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In this post, we are going to talk about the following:
- How to start a travel agency in Nigeria.
- Give you a sample travel agency business plan in Nigeria.
- How to make money as a travel agent in Nigeria.
Several people travel from one place to another, within and outside the country on a daily basis, people love to travel. If a survey is taken on how many people love to travel, I am sure more than 75% of the Nigerian population will love to travel around, even if it is just for fun. People travel for several purposes, education, fun, business, sightseeing, etc. The service industry is one that stands are the mainstay of most economies in the world and it brings a huge amount of revenue for most countries.
A travel agency is a major branch of the service industry and in several countries, especially those that have a huge traffic coming in, in fact most entrepreneurs are beginning to shift their focus to this sector due to how promising the sector is.
Travel agency is a business which assists travelers in caring for their travel needs for a charge. Some of the travel needs include but are not limited to counselling on acquiring visas, booking of flights and buying flight tickets, booking and paying for hotel accommodation.
Nigerians are known to travel to several locations for several reasons all through the year. For this reason, there is a high demand for reliable agents who will sort out travel needs in a timely manner and at the same time be cost effective.
The travel agents carry out a plethora of activities on behalf of their clients. Some of these duties are stated below.
- Creating travel itineraries for their clients to suit their specific travel needs.
- Making travel arrangements.
- Making transport bookings and buying tickets.
- Hotel or alternative lodging bookings and payments.
- Provision of intra city transportation e.g. car rental services.
- Arranging tour services and guides for tourists.
- Arranging travel insurance for clients.
- Providing counselling for visa procurement, arranging visa appointments and auxiliary services.
- Providing cash exchange services for their clients.
Note however that they are not limited to this list as some innovative agents perform more tasks depending on their creativity and the needs of their customers. It is best to learn the trade first from the masters before venturing out on your own so you can understand everything you need to and also avoid unnecessary pitfalls or loses. It will also help you make all the necessary contacts with airlines, hotels, exchange merchants, etc. You may want to seek employment with an existing agency or seek professional advice for someone who works with one.
There are two ways to get involved with the travel agency business in Nigeria. You can either start as a Freelance travel agent or you can start off as an International Air Transport Association (IATA) licensed agent.
Freelance Travel Agent: To start up as a freelance travel you do not need so much capital or infrastructure. As a matter of fact you can run the business from the comfort of your living room. All you need is a computer system, a fast internet connection and a printer. You will also need the trust of people who are willing to saddle you with the responsibility of handling their travel arrangements. Finally, you will need affiliation to an IATA registered agent. The major importance of this is that, the registered agencies are the first to be notified of any changes in price of tickets or freebies that accrue to the transport industry. It also affords you the opportunity to pay for the ticket of your clients, which you cannot do without affiliation. When you are affiliated to an IATA registered agency, you mainly be serving as a sales agent for such operator. To be a freelance travel agent requires very little capital, less than #100,000.
International Air Transport Association (IATA) Licensed Agent: To start off as an IATA licensed agent is far more capital intensive. It requires you to satisfy a number of conditions by the international association before gaining accreditation. However once all this is done, you have access to the International Air Transport Association’s database so you know which flights are cheaper, which airlines are offering freebies at a particular time and you even have access to book chartered flights on behalf of your clients.
The conditions you need to satisfy are stated below:
- You must be registered with the country’s company database, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
- You must possess an office space.
- You must have at least five workers employed, with at least two having previous experience with other recognized travel agencies or airlines.
- You must have at least four computer systems, all connected to the internet, a printer and constant power supply.
Note that issuance of the license is still subject to a number of other conditions, you can visit their website www.iata.org for more details. Once the license is obtained, you will need to subscribe for Global Distribution System, a centralized computerized system used by registered travel agents all over the world to book airline tickets, hotel rooms and other travel auxiliaries. Some recommended GDS companies you can register with are Galileo, Sabre or Amadeus, you can visit their various websites to check on the requirements for registration. Both the IATA and GDS licenses come with compulsory paid trainings that will empower the travel company utilize their services to maximize profits. It is imperative that close attention is paid to such trainings to ensure that you rise on the wings of these opportunities to become a household name in the travel agency business.
