These travel industry business models require little or no customer traffic into a business office making them ideal options for an in-home travel agency. Travel industry or commission sales experience is vital for this type of business model. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the amount of an agent&#039;s travel sales and business experience affects their income. In-home travel agency owners without experience may have difficulties owning an in-home travel business because of its commission sales environment.
1. Research and write an in-home travel agency business plan. Business startups without experience in commission sales or the travel industry should consider purchasing a travel franchise business. An established and professional travel franchise business will provide owners with training, startups services and support to establish a successful in-home travel business. Most Internet travel franchises also offer technical and web development support.
2. Experienced business professionals can start their in-home travel business using a number of business models, including online Internet travel, sub-contracting group travel excursions or developing travel incentive programs. Depending on the small business owner&rsquo;s professional experience, they can combine complementary business models into niche services such as honeymoon travel, family travel or adventure travel. A complete in-home travel business plan will help establish baseline factors, such as travel product mixes, the business&rsquo; operating structure, startups costs, operating costs and salary. Government grant subsidized services, such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, or SCORE, and the U.S. Small Business Administration provide free business plan templates and writing assistance, mentors and financial planning assistance. Service Corps of Retired Executives 800-634-0245 U.S. Small Business Administration 800-827-5722 email@example.com
3. Understand federal and local regulations on travel and business licensing. Any in-home business is responsible for registering, applying for home business permits, filing their taxes and other business legal requirements. In-home travel agency must also understand the rules and regulations of the Transportation Security Association, and other government agencies overseeing and regulating travel. TSA regulations directly affect what a traveler packs, the identification they must have and other travel security directives to board planes, buses and trains. The U.S. State Department regularly offers alerts, travel restrictions, warnings and recommendations on travel. In-home travel agents must stay updated to make pleasurable, safe and appropriate travel recommendations.
4. Seek out financial funding. In-home travel agency startup requires money to pay for government fees, marketing, website development, business supplies and other business expenses. Good credit is required for those seeking conventional small business bank loans. A business plan is a required attachment for all grants and loan applications. In-home travel agency businesses can find government funding by searching Business.gov, Grants.gov and their state website
5. Create a travel website. According to 2009 U.S. Travel Association report, 79 percent of all American use the Internet to plan and purchase travel. Many travel franchise businesses offer website development as part of the franchise package. Other in-home businesses can employ a qualified website developer or purchase a travel website template. Provide interesting and informative travel articles developed using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to attract readers and increase the website&rsquo;s Internet visibility. Google recommends a minimum of 50 pages of quality SEO content to increase search positioning.
6. Purchase in-home travel business supplies such as business cards, brochures and computers. A complete startup supply list and financial budget are a part of all well-written business plans. Travel can be hazardous, so make sure budget the purchase of business insurance to protect personal assets from litigation. Ask the agent who oversees the homeowner&#039;s insurance to recommend an agent who sells business insurance.
7. Create a vendor and business contact list and identify potential business customers for mailings and calling. Network and make contacts through the local chapters of the National Business Travel Association and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives to develop business opportunities and partnerships. National Business Travel Association 703-684-0836 firstname.lastname@example.org Association of Corporate Travel Executives International 703-683-5322 email@example.com
8. Open and market the business. Once the in-home travel agency receives approval on all business licenses and permits, the website is running, the contact list is completed and the office is set up, the travel agent can open for business and begin advertising.