership/LLC/Corporation]

Location:  [City, State]

Founding Date:  [Month, Year]

Founders/Owners:  [Names]

Mission Statement:  [Concise statement of the business’s purpose]

Business Description

Overview:  Briefly describe your travel business, including key features, services and amenities.

Unique Selling Proposition (USP):  Clearly define what sets your travel business apart from competitors.

Target Market:  Identify your primary customer demographic and market segment.

Services and Amenities

List and describe the travel services and amenities your business will offer.

Include trip planning, transportation, accommodations, tour packages, etc.

Market Analysis

Industry Overview:  Provide an overview of the travel industry, including trends and growth projections.

Competitor Analysis:  Identify key competitors and analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

Target Audience:  Define your target customer profile and their preferences.

Marketing and Sales Strategy

Marketing Plan:  Outline your strategies for promoting the travel business, including online and offline channels.

Pricing Strategy:  Detail your pricing structure and any promotional pricing.

Sales Tactics:  Describe how you will attract clients and increase bookings.

Operational Plan

Location and Facilities:  Describe the physical location and facilities of your travel business.

Suppliers:  List and describe key suppliers for travel-related services.

Staffing:  Outline your staffing plan, including roles and responsibilities.

Financial Plan

Startup Costs:  Detail initial investment requirements and startup expenses.

Revenue Projections:  Provide realistic revenue projections for the first 3-5 years.

Operating Costs:  Outline ongoing operating expenses, including marketing, staff salaries and technology.

Funding Proposal

Purpose of Funding:  Clearly state how the funds will be utilized.

Amount Needed:  Specify the amount of funding required.

Repayment Plan:  Outline the proposed repayment plan for loans or investments.

Risk Analysis

Identify potential risks and challenges that may impact the success of your travel business.

Develop strategies to mitigate and manage these risks.

Include any additional documents or information relevant to your business plan.

Examples:  Market research data, resumes of key team members, mock-ups of marketing materials.

Summarize the key points of your business plan and highlight the potential success of your travel business.

Conclude with a call to action or next steps.

Note: This template serves as a general guide. Adjust and expand sections based on your specific business model and goals.

03. Select a business structure

When starting your travel business, consider the business entity or structure that makes the most aligns with your business goals. Common options like sole proprietorship , partnership , limited liability company (LLC ) or a corporation  each have their own pros and cons. 

Learn more: How to start an LLC

04. Obtain business financing or capital

Starting a travel business involves substantial initial costs. You’ll need to secure considerable financing through methods like bank loans, grants, or investments from stakeholders to launch and sustain your business.

Costs that you’ll need to factor in when securing financing for your business include:

Making a website  and its maintenance

Marketing and advertising campaigns

Trip planning software and tools

Reservation systems and travel management software

Staff recruitment and training

Initial salaries and benefits for employees

Transportation services (e.g., vehicle fleet or partnerships with transportation providers)

Technology infrastructure (computers, servers, etc)

Licensing and permits for operating a travel business

Insurance coverage for travel-related risks

Office space and utilities

Professional services (legal, accounting, etc)

05. Set up accounting and bookkeeping systems

Establish robust accounting and bookkeeping systems from the outset to track income, expenses and ensure financial viability. This includes managing corporate tax obligations if applicable.

06. Source specific travel equipment

Acquire the necessary equipment for your travel business, ranging from technology infrastructure to reservation systems and transportation vehicles. Some more specific examples of this include:

Reservation management software

Transportation vehicles (if providing transportation services)

Communication systems (phones, email, etc.)

Office furniture and supplies

Technology infrastructure (computers, servers, etc.)

07. Register your travel business

Register your travel business in compliance with local regulations, obtain the required licenses and secure appropriate insurance coverage.

Learn more: How to register a business , How to get a business license

Tips for managing your travel business for profitability:

Once you’ve got your travel business off the ground, you’ll need to understand how to properly run and manage it in order to make sure it’s profitable. Here are some general tips on how to achieve that: 

Research your industry

Gain a deep understanding of the travel industry, including market competition, target demographics and financial requirements. If you lack experience in the travel industry, consider working for an established travel agency or volunteering at a local tourism office to acquire valuable insights and experience.

Develop a marketing strategy 

Craft a well-defined marketing strategy from the beginning to proactively promote your travel business. Having a user-friendly and informative travel website is essential for attracting clients and showcasing your services. You might also consider starting a travel blog - check out these travel blog names for inspiration.

Invest in customer service for your travel business

Exceptional customer service is crucial for success in the travel industry. Ensure a positive experience for clients from trip planning to their return home. Address customer inquiries promptly and professionally. To ensure your customers have a memorable trip, make yourself a reliable travel business by going beyond just booking flights and hotels. Offer assistance with every aspect of their journey, from navigating lost luggage to providing travel insurance advice. Be the dependable support they need while traveling, like having a 24/7 concierge service at their disposal.

Build partnerships for business operations

To enhance the growth of your travel business, consider establishing key partnerships with airlines, hotels, tour operators and industry stakeholders. These collaborations open doors to exclusive deals, expanding your service offerings for clients. Benefit from preferential rates, premium accommodations and tailored travel packages, enhancing the value you provide. Attend  networking and industry events to connect with seasoned professionals and gain valuable insights. By fostering these partnerships and staying up to date with industry trends, you can position your travel business as an authoritative and trustworthy source for people looking to travel.

Travel businesses to inspire (all built on Wix)

The lucky traveler.

Travel expert specializing in planning All-inclusive Vacations, Comprehensive Trip Planning, Points and Miles Consultation and Destination Weddings.

How to start a travel business - Wix user example

A full service travel agency with experience in planning "bucket list" vacations and navigating the travel industry.

How to start a travel business - Wix user example

Worldwide Fun4All travel

Travel agent focusing on planning tailoring trips to clients needs and interests.

How to start a travel business - Wix user example

Benefits of starting a travel business:

Operating a travel business allows you to be your own boss, set your own hours and make independent decisions. The demand for travel services is consistently high, particularly in areas with a substantial tourist presence. For business owners who enjoy creating memorable experiences for clients, a travel business can be rewarding on many levels.

Challenges of running a travel business:

Running a travel business requires diverse skills in areas such as trip planning, customer service and operational management. Coordinating travel arrangements, managing client expectations and ensuring timely service delivery can be challenging. Utilizing online booking systems and scheduling software  is crucial for managing these aspects effectively. Additionally, the travel industry is competitive, requiring a unique value proposition and effective marketing to stand out.

How profitable is a travel business?

The profitability of a travel business depends on factors such as location, market demand, competition, pricing strategies and operational efficiency. Providing unique and personalized travel experiences can contribute to higher profitability. Streamlining business processes, utilizing technology and building strong client relationships are key factors in achieving success in the travel industry.

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Starting a Travel Business: How to Become a Travel Agent

Author: Briana Morgaine

Briana Morgaine

17 min. read

Updated March 18, 2024

Free Download:  Sample Travel Agency Business Plan Templates

If you’re someone who loves travel, meticulous planning, and helping others have great experiences, consider starting a travel business and becoming a travel agent.

After a sharp drop in international and domestic travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, air travel demand has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Pent-up demand from families who put off trips is driving tourism activity even as fewer travelers cite the pandemic as a major concern. Those tourists are forecast to drive solid long-term growth in the worldwide travel and tourism industry – and plenty of business opportunities for those who can make vacation planning less stressful.

Becoming a travel agent can be fairly inexpensive, as business ventures go, and you can often get away with limited staff and little upfront cost.

That being said, success largely depends on finding the right niche in a fiercely competitive market, given the rise in online direct-to-consumer travel booking sites. So, if you want to be successful, you’ll want to focus a lot of your effort on your market research , branding, and marketing. You’ll need to know who needs your services—your target market—and what they’ll be willing to pay. 

If this sounds right up your alley, keep reading. I’ve interviewed several founders of successful travel agencies for their advice on everything you need to get started, and I’ve also included plenty of links and resources to help you work through the process of starting your own travel business.

  • 1. Create a plan for your travel business

Make no mistake: No matter what industry you’re in, a business plan is essential. You may not need a formal business plan if you’re not seeking a loan or investment funding for your business, but don’t skip it. Write a one-page business plan instead.

You can do it in less than an hour. Writing a business plan is scientifically proven to help you grow faster , so don’t skip this step. 

What kind of travel agent are you interested in becoming? If you’re planning to be a home-based travel agent, you’ll want to look into finding a host travel agency where you’ll essentially be an independent contractor. If this is the type of travel business you’d like to start, the business planning process should be fairly straightforward.

However, if you’re looking into starting your own travel business from the ground up, you’ll be looking at a much more lengthy planning process—but you’ll also have more flexibility to build a business that’s all your own.

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A case for starting early

“In starting ADDISON Yacht Charters , we began market analysis and business planning efforts a full year before we launched the company in November 2013,” says owner Scott Bessette.

“During that period, we attended industry events such as regional yacht shows in the Virgin Islands, Antigua, Florida, and Monaco to acquire as full an understanding as possible with regards to what products and services were being delivered to the market, who was delivering those products and services, and who was purchasing those products and services,” he explains.

Starting the planning process early helped Scott hone in on his vision for his business. “In this manner, we determined what our market niche could be, and established whether or not we could compete in the existing market, and what it would take to succeed,” he says.

Scott was able to get a clear sense of where he wanted to take it, and how to tailor his business to best suit the market needs.

What kind of travel agent business plan will you need?

The kind of travel agency business plan you’ll need will vary depending on what kind of funding you’re looking for.

Are you hoping to eventually run a large travel agency, and interested in seeking a loan, or maybe investment from angel investors? You’ll want a formal business plan for a travel agency that contains all the necessary information on your business. Are you more interested in becoming a travel agent using your own savings, without seeking outside investment or loans? A more lightweight one-page plan might be a perfect fit for your business.

Even if you do intend to pitch your business idea to lenders and investors, you can start with a Lean Plan, and flesh out the rest of the info later on.

Whatever your specific reason for writing a business plan for your travel business, the most important thing is that you write one, period. The travel industry is fragmented , and having a clearly defined niche and a plan will help you stand out. Writing a business plan for your travel agency will help you narrow in on what your goals are, and establish a clear, focused vision going forward.

We’ve covered nearly every aspect of writing a business plan here on Bplans, so be sure to check out the links below when you’re ready to get started. We also have several travel industry business sample plans, which will give you an idea of what your business plan should look like.

Resources to help you create a business plan for a travel agency:

  • How to Write a Business Plan
  • Travel Agency Sample Business Plan
  • 2. Conduct market research and find your niche

What kind of travel agency do you plan on starting? Moreover, what kind of travel business does the industry or your local community actually need?

“When you launch a travel business, the most important thing to do is to provide a valuable service,” says Jacquie Whitt, owner of Adios Adventure Travel .

This means doing some market research to find out what kind of travel agent or travel business the market really needs. Is there a niche you can fill? Maybe there’s an opening in the travel market to provide destination adventure honeymoons for young couples who would rather go backpacking than relax on the beach. Think about the people in your local community too—do they need something specific?

“In a saturated luxury travel market, Urbane Nomads had to distinguish itself from more seasoned players from the get-go,” says founder Hajar Ali. “The dual elements of adventure and luxury was an unexplored niche which we filled very well.”

Hajar says of Urbane Nomads: “It was conceived as the kind of travel company that would remain relevant in the age where most travel-related bookings are made online. We specialize in the sort of experiences that can’t be booked online—adventurous trips to non-mainstream destinations, lodges that can’t be booked online—or indeed, by non-travel professionals—and special experiences and access to personalities that would have been impossible without the personal connections.”

What niche are you filling? Start by researching the travel market in general. Find out who the major players are that you’ll be competing against, determine who your ideal customer is, and define what they want.

Resources to help you do market research and determine your niche:

  • Practical Market Research Resources for Entrepreneurs
  • How to Do Market Research
  • How to Create a Unique Value Proposition
  • How a Buyer (or User) Persona Can Improve Your Business
  • What Is Target Marketing?
  • 3. Develop a brand as a travel agent

Once you’ve determined what the market looks like and what specific niche you’ll be filling, it’s important to get down to the nitty-gritty of creating a strong brand image .

As the travel industry is so competitive, having a well-developed brand will help your business stand out. How do you want your customers to feel when they visit your website, view your advertising, or use your services?

Lorne Blyth, Founder and Director of Flavours Holidays, had a very specific vision for her brand. “[At Flavours Holidays], we have been specializing in cooking, Pilates, painting, photography, and language holidays in Italy since 1998,” she says. Lorne’s vision was to create a brand that “gave guests a true taste of Italy.”

“I use that as part of my branding, as we would like to perceive ourselves as being experts on all things Italy,” says Lorne. “That is why our tagline is ‘Passionate, Inspiring, Authentic.’”

Why should customers use your services, rather than just book a trip themselves? What experience can you provide that others can’t?

Do you offer unique services, such as partnerships with the locals of your travel destinations, that customers wouldn’t have access to otherwise? Is your selling point the ease of having someone else plan your trip for you, down to the last detail? Are you all about personal touches and a great customer service experience?

This is the first step to determining your travel business’s brand strategy— determining who you are. We’ve gone in-depth on how to build a memorable brand for your business, so check out the articles below for more information on branding.

Resources to help you brand your travel business:

  • The Definitive Guide to Building a Brand
  • Your Brand’s Tone of Voice: Why It Matters and How to Craft It
  • 4. Deal with the legal side

A travel business is, for the most part, a fairly simple one to set up. Unlike starting a brewery or starting a dispensary , there isn’t a lot of legal red tape when it comes to becoming a travel agent and starting a travel business. 

Determining if you’ll require licensing

In most locations, you won’t need any specific licenses or certifications, but licensing requirements will vary by state and country.

For the U.S. in general, there is no specific license needed to start a travel business; however, state laws vary . In California, Washington, Hawaii, Iowa, and Florida, you’ll need a Seller of Travel license. Canada also has licensing requirements that vary by location, and in the U.K., you’ll need an Air Travel Organiser’s License .

Choosing the structure of your travel business

Beyond specific licenses, there are general licenses that you’ll need before you start any type of business.

First off, choose your business structure . Scott Bessette, owner of ADDISON Yacht Charters, started his travel agency as an LLC , which he says suited his business needs. “Before we considered starting our agency, we determined that a Limited Liability Company was the appropriate structure for what we were trying to achieve.”

Why was an LLC the best choice? “We had no intention of going public, or having to secure formal investment,” he says. “Further, we had a very simple organization structure, so ease of governance and compliance drove our choice of corporate structure.”

