When asked what an independent travel agent is, the first point that strikes is to remove any dependency to the business. But with the current market, it becomes very difficult to remove all dependencies. However, there is a possibility to reduce these dependencies to a bare minimum in order to provide quality service to your consumers. An independent travel agent is one who makes sure that most of the organization’s dependencies are eradicated in order to conduct personalized business activities.
Benefits Of Being An Independent Travel Agent
Yes, no dependency on your own online travel agency seems to be a great idea. However, the question arises on why an individual should become an independent travel agent or a travel agent for that matter of fact. Well, it’s quite simple:
- Control: you have an indefinite amount of control over the business activities and have the possibility of strengthening the working of your agency.
- Monetary Freedom: When you are controlling all your business activities you have the freedom to make the decisions on what to invest in and what opportunities to actualize.
- Time: One of the main constraints is when one must depend on a lot of factors that take up most of your time and you end up having none left for your other priorities.
- Consumer Satisfaction: With an independent travel agency you would make sure that you satisfy all consumer queries or issues with utmost care. This is very important in any organization and becomes one reason why a travel agency grows.
How To Become An Independent Travel Agent?
Every established travel agent once had this question in their minds. How to become an independent travel agent? None of these travel agents were looking forward to any sort of affiliate marketing and had a dream to establish their personalized branding. At that point, it never seemed like a viable option as the income generation was lower than anticipated and higher costs were included. However, this dream of theirs is what has actualized into an establishment recognized around the world. When sniffing around for information on how to become an established travel agent you would find a lot of detail on “How to become an independent travel agent?” It all lands upon how they answered this simple question and here is this simple step by step guide on how to go about with it.
Step1- Wisely Choose Travel Services
Find out which services you are looking forward to offering to your consumer base? Flights, Hotels, Tours are the most basic options that every online travel agency tends to lean towards, yet there are multiple other options like airport transfers, itinerary planning, foreign communication systems, loyalty/miles programs, visas, and travel insurance.
Step2- Features of your Travel Portal Solution
Once you have decided on what services you are offering you will have a clear idea on how you want your structure to be. Now is the time to look for the right travel supplier for the services you are willing to providing. There are multiple travel suppliers in the market who are looking forward to increasing their markets to larger areas. You will be shown all kinds of benefits that you would be receiving by signing up with them, but you would need to understand whether these features or options are something you would need in the long run.
Here are some factors you will need to consider when you are selecting a travel supplier:
- Income Model: As an upcoming travel agent you will need to look at the income generation model that is being provided to you by the travel supplier and compare that with the other income models in the market to find which one suits you the best. It is not advisable to always go for the highest paying supplier as at some time you would not be able to offer quality service to your consumers.
- Consumer Support Services: Look for travel suppliers who provide consumer support as well as tech support. This is a key aspect as the consumer support provided by these suppliers would reduce the amount of investment that you are looking forward in terms of customer services. Tech support is another important area that needs to be focused upon, as you would not like the consumers to face any difficulty while any booking is being made. Hence there are multiple companies who have begun with 24*7 tech and consumer support services.
- Global Distribution System: A Global Distribution System is a mediator between multiple airlines or hotels or cars with travel agents. The GDS aggregates and shows the best fares for any booking. Now the GDS needs to be competitive enough to provide a price you are hoping to offer your clients. Find out what GDS is your supplier using to provide you with the inventory it promises.
- How Do Travel Agents Get Paid?: Payments are one of the highest rated mood killers with multiple travel suppliers. You would need to find out the payment methods that the travel supplier uses to pay you and decide whether or not it is feasible for you as a travel agent. The next area of concern is the frequency of payments. You need to find out when you would be paid for the bookings you make. Some travel agents have set a threshold of earnings before these earnings can be withdrawn. Whereas, there are other travel agents who would provide you with a periodical payment model wherein you would be paid every month/week/quarter.
- Niche Supplier: You would need to find a supplier who works in your niche market. Your niche market will be the geographical area that you would like to focus on. This supplier will be able to quote better rates and provide your consumers with quality service while working with you.
- Additional Facilities: When selecting a travel supplier you would need to also consider what additional facilities are they supplying which would be beneficial to your consumers. For example, filter by star ratings, reviews, early check-in, and many more.
- Discounts: You would need to look for a supplier who would be providing you with discount codes that you could include on your agency’s website. This way the consumers receive the same benefits as they would have if they were to book from the travel supplier’s portal.
Step3- How to Approach travel technology companies?
When you have considered all the factors above you would have decided what travel supplier you are looking forward to working with. Now comes the travel technology company. Approach multiple travel technology companies with a crisp plan that you have in mind and how you would like your business to be portrayed. Make sure that you stick to your thoughts as you will be suggested to take up a different supplier or additional services. This is usually because these companies usually have a ready solution to offer you or will try to make more out of you.
Factors To Consider For A Travel Technology Company
- Take a look at the previous work of the company.
- Request a proposal outlining every bit of the travel portal development.
- Check all the documentation.
- Understand the commercials and development timeline.
Step4- Portal Development Timeline
The development of your system would take anywhere between 2 months to 6 months of time. You can spend this time on multiple online courses that would teach you on how to go about with organic SEO. The investment of time and a little money will allow you to promote your platform with a very low cost or even none for so. Once your development and integration process are complete you can implement the skills you have gained through your learnings and start generating quality traffic on your website.
So, when it comes down to how to become an independent travel agent or how to reduce the dependency in your online travel agency, it is very clear on what your company would need to follow in order to achieve such an objective. With a small investment, you are able to generate an independent travel agency where you have no boss to control your business and can run it with your own expertise. This is the most efficient way you would be able to exercise the business model you have in mind.
“Travel is a luxury that only you can afford to offer.” – Saifan Savani