In 2016, online travel sales reached over $190 billion in the United States alone.
If you're exploring the possibility of opening an online travel business, you may wonder where to start and how to make it work.
Starting a business can be hard in the beginning. That's why we've gathered a list of ten tips to start your online travel business.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to make your business dreams come true.
1. Make a Business Plan
Before you can do anything, you need to come up with a solid business plan. This will help you figure out exactly what you're going to do and how you'll make money doing it.
The financial aspect of your business plan is the most important. You need to first consider the initial and ongoing costs of running your business. This will determine how much you need to earn on a monthly basis to turn a profit.
Having a well-thought-out business plan will also help you get the attention of investors if you need help with start-up costs. You need to show them the steps you'll be taking to make money and pay them back as your business grows.
2. Select a Niche
Technically, you could help people from everywhere get anywhere they want in the world. However, it's impossible for you to know the important details of every vacation destination across the globe.
That's why we recommend choosing a niche and focusing on that. You may provide vacation packages to only one country or even one region of a certain country.
3. Build a Brand
Your business brand is more than a name and a logo. It's the personality that you want to represent your company to your partners and clients. You want to carefully think about your brand before your launch.
One of your business goals should be to have your brand be recognized within your industry. To do that, choose a name that's unique but memorable and use a logo and brand colors that show what your company is all about.
Your company could be more whimsical and fun for the casual traveler or backpacker, or you might present a more serious face to offer luxurious vacation packages to the wealthy and famous.
What matters more than the image you choose is that you stay consistent!
4. Check the Legality
Before you get too far into the process of starting your business, you need to make sure you don't need a license to sell travel packages to people.
While most states don't require any type of accreditation, others do so you need to make sure what you're doing is legal. Otherwise, you may find your business getting shut down permanently or temporarily.
5. Outsource When Needed
Even if you're tech-savvy and can do everything you need to run your business on your own, there's going to be a time when you need to start outsourcing. If you're too busy marketing to talk to clients, you're going to lose business.
Carefully consider which tasks you can't do, you aren't good at, or take a long time to complete. If your time would be better spent elsewhere, find someone to outsource them to.
Today, there's no shortage of people online that offer a variety of services which makes it easy to outsource any tasks you may have.
6. Use Social Media
When you're just starting out, you likely won't have a large marketing budget. Social media is free to use and has a massive userbase, so it's a great place to start spreading the word about your services.
Until you can outsource, focus on just one or two platforms to start with. Facebook and Instagram tend to have high engagement and are great for sharing destination photos and information to generate interest.
7. Get Reviews
Another free way you can help your business grow is by getting online reviews from Google, Yelp, and other business review sites. Be sure to register your business with them so your website is connected.
As you start to get clients, encourage them to leave you an online review. Since people often check these online reviews to see what others say, having even just a couple of positive reviews can give your business a huge boost.
8. Optimize Your Site
When you're building your website, you want to make sure it has a good foundation when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). If your site isn't properly optimized, nobody will find it when searching online.
There are too many things you can do to list in this post, but the main goal is to make sure keywords are appearing in the right places. Here are a few places to make sure you've got them:
- Image alt text
- Meta descriptions
- Naturally throughout text
Start with that and then keep adding to your SEO strategy as your business grows, or consider outsourcing that task to an expert.
9. Start a Blog
One of the best ways to have content to share on social media and improve your SEO is to have a blog on your website. Blog posts show your expertise in an area and give you a space to include more keywords.
Start by doing keyword research about your travel niche to find out what people are asking about the region. Then, use those questions and keywords to create in-depth blog posts.
Social media, SEO, and blogging are all important aspects of marketing your travel business. However, they take a long time to build up momentum before you'll start seeing a lot of results.
The only way to get the word out about your business quickly to start bringing in your first clients is to advertise. Fortunately, today there are many ways to do this and they're all affordable, even if you're just starting out.
Facebook Ads, for example, allow you to set a daily budget of just $1 so it's not a huge investment. Plus, you can target specific demographics to have the best chance of reaching your ideal audience.
Learn More About Starting an Online Travel Business
You now have ten tips to help you start an online travel business from anywhere in the world. By following them, you'll be on your way to achieving your goals.
If you want to learn more about businesses and finance to help you grow your company, be sure to check out more of our blog posts. You'll find a ton of helpful information for all types of businesses.