However, the business structure you choose will depend largely on your plans for your business, and how you intend to fund it. If for example, you plan to seek outside investment, you may want to look into starting your business as a corporation .

Naming your business and applying for a Federal Tax ID number

You’ll also want to formally name your business (even if it’s just you, becoming a travel agent!), which involves filing a DBA , or a “doing business as.” You’ll also need to apply for a Federal Tax ID number , otherwise known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN or FEIN). We’ve covered these topics in plenty of detail, so be sure to check out the links.

Scott also adds that setting up the legal end of things was fairly simple.

“Establishing the legal and licensing requirements was one of the easiest aspects of starting the business,” he explains. “All said, conception and gestation of ADDISON Yacht Charters was long-term, but she was born after only two days of hard labor.”

Resources to help you determine the legal structure and name for your business, as well as other legal considerations:

  • The Complete Guide to Choosing Your Business Structure
  • The Complete Guide to Registering Your Business Name
  • Resources and Tools to Help You Name Your Business
  • How to Apply for a Federal Tax ID Number
  • How and Where to Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
  • Keep Your Startup Safe from Legal Trouble
  • 5. Determine your funding strategy

How do you plan to fund your new travel business?

Luckily, your starting costs should be fairly low: You won’t have expensive equipment to buy, and you probably won’t need extensive space in the beginning. If you’re hoping to become a travel agent working out of your own home, you may not even need office space at all. 

However, be sure to have a plan in place for how you will obtain funding. You’ll need funds for marketing materials at the very least; both online, such as your business website , and offline, such as flyers, posters, business cards, and more . Your initial funding budget will also likely go toward any branding or advertising, and you may eventually also decide to rent office space and hire employees, which is a fairly large expense.

Unlike many businesses, there isn’t one tried-and-true path for funding a travel business. From personal funds to venture capital funding, it’s all a possibility.

Many travel agencies are self-funded since they have low initial overhead and can be started fairly easily (though face stiff competition to stand out). “I didn’t get any funding at all, apart from $2,000 borrowed from my dad for the website,” says Brady Hedlund, founder of Life Before Work.

Looking into loans and a line of credit is also a good first move. “We developed banking and relationships with firm lines of credit and support, to ensure that as we started to deliver, funds were available to spend before the client paid the bill,” says Scott of ADDISON Yacht Charters. “ Cash flow is critical to the appearance of a business’s success.”

However, when it comes to financing your travel business, angel investment, and even venture capital funding isn’t completely out of the question. “We formed an LLC to start Project Expedition and closed a $300k seed round in January 2015 to help drive the development of our MVP (minimum viable product),” explains founder Jeremy Clement.

Don Halbert, owner of Costa Rica Vacations , also funded his travel agency through venture capital. “Funding for this venture came from a venture capital company which would later become one of our primary partners,” he explains.

Resources to help you with the funding process:

  • How to Get Your Business Funded
  • 35 Great Ways to Fund A Small Business
  • What Do Venture Capital Firms Want?
  • 10 Tips for Finding Venture Funding
  • 6. Choose a location and hire employees

Next, you’ll want to make a plan for the logistics of opening your travel business to the public. If you’re starting a travel agency and require office space, this section will likely be more relevant than if you plan to work as a travel agent out of your home. 

How many employees will you need to hire? You may not need any to start, until you decide to expand your operations.

You might also want to look into remote employees , suggests Mike Liverton, CEO and founder of Leavetown Vacations . “While many company employees live and work as home-based ‘Destination Experts,’ our main headquarters are downtown Vancouver,” he says.

Additionally, you’ll want to determine your business location . While foot traffic will likely not be a primary motivator in choosing a business location, you’ll want to pick somewhere that accommodates your space needs as well as reflects your desired brand image.

However, as with employees, you’ll find that a physical location isn’t always an absolute necessity. “We have never booked a client from our hometown,” says Scott.

“We’re a 24/7 business, that cannot be limited to when I am in the office, or more importantly, marginalized when I am not,” he explains. “The ADDISON staff has families, conflicts, and important events in their lives. We constructed and positioned our business to be virtual in nature; to be operational anywhere, anytime. I’ve conducted business from Europe, the Caribbean, from multiple states, and during my children’s sporting events.”

“We didn’t choose our business location, we chose a virtual location,” he adds. Whether or not you choose to go this route will depend on your specific niche and brand; however, it’s certainly an option to consider.

Resources to help you set up your travel business and hire employees:

  • How to Choose a Business Location
  • 13 Out of the Ordinary Ways to Find the Perfect Business Location
  • How to Hire Your First Employee
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Creating a Business Website
  • 7. Market and launch your travel business

Marketing will likely be where the majority of your initial funding budget goes, as it’s an important area to focus on when becoming a travel agent and starting a travel business. In fact, it’s a good idea to come up with a marketing plan as soon as possible.

For Don, the idea that you must spend money to make money drove the marketing strategy behind Costa Rica Vacations.

“Our ‘lesson learned’ in starting up our agency was primarily the realization that your Google Adwords budget can single-handedly determine your success when starting out in this normally competitive market,” he says.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all your advertising efforts should revolve around paid advertising, however. Plenty of your focus should go into social media marketing and guerrilla marketing tactics.

“I started out eight years ago running backpacking trips to Thailand, advertising using only lean, guerrilla marketing tactics,” says Brady Hedlund of Life Before Work. “I created an itinerary and website and hit the streets of western Canada to promote my new company.” Since his target demographic was 18-30-year-olds looking for an ‘adventure party tour,’ he went to university campuses and handed out flyers and posted signs advertising his travel agency.

“I didn’t get a single call for over a year,” he explains. “I honestly had no idea what I was doing at the time, but eventually, the business picked up and began to grow at an exponential rate. Flash forward eight years, and we now have a team of 35 full-time staff operating in 18 countries.”

Your marketing strategy will, as with all aspects of starting a travel business, be largely dependent on your specific niche, the demographic you are after, your budget, and your bandwidth as a business. That being said, combining both paid advertising with other guerrilla tactics (both online and offline) will likely serve you well.

Resources to help you market and launch your travel business:

  • How to Write an Effective Marketing Plan
  • 20 Marketing Tools Every Small Business Owner Should Try
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Google AdWords for Small Business
  • How to Have the Best Opening Day Ever
  • Words of advice: Final tips from entrepreneurs who have started successful travel businesses
  • “We searched for quite some time to find an underwriter that would provide us with general liability insurance, due to the amount of risks involved in adventure travel…This is a tricky product when it comes to insurance, but it’s obviously a very important piece of the pie.” – Brady Hedlund, Life Before Work
  • “From the beginning, I have built up relationships with various individuals in Italy to help recruit staff for the villas used during our vacations. This varies from local cooks to tour guides to drivers. The little touches along the way, from booking flights for guests to getting the transport back to the airport, all adds up as every little bit helps to create the perfect experience for my guests.” – Lorne Blyth, Flavours Holidays
  • “It’s important that your business partners share your values. I work with people in South America who are now my friends. We’re not in it for the money; we enjoy our jobs and if we can ‘eke’ out a living, all the better.” – Jacquie Whitt, Adios Adventure Travel

Business plan template and travel agency resources 

By now it should be clear that starting a travel agency requires a strategic approach and lots of planning. But don’t worry if it feels overwhelming. At Bplans, we have a full library of business planning resources to help you get started. You can browse through our free collection of over 500 real business plan examples , or download our free business plan template to help your travel business take flight. 

Content Author: Briana Morgaine

Bri Morgaine is a seasoned content marketing leader with a decade of experience in copy editing, social media operations, and content strategy— having honed her skills at industry giants like Palo Alto Software and Andreessen Horowitz.

Check out LivePlan

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How to Start a Travel Business in 10 Steps

  • February 16, 2022

starting a tourism company

The travel and tourism industry is one of the industries that has a significant impact on the global economy. And even though the pandemic has been harsh , starting a business in this sector can still be a good idea, if done correctly. 

Plus, with new trends emerging due to the pandemic, and as things start going back to normal, travel and tourism are slowly recovering. And while starting any business entails risks, if you’re willing to commit time and effort, starting your own travel business could be the best idea you’ve ever had.

1. Invent Your Brand 

Working on your idea is the first step when starting any business. This will help you invent your brand, with all of its elements. Decide what kind of travel business you want to run, choose a name, create a logo and a slogan. Make sure that they are powerful, so that once your brand is out there it will be easily recognizable. 

2. Work on Your Business Plan

Many decisions and tasks go into creating a business, and from the moment you decide that you are going for it, you should start working on a business plan. This is a dynamic document that describes the business in great detail. It contains an overview of the business, a market analysis, customer analysis, operational plan, marketing plan, financial plan. 

Your travel agency business plan will help you execute every task and strategy more efficiently, make better decisions, and avoid mistakes during the first phases of your project. More than that, once you start working it will help you run your business successfully, and eventually, grow.

3. Choose a Specific Niche

For new travel businesses, it’s a good idea to start with one specific market niche. Instead of offering many services, focus on something specific and excel at it. This means that you won’t have to compete with too many experienced travel agencies and, most importantly, you will be able to provide complete and high-quality service. 

4. Formalize Your Company

To start working you will have to fulfill a series of legal requirements to formalize your company, including registering your company and getting any necessary permits and licenses. The rules and regulations can vary depending on the adventures you want to offer, as well as the region you live in.  

5. Identify Your Potential Clients

Whenever you are communicating something, or in this case trying to sell something, you must know who is interested. Identifying who might be interested in the services or products you are selling, will help you create so-called buyer personas . This, in turn, will help you determine the best ways to reach your target audience, or in other words, develop a winning marketing strategy. Also, it may help you find additional small ways in which you can increase your profit. 

6. Develop an Efficient Financial Plan

Aside from the funds you need for the initial investment, you need to make sure that you are ready to cover any expenses you may have in the first months. Some of the expenses you need to consider include registration fees, tax payments, renting an office, buying furniture, technology, hiring a marketing agency, creating a website, insurance, salaries, taxes, etc. 

7. Find Knowledgeable Employees

Efficient and productive employees are the most important part of any successful business. Make sure that the people you hire are experienced and knowledgeable so that you can rely on them for the tasks you assign to them. Also, once you are sure you have the right people, make sure to do anything in your power to retain them. 

8. Create a Website

It’s almost impossible to run a business without a website today, and most travel agencies operate entirely or at least partially online. People buy everything online these days, and travelers can find anything they are looking for on their devices. To offer a good user experience, and keep visitors interested, your website should be fast, easy to navigate, it should look well and it should be mobile-friendly.

9. Use Social Media

Social media is a great place for reaching your target audience. With a combination of paid ads and valuable content, it can be the ideal channel for promoting your brand and increasing visibility.

10. Offer Interesting Content

Even people who can’t afford to travel want to read about new places. Travel is addictive, and most who have traveled will do it again. This is why offering good content can be so effective when it comes to promoting such businesses. 

Starting a travel business is risky but, if done right, it can be very profitable. These steps can help you make sure that you aren’t missing something important and that you make the right decisions for a strong start. 

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  • setting up a travel business
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How to Develop a Tourism Business

Last Updated: February 16, 2024 Approved

This article was co-authored by Jessica Villegas . Jessica Villegas is a Certified Academic Life Coach and the Founder of Hi-Lite Coaching + Consulting in Winter Garden, Florida. Jessica has over 20 years of leadership experience, and she and her team serve teens and young adults through private coaching, group coaching, workshops, and speaking engagements. She uses workbook exercises, coaching planners, and regular check-ins to support young adults in achieving their academic and personal goals. Jessica received her Bachelor’s in Organizational Communications and Leadership Studies from the University of Central Florida and her Professional Coaching certification through Coach Training EDU, an ICF Accredited Institution, as an Academic Life Coach. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 23 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 355,838 times.

A tourism business is a great way to share your passion with others looking to experience a new location or culture, be it in a business or leisure capacity. To develop a tourism business, you need to first decide on your focus and create a business plan. Afterwards, you can move on to marketing and growing your business.

Selecting Your Businesses Focus

Step 1 Choose a geographic location that you know intimately.

  • Don't be afraid to send your customers to other businesses—it shows that you know the area well and are dedicated to ensuring they have the best time possible.
  • Use your chosen geographic region to guide your focus. For example, if your location is secluded from the populace and dense with wineries, then guided winery tours, local bed and breakfasts, and airport transportation services are all viable business options.

Step 2 Explore hotels in the area to determine what makes each successful.

  • Imagine how your hotel would look and how it would stand out.
  • Ask local business owners about their experience in the industry to get a feel for their day-to-day activities and how they succeed.

Step 3 Research local tourism agencies to find out what activities are available.

  • Book a tour with a local agency and get a feel for what they offer. Take note of their pricing and routes.

Step 4 Taste food from local restaurants to see what they have to offer.

  • Compare the busiest restaurants to the slowest. Ask yourself what they are doing differently and how they could improve.

Step 5 List the services offered by the competition.

  • For example, you might find that all hotels offer complimentary breakfast, so be sure to offer this. But if you find that none of them offer complimentary dinner, you can offer this to set yourself apart.
  • Pinpoint a tourism sector that is not overly congested, and one that you can contribute something unique to.

Step 6 Focus on a specific niche in your chosen tourism sector.

  • For example, if you want to focus on providing tours, decide on a location that you know well in terms of its history, food, and entertainment. If you think hospitality is your calling, decide on the type of foods and beverages that you want to provide to tourists.
  • List the contacts that you have within each niche to get a better idea of which one you have the most connections in.

Setting the Foundation for Your Business

Step 1 Obtain all applicable licenses and permits.

  • If you provide tours in natural areas, you will likely need specific permits for each region or park.

Step 2 Apply for the necessary insurance coverage.

  • Determine if you must carry disability, unemployment, or other types of insurance for your employees.

Step 3 Write a business...

  • Include an outline of the products and/or services your business will be providing for tourists.
  • Provide information about your target market and your competition.
  • Describe how you plan on running your business and pricing your product or service

Step 4 Calculate the daily and monthly costs of your business.

  • Employee benefits

Step 5 Procure the necessary funds.

  • Apply for a small business loan or grant if you find that you're low on funds. Visit Grants.gov ( https://www.grants.gov/ ) for a list of grants available around the world, or visit your bank and inquire about loans.

Marketing Your Tourism Business

Step 1 Connect with the local tourism community through events and meetups.

  • Run local promotions for your peers and their family and friends.

Step 2 Develop a marketing...

  • Take out ad space in newspapers, magazines and lifestyle publications.
  • Produce all applicable marketing materials, such as logos, regular newsletters, and business cards.

Step 3 Design a website...

