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Travel Agent

With a business like this, you’re sure to be going places.

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Business At A Glance

Travel Agent

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

The main requirement for starting a travelagency or starting a business as an independent travel consultant willbe to check local regulations in terms of certifications that may berequired to operate the business.

Additional considerations alsoinclude:

  • Operating a general travel agency, or specializing in aparticular type of travel.
  • Operating location: storefront orhomebased.
  • Target markets: the well-heeled traveler or the budgettraveler.
  • Advertising, promotions, and marketing. The travel industryas a whole is extremely competitive, especially for businesses thatoperate as general travel agencies. To limit competition it isimportant to specialize in this industry and seek a niche market.

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Travel

Specialty Travel

Don’t just start a travel business–have a specific niche.

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Business At A Glance

Specialty Travel

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

Tourists today can choose from a staggering number of specialty tours.If you love travel and you can communicate your enthusiasm to others,then a specialty travel and tour business might be just the ticket foryou.

The advantages to this business are that you meet lots ofinteresting people and you get to travel frequently and investigatehotels, restaurants and all sorts of fascinating spots in the name ofwork.

The main point to remember with specialty tours is that you musthave a niche, a plan that’s tailored to a specific type of person orgroup, like seniors, families with small children, women travelingalone, music lovers or chocolate fiends.

You can conduct just about anytype of tour you can dream up, but keep in mind that the closer youstick to home, the less expensive your start-up costs will be. If youlive in an area that attracts visitors or business travelers, you canspecialize in unusual tours like On the Town After Dark or AntiquesAhoy.

You might go with backpacking or rafting adventure tours tooutdoor areas close to home. Or you can sell worldwide adventures fromyour own armchair by advertising other companies’ tours and takingcommissions on sales. You can package overseas tours as well, but yourstart-up costs will be much higher.

Keep in mind that industryregulations prevent you from writing airline tickets, but you canovercome this by establishing a relationship with a travel agency thatwill cut the tickets for you. Some will pay you a commission in therange of 10 percent; others will pay by referring clients to you.

Youmust have a strong working knowledge of your tour terrain. Thisincludes fluency in at least one language of the countries you’lltravel to, up-to-date familiarity with hotels, restaurants and placesof interest if you’re doing cities, or trails and rivers if you’refour-wheeling or rafting it, and of course local customs andcurrencies.

You’ll also need excellent people skills for dealing withclients of all types (as well as innkeepers and other assortedpurveyors along your route), solid organizational abilities, and theability to roll with the punches. And last, but definitely not least,you’ll need terrific sales and marketing skills to sell your tours tocustomers.

The Market

Your customers will vary according to the type of tours you design. Youcan target everybody from mountain climbers to wheelchair-boundadventurers to museum junkies.

Market your tours on the Internet with aWeb site. Send your brochure to mailing lists of people who are alreadyconfirmed travelers (those who’ve already purchased tour packages) withsimilar interests.

Advertise in national and special-interestpublications. Get your tour written up in local publications. Donate atour to be auctioned at a charity event in exchange for freeadvertising.

Then get creative. If you’ve packaged an art tour, forinstance, send brochures to faculties and students at art colleges andsocieties and the fine arts departments of universities.

Needed Equipment

The only things you really need to get up and running are a computer system, Internet access, a fax machine and a phone.

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Travel

Cruise Ship Travel Agent

Help cruisers connect with their perfect vacations.

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Business At A Glance

Cruise Ship Travel Agent

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

Working from the comforts of a homebasedoffice, you can plan and book cruise vacations-of-a-lifetime for yourclients. Travel consulting experience is recommended for thisopportunity; if you do not have experience, I would advise you tocontact the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents toinquire about training courses in your area.

You could also choose afranchise cruise agent business, which provides all franchisees withintensive training in the areas of marketing, administration andreservation booking. The cruise travel agent industry is competitive,but at the same time it is also the fastest-growing segment of thetravel industry.

Key to success in this business is marketing. You haveto tap in to the demographic groups that are most likely to take acruise’-which include the 50-plus crowd and newlyweds’-and target yourmarketing efforts to these groups. You might also want to considerspecializing in a niche area of the cruise holiday industry, such assingles-only and alternative lifestyle cruises.

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Travel

Extreme Adventure Trips

This business will keep you on the edges of life.

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Business At A Glance

Extreme Adventure Trips

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Does taking a hot air balloon trip over Australia interest you? Howabout a kayak trip down the Amazon River? You can start a business inwhich you act as an agent or broker on a local basis for adventuretravel companies located around the world.

Starting this type of uniquebusiness requires very little in the way of investment capital toinitiate, and the service can be marketed directly to consumers via theinternet or through traditional mediums of print advertising.

Onceyou’ve secured a paying customer and all the travel accommodations andactivity plans have been confirmed, you would charge the adventure tourcompany a 20-percent commission of the total trip value.

Providing youcan maintain yearly sales of $500,000 (which shouldn’t be difficultgiven the fact that many of these adventure tour trips are selling foras much as $10,000 per person), the business would generate gross salesof $200,000, which is outstanding for a homebased owner-operatorbusiness.

The Market

Your customers will be anyone who is into the outdoors and enjoys thrill-seeking activities.

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