How to start a travel agency: What kind of products does a travel agency offer?

In the part of how to start a travel agency you will learn what kind of products does a travel agency offer? If you are reading this blog I assume you might be very interested in starting a travel agency and want to know what you could be selling.

Understand the difference between what you sell and what you offer as a travel agency.

Before you even start thinking about the products that you sell you must know what a travel agency truly offers. Does this sound confusing? Well, let me explain what I want you to understand. Understanding this will give you a higher success rate as a travel agency business owner!

Every travel agency offers almost the same identical products. You all offer the same destinations and the same airlines. If you look what a travel agency sells it is this:

  • Plane tickets
  • Bus tickets
  • Boat tickets
  • Cruises
  • Hotel packages
  • Land arrangements & sight seeings
  • travel packages (excluding airfare)
  • travel packages (including airfare)
  • Special activities

I will ask you right now a very important question. What is the difference between your tour package to Hong Kong compare to your competitors package to Hong Kong? Is your Hong Kong more fun? Is their Hong Kong lesser of quality? I can tell you that you are selling a commodity. You sell a destination and that destination is 100% identical to every other competitor.

If you look at plane tickets it is exactly the same story. When you travel with Cebu Pacific to Hong Kong at 10.40 AM and your competitor has the same flight. Who do you think will get the customer? Will it be the cheapest or the most expensive travel agency or will it be the most friendly and helpful travel agency? Perhaps you guess that the cheapest will win. I can tell you that this is not true! It is not the cheapest but the most friendly and helpful travel agency. However, if a travel agency is not friendly the customer will go to the cheapest!

What product is a travel agency really selling!

You as a travel agent in your travel agency should focus alot in quality of service. A customer will do business with someone they like! This is very important to understand. In travel you will be fight to many competitors that belief that being the cheapest give you a huge advantage. Is this really the case? Well, not really. Just imagine you are the customer and want to have a dream vacation. You contact the travel agency that is the cheapest and you do not like the person. Will you do business with that person? I guess not.

In travel you are selling the experience. You might even state that the travel experience starts from the moment they inquiry at your travel agency! This is the very beginning of the entire travel experience. From this moment everything counts. Does this sound weird? Well, let me explain more.

When the person travels they will always think about the way they got the booking. You will think about the travel agency that helped you. Was this a great experiences or not, if not they will never book agian. The same goes if they are on holiday and they hotel staff was not that friendly. Even at that moment they will consider that the travel agency is the one to blame. For some reason they hold you accountable for every aspect of their travel experience.

You cannot do anything about this! All you do is give your very best and sometimes it just will not go well. But that is a part of life. Not every customer you will meet will be your very best!

What do I need to do as a travel agency business owner to be better?

If you are starting your travel agency, your focus should not be on being the cheapest travel agency on the planet. It might give you an advantage but focus on being of high quality. Service is truly essential. Remember travel is an experience. If you can make the customers experience a far better experience than any other competitor you can truly compete well. It does not cost you any money to be more friendly. Just be happy and share your travel passion with your customers.

So how to give a better quality of service to your customers?

To offer better quality of service you need to understand the three travel phases. I have booked many times at travel agencies and you can quickly notice the level of service between multiple travel agencies. The level of service can be seen in three phases.

  1. Pre travel
  2. Travel
  3. After travel

Phases 1: Pre travel

The pre travel phases is your starting phases. It is the moment from first contact with a customer to the day they travel. This phase is very important and it is essential. In this pre travel phases customers will ask for inquiry, call or email you and pay once they agree the price.

You can quickly see if a travel agency is really sincere in their service or only focus to sell products. The way a travel agency treat a customer at this phase is crucial. Imagine you are a customer and you ask for an inquiry and they promise to send you today the qoutation by email. And within 20 minutes you receive your qoutation. That shows you they are on top of their game. This is high quality of service and customers love quick service.

I also experienced travel agencies that just do not bother to do anything. Before when I booked from a travel agency I had to call them 3 x to get any useful response. They promised they will call that day but never did. If you want to succeed as a travel agency start and take full action and be your best. Give a high quality of service that people love and will come back for over and over agian!

Phase 2: Travel

Thevel phase is the most important. Because if something happens during the travel you are not able to fix it. Probably the best is not to receive a phone call from a customer when they are on travel. Because if they are calling you as a travel agency you can be assured they experienced some issue. Of course from that moment you will have to be quick in fixing it if it is possible.

At these moments you really need to stay on guard. People do not really mind if there is a problem. As long as the problem is being fixed before it is too late.

I had this experience as well and when I did travel I had a problem abroad. However, the travel agency was suddenly so very busy. My issue was that some tours that I paid for at the travel agency was not paid to the tour operator. So, because of this I could not visit Disney Land Hong Kong at the time. As a customer you will be very dissappointed and this is a perfect example of a business that will quickly go out of business (as this company did!).

Make sure you are always avialble even on the weekends! If you travelling customer takes a weekend break you should be ready to fix their issue right away.

Phase 3: After travel

In this phase you can truly get so much value you will not even belief! When customers are back from holiday they will appreciate if you contact them a day or two after. Just to ask them how their trip was. Caring about the customer on such a level will make the customer happy. They love to talk about their travel experience. Most of the customer you will call will always say “I can`t wait to travel agian”. This is very important and you hope they will travel with your travel agency agian.

You already showed that your travel agency truly cares about the customer. The customer will definitely put you on their first to contact list for their next travel destination.

Do you also want to start a travel agency?

In this article you receive alot of tips and insights. Know this will give you a head start with your travel agency. Most travel agencies do not even know about this. The entire lesson in this article is that you do not sell travel but you sell an experience and a high quality of service! To break free from the rest is by focus on service and not on the travel in itself.

Perhaps you are also interested now to start a travel agency. That is absolutely a great idea! The entire travel agency business is booming. Jumping on this band wagon now while there are a lot of opportunities is the best decision you can make. We offer entire “How to start a travel agency set up” package. This package will make you instantly ready to run your travel agency. You will receive alot of high quality packages and receive many valuable insights from real experience a (home based) travel agency business owner. You get the best prices, learn the jargon and know the entire process of the business. This entire set up is an absolute must for you if you want to start in the travel industry by having your own travel agency. Contact us right now!

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