  • Be sure to hire a specialist for search engine optimization (SEO) to maximize your site's online presence.

Step 4 Create relationships with community influencers.

  • Stay connected to local tourism industry councils and relevant media and trade organizations.

Growing Your Business

Step 1 Hire employees to conduct tours and outings.

  • Post ads on classified websites. Be sure to indicate the skills and experience you are looking for.
  • Select employees that are familiar with your business. Remember that you always want to offer your customers a personalized, engaging experience.
  • Plan your staff as far ahead as you possibly can. Be sure to plan extra carefully for busy times of the year.
  • To make your business work, you really need to invest in your employees. It starts with the mission, vision, and values of the company and how those are permeated throughout your employees and how you deliver that and how you show up as that.

Step 2 Keep track of your business costs on a daily basis.

  • Track competitor products, prices, and value regularly.

Step 3 Invest in tour operator software for booking customers.

  • Create gift cards, promo codes, and vouchers for your customers.

Step 4 Pay attention to customer feedback.

  • Make it your primary goal to deliver on your promises and address every customer issue personally.
  • Encourage your customers to leave their feedback on social media services.

Step 5 Create a memorable customer service plan.

  • Always tell your customers about other sights in the area and tourism businesses close to yours that they can experience while in the area.
  • Tell your customers about package deals, sales, and discounts.
  • Send customers a follow-up email to thank them for choosing your business and make them feel welcome to return at any time!

Step 6 Design package plans for tour outings at various times of the year.

  • Plan different packages for different times of the year.
  • Consider your audience when creating packages. Offer them things that make the experience more enjoyable and convenient.
  • Look at packages from competing businesses and try to offer something that they don't.

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  • ↑ https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/strategies-start-grow-tourism-business/
  • ↑ https://www.business.qld.gov.au/industries/hospitality-tourism-sport/tourism/starting-up/regulations/licences-permits-legislation
  • ↑ https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/employing/taking-on-staff/find/assess
  • ↑ https://www.rezdy.com/blog/3-costs-you-need-to-consider-when-pricing-your-tourism-product/
  • ↑ https://www.capterra.com/tour-operator-software/
  • ↑ https://www.iti.gov.nt.ca/sites/iti/files/ProductPackaging.pdf

About This Article

Jessica Villegas

Developing a tourism business is a great way to make a profit while sharing your love of different cultures with new people. A tourism business is any business that caters to tourists, like hospitality, food, and local tours. You’ll need to choose a lucrative niche with little competition to make sure there's space in the market for your business. Choose a location you know well and an industry you have experience in. Unless you already have funding for your business, you’ll need to secure a small business loan, grant, or private investment. You'll also need to write a business plan to present to investors and help you plan your next steps. For more tips, including how to market your tourism business, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Start a Tour Company

Tour guide services are most often offered in cities large, world-famous cities and cities that have rich historical backgrounds. Guests can be taken on a tour by foot or by vehicle, depending upon the distance that will be covered during the tour.

Learn how to start your own Tour Company and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services .

Tour Company Image

Start a tour company by following these 10 steps:

  • Plan your Tour Company
  • Form your Tour Company into a Legal Entity
  • Register your Tour Company for Taxes
  • Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  • Set up Accounting for your Tour Company
  • Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Tour Company
  • Get Tour Company Insurance
  • Define your Tour Company Brand
  • Create your Tour Company Website
  • Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your tour company. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas .

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

What will you name your business?

  • What are the startup and ongoing costs?
  • Who is your target market?

How much can you charge customers?

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Tour Company Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship , you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name , we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability .

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Want some help naming your tour company?

Business name generator, what are the costs involved in opening a tour company.

Unlike many start-up businesses, your tour guide business will require very little starting capital. Many owners start out running the business out of their home, investing in a small storefront or kiosk in the heart of the city, as revenue starts to come in. Those who choose this path report start-up costs of under $2,000.

A few items you’ll need to figure into your budget are:

  • Scheduling software
  • Marketing materials - business cards and pamphlets

If you plan to offer tours that transport customers from one site to another, a vehicle should be factored into your budget. Options include vans, trolleys, bicycles, and scooters.

What are the ongoing expenses for a tour company?

Until you invest in a workspace, ongoing expenses will be minimal. Payroll will represent the greatest portion of your budget and will vary depending upon the number of guides you employ. If you transport guests, vehicle maintenance and fuel costs should also be considered.

Who is the target market?

While you might get an occasional local customer, the bulk of your business will come from travelers visiting your area on vacation or from students on educational trips.

How does a tour company make money?

A tour guide business makes money from each tour given. Guests are typically charged at a group rate or per individual. The price of each tour also depends on the length of each tour.

Unless your tours offer a unique experience that others cannot, pricing is a critical component to your organization’s success. Keep pricing competitive with others in your area that offer similar tours. Pricing is defined by a number of factors, including: walking or driving tour, destinations and entry costs, and number of people in each party. Half-day tours average $125, while full-day tours average $200, plus the cost of admission to any attractions that you will tour. Align yourself with management at each attraction to ensure affordable entry and maximize profits.

How much profit can a tour company make?

While this can be a very profitable business, experienced owners caution against expanding too quickly. When a tour isn’t fully booked, it can eat into your profits. Each tour that you offer comes with its own set of costs; however, with a properly designed marketing strategy, your tour guide business stands to draw in a considerable profit in the first year.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Try implementing some of the below strategies to maximize profits:

  • If you live in an area that offers a variety of sightseeing activities, consider expanding to a full-service business. Offer packages that include: hotel accommodations, meals, travel arrangements, sightseeing arrangements, and information for downtime.
  • Offer packages that include two or more of your local tours.
  • Research all that your community has to offer. This will help in designing creative, unique tours that will give your customers an unforgettable experience.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship , partnership , limited liability company (LLC) , and corporation .

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your tour company is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services . You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website . If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil .

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history , which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a tour guide business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits .

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses .

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance . This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance . If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners , we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended : Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker .

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator . Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a tour company

Your marketing strategy should cater to each demographic your business is targeting. Team up with travel agents from across the country and share with them the services you offer, highlighting how your business stands out above the rest. To further reach tourists from across the globe, invest in Internet advertisements through search engines and banner ads on popular websites and social media platforms. Additionally, consider purchasing ad space in restaurants, bus stations, airports, hotels, and other tourist attractions.

Participation on travel blogs and tourist/travel forums will also gain exposure for your business, as will listings in various directories. The World Federation of Tour Guide Associations , National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations , and American Tour Guide Association host conferences for networking and learning everything there is to know about the industry.

How to keep customers coming back

In this industry, repeat customers aren’t the norm. However, it’s important to remember that each customer will share their experience with others. Word of mouth is your most powerful marketing tool, so make sure each guest has a safe, entertaining, and educational experience.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business .

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended : Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders .

Other popular website builders are: WordPress , WIX , Weebly , Squarespace , and Shopify .

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com

Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

The self-motivator with a thirst for knowledge who enjoys sharing what they’ve learned with others would do best owning a tour guide business.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a tour company?

In addition to the standard administrative tasks that go with running a business, your day-to-day tasks will include:

  • Answering emails and phone calls from current and potential customers
  • Scheduling tours
  • Fostering relationships with those in the community whose interests you share
  • Routinely maintaining vehicles if you transport customers
  • Checking in with any staff members who might have questions
  • Interacting with customers, taking them on scheduled tours, and answering questions
  • Brainstorming and planning new tour ideas
  • Maintaining a presence within the community
  • Building on your marketing strategy

As your business starts to grow, you’ll want to add different tours and services. Tour guides should interact with customers regularly, gathering feedback and listening to any suggestions they might have. For long-term success you’ll want to continuously evolve your business, coming up with innovative ways to entertain guests.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful tour company?

While this profession does not require any professional qualifications to get started, there is a high level of skill necessary for success. Whether marketing, scheduling, or guiding, a majority of your time will be spent with people. Thus, it’s critical that you’re skilled at connecting with people. You’ll be guiding individuals from a variety of different backgrounds, so it is important that you make each of them feel comfortable and welcome on your tours.

Your city’s history and entertainment is what connects you to your customers. Those who are most successful are passionate about their city, and they strive to continue learning more about it so they can share their knowledge with others. They have a knack for finding and presenting interesting, little-known facts, and they have a way of making even the most boring subject sound interesting. To remain relevant in the industry, it’s also important that you maintain a certain level of awareness of emerging trends.

When interacting with a large group of people, as tour guides often do, emergencies are bound to happen. You should be able to handle such situations with ease while always maintaining an air of professionalism.

There are a number of companies that offer the training necessary to set your business up for success.

What is the growth potential for a tour company?

As the growth rate in the tour guide industry nears 21.2%, tour guides are poised to be one of the fastest growing industries. Your business’ success will rely on the tourist attractions your area has to offer and your ability to creatively maximize the number of attractions you are able to cover in each tour.

TRUiC's YouTube Channel

For fun informative videos about starting a business visit the TRUiC YouTube Channel or subscribe to view later.

Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor.

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a tour company?

Successful tour guide owners offer the following advice:

  • Before getting started, contact your local agencies to identify any rules and regulations specific to your industry.
  • One of the biggest challenges you’ll have in the beginning is tour scheduling. Research other companies’ schedules when creating yours, taking into account variations in location, time of day, tour length, etc. It can help to give several practice tours before committing yourself to starting a tour guide business.
  • Offer a variety of tours that appeal to the different types of people you’ll encounter.
  • When first starting out, don’t try to do too much. Offer a few tours and use that time to feel out your customers, identifying what other parts of the city might interest them most.

How and when to build a team

As the business starts to grow, it's time to start building your team. Each team member must be able easily to walk the scheduled route, on their feet for much of the day. Scripts should be memorized, but your guides should also have the ability to go off script, answering questions, adding appropriate jokes, etc. An older guide is often more well-received, as guests are under the impression that they have more experience in the area.

Useful Links

Industry opportunities.

  • World Federation of Tour Guide Associations
  • National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations
  • American Tour Guide Association

Real World Examples

  • Classic Journeys
  • G Adventures
  • LA Bus Tour

Further Reading

  • Tips for Starting Your Tour Business
  • How To Start A Successful Tour Operator Business
  • Explore more Entertaintment based Business Ideas

Entrepreneur Interviews

Carrie Sagel, Atlanta Movie Tours

Read Interview

Have a Question? Leave a Comment!

How to Become a Travel Agent—Because, Believe It or Not, the Industry Is on the Rise

By Scott Bay

How to Become a Travel Agent—Because Believe It or Not the Industry Is on the Rise

There’s a reason “how to become a travel agent” has been a continuously trending search phrase on Google—it is a career path that offers a flexible work environment and schedule, ample travel opportunities, and an immersion into a supportive world-wide industry. It's a surprise to some in 2023: Once the internet became widely available, it was largely believed that needing a travel agent was obsolete. However, even though the brick-and-mortar agencies with punny names in strip malls have vanished, the career is on-the-rise .

New software options are making it easier than ever for people to make money planning trips, either as a side hustle or as a full-time business. That’s why Cherikonda, India-based stay-at-home mother, Maya Kapoor-Miller, decided to enter the professional world as a travel agent this year, at 31. “I knew nothing about the travel industry prior to signing up,” says Kapoor-Miller, who decided to use San Francisco-based booking platform Dreamport to establish her online travel advisor business. “It is my first business in life, and the only one that you can start with no investment.”

But there's also a rise in demand. When people ventured back into the world after the pandemic, travel agents saw an overwhelming amount of business . And that momentum hasn’t stopped—when travel is complicated, like it was in 2020 and 2021, travelers turned to professional trip planners to create a seamless vacation. For better or worse, traveling has remained complicated and chaotic, with new rules being implemented (like Americans needing to pay a fee to visit Europe in 2024 ) and airline strikes and staffing issues. Offloading all of the nitty-gritty details to someone else is more appealing than ever.

For those entering the field, there's also the age-old motivator: a love of travel. 

Shelton Ellis, who is based in North Carolina, recently saw these opportunities and left behind more than 20 years in public relations and global advertising to turn his passion into a career. “I was born with a wanderlust that would wear Rick Steves out,” Ellis says. “I decided to take the leap and follow that lifelong yearning. Transitioning into this role was really about learning how to monetize what I'm passionate about.”

Whether you are looking for a new career path or a lucrative side-hustle—or simply curious about those taking the plunge—here’s how to become a travel agent, from the qualifications and education required, to anticipated earnings, according to those who have made the shift in the past year. 

What exactly does a travel agent do?

Travel agents, or travel advisors (the term is mostly interchangeable), manage everything that goes into a trip for their clients: the flights, car transfers, accommodations, restaurant reservations, and more—they even inspire the itinerary. The reason people turn to travel agents, aside from having a helping hand during any travel chaos , is also to tap into the travel agent’s first-hand knowledge of destinations, and their industry partnerships, which often lead to perks such as hotel upgrades, ideal airplane seats, and experiences that can’t be found on a search engine.

“You have to remember that as a travel agent, you will be a guide for people during their happiest moments—family reunions, weddings , baptisms, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that people have dreamt of,” says Kapoor-Miller. “It has been one of the most rewarding aspects of being a travel agent. You navigate people, inform them, and help them choose.”

So, how do you become a travel agent?

There are many ways to become a travel agent, from joining an existing travel agency , to starting an independent business from the ground up. Others are opting for one of the buzziest start-ups in the travel industry, Fora . When it launched in 2021, the software company, which trains and provides search engine-optimized profile pages to advisors—at one point had a waitlist of over 30,000 people eager to begin a part-time gig. Travel photographer and Condé Nast Traveler contributor Amanda Villarosa is currently in the process of joining.

“I'm the person that friends and family come to for travel recommendations, tips and tricks, and general travel advice,” says Villarosa. “After discovering Fora and looking into it, I realized that it could be the perfect side-hustle, considering I'm already so involved in the industry.”

With additional flexibility, Villarosa was able to move from New York City to splitting her time between Denver and Los Angeles . She says that the sign-up was quite straightforward. “You're given a dedicated Fora email and have access to advising tools and fellow Fora advisors,” she says. “The training is in the form of Zoom meetings and videos, which you have the option to watch at your own pace. Once completed, you take a certification quiz and you're on your way to advising.”

The other ways in are slightly more involved. To begin an independent practice, you go about it like many other businesses. You will have to create an LLC, establish a business name, cultivate marketing materials, build a website, find clientele, and more.

Ellis found something in the middle, choosing to connect with an established travel agency. “Don't be afraid to reach out to an agency looking to take on new advisors and is willing to mentor," says Ellis. "I was fortunate to learn so much from Annie Chambers, the owner of Crafted Escapes , who has seven years in the business.” He now knows the ropes on everything from using itinerary-building software to destination-specific training, to the sales and marketing aspects of the trade.