I can bet that the next question on your mind is, how can I make money as a travel agent? That is a very logical question considering that all I have been saying involves you spending quite an amount of money. As a travel agent in Nigeria, there are several ways you can make money, I will state a few in the next few paragraphs but please do not limit yourself to these alone. If you will be successful in this business, as in any other, you must continually think out of the box and seek out better ways of meeting the needs of your clients.
- Sell Transportation: Several people that want to travel find it easier to purchase their tickets form a travel agency. This means more money for the agency. The travel agency gets to buy tickets from transport companies at a discount, which means he can make good profit if he acts as a subsidiary between the travelers and the transport companies.
- Making Accommodation Bookings: Another major responsibility of travel agents is making accommodation bookings and reservations. The reservations can be within the country or beyond the shores. The agency can make money if they have developed a prior business relationship with the hotel or other accommodation source, thus gaining by way of commissions. It is the responsibility of the travel agency to get a hotel or alternative accommodation that suites the travelers needs and budget.
- Sell Tickets for Entertainment Activities: There are several entertainment activities all around the world and several people travel from different parts to take part in these activities. The travel agency can make some extra cash by acting as a middleman to help sell tickets on behalf of entertainment bodies to prospective clients. This way the agency makes money from commissions.
- Providing Consultancy Services: A lot of people like to seek advice from experienced travel agencies before making decisions on which destination to visit for holidays or business. Organizations like schools also need consultation services on where best to take their children for excursions, etc. The travel agency can make money from this by offering valuable advice to their clients at a price.
- Organizing Trips for Organizations: Several organizations need to make organized travels year-in-year-out e.g. for tourism, business conferences, pilgrimages, etc. The travel agency can take the contract of organizing the trip, creating an itinerary for the journey, sort out bookings and also add their service charge. This will make a lot of money for the agency while at the same time bringing a lot of ease to the organization.
- Visa Counseling and Procurement: We all know that the visa procurement process can be really strenuous. The travel agency can help by grooming the prospective traveler on what he needs to get before going for a visa interview. They can also help with the procurement process using their relationship and status as a travel agency. This way they can make money from the charges they place on each of the services.
- Understand your clients. For every travel agency there are two major kinds of clients, special needs customers and corporate customers. The agency can thus decide to create a niche for himself by either choosing to deal with customers with special needs like education, vacations, tourism, entertainment, etc. or dealing majorly with corporate bodies by organizing travels for them.
- Write out a detailed business plan. This will act as your guide while running the business and at the same time act as a template for anyone who seeks to invest in your business.
- Equip yourself. It is imperative to get equipped by getting necessities like computer systems, internet and other equipment as well as relationships if you are going into the business. This is regardless of how you want to run, either freelance or as a licensed agent.
- Register with the necessary bodies. There are several bodies that a travel agent should be a part of asides the IATA and GDS, some of them include Nigeria Society of Travel Agents (NSTA) and the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents (NACTA). You do not have to join all, but being a part of these organizations increase you opportunities to gain more customers and it also helps prospective customers trust you better.
- Publicize your business. The best way any business can grow is blowing its own trumpet. There are several avenues for publicity, fliers, billboards, social media, writing proposals to corporate bodies, etc.
With the above points, I am sure you have been reasonably educated as to how to start up and run your travel agency business. However, it is best to go for specialized training if you really want to make your efforts count in this business.
There are two ways we can help you with your travel agency business plan in Nigeria.
Option 1. We can write the business plan for you. In this plan we will factor into it your preferences like: your business/ company, preferred location, capital, etc. If you pick this option, give us a call at +2348032773749 to discuss the cost for writing the business plan/feasibility study for you.
Option 2. We can give you a sample travel agency business plan & feasibility study in Nigeria. You can work with this plan to write yours. To grab your copy of this travel agency business plan in Nigeria, pay N10,000 to:
Account Name – Idowu Oluwole Isaiah
Account No – 3050308918
After payment, send your name, email address and “Travel Agency Business Plan in Nigeria” to 08032773749
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