Procedures of Starting a Travel Agency Business in Nigeria | Detailed Guidelines.
Travel Agency Business in Nigeria: Becoming a Travel agent is quite easy, all you need is knowing how to get started. This article will summarize to your understanding the step by step procedures involve in getting started. Pay rapt attention to this guide.
A travel agent works for an agency or a standalone agent that has a broad knowledge of the world, especially popular places. A travel agent can be defined as one who engages in selling and arranging of transportation, trips, accommodation, ship cruises, and tours for travelers. He also oversees the comfort of the travelers and affordability of these mentioned services.
The air travel industry is worth billions of dollars every year. Flights take off every hour of the day, some for vacations, some for study and some for business. Whichever way, they need accommodation, proper documentation and other traveler’s needs whenever they travel. The travel agent gets paid to provide travel pleasure and do all the secretarial duties involved with traveling for a client according to his/her budget like booking hotel rooms and giving tours.
Types of Travel Agents.
Irrespective of the internet proliferation in the Tourism and travel industry, the needs for travel agents have not fully been replaced. There are basically four types of travel agents, and it depends on the scale you intend to operate as
1. Accredited agent with stock:- as an accredited agent with stock, it means you are IATA certified, accredited and registered with the your local Corporate Affairs Commission. You have and can issue airline ticket (stock) to air passengers on behalf of airline from your office. What this means is that you can issues travel tickets right inside your office, without any need to visit the airline in question.
2. Accredited agent without stock:- it means you are IATA certified & register with CAC. You do not have ticket in your office but you have what is called validator that enables you to sell LPO to some agents. This category depends on number 1 above and the particular airline to get ticket for passengers
3. Agent by registration:- it means you are operating as a travel agent by simply registering your agency with Corporate Affair Commission(CAC) only , you can only make reservation to passenger while you go to The Acredited Agents above to buy ticket or you buy LPO from Accredited agent without stock, take the LPO to airline for the ticket in order to earn a commission.
4. Freelance agent:- as the name implies these agents don’t know much about the job but whenever they have travelling passengers they take the job to any of the above agents for commission.
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.
1. Consultation:- 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Booking Flights:- 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.
5. Booking Accommodations:- 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.
6. Tour Travel:- 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 Needed to Get Started.
Everything you will be needing for both a freelance and an internationally acclaimed agency is listed below;
|A laptop computer.||1||50,00085,000|
|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 writing materials||Pens, paper, paper clips, folders, etc.||10,000|
|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|
How Lucrative is Travel Agency Business in Nigeria.
There is a huge potential in travel agency business in Nigeria. The market structure is versatile. A look at the demand analysis shows that this business generates much profits since people are increasingly looking for travel agent support services like some of the ones listed above.
People will always travel, want to buy tickets, wish to lodge, and wish to go on excursions, trips and vacations etc. how about the competition outlook? Also, what are the opportunities available in this business?
There is relatively high competition in this business, since it is a lucrative business. there are much opportunities in this business by way of making merchandise from travel consultancy to individuals and organizations, arrangement of vacations, trips and excursion services to people, visa procurement services, sales of lodgings, and sales of tickets to entertainment activities.
How to Get Started.
1. GATHER EXPERIENCE:- Before you venture into this business, get the necessary experience and knowledge first. Working independently with another travel agency for 6 months is good and commendable. By working under a travel agency, you get to know all the nitty-gritty of the business. Your experience in this business will give you the momentum and confidence to start yours.
With this experience, you’ll be able to determine the scope of your business. Whether you want to offer a combination of flight reservation services for travelers, flight booking and air-ticketing, tour packages, hotel reservation and booking services, car rentals etc..
IATA also have lots of training programs and courses that will prepare you ahead.
2. WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN:- Your business plan is a map, a blueprint that forges you to success. Through your business plan, you get to know the major challenges in the business and how to tackle them. Not writing a detailed business plan is an error that should never be made cause travel agency business isn’t a small business like many people paint it to be.. You need to be thoroughly ready.
When writing your business plan, you’ve to be very objective as possible and try to eliminate every form of unrealistic expectations. It’s the job of the business plan to analyze how much finance that will go in, don’t underestimate any figure to avoid being shocked later on.
The importance of a business plan can’t be overemphasize. It’s so paramount that you begin to fail if business takes operation without it.
3. GET A BUSINESS NAME AND REGISTER IT:- Your business name goes a long way cause it determines how potential clients perceive your business. Your business name has to be catchy, professional and unique. For example, if you’re looking for a travel agency and you came across two agencies below.
- Dravo travels and tours
- Ukanna and Alhaji ventures
Be honest with me, which one will you go for? For me, I will go for Dravo travel and tours cause it sounds professional and cool.. Despite that the meaning of Dravo is unknown to me, it sounds credible, classic and unique.
Take your time to craft out a good business name then go ahead and register it with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). It’s very easy to do that.
4. REGISTER WITH INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT (IATA):- If you’re going into the business to become an accredited IATA registered operator, then you require huge finance. It’s unlike a freelance travel agent that requires little capital. I advice you visit www.iata.org to know more about how to become a licensed or registered IATA agent.
The benefits of becoming an IATA certified agent is enormous. You want to see the benefits? Take a look below.
- As a certified agent, you have access to approximately 250 IATA airline members using a single standard Sales Agency Agreement.
- You can sell tickets to clients on behalf of the airlines.
- By being a certified agent, you now work with IATA logo and brands which no doubt improves your credibility and the confidence of potential clients, both local and international…and a whole lot of other benefits.
After obtaining your license, proceed to subscribe with a Global Distribution System (GDS) which is used by travel agents for the reservation of airline seats, hotels etc.
5. GET A GOOD SPACE AND BUSINESS LOCATION:- Suitable locations for this kind of business are airports and its environs, hotels, close to embassies etc.. Make sure that the location can easily be seen or found. When you’ve gotten a place, furnish it and transform it into a professional taste. It’s said; never judge a book by its cover. However, first impression matters a lot. That’s why the business location has to be strategically placed with an astounding classic interior.
Most of the things your office will need are;
- An Air conditioner
- A Computer systems
- A Landline phones
- An Office desk etc..
6. YOU NEED A WEBSITE:- Over 80% of your clients might come from search engine referrers like Google, Bing, ask, etc. That’s why you need to hire a professional web designer and developer to help set it up.
The domain name of your website has to go with the name of the business. Including the business logo and brand colour. You might also need a SEO guru who will help make the website visible to search engine and well targeted to the right audience.
When building your website, make sure that SSL certificate is active cause it gives your website credibility that it’s secured. And also, google has made site security as among the criteria for ranking a site. A https has a better chance to rank higher than a http unsecured connection.
7. LASTLY, JOIN NECESSARY ASSOCIATION:- There are some bodies and association that exist solely for travel agents. By being a member, you can get lots of customers from there. You also get to know first hand information about what’s going on in the travel industry. In my opinion, three of the best association for travel agents are;
- Nigeria Society of Travel Agents (NSTA)
- International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- National Association Of Commission Travel Agents (NACTA).
By being part of such bodies, you become highly connected and success in business becomes evident.
- Capital to start business: Approximately 11.7 million Naira.
- Profit Margin:
- Potential customers: First class citizens.
- Potential growth: Business could expand to other countries.
- Suitable location: Cities and suburbs.
- Business hours: Over 12 hours daily.
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