Is there required education or qualifications?

Ellis says that there's no certification, per se, required to become a travel advisor, but there are countless training courses available like Departure Lounge ’s classes on navigating the industry through hotels and tour operators. He said it’s also important to stay on top of travel trends. Ellis recently completed travel agent training programs provided by premier cruise lines such as Virgin Voyages , Ritz-Carlton Yachts , and Cunard to help agents sell their products more accurately.

How much does a travel agent make?

What a travel agent earns depends on how many trips they successfully book for their clients. The entire model is commission-based, meaning agents earn a percentage of the total cost of the vacation they orchestrate. Many travel advisors choose to charge a flat-rate planning fee in addition to their commission, but balance is key—if you charge a high planning fee, it could lead to potential clients going elsewhere.

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Fora ’s website states that “some of our full-time, expert advisors earn well into the six figures (or beyond).” So a lucrative career may be on the horizon, for those who are able to build a robust client base and excellent industry connections.

How much you make can also depend on where you live around the world. “I am being paid in dollars,” says India-based Kapoor-Miller. “So the currency fluctuations of the local exchange rate are not something I am worried about.”

What are the key skills required to become a travel agent?

“Travel agents need a mix of customer service, communication, destination knowledge, organizational, and problem-solving skills,” says Kapoor-Miller. “But I would say that adaptability, flexibility, curiosity, and cultural sensitivity top them all—you have to put yourself in other's shoes, and understand the requirements, hopes, and expectations of your clients along with any worries and questions they may have.”

It’s vital to have a passion for traveling, even the aspects of the process that aren’t as exciting, such as learning about new airline routes, train schedule updates, and industry news. “It can be an information-heavy hustle, and I believe it's important to be excited about it as that energy definitely transfers to your clients and partners,” Villarosa says.

Should travel advisors choose a specialization?

Many travel advisors have found success through becoming an expert in a few types of travel and destinations. “It's important to become an authority and learn as much as you can through personal experiences and continuing education,” says Ellis. “As a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community , an avid snow skier, and scuba diver, I know not only the popular destinations but others that are off the beaten path, equally safe and adventurous for all travelers.” This helps travel agents establish a competitive edge, and hopefully convince potential clients to choose them for their expertise.

What are the benefits of being a travel agent?

“Flexibility tops them all,” says Kapoor-Miller. “And the ability to start without industry knowledge. If you worry that you are too old for this job, the good news is that this is a job you can enter and enjoy at any age.”

Another great perk is the "Familiarization trip,” says Ellis. “Tourism boards and hotels invite agents to visit and familiarize themselves with a particular country and its properties. After all, any accomplished salesperson should learn everything they can about their products first-hand...even if they're in Bora Bora.” It's hard work, but someone's got to do it. 

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10 Steps to Starting a Travel Agency from Home

If you're thinking of starting a travel agency from home, you're in luck. The cost to become a travel agent is relatively low and there are plenty of opportunities for someone with the passion to sell travel. Not only that, but starting a travel agency from home is becoming the most popular route to become a travel agent .

"Home-based independent advisors continue to dominate the travel agency landscape, accounting for 72% of travel advisors." -Phocuswright

According to Phocuswright's US Travel Agency Landscape 2023 , "Home-based independent advisors continue to dominate the travel agency landscape, accounting for 72% of travel advisors."

Want to throw your hat into the ring and start your own travel agency?

Starting any business is no walk in a park, but it certainly helps if you have someone to advise you and lay out a path. We're here to help support you and answer your questions as you start out on your new entrepreneurial journey!

PS: If you can't answer the question ' what do travel agents do ', let's have you read up on that first before you go all in on starting your own travel agency. 🤗

10 Steps to Starting Your Travel Agency From Home

Here's a summary of the steps to start your travel agency from home. If you've already completed some of the steps, you can click on the link to shortcut which step is best for you!

  • Find your travel agency niche: Finding a travel agency niche is a great way to hone in on what about travel you're most passionate about. If you develop a niche, you'll be building your travel agency business on a strong foundation of your strengths, interests, and personal networks. Not only that, it will help you give direction as you start (and grow) your agency!
  • Choose your travel agency name: This is often a step advisors struggle with, but don't skip it! Travel vendors need a travel agency name for their records. Make sure you have one ready so you can start selling travel.
  • Choose a Travel Agency Business Structure: Most new-to-industry advisors will be choosing between a sole proprietorship or a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). It's a matter of balancing host requirements (if you go with one), business protections, your agency model, and your budget.
  • Create a Travel Agency Business Plan: A travel agency business plan is a document that will help you cat herd all your amazing ideas for your business. It helps you define your mission and goals, helping you think through the process on how to get there. Best yet? We have a free 15-page travel agency business plan template you can use!
  • Register Your Travel Agency with the State + Feds : This is a critical step so to legitimize your travel agency. You can register your LLC through the Small Business Administration (SBA) resource to find the steps to get registered with your specific state. This will enable you to do other fun steps like starting a business bank account.
  • Get an FEIN : This is optional but recommended, here's why: It's free to get an FEIN, takes just a few minutes and if you move to a business structure that requires an FEIN in the future it will save you a few steps!
  • Set Up Your Travel Agency Financials : Separating your business bank account from your personal account is required if you set up an LLC. But frankly, we recommend setting up business financials regardless of your agency model.
  • Choose Between a Host Agency, Travel Franchise, or Your Own Accreditation: There are a lot of choices in which direction to go with your travel agency. Do you have your own vendor relationships and want to get your own travel accreditation? Do you want to partner with a host agency under your own brand so you take advantage of their aggregate sales volume? Do you want a turnkey agency option with a franchise? This will help you choose.
  • Check Out Host Agency Reviews' Resources Page : Our resources page gives you tips on how to optimize our site to help start your travel agency from home.
  • Sign Up for 7 Day Setup Accelerator Course: Within each of these steps, there are many many many other steps to starting a travel agency from home. (Yes, just like nesting dolls.) Our course gives you the tools and knowledge you need to go from the seed of an idea to hanging the shingle out for your travel agency!
  • Bonus: Read up on what you can expect in terms of income potential as well as time and financial investment.

I know. It can be totally overwhelming. But if you're starting a travel agency from home, these steps will help prepare you to feel 10,000% (no those extra zeros are NOT typos!) more confident. What are the preliminary steps you need to take when starting a travel agency? Funny you should ask . . .

Here are the steps to take to start your travel agency from home:

1. Find a Travel Agency Niche

A niche is your friend. When you start your home-based travel agency, a niche will help you establish your brand, create your travel agency name, and allow you to focus your energies. Starting a travel agency without a niche is like traveling without a compass (or, let's be honest, a smartphone). Are you going to be focusing on a destination? Maybe you'll be like Andres Zuleta, who specializes in Japan tours:

Or maybe you'll focus on a type of travel, like Deb Fogarty, who specializes in cruising:

Or maybe you're like Will Medina and have a love for destination weddings and honeymoons:

Or maybe you're more attracted to the corporate world and aim to book travel for corporations like Karen Hurlbut:

Whatever your niche, it's the first problem to solve when you're starting your travel agency! We have a free brainstorming exercise to help you find niches that you're passionate about.

2. Choose Your Travel Agency's Name

Vendors will need a travel agency name for their records so have one ready before you start selling travel.

Whether you go with a host agency or choose to go independent, you're going to need a name for our agency. The vendors (hotels, cruise lines, airlines, etc) will need a travel agency name for their records so have one ready before you can start selling travel. Having a niche already picked out can help you as you decide on your travel agency's name .

Starting your travel agency (from home or otherwise) is a lot of work. The last thing you want as your travel agency opens its doors is a letter saying you've infringed on someone else's trademark! We help you through the things you need to consider when choosing a name for your agency. Are their any competitor's with similar names that will make it harder for you to pull up at the top of the search engines? Are the URLs available? Are their any copyrights? Is it too long to neatly fit on marketing materials? We go through this and a whole lot more, so dig in!

3. Choose a Travel Agency Business Structure

You can change your business structure as your needs evolve.

A base step in starting your travel agency from home is deciding on a business structure. There's a lot that goes into what is the best fit for you. Do you have personal assets like a house or car that you want to make sure are protected? How much money do you want to spend?

We help you understand the different business structure options for your new travel agency : Sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, S Corp.

As you're starting your travel agency, you may feel like the low cost of a sole proprietor makes the most sense for you. It's important to know that you can change your business structure as your needs evolve.

As your business grows and you're making more bookings (which exposes you to more liability), you can always move to a structure that gives you more personal liability protection, like the LLC. While it's more expensive, and may not be feasible for everyone as they're starting their travel agency, the protection it offers to your personal assets is incredibly important as your business grows.

And what the heck is an S Corp anyhow? Don't worry, we'll give you the scoop and let you know when that should be a consideration for you.

4. Create Your Travel Agency Business Plan

Next step in starting your travel agency? A business plan!

While a travel agency business plan isn't technically required to start an agency, it is something I highly recommend. I didn't write a business plan when I started this site but I also knew online marketing, SEO, and the travel industry front and back. I also had the industry connections to make it work. Most people starting a travel agency from home either don't have experience in starting a company or they don't have experience in travel. This is where a business plan can help.

What a business plan does for you is it forces you to think through each different area of your business and come up with a plan. Will you stick to that plan 100%? Definitely not. But it gives you something to refer back to and helps you organize your thoughts. Plan to take a chunk of time to work on it as it's not something you want to do willy-nilly.

Not only that, but we made it really easy with our free 15-page travel agency business plan ! All you need to do is download our template and adapt it to your agency.

Travel Agency Business Plan

While I didn't write a business plan for Host Agency Reviews, I did write a VERY detailed travel agency business plan for you. :) It's completely filled out with a fictitious travel agency. That's helpful because you can use some of the data and ideas in there on your travel agency's business plan.

Here's a peek of the business plan. Just to note, this version is not editable! To get the editable version, download the travel agency business plan template (an editable version of the one below).

That was good stuff, right? So let's move on to some more logistics, getting your government paperwork in place.

5. Register Your Travel Agency with the State ... and Feds!

You're doing great!

Starting a travel agency from home isn't as tough as you thought, is it? When you have a road map, it's easier to navigate the start-up process.

Registering with the State

Ok, now that you've:

  • nailed down your niche,
  • come up with your name,
  • and settled on a business structure.

The next step is letting the state government know you've got a company. The Small Business Administration (SBA) website shows   how to register your company's name by state . If you are an LLC, the SBA also has a state-by-state guide on how to register your LLC .

A word of warning: When doing a DBA, your business, even though they have different names, are still legally considered the same entity.

Registering your company with the state is an important step because you will need this proof to open a business bank account and other random things (running FB business ads, getting a loan) as your business grows. Do yourself a favor and when those certificates come in, keep them handy in a file for your company's legal documents.

When you start your travel agency, you may have registered it as Margarita Travel. But over time, that might change.

Let's say you fell into becoming the local destination wedding expert that everyone turned to. Margarita Travel works, but you want to have a more romantic name for those clients and different branding. So you create a new brand, Beach Romance , that specializes in destination weddings.

Do you need to let the state know about this new company, even though it's really your same company? Yuppers.

You'll need to file a DBA with the state. DBA is an acronym for "Doing Business As." It's also sometimes referred to as a fictitious name, trade name, or assumed name.

Your DBA is essentially saying, 'My formal company is Margarita Travel, but I also go by Beach Romance.'

To help you get a feel for the pros/cons of a dual-brand, listen to Andrey Zakahrenko's story of how his agency evolved into two brands: (This was our first ever podcast so please forgive the horrible sound quality!)

The one thing to know about DBAs is that they don't create a separate entity. DBAs just allows you to legally operate under different names.

A word of warning: When doing a DBA, your businesses, even though they have different names, are still legally considered the same entity. That means if someone sues Beach Romance for a honeymoon gone wrong, Margarita Travel is also being sued since it's the same company.

Registering with the Financial Crimes enforcement network

And can we talk about the Feds for a moment? They're doing their part to cut down on money laundering. (Score!) And... since money laundering happens through businesses, you're going to have to do a little paperwork with them. (Boo!)

You'll fill out the Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) form to make sure you're on the up and up. :)

Don't worry, it's not too painful despite the fact the they name of the government org in charge—Financial Crimes Enforcement Network—sounds like they're going to send a SWAT team into your home at any moment.

6. Get an FEIN (Optional, but Recommended)

A Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) is like a social security number for your company. It's a number to identify your business and is sometimes referred to as an EIN.

Technically, you do not need an FEIN if you're a sole proprietor or a single-member LLC with no employees since you can use your social security number to file taxes.

However, I personally prefer not to give out my social security number if I don't have to. :) I also like to get my pencils lined up from the get-go.

It's free to get an FEIN and takes just a few minutes. A huge plus in getting one right off the bat when starting a travel agency is that if you move to a business structure that requires an FEIN, you won't have to worry about changing out your SS# for an FEIN on legal documents, bank accounts, etc.

Also, make sure to check in with your tax professional when it's tax filing time—for certain business structures, you may still file under your SS# even though you have an FEIN.

Confusing, I know. That's why you go to the professionals! 😊

7. Set Up Your Travel Agency Financials  

Like the FEIN, when you're starting a travel agency, you don't need a separate business bank account or credit card if you're a sole proprietor, but you'll have wished you'd had set one up come tax time!

Separating your personal bank account from the business account from the start makes accounting easier and will help you keep track of business expense write-offs.

Wondering what travel expenses you can write off as a travel advisor ? We've got a resource for that too. :)

Important to note: If you choose a business structure that offers personal liability protection, like an LLC, you need to keep your business and personal money separate. If you are mixing finances and paying personal bills out of your business account, or vice versa, that opens you up to personal liability.

The argument is that, yes, when you started your travel agency you chose an LLC structure, which protects your personal assets. BUT, clearly, the business and the owner are not separate entities because the owner is making business payments out of their personal bank account (or vice versa). And if you're one and the same, then your personal assets are also the business's assets.

There's a lot to consider when it comes to travel agency financials and getting the foundations laid.

Don't worry, we walk you through all things having to do with your travel agency's financials :

  • what to consider when choosing your bank,
  • the documents you need to have ready for the bank,
  • what business credit cards are best,
  • the most common software travel agencies use for their bookkeeping, and
  • how to find a bookkeeper for your agency

setting up travel agency financials

8. Decide if a Host Agency Is Right for You

We mentioned host agencies at the very beginning of the article. And maybe you noticed the name of our site. We're big fans of host agencies for people starting a travel agency . . .but it's not for every agency out there.

