Starting a Travel Business
If you have a love of travel and plan to have a career in this industry by starting a travel business then Protected Travel Services is a great option for you to consider. But, before you start there are a number of steps that we advise you take if you have not run a travel business before.
There is a lot of information on the internet about starting a business and the Business Link pages can be a good starting point. Our brief suggestions on the steps to take are given below.
1 . Write a Business Plan
Although writing a business plan can seem complicated and may take some time to complete it will help you develop your business model in greater detail. It is also required if you wish to borrow money, apply for merchant facilities or join Protected Travel Services.
Whilst you are writing your business plan think about the following:
- What are your reasons for starting a travel business?
- Is there a market for the your trips?
- What is your unique selling point (USP)?
- Have you researched your market, competition and customer to ensure you can offer a unique service?
- What is your business model?
- How are you going to charge your customers?
- Can you fund the business during the first 12 – 24 months whilst you receive bookings?
Please click HERE for information on writing your business plan. This site includes HSBC guides, videos and tools to help get you started.
You may also find the HSBC Knowledge Centre a useful starting point in designing both a business plan as well as financial forecasts (cash flow and profit forecasts).
2. Choose a Business Name
Your business name should reflect the type of packages you are selling as well as aid in the promotion of your company. Search Engine Optimisation and Google AdWords both favour a business name that relates to the product being sold. Make sure you check Companies House before hand to ensure your business name is available.
3. Registering Your Domain Name
Once you have decided a business name investigate to see if a domain name is available that links to your business name. Using services such as Nominet or 123-Reg will show you the availability of your selected domain name as well as the costs involved with purchasing it. Costs can range from free to £200 for .co.uk names, but this depends on levels of service and support.
4. Design a Business Logo
Your logo should be simple, distinct, striking and most importantly memorable. It must show your brand identity whilst remaining visually effective and distinct.
5. Develop a Website
The most important function of any online travel business is to give customers and potential customers information about your business and the packages you are selling. When designing a website the best place to start is by explaining:
- What does your business do?
- What are your packages and services?
- How much do your packages cost?
- How can your customers contact you?
- Why should a customer book with you over a potential competitor?
6. Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Cover
It is important to hold these insurances if you are trading in the Travel Industry. They limit your level of exposure to liability under the Package Travel Regulations (such as responsibility for actions of suppliers). We can provide you with contact information for various insurance providers to help get you started.
7. Comply With the UK Travel Laws and Regulations
As a PTS client you will automatically comply with the UK Travel Laws and Regulations. Please see our section on UK Travel Laws and Regulations for more information regarding this.
8. Market, Market, Market
Ensuring you have all of the above points covered before you start trading is key to running a business in the Travel Industry but non more so than marketing. Marketing is the only way your customers will ever find out about your packages so it is essential to have a solid marketing plan in action. The first port of call would be to set up a Google Adwords account and run a number of campaigns specific to your business. If you do not have an extensive budget ensure that you use exact search phrases to ensure that any clicks you receive to your website are from people who are interested in specifically what you offer.
Marketing is all about learning how your potential customers respond to your various campaigns and ads, whilst amending your advertising accordingly. We have a wealth of experience of using Google Adwords and will be happy to offer assistance as part of the services we offer to our PTS clients.
We do offer a free consultation so please feel free to contact us on 0207 190 9988 or email@example.com if you have any questions about starting a travel company or if you would like to find out more regarding the UK Travel Laws and Regulations.