We've assembled several good bits of advice on how to go about opening an airline travel agency.
Challenges for Airline Travel Agents
In the past, airline travel agents played a vital role in connecting travelers with airlines and flights, receiving commissions from the airlines for their services. In the Internet age, airline travel agents aren't as necessary as they used to be and many airlines no longer offer the commissions that were once standard in the travel industry.
Since travelers can now explore the options and book their own reservations online, airline travel agencies face a difficult marketplace. However, a certain percentage of consumers and many businesses prefer to avoid the time and effort it takes to find the best deals. For these travelers, it's worth paying a little extra to book through a qualified airline travel agency.
Many airline travel agencies have also expanded their service offerings to include cruise bookings and other profit centers. But regardless of whether you choose to branch out or focus exclusively on airline travel, you'll need to hustle to earn a profit in today's industry environment.
Technology Tips for Airline Travel Agency Startups
Today's travel industry relies on technology for everyday business activities. If your startup isn't equipped with the right hardware and software components, your business is dead in the water. Here are a few tips to help your travel agency stay ahead of the technology curve.
- Write a Technology Plan. On-the-spot technology purchased rarely pay off in the long run. Unlike other types of assets, networks, computers, printers and software solutions must be integrated into a larger plan – a technology plan that addresses both your current and future technology needs.
- Create an Office Network. Unless you will be your agency's only employee, an office network should be high on your list of technology priorities. Networking makes it possible for multiple employees to cost-effectively share resources and files, perform secure backups and engage in collaborative workflows – all of which can benefit a startup business with limited employees,
- Embrace New Technologies. Startup business owners are quick to embrace new technologies. But over time, there is a tendency to get comfortable with the technology and resist change. That's a mistake because new technologies can improve your productivity and create opportunities to capture additional market share. From the outset of your startup, make a commitment to identify and embrace new technology in your travel agency.
Core Characteristics of Airline Travel Agency Business Plans
Every business plan is unique, yet the most effective plans share a handful of essential traits.
If your plan lacks required elements like an executive summary or marketing plan, it could jeopardize its potential to deliver real benefits to your startup.
Although it will need to be incorporated into the flow of your plan, we strongly recommend considering a PEST (Political, Economic, Social & Technological) analysis for inclusion in your airline travel agency's business plan.
Check Out the Competition
Well in advance of opening an airline travel agency in your town, it's a good idea to find out how you will fit in the competitive landscape. Try our link below to find competitors in your city. After following the link, enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of airline travel agencies in your area.
Is the established competition doing a good job? It's important to understand their strengths and weaknesses and think through how you'll stake up against those established businesses.
Learn from Others Who Are Already In This Space
As part of your due diligence on opening an airline travel agency, the next step is to learn from folks who are already in business. If you think owners of nearby airline travel agencies will give you advice, think again. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started an airline travel agency in a different city may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, provided that you won't be directly competing with them. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. If you are persistent, you can find a business mentor who is willing to help you out.
Where do you find an airline travel agency manager in a different locale who can assist you?
It's not that hard. Just use the handy link below and enter in a random city/state or zipcode.
Buying Advice for Airline Travel Agency Entrepreneurs
Without a doubt, it usually makes more sense to acquire an airline travel agency than it does to pursue a startup.
Yet for many entrepreneurs, financing represents a major hurdle to buying an airline travel agency. If you're prepared to deal with lender requirements, you'll find that lenders are more open to financing established operations than they are to take a chance on a startup.
Our Business Acquisition Financing Tips have the information you need to successfully navigate the challenges of financing your new business.
Explore Franchising Options
A new business startup presents a number of challenges, not the least of which is the creation of policies, procedures and workplace routines. Solid franchise opportunities equip startup owners with training and other resources designed to streamline workflows and operations.
With many airline travel agency franchise opportunities to choose from, we recommend visiting our travel and leisure franchise directory to determine which franchisors are consistent with your vision and goals for your startup.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you currently own an airline travel agency, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to airline travel agencies, we've got better information for you elsewhere on our site. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.