That said, our travel advisor research reports continually show that new advisors almost always choose the host agency route.

Your next step is going to take a lot of research. You need to decide if you want to go with a host agency, franchise, or go independent.

Questions you might have:

  • How do you know if you should go with a host agency, travel agency franchise , or if you should be independent and get your own accreditation ?
  • How do you decide which travel consortium to join if you are independent?
  • How do you choose a host agency when there are 200+ listed on the site ?

Don't you worry, little bird, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, but we have answers to all these questions. :)

To start, check out our article, " The Top 10 Benefits of Using a Host Agency . " If you read that and decide a host agency is a good fit for you, you'll move on to our article on choosing a host agency and take a look at our best host agencies of 2024 .

Oh, and we've got a great tool for you to help narrow down your list of host agencies and/or travel franchises in our choosing a host agency article. It's a nifty spreadsheet to help you narrow down your top host agency picks ! 😊

9. Read our Home-Based Travel Agent Resources Page  

We put together a page with loads of links so you don't have to scour the web. Here she be, the Home-Based Travel Agent Resources page. 😊

Not only that, connecting with host agencies, travel franchises and consortia couldn't be easier! You can go directly to a host's profile to write them via Host Agency Reviews' Q&A feature. The beauty of this is that tons of agents will also get to learn from your question too!

How to ask a host agency a question

10. Sign up for HAR's 7 Day Setup Accelerator Course

Phew. That was list was a little overwhelming, wasn't it?

The fact is that there's a lot of groundwork that needs to take place in order to start a travel agency.  Wouldn't it be nice if someone with tons of experience who's helped over 10,000 agency get started could walk you through the setup?

We've got an option for that too! It's called our 7 Day Setup Accelerator course .

But don't take our word for it. Hear from some of our students on the value of bite-sized instructional videos, a supportive community, and access to the HAR team:

The course is written and taught by HAR Founder, Steph Lee, and professional Educator, Bridget Lee. It includes nine chapters with 70+ instructional videos, course quizzes, peer accountability, and monthly meet-ups with HAR members and industry experts. Check out HAR's 7DS Accelerator course below!!

7 Day Setup Accelerator Course

As you can see, there are lots of things to do as you start a travel agency from home. But we're here to offer you a TON of resources and support.

So take a deep breath and we'll do it step-by-step together!

Once you start your travel agency from home, you'll have lots of other things that will demand your attention so laying the proper groundwork as soon as you can is smart business. 

Starting a Travel Agency from Home: What to Expect Time-Wise

In general, it will take a few years to get your agency off the ground.  This is the case with nearly all entrepreneurial endeavors.

Our travel advisor research reports continually show that it typically takes about 3 years to really start generating a sustainable income.

Here's why it can take time to see the cash flow when you starting a travel agency:

  • It takes a while to build a client base and develop your brand
  • Even when you do make your first bookings, you're not paid commission until after your client completes their travel (or after final payment for some vendors). So, if you make 7 bookings in January but the clients aren't traveling until November, you can see how your first-year money might be tight.
  • Travel is something most people only do 1-2 times a year. Even with referrals and repeat clients, it can take a lot longer to build a steady business compared to a new restaurant or other service industries. 

Starting a Travel Agency from Home: What to Expect Money-Wise

And money. You probably want to know what you can expect when it comes to money and starting that travel agency from home, huh?! 😊

I hate to admit it but there is no one set answer. It depends on soooo many factors. The good news is that we were so curious to answer this question that we asked a few hundred new travel agents about their income in the first years of starting a travel agency.

Here's some hard data on travel agent income and travel agency start up costs in the first 5 years of business!

Even more travel agent income data

Want to dig into travel agent income data even more? Here's a great reading list that will give you an idea of what you might expect to earn when starting a travel agency: 

There's a lot of things to look forward to when it comes to a travel agent career . Check out our (free) annual event, Host Week , to get a flavor of what you can expect once you decide to start a travel agency.

The travel industry opens possibilities of traveling to beautiful places to help you do your job better. You'll get to attend things like FAM trips , ship inspections and go on site inspections. When you sell enough, you'll have access to travel agent rates .

All that said, it's important to understand that you still have to (*ahem*) work if you're a travel advisor- --you just get to have a lot more fun doing it than most people (yay)! :)

Questions? Ask Away.

I grew up in the travel industry and have I've worked with thousands of agents looking to start a travel agency. It's totally my jam. And it's not just my jam.

The entire HAR team is here to help you start (and grow) a successful travel agency. Ask us questions in the comments, drop us a line via email, or reach out to us on social. We love helping bring new people into our amazing industry! 🤗

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in July 2021. We updated this resource and republished it on publish date above.

About the Author

Steph Lee - Host Agency Reviews

Steph grew up in the travel industry, helping on and off with her mom's homebased travel agency. She has worked with thousands of agents in her role as a former host agency director before leaving in 2012 to start HAR. She's insatiably curious, loves her pups Fennec and Orion, and -- in case you haven't noticed -- is pretty quirky and free-spirited.

If you’re looking for Steph, she leaves a trace where ever she goes! You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn (her fav) and Pinterest as 'iamstephly'. 🙂 You can also catch her on her Substack, Bumblin' Around, where she writes on things outside the world of HAR.

Steph Lee - Host Agency Reviews

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How to start a travel agency

Written and reviewed by:.

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There’s no point beating around the bush – the travel industry was one of the biggest losers of the coronavirus pandemic.

Various lockdowns forced the nation to stay indoors, while holidaymakers were banned from travelling abroad. According to ABTA, a trade association for tour operators and travel agents in the United Kingdom, this has led to nearly 100,000 job losses in the sector.

However, from the ashes rises new life for the tourism sector. Market analysts have stated that post-Covid, holidays and experiences will be one of the most sought-after activities for the average traveler.

As a small travel agency, you won’t be able to compete with the bigger giants in terms of price, but you’ll be able to offer a more bespoke customer experience – perfect for the more selective needs of the post-pandemic consumer.

But how do you set up a new business in an industry that’s still recovering?

Our experts have been providing guidance for small business owners throughout the turmoil of the past 18 months. We’re here to help. In the below guide, we’ll take you through the current rules and regulations for setting up a travel firm, as well as the highlights, the pain points, and the support that’s available.

So buckle up your seatbelts as we set course for travel agency startup success.

There’s a huge amount of planning that needs to go into launching a travel agency. Thankfully, one area which needn’t cause undue stress is creating a website to promote your business. Thanks to modern templates like the one below , you can create one of your own in under an hour.

Travel Agency Website Template

At Startups.co.uk, we test and rate website builder tools, and we’ve identified Wix as one of the best you can choose for creating a business site. Wix even has a selection of  custom website templates designed specifically for travel agencies  – you simply drop your own company information, wording and preferred imagery into your chosen template. Better still, it’s completely  free to try  for yourself.

The steps toward starting a travel agency:

How has covid-19 affected the travel agency industry, the travel agency market: developing a niche or usp, costs to start a travel business, financing your travel agency, how much can i earn as a travel agent, travel agency trade associations, tips for travel agency success.

At Startups.co.uk, we’re here to help small UK businesses to get started, grow and succeed. We have practical resources for helping new businesses get off the ground – you can use the tool below to get started today.

What Does Your Business Need Help With?

Tourism and travel was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. As global borders closed, even the biggest airlines have lost millions as they struggled to cope with a near-complete loss of consumers and a lack of government support outside of the furlough scheme.

Indeed, according to ONS figures, monthly air passenger arrivals to the UK fell from almost 7 million in February 2020, to 112,300 in April 2020. That’s an unprecedented drop of 98.3%.

Thankfully, if you’re hoping to start a travel agency business  now , you’re jetting off at a much better point than the sector found itself at one year ago.

In the UK, coronavirus restrictions have lifted and air travel is once again permitted for tourism purposes. Plus, with the large number of government guidelines which are being constantly updated, many consumers are looking for a curated experience to help guide them through the challenges of PCR tests and vaccine passports.

How has COVID-19 changed holidaymakers’ behaviours?

Post-Covid, there will likely be a surge in travelling as people take advantage of airlines and train travel opening once again. Indeed, when the first announcement that lockdown restrictions would seen be lifted came, holiday bookings surged.

There are many reasons that the current demand could surpass previous tourism levels.

Psychologically, the coronavirus pandemic is leading many people to hunt for more experiences following 18 months of being stuck in one location, meaning many more consumers are getting itchy feet.

Remote working has also enabled people to travel much more than in previous years, as annual leave becomes more flexible and people can work from anywhere.

However, there are still concerns amongst some UK travelers that our soaring coronavirus cases might cause some countries to close their borders. This is making many people more wary about booking ahead.

Reassuring policies, such as refund protection, are therefore a good idea for new travel agencies.

Setting up as a travel agent shouldn’t be confused with being a tour operator.

The difference is that the former sells the holidays, while the latter organises them. It’s possible to set up as an independent tour operator but there is a lot of competition for big firms that have the buying power to keep prices lower. Travel agency ideas could include bespoke holidays on a particular theme or to a particular region – think about what will make you stand out.

Travel agencies are more about selling advice to your clients than holidays. Your customers want to be reassured about how they can hire a car, or what local customs they might need to adhere to.

Post-Covid, they’ll also want to know about whether they will need face masks, how long they need to self-isolate for. You should keep an eye on the gov.uk website for foreign travel and updates .

You don’t necessarily need to have experience of the industry. As with most things it may help, but the most important thing is to be prepared for a steep learning curve.

For added security, you may want to consider a travel agency franchise (examples include The Travel Franchise, The Global Travel Group and GoCruise).

It’s quite possible to start out as a travel agent from home with a desk, a laptop and a telephone line. You can start to build up a client base from among friends and family so it isn’t technically difficult to get started.

But you do need to think bigger than this if you want the business to survive. Competing on a local level or around the high street are both non-starters to a successful business. A truly local business won’t survive in such a changing market and the high street will bring you up against the big names. You need to open up to a national audience.

Look into an area that isn’t well served already by travel agents. If you can find no obvious reason for this and there is apparently a need for your business, set up there. Alternatively, start a business that isn’t office based and that provides something of a niche service.

Martin Jones started Freedom Direct on the back of Teletext rather than on the high street. Never intending to be a walk-in business, his main research was establishing links with the banks because he needed an £80,000 bond to start off. Links with a trade association will again help with things like this.

How much does it cost?

Premises:  If you’re starting from a secondary location rather than prime retail site, rent will obviously be reduced. As above, specialised travel services are more likely to work with you remotely so it matters less where you’re based. However, a remote – if cheaper – location may be a turn off when it comes to recruiting staff. This is not generally an industry where staff is highly paid but there is competition to recruit good people in the first place so additional perks may work well.

Staff:  Look for people who’ve worked in the industry before who’ll be attracted to the discounted holidays and offer them good working conditions. Roughly speaking, salaries are on a par with office work but as with all jobs you should expect to pay more for extra talents (such as languages) or experience.

Advertising:  Getting your name known is as important as in any new business. Local newspapers, yellow pages and Teletext are all good ways – although decent regular adverts aren’t cheap. Word of mouth is effective but be aware this isn’t an industry where repeat business necessarily follows. An established client base will pass on word of your excellent service to its friends but intense competition for price means people will always shop around – even if they end up coming back to you. You will have to constantly address and re-address service, quality and value for money and let people know about it.

Internet:  The buying public has grown used to shopping around online even though it doesn’t always want to buy online. Use the internet as an additional advertising or information tool to bring people in and answer basic questions. Then offer personal service and advice for their queries. That way both you and your potential clients save time and effort by having all information to hand when sorting out the details of the holiday. The web builders below are a great cost-saving option for any business that wants or needs a professional looking site.

Wix (web builder)

wix-logo-su

Squarespace (web builder MAIN)

Squarespace logo

To help itemise the costs needed for your travel agency business plan you may find it useful to download our free business plan template .

Setting up a travel agency takes money. You might be starting the business with the money you’ve saved; however, in many cases, people will raise capital to get started. Fortunately, there are a number of options available:

Startup loans – the Startup Loan company is a government backed scheme where you can borrow up to £25,000 with a fixed interest rate of 6% p.a.

Business loans – business loans are similar to a startup loan, except that they are not just for new businesses and don’t have the same caps.

The travel industry is commission-based so every time you sell a holiday for a tour operator they give you a percentage of the fee. This is where getting your name known will be important, though, as international tour operators aren’t going to offer an unknown business favourable rates. Commission varies a lot.

Striking an agreeable commission agreement will become easier once you are a member of a trade association – in fact they’re unlikely to look at you without. Travel agents don’t give out individual commission rates for obvious reasons but there is a general idea within the industry.

Minimum commissions start at around 10% but the high street names will be getting around 18%. So you’ll find it very difficult to compete if you are at the lower end of the scale.

Cash management is another issue of which you need to be aware. The customer will pay you a deposit on the holiday when they book it but the remaining amount won’t be paid until about eight weeks before date of departure. Only then will you receive your commission from the tour operator. However good cash management in the booking season of January and February will see you better off in the summer months.

Overall you need to be aware that being independent will not yield big money initially unless you can find a niche market that pays well. If you can find a consistent market for specialist holidays to far-flung destinations this may happen sooner.

The amount you earn really does depend on a simultaneous ability to sell to customers and to strike deals with the suppliers. So at the forefront is the need for excellent service to both of your customers: the holidaymakers and the tour operators.

Get the balance right and you might just have the ticket for success.

Trade associations are clearly important to the success of a travel business, if you want customer and industry confidence it seems you can’t really start up without one.

Global Travel Group  is specifically aimed at start up businesses, this association runs as a franchise to provide licensing and bonding to independent travel agencies. It provides support, IT booking system and national tour operator deals while allowing agencies to run as independent businesses under their own names.

  • Membership costs start from £14,995 plus VAT, with lifetime and lease options available
  • The agency owner is free to sell after three years with the membership passed on as an asset to the new owner
  • Also Global Travel Group will provide booking system technology as a part of the fee
  • for further information visit their  website .

ABTA  is the best known of the associations with the largest membership of agencies and tour operators. It will ensure you are taken very seriously from day one but as such its membership is exacting in its rules and not cheap. Start up companies may wish to progress to ABTA when they are more established.

