You can start an online travel agency and operate it right from your home. You can start on your own without much help from experts or professionals.
Presently, traveling is restricted to stop the spread of CoronaVirus (COVID-19). But the situation is getting better and the tour and travel industry will bounce back once the ban is lifted.
This is the right time to start your travel agency because traveling will resume once the airlines and railways start their operations.
Concept-wise, the modern-day online travel agency is not different from the traditional brick and mortar travel agents.
The online travel agencies manage vast amounts of information and data to offer the best possible trip arrangements to travelers in the quickest possible time.
The Internet offers limitless possibilities and an online travel service provides more value than the traditional travel agency.
Below is the graph on digital travel sales in India.
Starting an online travel business isn’t capital intensive as there is little upfront cost and you can save a good amount of money as you will need less manpower to operate the business.
That being said, your success largely depends on finding the right niche. I have shared step by step on how to start travel agency in India.
5 Steps To Start A Travel Agency in India 2020
#1. Select Your Niche
Look for travel topic or service which you love to explore, describe or tell stories like your dream destinations.
To build a brand you need to provide specific travel services, few examples are;
- Honeymoon travel
- Mountain holidays for solo travelers
- Snowsports for women
- Beach holidays for urban dwellers
- Eastern India tours
- High altitude trek
- Walking and cycling jungle tours
Your focus on ‘specific’ will help you find and understand travelers in a better way.
You know it very well that each traveler is unique and has specific requirements. Once you start focusing on serving individuals, you will be able to serve the client in a better and personalized way.
For example, Eastern India Tours is unique in many ways. It is one of the most unexplored regions of India and very few show eagerness to visit north-east India.
North-east India tours are taken by the nature-loving traveler who is an explorer at heart. These travelers love to visit the pristine peaks and reach untouched valleys.
There are transportation challenges in the north-east, as roads are serpentine and sometimes one is required to cover the distance on foot.
If a traveler isn’t comfortable in walking miles then s/he might not be able to reach a particular lake, valley or a remote monastery.
In a nutshell, if you specifically cater to travel requirements of travelers visiting North-Eastern India then you know the challenges and the best of the solutions for your clients.
Above all, you can help them explore lesser-known places and offer them customized tour packages.
#2. Find Your Target Audience
The audience will largely depend on your selected niche, like a newly married couple for honeymoon travel or a youngster for adventurous travel or even travelers with no plan in mind.
The very next step will be to know who your target audiences are because having clarity on the audiences will help you knowing them better and reaching them easily.
Identifying ideal clients is more or less a brainstorming exercise and starts with focusing on one best customer and then drill down the characteristics of that person.
Answer the following questions in order to get a clear picture of the target audience and how they perceive and buy tour services;
- Age, sex, income, marital status and family status
- Which travel-related books they like to read, the TV shows they watch, their favorite foods and pastimes/hobbies
- Who they travel with, why they travel, what questions they have when planning travel, what emotions they have when planning travel
- What questions do they ask during the stages of travel? Dreaming, Planning, Booking, Pre-Travel, In-Destination, and Post-Travel.
Once you have the answers to the above, you will know exactly how to find them, customize your tour packages according to their needs.
Ultimately, this will help you get satisfied travelers, good reviews, and more sales.
#3. Choose a Name for Your Travel Agency
The next step is to purchase a proper domain name to reflect your online travel business.
Your travel agency should have a name related (specifically) to travel and the services you are going to offer.
You can take the help of the Leandomainsearch tool. The tool helps you find domain names.
For example, the tool gave the following domain name for the word “travel agency”
Key factors to keep in mind while choosing a domain name;
- Keep the name short and travel-specific
- The domain name to be 2 to 3 words long (max 15 letters)
- The name should be simple and easy to spell
- Avoid hyphens and special characters in the name
- Pick up proper domain extension
If you are still confused about whether to buy .com or .in domain?
- Then buy .in domain if your website is catering to the Indian audience
- For a global audience, buy a .com domain
If you are not getting an exact domain name for your business, do not worry. People are going to click your website by searching on google or by clicking on social media posts. No one is going to remember the exact spelling of your website.
If you are still not convinced, then you can use a word like app or hq with your business name as used by big brands like buffer and groove (bufferapp.com, groovehq.com) at the end of their business names.
#4. Setup Your Website
WordPress website is the simplest way of building your own website in a few minutes.
For setting up a website you will require a hosting service provider. I love the fast, safe and reliable hosting services of Siteground hosting.
Here is the link to Signup with SiteGround with discount
Next, you need to select themes and configure plugins to see the functional website.
Do not worry about the process, it is not so technical and you will do it in 5 minutes without any tech support.
#5. Find Your Audience
Lastly, you need to find places where you can get travelers to your website and optimize for conversion.
You can find an audience in three ways;
- Social Media Channels
Finding target audiences on social platforms would require you to join travel-related groups and help audiences by offering unique and simple solutions. In the process, you will learn more about customers and their problems.
The platforms can be Facebook Group, Quora, Twitter, Instagram.
- SEO Traffic
Creating quality content helping travelers with their pain points on your website gets you, clients, with intent and that too free from Google. Spend some time in learning to write an engaging article sprinkled with keywords that will help you pull free organic traffic from Google.
- Paid Marketing
Next, you can use paid marketing, but only when you have full clarity on the target audiences and have experience under your belt. Paid marketing requires an initial investment, expertise on keyword selection, and bidding.
The best strategy would be to work continuously on SEO and social media market outreach, and parallelly continue paid marketing campaigns.
Corona Virus has deeply impacted the travel and tourism industry globally. All the airlines are grounded and trains halted.
With the situation getting better, the government is slowly resuming transport services. Once again people will start moving and the tour and travel industry will bounce back to its earlier high growth momentum.
So, it is the right time for you to start an online travel agency and make a decent income.