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December 7, 2008 3:28 AM   Subscribe

Starting a small Travel Agency Business

At the moment I'm currently studying Travel and Tourism in the hopes of getting a job as a Travel Agent and also in the distant future starting my own small agency from home.

What tips/help can I get from you guys for achieving this dream?
posted by thelloydshow to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Find a niche, be the best. I don't use travel agents anymore, with the luxury of the web for most mainstream destinations. If I was planning a trip to darkest Africa, or had special needs (disabled kids, extreme views, strict dietary requirements etc.) I would pay the premium to get expert help/planning.
posted by bystander at 4:18 AM on December 7, 2008

Get an IATA number if you want to earn hotel commissions.
posted by kdern at 5:52 AM on December 7, 2008

I think bystander has it; most of us computer-literate types that don't have any particularly special needs (i.e. if I need a single ticket from Chicago to Denver) use and would never consider using a travel agent. You need to cater to a niche.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:09 AM on December 7, 2008

Thirding. I'm fine with booking myself to the easy places, UK and anywhere in the US, where I live. But when I went to Japan and when I was thinking of going to Iceland a travel agent was invaluable for this dumb American (possibly a niche unto itself), especially since travel websites are pretty limited in the option they allow you to choose from. Sometimes it's just better to have someone who already knows the landscape.
posted by rhizome at 11:58 AM on December 7, 2008

Based on the market turmoil in the US (and spreading to the world), I'd pick a niche that you felt like will not dry up in the very near future.

I think that travel niches that are unlikely to dry up are at the very high end (think thousand dollar per day trips to exotic locations in Asia, Middle East, Latin America, etc., exotic excursions to Yemen to drink the best coffees in the world). Other possibilities are becoming a cruise expert (I don't know anything about this kind of travel), or perhaps an expatriates travel agency (eastern europeans returning to eastern europe for work, familiy, and other needs). I don't think that the expatriates market is easy to get into (it would require some kind of language skills, and also some cachet in the that community), and I bet it's not that high margin of a business. But I bet that kind of travel isn't going away.
posted by zpousman at 2:22 PM on December 7, 2008

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