How to Establish a Home Based Travel Agency

If you wish to establish a home based business, you might think to start a home travel agency. This business is very profitable, easy, and economical. You will get that this is one of the simplest way to start a home business, as you do not require your own artifact or service. Instead, your business is based on the services and products of others. All you need is to set those services and products together with the people who call for them. However, you need to consider certain things before you start a home based travel business. Here are some simple tips to consider while establishing a home based travel agency.

Register your business

Initially, when you establish a business, you have to register it according to your country laws. When you are establishing a home based travel agency, you should institute two separate bank accounts, one account shall be used to manage the money that will be sent in by the clients, and the second one will hold the business finances.

Decide the type of agency

Before begin a business, you should choose whether you would like to institute a home travel agency which is accountable for booking and selling travel packages or a travel referral agency. A referral travel manager needs an expression of mouth advertising, to lead the customer an online entrance where they can book their trip. It is also an association business as the referrals in most cases come from friends, associates, and family. It is easy to be an online travel representative as it only needs handing out flyers, business cards and perhaps placing online advertisements. There is no urgent contact with the customer except someone wants questions answered.

Consider the establishment costs involved

Where to set up your business office, will have an influence on how many resources you would necessitate to start. This is a significant factor to consider when beginning a travel business. Home based travel agencies normally manage their primary days with just a computer and a telephone. If you want to have a workplace, then you should be aware of the added costs such as the furniture, rent and electricity.

Client Knowledge

In the industry of traveling, you should identify that there are two major markets you should aim. The primary market comprises users and clients that travel. The next market is the business or communal class.

Financial prospective

As a travel representative, you are managing a job which depends on performance and the sum of people profitably book for traveling. If you know how to manage the business well, you might probably earn a healthy amount annually.

Three Biggest Challenges of Travel Agencies and How Travel Agency Management Software Should Help

There are travel agencies which are still managing travels and tour packages manually. Too many papers are wasted daily to check on tours and collaboration among departments in the travel agencies is difficult.

Walk in to a typical travel agency and you see stack of papers on the shelf with all tour itineraries, some may even be outdated. If you are lucky enough, you get a good pricing for your tour because the travel agency did not update the pricing or tours on a real-time basis. Main challenges for travel agencies include business operations, costings and employee management.

Business Operations Challenges
– Updates of travel packages were not applied across all departments and branches, affecting front desk staffs selling packages with old pricing – incurring losses
– Difficulties for front desk staffs to check on updates as there were no online, centralized database
– Break-down in communications among departments and difficulty to communicate among branches

Costing Challenges
– Tremendous amount of papers used and wasteful printings for travel packages and itineraries – incurring extra overheads
– Employees need to work extra hours to complete checkings and coordination manually – incurring extra employees wages
– Communications using traditional methods including faxes, scans, phone calls and land lines incurring additional costs

Employee Management Challenges
– Fraud of employees punching cards for each other, making losses for extra overtime payments
– Leaves are managed manually without accuracy and often miscalculated
– Additional employees needed every end of month to calculate working hours to compute payroll

Travel Agency Management System – What is Good?
For a travel agency management system to work, it should at least have the below features. I am, however, generalizing based on typical travel agencies which still operate manually in Malaysia. For any IT systems to work, it should solve the biggest challenges and bottlenecks in your business. Therefore the below list is just a general one.

Real-time, centralized travel itineraries and uploading of tour files

– The travel agency management system should be able to centralize data and real-time to allow uploads of tour files for immediate viewing, real-time information across whole company, branches and even with external agents, also allowing front desk staffs to disseminate information accurately.

Preferably integrated with back-end system

– Should business operations be your main challenge, then the system should integrate with back-end system including but not limited to payroll, time attendance system, e-leave management system, billing, accounting and financial implementation, customer relationship management and loyalty programs to name a few.

Payroll calculation and overtime for employees

– At month-end, salaries will be headache especially at agencies which also pay overtime for unpredictable work schedule. An integrated system with payroll for calculation of basic salary, overtime and allowances will save costs and time.

Audit log files for transactions

– Security is also important so the travel agency management system should be able to monitor transactions by viewing transaction history or audit logs of each amendment done.

Preferably with multiple payment types

– Customers will normally pay for a tour with many different methods so a travel agency solution should allow multiple payment types including by cash, cheque, direct transfer, credit card or tele transfer

Connect and maintain centralized customer base with a CRM system

– Details of customers registered for tours should be stored in a common database for better customer relationship management.