People love to travel, and the industry has never been more extensive than it is today. But the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the travel industry over the past 18 months. As of the beginning of 2021, the global result of the virus has cost the travel industry almost $1trillion. However, because of successful vaccine programs that contribute to a declining infection rate in many countries, the industry is slowly but surely getting back on its feet.
When the world eventually recovers from Covid, there will be no better time to be a tourism agency. For example, the UK is currently booked full as Brits plan to take their annual summer holidays at home. So if you are passionate about travel and tourism and want to share that passion, you can start a tourism agency.
As with anything, it is highly beneficial to first register as a business. Registering as a business not only officially incorporates your company with a right to trade, according to the registered nation’s business laws, but also establishes your business as genuine.
Registering as a business is usually straightforward in most countries. But there are numerous business types. This example uses the US and UK model, but they can apply to most countries:
Sole trader: self-employed owner and operator of the business. You are responsible for everything, including taxes and daily operations. You must file personal annual tax returns.
Limited company: owned by shareholders and operated by directors. Operations and finances are separate, but profits can only be shared following taxation. Tax returns are filed as a business rather than an individual.
Partnership: two or more people share the business and operate in the same way as a sole trader. However, each is responsible for the conduct, profit, and loss equally. Each partner must file their tax returns.
Limited Liability Partnership: two or more people share the business, but the amount of partner responsibility is limited by their investment. The company must be registered, and each partner must file separate tax returns.
Registering as a business usually requires detailed personal and financial information. Each country has an entity that deals with registration, such as Companies House in the UK and the Bureau of Internal Revenue in the USA.
Like any industry, the tourism business is subject to various legal and administrative policies. These vary from country to country, and you will need to research any nation’s legislation and legal accreditation process in which you wish to trade. Some of these relate directly to your business and indirectly as an ancillary regulation.
Using the UK as an example, you will need to obtain licenses for the following:
● Alcohol, Entertainment, and Gaming
● TV, Film, and Radio
● Planning and Building
There are also multiple regulations regarding marketing your business. Britain is well known for its trading practices rules, and most countries operate similar legislation. Marketing laws are also common and extend to include such things as fair practice and data protection. There are also many aspects to managing and protecting your customers.
Tickets and bookings always need to be honored by tourism agencies as outlined in any contract that you have provided. You cannot charge customers more than the stated price, demand money for using a debit card, or mislead customers where pricing is concerned. Each country also has its tax laws, such as VAT, in the UK. Taxes such as these must be made clear to the customer.
It would help if you also did everything reasonable to accommodate all customers. This means providing accessibility options for disabled customers, children, and the elderly. In addition to customer safety and wellbeing, you are also responsible for keeping their belongings and luggage safe and secure on any excursions or trips.
While it isn’t necessary, establishing a brand can help your business. First, you can operate under a business name with an associated logo that people will recognize on the most basic level. Then, on a much broader scale, you can leverage the power of branding across multiple media to accelerate business growth.
You can strategize digital marketing resources such as social media campaigns, website and blogging, and advertising under your brand. Therefore, you can engage with customers and establish trust using modern media and tools that customers expect. These tools include easy access bookings such as apps, feedback via Facebook and Twitter, or LiveChat and ChatBot interfaces on your company website.
It is possible to develop your tools and apps for taking bookings and arranging tours, but this is costly and, for the most part, unnecessary. Instead, there are tools already available that you can either use as a third-party alternative or incorporate into your online booking system on your website.
Using host agencies is extremely common in the tourism industry. 91% of independent agencies use a host agency. Profits are shared under an agreement and contract. Therefore, it is prudent to take advantage of the expertise, knowledge, and established reputation of a host agency in most cases.
Host tourism agencies are already established brands with the infrastructure in place that you can use to your advantage. They offer travel and tourism-related services such as package holidays, excursions, and short trips.Each host agency is different, and some specialize in specific industries such as cruises, resorts, or days out.
The travel and tourism industry is a burgeoning one that never ends. Unfortunately, Covid-19 put a damper on travel, but it is sure to resume soon. When it does, the business will boom. First, however, suppose you wish to capitalize on this as a tour agency. In that case, you need to register as a business, understand your legal obligations and establish your brand.
Once in operation as a brand or sole trader, you can utilize the knowledge and expertise of a hosting agency. There is a host agency for almost any type of holiday. Some specialize in specific kinds such as cruises or package holidays. Successful bookings will split your profits between your business and a host agency. Still, you don’t have the cost of setting up an expensive booking platform.
If you love to travel and want to provide memorable opportunities to others, then, by all means, start a travel and tourism agency. Legal obligations and business talk aside, the best thing you can do for success in this industry is to be yourself. Treat others how you want to be, and have fun with it. Create an unforgettable moment for customers, and they will come back time and time again, telling their friends.