Becoming A Travel Agent
In becoming a travel agent you need to be well educated, be capable of operating a computer and browsing through the internet. You have to be able to communicate with all sorts of people, able to find your way out of any kind of problem and be able to work for several hours continuously. Being a people’s person is a must, the travel agent is just like a customer care representative, they both speak well, answer calls and sort problems, that is what you will be doing.
The next step is deciding what type of agency you want to run, the freelance agency which deals with local flights only or an international travel agency which requires a special license issued by the IATA. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) controls and regulates air travel around the world in over 275 countries, and make tight policies regarding air travel.
The point of the gist is travel agencies that wish to serve internationally has to register with them. Of course before registering with them they will require you fulfill some criteria which include and are not limited to; Registration with the CAC as a Private Limited Company (PLC) or a Limited Liability Company (LLP), complete tax registrations and a good premises, you can find the full details in their website.
Next is learning your trade, most people advice you should join an already established agency to learn from them, all the terminologies, the tricky things and so on, when will be opened up to you, then you could establish yourself, or you could take the IATA courses. I will suggest both, because this is not the kind of business one can just decide to start without professional knowledge. All the IATA courses are listed in their website.
You Need To Be Listed Online
There are many websites that list travel agencies at times for free, you provide your business contact information, logo and other essentials and it will be listed there. Then start working on building your own website, it gives you credibility and more reach. Contract the building of the website to an expert web developer.
Services Offered by Travel Agencies
Travel agencies usually offer one or more of these services to their clients, and it is from these that the business earns its revenue.
Travelers are in dire need of advice, sometimes it’s for choosing between options like travel destinations, accommodations and so on, it could be for people planning a vacation or holiday trip. But at other times the consultation is for a small piece of information like the next flight home.
Clients are provided with all the information they need until they are satisfied usually through a phone call or video call, or in some cases, physically in the agency’s office. Consultation is charged hourly or made on a per-call-basis (that is each call costs a certain amount), you decide whichever suits you best.
Selling Flight Tickets
Buying tickets directly from the airline is possible and reselling to their clients at a price to yield profit but not without an IATA license.
Selling Event Tickets
Some major activity might be going on in some part of the world like a world cup that surely some people from the agency’s list of customers will be attending. One could secure some of the event tickets and resell it to them at a profit when they prepare for departure.
Of course, the sale is not exclusive to customers in your travel agency list but to all who wishes to buy. The result is you are lending yourself a good avenue for advertising your agency.
Customers can refer their schedules and the times they wish to arrive/depart at a certain place to their agency to deal with the issues of booking the flight for them. So that at the end of the day they will just be presented with the complete details of their flight and be reminded when it is due.
Booking a hotel room can be a grueling activity especially for a traveler, so most of them just refer the job to a travel agency. The main objective here is to find a hotel/lodge, book a room, and it has to be before the arrival of your client to the said destination, and it has to be according to the client’s specifications. This involves speaking to hotel clerks from different countries, most likely different languages.
Offering tourism to people around world attractions also generates a lot of income for a travel agent, it could be a group tour, or a safari ride in some African country. But one may have to be stationed in both countries to be able to offer this service or optionally your travel agency could arrange the tour for your clients with a third party agency from the other country.
List of Required Items
Everything you will be needing for both a freelance and an internationally acclaimed agency is listed below;
Items Description Quantity Price (Naira)
A laptop computer.
Desktop computers For other operators. 3 486,000
Office space/rent With multiple rooms/offices for convenience and available bathrooms. 500,000
Website Hire an expert web developer because your web might include portals. Consult your tech guy. 350,000
Office desk 5 125,000
Office writing materials Pens, paper, paper clips, folders, etc. 10,000
Landline phones 3 21,000
IATA Registration fees Complete with evaluation tests. 9,600,000
Hired Staff Staff of different varying degree of expertise, monthly pay. 5 480,000
Total Sum = 11,707,000
Your Hired Team
You must have a dedicated team of people that will work synchronously 24/7 and really know what they are doing. They must be professionals at what they do if you are to run an international travel agency, because the business requires high communication skills, and very good technical and computer operational skills. But a cadre of staff are not necessary for a freelance travel agency.
Expected Profit Margin
The profit margin for this business is one that is not easily accessible, putting any number will be highly irresponsible.