  • Business must demonstrate a minimum paid-up share capital or proprietor’s/partners capital of around £30,000, but this is flexible
  • All members are required to provide a bond to reimburse clients in the event of the member’s financial failure
  • Registration fee of £330 plus VAT to be submitted with application form
  • And once offer of membership made, one off entrance of £1,200 plus VAT
  • Plus additional annual subscription fee, from £817 per year, depending on the size of the business

Look after your staff:   Reduced rate holidays will prove a powerful incentive to lots of people wanting to work in the travel industry. But you need to attract and retain good people who are interested in the work and who can communicate with customers and represent you business well. Offer training and incentives and if you can, pay above average salaries. You’ll be rewarded with loyalty in a competitive industry.

Have a national focus:   Although you may be a local independent travel agent it doesn’t mean you should have a narrow local focus. You need to appeal to a national audience to ensure success because the market changes so fast. A national focus will mean tour operators will be keener to deal with you and therefore your holiday selection will be more extensive.

When to go for profit:   Don’t look for profit in the first couple of years but go all out to make your name known and get as much business as possible. Once this is achieved you’ll have increased bargaining power for your commission rate and access to a greater number of holidays – and hopefully will be able to start looking at profit and budgeting.

Useful contacts

  • Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA)   www.abta.com
  • Air Travel Organiser’s Licensing (ATOL)  www.atol.org.uk
  • Global Travel Group  www.globaltravelgroup.com
  • Travel Trust Association (TTA)  www.traveltrust.co.uk

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January 10, 2019, the complete moscow startup city guide, by: anastasia borisova, published on: march 21, 2017.

Russia's capital Moscow is, despite stereotypes, a city developing its entrepreneurial identity. Find out what this city has to offer & what it takes to make it as a startup founder:

Moscow is a charming city that carries the image of several epochs of Russian history and surprises with the number of cultural events taking place during one single day. However, the recent years have made Moscow even more attractive as innovative projects have become the center of business attention and the ecosystem for startups began to grow.

Why Choose Moscow To Found Your Startup?

Being the capital, Moscow always had intensified business life. Now, it is even more saturated as young projects got new opportunities to develop. Let’s see how it happens and where to find support if you are one of those dreamers.

Advantages Of Building A Startup In Moscow:

  • Moscow is the economic center of Russia: forums and meetings take place here, people from different regions and companies can be found.
  • The Russian capital is proud of the saturation of its international connections – from a growing tourist flow to foreign companies departments.
  • It is a modern megacity with proper infrastructure (for instance, free WiFi is available in the streets and on public transport) and a large population (more than 12 million in 2016).
  • Moscow is an educational center. There are a lot of young people with a strong background and passion for changing the world. Sometimes they are ready to wfork for experience only. What’s more, the universities of Moscow create business incubators and offer special business courses.
  • The determination to develop highly innovative industries in Russia is shared by the government and businesses.
  • In general, prospective (or cool) business ideas are the matter of great public interest. Business is the major topic for a lot of media outlets.

What Founders Have To Consider:

  • Networking events are mostly in Russian. It doesn’t mean members of the community don’t speak English (most likely, they do), but the majority of services is in Russian.
  • The attitude towards new projects is rather cautious, though it is really changing now. But still, they often choose a less risky project as a partner (“They don’t believe in startups in Russia!”, entrepreneurs often say).
  • Many founders only rely on their own resources, connections, and skills instead of using special services for new projects.

Though there is a strong belief that founding a startup in Moscow would be very challenging, this perception is changing now. Capital owners learn to work with new small projects, founders learn to communicate with each other and to use available opportunities more efficiently. What is more, there will be no lack of innovations in Moscow as the availability of scientific centers makes the city very potent in constantly providing business with new technologies and ideas for products.

Dive Into Moscow’s Startup Community

The Complete Moscow Startup City Guide

Moscow startup community is represented by young scientists and entrepreneurs on the one side and professional businessmen, coaches, consultants, and experts on the other side. The life of the community is rather rich, it is hardly possible to attend all the meetings and events, but they are really worth visiting. Try the following pages to find them.

Find Info About Upcoming Events, Meetups & Other Occasions:

  • Moscow State University Business Incubator has a very useful news page. Follow them on Facebook or on Vkontakte (which is a Russian social network) to find local events and competitions.
  • Rusbase Media has an online calendar with events of innovations industry taking place across Russia.
  • The state web-portal ‘ Moscow Small Business ’ collects information about upcoming lectures, conferences, and workshops in one calendar.
  • Digital October has an interesting event-list as the place holds educational courses and events for innovative projects. They sometimes have series of weekend educational events devoted to a field of development (e.g. Blockchain Weekend , BioTech Weekend )
  • DI Telegraph is a space for educational and business forums, conferences and lectures.

Media Outlets For Startups:

  • Vc.ru media (created on basis of popular Russian media about IT ‘Zuckerberg will call’) publishes startup news in a separated section, covering interesting (or successful) ideas for projects and business events.
  • Firrma is a media outlet for technological and venture business. There you’ll find announcements of upcoming events and opinions or comments from leading people of different industries.
  • Inc.Russia has special sections for business ideas (‘To invent’) and successful startup stories (‘To take up’).
  • Spark is an online platform for small business communication and exchanging experience. This is where one can find advice or even partners.

Major Events, Festivals Or Conferences:

  • Open Innovations Startup Tour is organized every year to find promising projects in different cities of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Participants attend workshops, make appointments with mentors and investors and compete for receiving an invitation to Startup Village.
  • Startup Village is an international yearly technological conference for investors, startups, and innovators taking place in Skolkovo . In 2017 the event is planning to attract more than 20,000 participants with 4,000 startups and 1,500 investors.
  • Open Innovations Forum takes place every autumn and is aimed at promoting technological development, enhancing collaboration in innovative business and exchanging experience.
  • Russian Internet Forum and the Conference of the Internet and Business is the major event in the sphere of digital communications in Russia. It is traditionally held as a three-day activity taking place in a holiday residence near Moscow where participants share their views on the development of the Russian digital industry and the Russian Internet.
  • Startup Cup Russia is a part of the global Startup Cup Competition. Projects participate to get feedback from mentors, consulting assistance and financial support.
  • The Startup Of The Year Award from RosBusinesConsulting (RBC) is given to the best projects chosen by both, open public vote and experts’ opinion.
  • The Higher School of Economics holds its’ own Startup Of The Year Award ceremony. They elect best companies in 4 categories: FinTech, hardware, socially important project and global project.

Volunteering Possibilities:

  • Mosvolunteer is an organization connecting managers for meetings, conferences, etc., and those willing to participate in preparation and holding of the events. Mosvolunteer sometimes needs volunteers for business events (Startup Village in 2015 was held with their help ).
  • Check the official pages of the events if you want to attend, they often seek volunteers and publish all the information for possible participation.

Volunteering is quite a common type of collaboration in Moscow so never hesitate and offer your help to event managers or startup founders (even if they don’t look for volunteers, try writing them a letter). People of the sphere will appreciate your determination and interest in their activity.

Choose One Of Moscow’s Coworking Spaces

The Complete Moscow Startup City Guide

As renting an office can turn out to be expensive for small companies (frankly speaking, Moscow is an expensive city not for small companies only), coworking spaces are very popular with startup founders. Residents appreciate the variety of services, round-the-clock access, pleasant atmosphere and the community of creative people that can be found in coworking spaces.

  • #tceh is not simply coworking – it is a place for business courses and useful contacts as well. Founders sometimes meet their investors there or use it as ‘feedback’ facility to discuss their projects with experts. What is more, #tceh enjoys the collaboration with Fund for Internet Initiatives Development .
  • StartHub is a coworking center located in one of the creative centers of Moscow – ‘Flacon’ design-factory. The venue is very popular with artists, designers, and filmmakers because of its’ unusual atmosphere of a former factory. ‘Flacon’ is a symbol of creativity and new approaches towards a common process. A swimming pool, a canteen, and a fitness center are located close to StartHub.
  • Coworking 2.0 was created for both freelancers and young projects. Depending on each resident’s needs, this place offers different sets of services (for instance, a resident can rent a working space for 24/7 access during a whole month or make several reservations for the meeting room only) which allows to be economical and not to pay for unneeded facilities.
  • Work Station has several venues in Moscow. The most famous of them is located at Gorky Park and in summer they open terrace for residents. Another center of Work Station, the biggest of all, is located on the Dmitrovskaya metro station and has a capsular hotel and free breakfasts.
  • Arma Coworking holds business meetings and lectures. Residents can choose to rent a mini-office or simply use the coworking space. Arma is proud of the atmosphere of the place created by the local architecture, residents, and staff.
  • DI Telegraph Coworking is located in the very center of Moscow on Tverskaya Street and has many successful VC, media, IT, and educational projects among its residents.

Get Investment In Moscow

The Complete Moscow Startup City Guide

Moscow enjoys the role of the financial center so many companies and private investors do business here. Besides, government and commercial organizations are interested in innovative projects and create special supporting programs. There are many possibilities to get investment at any stage of the project development.

Incubators:

  • The Higher School of Economics Business Incubator provides two types of programs for startups. Residential program HSE{pro} offers working space and assistance from tax advisory to PR-support. It has been the starting point for successful Russian startups (for instance, TimePad ). The educational program HSE{goods} was designed for those planning to open a social business project. It can help even if the idea of the project is not yet clearly articulated. The fees for incubator services can be delayed in case the resident is a HSE employee or student. HSE itself is known for reinforcing the collaboration between the scientific community, business and government.
  • The Plekhanov Russian University of Economics Incubator supports business teams at early stages or helps realize elaborated ideas in IT, new materials, gadgets, smart house systems and robotics. University students and graduates should represent at least 50% of the team to enter the incubator.
  • Strogino TechnoPark is the venue for innovative projects at any stage. It has coworking, pre-incubator and incubator programs and a prototyping center. Companies at the stage of expansion or growth can become residents of TechnoPark to construct laboratories or production. The major advantage of being a member of Strogino TechnoPark is gaining access to governmental support as the center is working in strong partnership with Business departments of Moscow authorities .
  • Branch Agricultural Business Incubator in Timiryazev Russian State Agrarian University provides agrarian innovative projects with laboratories, science research equipment and coworking spaces. It also attracts investment and expertise. By the end of 2016, there were many interesting projects among the residents of the center, for instance, an online shop delivering weekly sets of local farm products by subscription .
  • MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations) created completely free incubator for students and graduates. The program has already helped several companies to successfully enter the local market; one of them is Octa Smart Food, the products of which are now sold online and in several stores in Moscow.

Accelerators:

  • SKOLKOVO Startup Academy is an educational facility for founders at any stage. There will be lectures, meetings with business coaches and opportunities to find investment. Entering the community of Skolkovo can be very beneficial as funds, laboratories, consulting services, educational centers and many other business facilities are located there.
  • Future Fintech offers an acceleration program for startups in financial and blockchain technologies, information security, payment instruments, banking and insurance services. They are looking for projects introducing software, marketing, technical or analytical products. Future Fintech attracts practicing specialists in the field to collaborate with residents’ projects and helps to find financial support.
  • Internet Initiatives Development Fund offers an accelerator program for IT-companies that already have created a product and started sales. Each team will come through individually focused consulting services working full-day in the accelerator space. After the program is done, the best companies will have an opportunity to participate in a Demoday and present their products before potential investors and partners. Participants can choose to pay for the program or to give a share in their company as payment.
  • GenerationS is an accelerator program containing several stages from online pre-accelerator to final competition of all participating projects. The results of the pitch session at the competition define the best companies, which then share Grand Prix fund (the fund is said to constitute 15 million rubles or about 242.000 EUR). GenerationS welcomes participants from many fields of innovations: smart city, creative industries, life science, finance and banking technologies, etc.
  • Disruptive has been created by MetaBeta founder and ex-CEO, Dmitry Maslennikov after MetaData founders decided to work separately in 2016. The new program is considered to be more than an accelerator. Though Disruptive doesn’t provide investment, it offers startups help with finding the needed specialists, a marketing strategy or anything the project misses. The company also hires people willing to bring powerful startups to life.
  • Territory is accelerating program in the sphere of production which gives access to an ecosystem consisting of an accelerator, a design center and an investment company. The goal of Territory’s activity is to help implement manufacturing innovative ideas in prototypes and small-scale production, with an eye to further large-scale production and sales.

Grants & Subventions:

  • Innovation Assistance Fund provides investment for research and implementation of innovations. Their Umnik program offers the opportunity to get grants (up to 500.000 RUB or about 8000 EUR) for young scientists developing ideas for projects in IT, medicine of the future, materials, apparatus and bio. The Start program supports startups at early stages. New innovative companies can obtain up to 5 million rubles (80.000 EUR). The supporting plan consists of two parts and two years: during the first year, a team completes research in their field and then, during the second step, the project can receive part of needed investment from the Innovation Assistant Fund (in case the team manages to find some other sources as well).
  • The Skolkovo Fund Granting Program offers many investment opportunities. The preferred fields of projects are energy preservation and efficiency, nuclear technology, space technology and telecommunication, biomedical technology, strategic computer technology and software.
  • The Moscow State Department of Science, Industrial Policy, and Entrepreneurship has created a lot of possibilities for small business development by providing subventions. Besides, there is a chance of getting a low-interest loan from the Venture Investment Development Fund for startups that already get finance help from a private investor. The amount of the loan can be up to two times the amount of the received private investment.
  • Innovative Entrepreneurship Support Fund of the Higher School of Economics holds yearly competitions for startup projects. There can be up to five winners and each can get up to 700.000 rubles (about 11.000 EUR) to implement their ideas or be given consulting assistance from invited experts.

Crowd Investing Platforms:

  • Planeta.ru , by its’ own estimation, has helped to collect more than 589 million rubles (or more than 9.500.000 EUR) by March 2017 (the project started in June 2012). It is one of the earliest and most successful crowd funding platforms in Russia. The project now also provides PR, promotion and education services. Planeta.ru withholds from 10% to 15% of the successfully collected sum (except for charity projects when the fee is not taken).
  • BoomStarter is the crowd funding platform which helps to attract investment for new projects. According to BoomStarter’s rules, the goal of the money collection should be clearly defined and fit one of the 15 set categories created by the platform founders. The fee for the use of the service constitutes 5% of collected sum and is only charged if the needed sum was gained. Apart from the fee, payment systems would withdraw another 5% of the sum and the tax would be collected.

Angel Investors:

  • The National Business Angels Association unites Russian regional angels’ communities connecting startups with investors and helping to develop the venture investment industry in Russia.
  • The Private Capital National Business Angel Network helps to find finance and to organize the presentation of the projects for potential investors withholding 5% of the successfully invested sum.

