To learn how to start a travel agency in Nigeria, you must first have the required experiences. However, we will assume you already know this.
A travel agency is a private retailer or public service that provides travel and tourism-related services to the general public on behalf of accommodation or travel suppliers to offer different kinds of travelling packages for each destination.
A travel agent helps people plan, choose and arrange their vacation according to their budget, and even more. Running a travel agency in Nigeria can be satisfying and generate high income if you know what and how to do it. If you were worried or confused about how to start a travel agency, below are eleven easy steps to guide you on how to start a travel agency in Nigeria.
1. Do the research and understand what you’re getting into
Running a travel agency includes working long hours and always being available to respond to a client’s needs. Read on to other agencies, get a know-how basic knowledge on how things work and even talk to a few people if you must. It is advisable to take a few courses and undergo some training to acquire proper skills.
2. Select your niche
There are different aspects involved in running a travel agency, ranging from surface work like simply booking airline tickets for customers to being fully involved, making budgets, booking hotels, arranging tours and suggesting fun events. It is important to understand each of these and what it means to work with them.
3. Make a business/feasibility plan
Having understood what you’re getting into, the next step is to make a feasibility analysis followed by a business plan that will guide you through your next steps. These are detailed plans that will include key points, highlight targets where your business should reach by a certain period, strategies to be taken to reach them and even possible business blocks, financial requirements and management plans; if you intend to start alone or have employees. Be careful not to set unrealistic or far fetched goals, this will put a strain on you and your business.
4. Secure Financial requirements.
No matter the kind of business, adequate finance as capital is of top-most importance. Based on your business plan and targets, you will need capital to kick start your business to secure office space, employ workers, buy necessary tools including computers, phones, etc. It also helps to do a bit of research or speak to a professional on how to start a travel agency with a certain budget.
5. Choose a good office location
If you have decided to not run your business from home, a good office location is important for securing customers. Your office should be in a safe environment that can be easily accessible by clients who have never been there.
6. Employ Qualified People
If you’re not running a one-man business, ensure that you only bring in people who have the right skills and training to keep your business afloat. As a travel agency is a business that involves a lot of interaction with people, a good example is hiring someone with excellent customer service to deal with communications with clients. Customer care is a very important aspect that can determine your standing or fall in the business world where travel agencies are concerned.
7. Get your business registered and obtain the necessary certificates
It is important to get registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as this gives your agency more professionalism. Few basic academic and professional certificates are needed to run this business and a degree in tourism and hospitality might give you an edge. Starting as a licensed agency also requires getting an International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) licence.
8. Promotion and Networking
Once your business has launched, it is important to put it out there through fliers, advertisements, setting up a professional website where the services you offer can be seen and you can easily be reached. It is important to open accounts on social media platforms, it not only offers you a free medium to advertise yourself, it also helps you network and connect you to prospective clients.
9. Be patient, honest and straightforward
A quick way to fall out of business is giving people a single reason to doubt your credibility. Be honest and stick to facts, do not make promises to clients when you’re not sure you can fulfil them. This gives you and your agency a loose image. What your customers think about you matters a lot and will go a long way to help boost your business if you play your cards right.
10. Join important associations or bodies.
Running a travel agency isn’t something you can pull off by staying all by yourself. There are associations out there that are available to protect your rights, connect you to new clients and refer prospective partners or sponsors your way. One is the National Association Of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA). You can apply as a travel agency owner on their site. They also offer training courses which might come in handy.
11. Be smart and enjoy what you do.
When running a business, there are a hundred and one things that could go wrong and it is easy to fall prey to fraudsters who are always on the lookout for naïve people who have just started or aren’t sure of how things run yet. It helps to have a lawyer help you draw up foolproof contracts and look through documents before you sign or stamp them.
Passion is important in running any type of business. There will be setbacks and breaks, every business has these and a travel agency is not an exception but these can be overcome by remaining steadfast to plans and sticking to these steps will not only show you how to start a travel agency, they’ll also ensure your journey is easier.
There will always be people travelling and going on vacations within and outside Nigeria, so pick a niche, do a bit of research and start your own travel agency. Remember to enjoy what you do because that is the main key to success!
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