How to open a travel agency in Australia - and why it might be smarter and more affordable than you think

With the global travel industry currently at a standstill, many savvy travel professionals are using this time to rethink their career objectives and lay the foundations for their dream job.

If you’ve ever wanted to open your own travel agency, partnering with a home-working franchise can give you mobility and independence while still maintaining the benefits of being part of a global network of experts who are there to support you 24/7.

With an uptick in business on it’s way, now is the perfect time to put your ducks in a row and consider opening your own travel agency.

It’s smarter and more affordable than you think!

Develop a business plan

Before you start any business it’s imperative to develop a comprehensive business plan that outlines your direction and sets a clear goal.

  • Do as much research as you can: even if you are a travel professional with years of experience.
  • Define your target market: This doesn’t mean you have to pigeonhole yourself but having a clear vision of the audience/s you are trying to reach will shape the rest of your business plan.
  • Ask yourself what your competitive advantage is: Are you a travel adventure junkie who knows all the best skydiving companies? Are you renowned for exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that gives you an edge, use it to your advantage.
  • Plan your marketing strategy: How will you get your name out there? Is there a marketing blueprint you can take inspiration from?

The great thing about Travel Counsellors is that we are here to support you as you plan and set up your business. Through our business development program, comprehensive marketing support and existing state of the art technology, we make the process of starting a business simple, straightforward. And because the burden of overheads such as rent, staff and start up costs are removed, your initial investment is minimal, giving you a great head start.

Are you qualified?

Not just anyone can run a successful travel business. There are certain skills and expertise that are essential to your success.

Do you have a background in the travel industry?

Whether you’re currently working in the industry or you’re looking to get back into it, no one knows travel like someone who’s been there! That’s why all Travel Counsellors are experienced professionals from leisure or corporate selling backgrounds.

No matter where you are in your career, we have a course to get your skills up to scratch and set you up for success. Been out of the game for awhile? That’s ok too - our return to travel course is perfect for those who used to sell travel but have been outside the industry for 3 or more years.

Choose an area to specialise in and gain as much experience as you can

Having a point of difference or specialty gives you something to focus on and will help set a clear direction for your business. Think about your innate skill set and go with something that feels natural to you. Once you’ve worked out your specialty, get as much experience in it as you can.

  • Research your specialty online: Read blogs, watch videos, follow other specialists in the field on social media, join online groups.
  • Go to industry events: Go to supplier events, socialise with other agents, network, or join online webinars.
  • Get first-hand experience: Try to get out and about and see the experiences you are offering first-hand, if it’s not possible to do that in person right now, ask hotels, tour companies etc to give you a virtual tour or online meeting.

Finesse your business skills

Opening your own travel business doesn’t just require great travel selling skills, you also need to be able to market yourself and your business. Utilise down times in the market to learn or finesse these skills so that you are ready to take off when things pick up again. Travel Counsellors are dedicated to building on the skills of our network. Along with our initial training sessions we provide ongoing e-learning training, giving you flexibility to learn on the go and at your own pace.

We also provide you with full admin and IT support, taking the stress out of your back end work and ensuring your business always runs smoothly.

Understand Australian Laws and Regulations

If you’re going it alone as a travel agent, it can be difficult to know whether you’re following best practice legal and regulation requirements. There’s a lot to think about:

  • Am I being 100% transparent with my customers on how I’m using their personal information?
  • Am I familiar with and following the Australian Federation of Travel Agents Code of Ethics?
  • Am I following the correct protocol around visa applications and providing correct information around Australian Government travel guidelines?
  • Am I helping my client understand their responsibility to follow foreign laws?
  • Do I understand the laws around terms and conditions?
  • What are my rights as a travel consultant?

Travel Counsellors help take the stress out of understanding Australian laws and regulations because we’ve been helping agents just like you set up their own businesses for over 13 years. We understand business like the back of our hand and are only ever a phone call away if you have any questions or need support.

All our Travel Counsellors are also fully supported with public liability and professional indemnity insurance, giving you peace of mind of knowing your business is protected.

Start promoting yourself

When it comes to promoting your travel business, digital marketing is king, meaning you have to be up to date with the different ways you can leverage it.

  • Social media: is free, easy to initiate and you can start developing an organic following straight away.
  • Content marketing: Having a blog or YouTube channel that you regularly update and share helps tell stories people engage with rather than always going for a hard sell.
  • Community engagement: Use email to nurture your community of contacts with engaging and valuable information such as the latest hot deals and industry news.
  • Digital advertising: Once you’ve built a name for yourself you can start considering paid digital advertising to help promote your services beyond your immediate community.

No matter how tech savvy you are, Travel Counsellors’ expert marketing team is on hand to help you develop and execute a professional digital and traditional marketing plan. Whether it’s promoting your business or generating enquiries, we are here to support you behind the scenes so you can focus on running your business and creating happy customers.

Thinking of becoming an independent travel consultant?

If you’re a travel agent who’s dreamt about becoming an independent consultant, now is the right time to start planning for your future.

Use this downtime to get your business plan together and make connections with home-based franchises like Travel Counsellors.

We offer unrivalled personal and business support targeted to your needs so that you always feel supported and part of a global, caring community.

And because we remove the burden of overheads such as rent, staff and start up costs, it might just be the smarter, more affordable opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

Want to have a conversation about opening up your own travel agency? Speak to one of our friendly team members, today.