Venture Capital Investors:

  • Internet Initiatives Development Fund selects best companies completing its accelerating program and provides an opportunity to get up to 25 million rubles (400.000 EUR) for project development.
  • Altair Fund invests in projects at early stages in mobile and IT spheres.
  • Moscow Seed Fund – a co-investment fund of Moscow, is providing additional finance for technology innovation projects in case they obtain support from other investors.
  • Starta Capital was founded in 2011 in Moscow and now also has a department and an accelerating program in New York. The company provides investment for technological projects.
  • The Untitled Ventures collaborate with cloud technology startups with an already elaborated product. The company has also created The Untitled club of private investors for co-financing projects.
  • Bright Capital is a venture capital company with the main focus on CleanTech, BioTech, IT, and telecom projects. Bright Capital supports projects from all over the world and invests at any stage of a company’s development.
  • Addventure Fund is the former holder of Delivery Club – a successful Russian startup project that introduced a platform for food delivery.

Other Investment Opportunities:

  • The Russian Venture Company does not invest itself but unites many venture investment providers from different spheres. A special form will help projects to find a fund among investors of RVC depending on the project’s field, goals and needs.
  • RusNano works as a co-investor, financing in high-tech production chains or technologies at early stages. The projects applying for support should be nanotech-related and Russia based.
  • StartTrack is a platform that helps investors in finding startups and helps projects in finding investment. The platform was created with the support of Internet Initiatives Development Fund . Using StartTrack is beneficial for both investors and startups as each new member of the platform is carefully checked. Entering projects should provide business development indicators and update them each month.
  • Pipeline is an online service of Rusbase that allows entering a network and finding an investor from the partners of Rusbase. The company also organizes meetings with investors in Speed Dating format which lets investors get to know several projects during one evening and gives startups a chance to be presented to many potential investors.
  • ToWave is one more online platform for investors and startups with many successful venture funds on the list of investors.
  • Start2Up is an advertising service bringing together those who need investment and those who look for a project or look for partners to start a new business. There are a lot of advertisements from different regions of Russia.

As one of Moscow startup founders said, “Despite the wide-spread prejudice, a project with a good idea would be able to find investment in Moscow”.

Seek Further Advice In Moscow

The Complete Moscow Startup City Guide

  • MSU Science Park provides assistance and consulting at any stage and lends spaces for technology innovations companies.
  • The Innovative Navigator around Moscow can help to find an incubator or learn about the support a new project can get from authorities.
  • Moscow Small Business web-portal can be useful for checking tax regime, possibilities for getting subventions and working spaces in Moscow. Moreover, the organization provides advisory for entrepreneurs concerning starting and running a business in the city.

So be brave and join the community of people breaking stereotypes. Moscow is a city that challenges you to make the world better and, as you see, the chance of improving the world is real!

_______________________

The guides are like startup communities – they constantly change and grow. Make sure to check for updates and if you have something to add to one of them or want to publish one for your city, get in touch right away ! And don’t forget to enrich the startup ecosystem by creating your company profile at StartUs!

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Open Business in Russia. The method for forming a business in Russia

How much does it cost to open a business in russia, the method for forming a business in russia, starting a company in russia, steps for registering a business in russia, how much time does it take to establish a business in russia, the benefits of doing business in the russian federation, russian federation’s high-priority business sectors, foreign personnel employed in russia, visas for doing business in russia, social customs and manners.

Russia has one of the largest economies in the world as well as a significant domestic market. Foreign investors interested in establishing a business in the nation are drawn to the country’s economic potential. The nation has many special economic zones that attract investment in industries like industrial production, research and development, logistics, and tourism.

Doing business in Russia may entail adhering to new rules, registering in the Russian company register, and collaborating with or competing with Russian enterprises. This article will help you understand the process of launching a business in Russia.

Tired of the never-ending cycle of looking for a job just to add to your resume? Maybe now is the time to go out on your own and establish your own business.

What do you need to know and what do you need to do if you are a foreign individual or corporation wishing to start actively conducting business in Russia? What alternatives do you have for structuring your business?

The cost is determined by the type of business: individual entrepreneurship (IP) is the simplest and cheapest. The only expense is the state registration charge of 800 rubles (€9). Creation of a seal and the establishment of a bank account for individual entrepreneur are optional.

Despite the simplicity of the procedure, it would be advisable to consult with an expert. Incorrect document preparation, faults in completing or legalization might not only prolong the registration procedure but also incur needless fees.

In Russia, forming a limited liability company Moscow corporation (LLC) is substantially more expensive. Minimum permitted capital – 10 000 rubles (€105), state registration fee – 4 000 rubles (€42), manufacture of the seal – € 30-40, notary services – around € 300 and additional charges for the legal address – €550 for 6 months.

The LLC registration process currently takes 3-5 working days. However, if there are many documents and foreign firms or citizens act as founders, the production of documentation might take up to a month or longer.

Services for LLC registration start at € 1000, depending on the task’s complexity.

When forming a joint-stock company, you should also pay for the allowed capital (at least 100 000 rubles if the JSC is public) and the issuance of shares. The state duty on securities issued is 0.2% of the nominal value, but not more than 200 000 rubles.

Buying an existing running firm is another option for beginning a business in Russia. Typically, they are authorized capital shares or whole LLCs. The purchase of such a business starts at € 1000 + notary services + state duty for making changes to the register. A corporation having a “business history” will be substantially more expensive.

The LLC in Russia gains the status of a business with foreign involvement after acquiring a portion of the authorized capital. This implies that its operations will be governed by foreign investment regulations. This enables foreign enterprises participating in the realization of priority projects, in particular, to import means of production with large customs benefits.

An investor can form a single proprietorship, a partnership (limited or general), or a corporation (limited liability or a joint stock company). Foreign firms can also establish a branch or a representative office.

The government offers numerous incentives to new businesses. In reality, distinct entities, such as the Foreign Investment Advisory Council, ensure the relationship between the government and the corporate market. A number of organizations were established to assist the establishment of new businesses, including the Investment Fund of Russia, the Development Bank of Russia (Vnesheconombank), and the Russian Agricultural Bank. Special Economic Zones were established to encourage investors to establish a business here.

If you want to open a company but are unable to be present in Russia, our lawyers in Russia will assist you with the entire registration procedure under power of attorney. They can also help you if you want to go to Russia.

If you are an individual or a firm considering opening a business in Russia, there are several factors to consider and procedures to follow. You should start with the basics, such as if you may lawfully operate a business in Russia.

Before going on to practical matters such as choosing a legal structure, drafting documentation, entering the Russian company register, and creating a Russian bank account for your firm, you must first have a viable business concept.

Foreign investors who wish to start businesses in Russia must take the following procedures, regardless of the type of business:

  • application form P11001;
  • the Articles of Association of the LLC;
  • the resolution/minutes to create the company;
  • guarantee letter with the company’s address;
  • receipt of payment of state duty;
  • notification of the transition to a simplified taxation system (if necessary).
  • Sign and notarize application form, if founder is abroad – also apostille or legalize it at Russian consulate.
  • File for registration of company via Russian notary or directly to registration body. If founder is abroad – it is possible to file by representative under power of attorney.
  • obtain company’s seal;
  • sign a rental agreement for a registered address for the company;
  • open a bank account into which the share capital will be deposited;
  • start doing accounting.

When establishing a business in Russia, the following processing times must be taken into account:

  • creating the legal documents – 1 business day.
  • registration of company – 2 to 5 business days
  • obtaining a company seal – 4 to 7 business days.

1. Immigration situation

The first step for a foreigner looking to start a business in Russia is to ensure that your immigration status enables you to do so. Will you require a business or work visa, as well as a resident permit? For additional information about business visas in Russia, see the section below.

2. Business strategy for doing business in Russia

Second, do you have a viable idea and have you investigated the market to determine whether your business would succeed in Russia? Before embarking on any company endeavor, it’s a good idea to create a business plan that answers all of the issues regarding whether your business concept can not only get off the ground but also survive in the long run. Successful Russian entrepreneurs understand that while having an innovative concept is great, not all company ideas thrive in practice, thus solid planning is essential.

Download business plan templates and examine example business plans from a variety of sectors from a website like this one. You might also visit a website that maps companies in Russia, such as this one. The webpage may be searched by company category or name.

3. Legal framework

If you can start a business in Russia and are convinced that your business concept will succeed, the next step is to choose a legal structure for your company. The section on Russian business kinds below contains information on the various possibilities.

4. Selecting a firm name and address

You must select an appropriate firm name for your Russian business (ensuring that it is not already registered) as well as an address to register your Russian business at.

5. Documents establishing the foundation

According to Russian law, the foundation documents must be created by the company’s founders (charter and resolution/minutes on incorporation). The procedure will differ according on the legal structure you pick, but it should involve the following:

  • complete company name (plus any abbreviation it will use in business transactions)
  • the names and signatures of the company’s founders, as well as the number and kind of shareholder contributions (cash or in-kind)

6. Filing to the Russian registration body

Once the company forms are completed, incorporate your Russian firm by submitting to the Federal Tax Service (FTS) registration office following documents:

  • documents on founder (a copy of the passport of a foreign citizen/extract from trade register on founder – foreign company with a notarized translation into Russian)
  • completed application form № P11001;
  • articles of association of LLC;
  • the resolution/minutes on creation of a company;
  • receipt of payment of the state fee;
  • power of attorney (if necessary);

Foreign founders from unfriendly countries, when applying to a notary to open an LLC, should also provide permission from the government commission of the Ministry of Finance to register an LLC.

Signature on application form and power of attorney should be notarized, if founder is abroad – apostilled or legalized. 

After receiving these papers, the FTS takes a decision within three working days. They can either accept or reject registration – article 23 of Federal Law No. 129-FZ contains a list of grounds for denial.

Within 3 business days after submitting your application, you will get the following documents:

  • the Certificate of tax registration with Tax Identification Number
  • articles of association of company
  • extract from the Company State Register with main registration number

7. Create a business seal

This is the company’s official logo, which was created by a professional firm. Following a change in the legislation in 2015, company seals are no longer a legal necessity in Russia, yet many Russian enterprises still maintain seals.

8. Open a bank account to do business in Russia

You can create a Russian business bank account once you have received all of the appropriate documentation from the FTS. To create a business account in Russia, you will need the following:

  • Foundation documents – articles of association
  • Extract from the Company State Register with main registration number
  • The resolution/minutes on the establishment of the LLC
  • Certificate of tax registration
  • Decision on election, order on appointment or other document confirming the powers of the head of the company.
  • A card with a sample seal and signatures of all persons who will have access to current accounts and will be able to dispose of the money in the accounts of the company.
  • Powers of attorney or orders for all employees indicated on the signature card (if necessary)
  • Passport of the manager and employees indicated in the signature card – for RF citizens. The requirements for non-residents’ identity documents should be clarified with the bank.

After you have accomplished these processes, you are free to begin running your Russian firm, which will surely include a lot of organization, marketing, and so on. This is when the real work begins!

Despite the indications of crisis, national currency depreciation, commodity dependency of the Russian economy, and several other challenges, including bureaucratic obstacles, the Russian Federation remains appealing to international investors. Their volume fluctuated unevenly throughout the past decade, yet there are logic and regularity patterns in this. For example, $74.7 billion in foreign capital was invested in the Russian economy in 2008. In light of this, the 2017 indications appear small – only $28 billion. However, there were apparent failures, such as in 2015, when foreign investment barely surpassed $6,8 billion.

For 2022 amount of foreign investment reached $53 billion. This obviously demonstrates that foreign cash is progressively returning to Russia today — investment attractiveness is increasing. However, a foreigner establishing a corporation in Russia must also examine aspects of the Russian economy and legal system. The following are some arguments in favor of establishing a business in the Russian Federation:

  • The departure of foreign money has significantly “thinned” the business climate. This “sanitary clearance” lowered market rivalry significantly. Actually, it did not occur in profitable areas of economic activity; legislative liberalization. Foreign money is given a local legal framework — identical to that of Russians, and in addition, legislation ensures investment protection, the possibility of their easy withdrawal to native land, and so on; target market.
  • The Russian Federation’s population is nearing 150 million people, and there are many significant cities in Russia: for example, the population of St. Petersburg is four times that of Estonia; altogether, Russian businesspeople lack professionalism. A foreign businessman producing a high-quality product/service at an inexpensive price will be ahead of the competition; the ease and low cost of company registration in Russia will, of course, pale in comparison to New Zealand and Singapore, but cheap labor expenses — the average pay in the Russian Federation is under $750, therefore many Chinese firms have already relocated their producing capacity to Russia;
  • unlike many other nations, the opportunity to own the complete firm rather than just a portion of it.

Because the crisis had altered Russians’ cost structures, several previously viable niches of continuing business on Russian Federation territory had been significantly diminished. Taking into account market circumstances, the following are the most popular sectors for beginning a small business today:

  • Food expenditures in the budget section have steadily increased in comparison to 2014-2018; transportation sector — from public transportation organization to automobile services and car washes. For example, in the previous five years, Muscovites’ transportation prices have climbed by 93%.
  • real estate The demand for warehouse real estate surged by 15% in 2019. Residential real estate is gradually decreasing in price, therefore an increase in demand is projected shortly.
  • IT-sector — one of the most rapidly increasing industries, with the advantage of relatively inexpensive labor costs when compared to foreign professionals;
  • The service sector — which is driven by the demands of the populace — remains at the top.

Foreign citizen should get a work permit from the Migration office and work visa to work in Russia.

To become self-employed you will need to acquire a residence permit. Non-residents may own open company in Russia without even coming to Russia.

Hospitality is a Russian virtue, and you see a totally different side of Russians at home than you see at work. It is an honor to be welcomed to a Russian house, and there are several norms to follow while visiting for the first time:

  • When invited, bring a gift. Wine, cake, chocolates, and flowers are popular gifts. Flowers should be offered in odd numbers, and yellow roses, which represent separation, should be avoided.
  • Avoid shaking hands or kissing over the threshold of the door because it brings ill luck. Before shaking hands, remove your gloves. Before entering the home, remove your shoes.
  •  Both the guest and the host should dress appropriately.
  • Traditionally, a visitor will be led to a table packed with food and beverages as soon as they arrive, however elements of ‘European’ behavior are becoming more apparent. At the table, you should actively engage in the dialogue.
  • Accept all types of food and beverages. Russians like their beverages; if you decline, do so politely.
  • Russians have a distinctive toasting style. Participate and learn it, just like you should while entertaining.
  • The host will frequently talk about his trips, favorite things, or accomplishments. They may even bring out family photos. Make sure to express your gratitude. More often than not, it is a means of opening up to a visitor. Russians are terrific satirists and can handle criticism.
  • Dinners are typically held late into the night, with a lot of drinking and loud chatting. Expect nothing in the way of niceties. Remember, the best of the home is on the table; treat it with care.

