HOW TO START A TRAVEL AGENT BUSINESS IN NIGERIA
Travelling is usually fun especially when you’re going to a nice place and you’ve got a quality accomodation. People travel for different reasons, could be for a wedding, academic purposes, corporate events or seminars or just for spending the holidays to enjoy time with friends and family. The planning process is not always done by travelling individuals as they can just hire professionals to help them go about almost everything it takes to ensure they can go on their journey. This is how the business of being a travel agent comes in. It’s not an entirely new business but it’s not so common in the country with only a few people practicing. It is a lucrative business and definitely a good choice for potential entrepreneurs.
A travel agent is simply a consultant who helps to organize or arrange personal travels and accommodation and whatever else can make the client comfortable in wherever they decide to travel to. The business involves exactly the same thing. Getting clients who want to travel and help them to sort out their travel plans and make arrangements to ensure they’re comfortable and have a quite satisfying experience at the place. These individuals, the travel agents, are well aware of the tourism sector and fully know how to help individuals get a good place and as such they make a good business out of it. It is highly profitable considering the potential in the tourism sector and also the need for travel agents.
People travel out every now and then. It’s almost like there’s no single day that people aren’t travelling. Like I’ve mentioned, there are a number of reasons why people travel and most times it’s just for enjoyment. During the planning stage, they can simply just hire someone who can give them concrete information about where they are going and also help with other things like documents processing and booking a nice place where they can stay in throughout their journey. They simply take away the stress from individuals as sometimes the travel process can be tiring and difficult too but with experts who are quite knowledgeable about the industry, it’s easy and doesn’t require doing too much.
The business is one that comes in two forms, more like a small scale and large scale aspect though it is slightly different. First option is going solo, that is, you’re just a travel agent and you’re not working for anyone and you’re basically working alone. The travel agent here, single-handedly helps the clients to do whatever it is they want. They also get to organize vacations or tours for their clients at a cost. This is different from working for a travel agency or even setting up one. A travel agency, just like a travel agent, helps with making travel arrangements but unlike where you get to work alone, there is a team of professionals available at the agency who are all experts at different things and are there to answer customer needs. Other services like giving visa advice and event ticketing can also be done by these agents or agencies.
One of the good reasons why the business is a nice option for potential entrepreneurs is the demand for their services. In the past, individuals had to go through some difficult situations when planning their travels but now it’s all easy, hence the need for travel agents. They help their clients go through all the processes and makes sure they’re comfortable wherever they go. It’s certainly something many individuals will like as they’d rather do other things than have to go through stress in getting to plan their journey. Also, the tourism sector is one of the biggest in the country with huge potential to even be bigger and as such makes the business a good business option.
Starting the business is not a really difficult thing to do as it doesn’t really require too much things. Cost of capital is not expensive though it could be even bigger if you’re setting up a travel agency where you’ll need to hire other professionals and get an even bigger place where the business can be located. You’ll also need to get a good level of training and then get certified by regulatory authorities. You don’t necessarily need a degree but it will serve as an added advantage.
In the next sub heads, I’ll be discussing the steps involved in starting a travel agent business in Nigeria and some of the things that might prove useful during the course of the business to ensure that you make good amount of income and you’re also successful at the business you’re starting up.
No matter what you’ve heard someone saying about a business and how well success is assured or how lucrative it would turn out, always try to do your own research. The research will not cost anything except your time and that time will prove to be well spent when the business starts and the successes starts coming in. It is important to do a thorough investigation about the business since you’re going to be investing your money into it and you’ve never been involved in the business. Some hours of research won’t hurt.
The research is always meant to give you an idea of what to expect and the challenges ahead to be faced. It teaches future entrepreneur how the business works and what success means. It shows the risks involved and the ways to tackle them. It also gives ideas on how to sustain the business and work towards more success. Imagine missing out on any of the mentioned points, it’s more like being less equipped about something especially something you plan to spend money on.
There are experts in the business, of course, so also look to advise from these individuals as they are most likely the best bet for reliable information on the business. Take note of even the smallest things during the research period and pay close attention to how to stay and survive in the business. The research is as important as anything in the business.
- WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN
A business plan needs no introduction. It is equally as important as some of the other processes or things involved in the business. After a comprehensive and thorough research has been conducted, entrepreneurs must now put all their ideas into paper after, of course, deciding to start the business. The business plan will cover things like the way you plan to operate, the cost of several things, how you plan to market your business, future projections and also contingency plans.
The business plan serves a number of purposes. In cases where individuals might need to get investors or even get a loan, it will prove useful as it will contain all that needs to be known concerning the business. It is also going to serve as a point of reference for the proposed business.
- CAPITAL AND LOCATION
The importance and need for capital cannot be overemphasized. It’s one of the most important things to be considered before starting a business. It also determines the size of the business you’ll be working with and without it, absolutely nothing can be started. In this case, the capital is not really expensive though if you’ll be setting up an agency, it can get bigger as you’ll need more professionals and maybe a bigger place where the business will be located. The location for the business can be small and low budget and close to where people can easily see and get the place. You will also need to get certified by the appropriate regulatory authority after which you can then register your business. You can also join organizations like Nigeria Society of Travel Agents (NSTA), International Air Transport Association (IATA) as well as the National Association Of Commission Travel Agents (NACTA).
At this stage, all the things needed for a business are ready including chairs, tables, laptops or computers and stable internet connection. For this business, one of the effective ways that can be used to advertise the business is Social media. In recent times, the platform had proven to be a good place to advertise businesses to different category of people. There are different available social media platforms and the most common ones include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They can all be used differently in reaching the target audience and making profit. You’ll need to create an account and then advertise through the media. Word of mouth and referrals could also really help the business.