Despite various obstacles, Russia remains an attractive investment destination for foreign money, as evidenced by:

Simple business company registration in Moscow  and relatively cheap costs of this procedure; low-cost labor and a range of new markets; and the potential of using a streamlined taxation system.

Another advantage is that foreigners are subject to the same rules as Russians. It is sufficient to get a work permit and work visa for 3 years — and then you may be director of your own business.

The Russian Federation, like any other civilized country, does not restrict foreigners legitimately residing in the country from conducting business. Furthermore, in order to attract international investment, foreigners must follow the same regulations as Russians. There are, however, subtleties. We went through them in further depth.

The cost is determined on the type of business: a limited liability business (LLC), joint-stock company (JSC) or individual entrepreneurship (IP)

Although it may be seen as a country that presents certain challenges, Russia continues to implement policies that encourage foreign investments, particularly in business fields like innovation or technology.

Open Business in Russia. The method for forming a business in Russia

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Watch CBS News

Is Trump going to prison? What to know about the possible sentence after his conviction

By Kaia Hubbard

Updated on: May 30, 2024 / 9:25 PM EDT / CBS News

Washington — Former President Donald Trump was found guilty  on all charges in his New York "hush money" trial on Thursday, and the judge will soon determine whether a former president should be imprisoned for a felony conviction for the first time.

Trump was found guilty of falsifying business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence before the 2016 presidential election. The jury in Manhattan returned its guilty verdict after a trial that stretched six weeks and featured more than 20 witnesses. 

Each of the 34 felony charges carries up to a $5,000 fine and four-year prison sentence. But whether Trump will go to prison is another question — one that's up to the judge at sentencing.

When will Trump be sentenced?

The judge set a July 11 date for sentencing following the jury's verdict on Thursday. 

The timing is in line with similar white-collar felony cases, where sentencing often takes place anywhere from three to eight weeks after conviction, according to Dan Horwitz, a defense lawyer who formerly prosecuted white-collar cases for the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

The sentencing will happen four days before the start of the Republican National Convention.

What to expect from sentencing

The minimum sentence for falsifying business records in the first degree is zero, so Trump could receive probation or conditional discharge, a sentence of no jail or up to four years for each offense. Trump would likely be ordered to serve the prison time concurrently for each count, so up to four years, total. 

"The judge could sentence him to anything between zero and the max," Horwitz said. "So he could sentence him to a period of months in jail, he could sentence him to a period of weeks in jail, he could sentence him to a sentence where he is required, for example, to go to jail every weekend for a period of time and then serve the rest of the sentence on probation."

In an analysis of comparable cases brought by the Manhattan district attorney's office, Norm Eisen, who has written a book about Trump's 2020 election-related federal indictment and served as special counsel in the first impeachment of the former president, found that about 10% resulted in imprisonment. But the circumstances surrounding the case make any across-the-board comparison difficult. 

Trump could also be sentenced to home detention, where he would wear an ankle bracelet and be monitored rather than going to jail. Horwitz suggested that a home detention sentence, which walks a middle ground between no punishment and a stint in state prison, might be the most likely outcome. It would also satisfy Trump's unusual security and political situation. 

A home detention sentence would also make it possible for Trump to continue campaigning — albeit virtually — with the ability to hold news conferences and remain active on social media. Throughout the trial, Justice Juan Merchan stressed the importance of allowing Trump the ability to campaign and exercise his First Amendment rights as he seeks another term in the White House. But it's just part of the equation that the judge must weigh in his decision. 

What will the judge consider in Trump's sentencing?

There are a number of factors that the court can take into consideration for sentencing, including the nature and extent of the conduct, who was hurt, whether there are victims, and acceptance of responsibility, Horwitz said. Trump has repeatedly denied any guilt in the case.

"Courts will credit a defendant who pleads guilty by accepting responsibility for their conduct, as opposed to not accepting responsibility going into trial and getting convicted," Horwitz added, saying that "the sentence after a trial because you didn't accept responsibility is more stringent than it would have otherwise been."

A defendant's conduct during the trial may also play a role, so Trump's repeated violation of Merchan's gag order may be a significant factor in his sentencing. During the trial, Trump was accused over a dozen times of violating a gag order preventing him from making public comments about likely witnesses, jurors, attorneys and court staff involved in the case. 

Trump's sentencing may also be complicated by the lifetime Secret Service protection that he's afforded as a former president. The issue came up during the trial, when the judge held Trump in contempt for violating a gag order . Though Trump faced multiple fines, the judge expressed that jailing Trump was "the last thing I want to do" because it would have disrupted the trial and presented challenges for the Secret Service agents tasked with protecting the former president. 

"Today's outcome has no bearing on the manner in which the United States Secret Service carries out its protective mission," the Secret Service said in a statement provided to CBS News following the verdict. "Our security measures will proceed unchanged."  

Trump's imprisonment would likely need to include a rotation of Secret Service officers, and he would need to be isolated from other inmates. The former president's food and personal items would likely need to be screened for his protection, among other logistical considerations. 

"For all settings around the world, we study locations and develop comprehensive and layered protective models that incorporate state of the art technology, protective intelligence and advanced security tactics to safeguard our protectees," Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service's chief of communications, said before the verdict. 

No U.S. prison has ever previously had to deal with the possible imprisonment of a former president. Horwitz said there are mechanisms for inmates in protective custody at state correctional facilities and jails, but how the process would actually work remains to be seen. 

After Trump's conviction on Thursday, the Secret Service said in a new statement that "today's outcome has no bearing on the manner in which the United States Secret Service carries out its protective mission. Our security measures will proceed unchanged."  

Where could Trump be imprisoned?

Should Trump be sentenced to a period of home detention, the former president could carry out the sentence outside of New York, for instance, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where New York state would coordinate with Florida's probation department, which would monitor Trump's confinement, Horwitz said. 

In the event that Trump is sentenced to jail time, the location would depend on the duration of his sentence.

If Trump faces more than one year in jail, New York law requires that his sentence be served in a New York penal facility. But if his sentence is shorter than a year, it would be served in a New York City correctional facility, such as Rikers Island. 

What comes next? 

Trump could seek to stay the execution of any sentence pending appeal, meaning that he wouldn't have to start serving the sentence until an appeals court makes a decision, which is not uncommon in white collar cases in New York federal courts, Horwitz said. The move could delay any jail time until the election — or even beyond.

In any case, though possible imprisonment raises some hurdles for Trump's presidential campaign, his conviction does not restrict him from continuing to run — even if he's behind bars.

Olivia Rinaldi and Jake Rosen contributed reporting.

  • Donald Trump

Kaia Hubbard is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital, based in Washington, D.C.

More from CBS News

Watch Live: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to deliver remarks after Trump conviction

Congressional Republicans stick by Trump after conviction

What to know about Trump's conviction in his "hush money" case

Biden campaign warns: "Convicted felon or not," Trump could still be president

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Advertisement

Trump Has Been Convicted. Here’s What Happens Next.

Donald J. Trump has promised to appeal, but he may face limits on his ability to travel and to vote as he campaigns for the White House.

  • Share full article

Donald J. Trump in a dark suit, red tie and white shirt.

By Jesse McKinley and Maggie Astor

  • May 30, 2024

The conviction of former President Donald J. Trump on Thursday is just the latest step in his legal odyssey in New York’s court system. The judge, Juan M. Merchan, set Mr. Trump’s sentencing for July 11, at which point he could be sentenced to as much as four years behind bars, or to probation.

It won’t stop him from running for president, though: There is no legal prohibition on felons doing that . No constitutional provision would stop him even from serving as president from a prison cell, though in practice that would trigger a crisis that courts would almost certainly have to resolve.

Voting — for himself, presumably — could be more complicated still. Mr. Trump is registered in Florida, which requires felons to complete their full sentence, including parole or probation, before regaining voting rights. With Election Day just months away, it seems unlikely that he could fulfill his sentence before then, whatever it is.

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The Trump Manhattan Criminal Verdict, Count By Count

Former President Donald J. Trump faced 34 felony charges of falsifying business records, related to the reimbursement of hush money paid to the porn star Stormy Daniels in order to cover up a sex scandal around the 2016 presidential election.

But if he is on probation come Election Day, a provision of Florida’s law might apply New York’s more lenient standards — which allow felons to vote on probation as long as they’re not in prison — because New York is where the conviction happened. The Florida secretary of state’s office did not respond to requests on Thursday to confirm Mr. Trump’s eligibility status. If he’s in prison, though, he would be disenfranchised in either state.

Mr. Trump will almost certainly appeal, after months of criticizing the case and attacking the Manhattan district attorney, who brought it, and Justice Merchan, who presided over his trial.

Long before that appeal is heard, however, Mr. Trump will be enmeshed in the gears of the criminal justice system.

A pre-sentencing report makes recommendations based on the defendant’s criminal record — Mr. Trump had none before this case — as well as his personal history and the crime itself. The former president was found guilty of falsifying business records in relation to a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who says she had a brief sexual tryst with Mr. Trump in 2006, in order to buy her silence.

At the pre-sentence interview, a psychologist or social worker working for the probation department may also talk to Mr. Trump, during which time the defendant can “try to make a good impression and explain why he or she deserves a lighter punishment,” according to the New York State Unified Court System.

The pre-sentencing report can also include submissions from the defense, and may describe whether “the defendant is in a counseling program or has a steady job.”

In Mr. Trump’s case, of course, he is applying — as it were — for a steady job as president of the United States, a campaign that may be complicated by his new status as a felon. Mr. Trump will likely be required to regularly report to a probation officer, and rules on travel could be imposed.

Mr. Trump was convicted of 34 Class E felonies, New York’s lowest level , each of which carry a potential penalty of up to four years in prison. Probation or home confinement are other possibilities that Justice Merchan can consider.

That said, Justice Merchan has indicated in the past that he takes white-collar crime seriously . If he did impose prison time, he would likely impose the punishment concurrently, meaning that Mr. Trump would serve time on each of the counts he was convicted of simultaneously.

If Mr. Trump were instead sentenced to probation, he could still be jailed if he were later found to have committed additional crimes. Mr. Trump, 77, currently faces three other criminal cases: two federal, dealing with his handling of classified documents and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election , and a state case in Georgia that concerns election interference.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers can file a notice of appeal after sentencing, scheduled for July 11 at 10 a.m. And the judge could stay any punishment during an appeal, something that could delay punishment beyond Election Day.

Jesse McKinley is a Times reporter covering upstate New York, courts and politics. More about Jesse McKinley

Maggie Astor covers politics for The New York Times, focusing on breaking news, policies, campaigns and how underrepresented or marginalized groups are affected by political systems. More about Maggie Astor

Our Coverage of the Trump Hush-Money Trial

Guilty Verdict : Donald Trump was convicted on all 34 counts  of falsifying records to cover up a sex scandal that threatened his bid for the White House in 2016, making him the first American president to be declared a felon .

Next Steps: The judge in the case set Trump’s sentencing for July 11, and Trump already indicated that he plans to appeal. Here’s what else may happen .

Reactions: Trump’s conviction reverberated quickly across the country. Here’s what Trump , voters , New Yorkers , Republicans  and the White House  had to say.

Making the Case: Over six weeks and the testimony of 20 witnesses, the Manhattan district attorney’s office wove a sprawling story  of election interference and falsified business records.

Legal Luck Runs Out: The four criminal cases that threatened Trump’s freedom had been stumbling along, pleasing his advisers. Then his good fortune expired .

Connecting the Dots: As rumors circulated of Trump’s reported infidelity, two accounts of women  being paid to stay silent about their encounters became central to his indictment.

AAA forecasts nearly 44M travelers for Memorial Day weekend: See best times to travel

starting a tourism company

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, which means people will be flooding highways and airports this weekend looking to get away for some rest and relaxation.

The American Automobile Association is projecting nearly 44 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the Memorial Day holiday travel period, which is defined by the organization as the five-day period from Thursday, May 23 to Monday, May 27.

"We haven't seen Memorial Day weekend travel numbers like these in almost 20 years," said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a news release. "We're projecting an additional one million travelers this holiday weekend compared to 2019, which not only means we're exceeding pre-pandemic levels but also signals a very busy summer travel season ahead."

The organization projects over 38 million people will travel by car over Memorial Day weekend, over 3.5 million will travel by air and nearly 2 million will travel by other modes of transportation, including buses, cruises and trains.

The 38 million drivers is the highest number for Memorial Day since AAA began tracking data in 2000 and is up 4% compared to last year. The 3.5 million air travelers is an increase of nearly 5% over last year and, according to AAA, this will be the most crowded Memorial Day weekend at airports since 2005.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

When is Memorial Day?: Here's when the holiday falls and what to know about its history.

Best, worst times to travel for Memorial Day weekend

Drivers leaving Thursday or Friday should hit the road early to avoid mixing with commuters, AAA said, citing data from transportation data and insights provider INRIX. Drivers going back home Sunday or Monday should avoid the afternoon hours when return trips will peak.

“Travel times are expected to be up to 90% longer than normal. Travelers should stay up to date on traffic apps, 511 services, and local news stations to avoid sitting in traffic longer than necessary,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, in the news release.

Here's a breakdown of the best and worst times to travel by car depending on which day you are traveling:

Thursday, May 23

  • Best travel time: Before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m.
  • Worst travel time: Between noon and 6 p.m.

Friday, May 24

  • Best travel time: Before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
  • Worst travel time: Between noon and 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 25

  • Best travel time: Before 1 p.m. and after 6 p.m.
  • Worst travel time: Between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Sunday, May 26

  • Best travel time: Before 1 p.m.
  • Worst travel time: Between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Monday, May 27

  • Best travel time: After 7 p.m.

Gas prices continue to decrease heading into Memorial Day weekend

According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of gasoline has fallen four cents since last week, to $3.60. The primary reasons are weak domestic demand and oil costs below $80 a barrel, according to the organization.

“Barring some unforeseen event, this pokey drop in pump prices is not likely to change anytime soon,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, in a news release. “There are seven states with county gas averages at less than $3 a gallon. This trend will likely accelerate as more gas outlets east of the Rockies drop their prices.”

This Memorial Day weekend, drivers can expect similar gas prices as last year when the national average was about $3.57.

"Pump prices rose this spring but have held somewhat steady in recent weeks," AAA said in the news release, while also noting that prices may creep higher as the summer driving season gets underway.

The wildcard remains the cost of oil, according to the organization, and unlike last year, there are now two wars – in the Middle East and Ukraine – that could roil the oil market.

Gabe Hauari is a national trending news reporter at USA TODAY. You can follow him on X  @GabeHauari  or email him at [email protected].

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