How to Start a Group Travel Business

The World Tourism Organization, which tracks travel trends internationally, estimates that by 2020 the number of persons traveling will reach 1.6 billion per year. Though the world’s economy has slowed recently, The World Travel & Tourism Council forecasts a revenue growth in the travel industry to be on average 3.6% per year. Individuals seeking to open a group travel business will find that all-inclusive vacations and tours will be the most desired by economically conscious travelers.

Things You’ll Need :
– Knowledge of Geography
– Business Plan
– Group Travel Business Model
– An Accountant
– A Lawyer
– Business Insurance

Business Considerations
Create a business plan. This is an important step in starting a group travel business. By going through the process of creating a business plan, aspiring owners will have a clear understanding of the financial, operational and marketing details needed to create a successful group travel business. For help in creating a business plan, contact the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA provides free support for business start-ups.

Organized group travel is often an all-inclusive experience.
Choose a travel business model. Group travel business can be established in a number of ways. According to Plunkett Research, e-commerce plays an extremely important role in the travel sector, and consumers often seek out information and prices online. This makes a home-based Internet group travel business an excellent model for those who wish to keep operational costs down. Many companies offer online start-up group tour franchises and services.

Business owners with travel industry experience may wish to organize their own group trips as independent contractors or purchase a franchise such as Britain’s Global Travel Group. An organization such as U.S. Tour Operators Association is a good place to start researching which business model is best for you.

Take care of the details. After choosing the group travel business model, owners must attend to certain details. Conforming to government regulations at the federal, state and local level is important, and some state require travel agent licensing. Business insurance is highly recommended. The group travel business is a high liability risk for business owners. Accidents and mishaps can happen on trips, and the chances of being sued are higher. It is important for business owners to establish a corporation to protect their personal assets. If establishing a corporation, an attorney and a tax accountant are vital.

How to Become a Group Travel Organizer

When you have a love of exploring the world, one way to get paid to do it is become a group travel organizer, usually working in one of two environments. You’ll typically either work for an established company, dealing with the logistics of booking flights and hotels for planned group trips, or work on your own, creating itineraries that meet the needs of a particular group. In either case though, having a love for travel and some training in the travel and tourism industry is a big help.

A Love for Travel
While it’s not an absolute requirement, having travel experience yourself is going to add a lot of color and inspiration to your job. Instead of describing the basic amenities of a particular location, for example, you’ll be able to tell a colorful tale of your experiences there and what you liked and didn’t like. Being well-traveled also provides you a sense of adventure, an ability to adapt, and encourages you to learn other languages — all things that will be helpful in your career. As a general rule, travel agents should also be organized, have a good attention to detail and have strong sales skills, suggests the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Getting Training
While it’s not an absolute requirement, getting trained as a travel agent or as a travel and tourism professional demonstrates to your clients that you’re committed to professionalism. If you’re aiming to work for a large tourism or travel agency, having some type of education might also be a requirement. The American Society of Travel Agents’ Travel School Directory is one place to start finding training programs in your area, as well as distance or online courses. Likewise, the International Air Transport Association offers training that helps you earn a Travel and Tourism Consultant or Travel and Tourism Professional certification. Training programs can help you learn the ropes of booking through airline reservations systems, choosing the best modes of transportation for groups, handling emergencies and sales techniques.

Work for Someone Else
Working for a travel and tourism company can help you gain knowledge, learn the ropes of the industry, and have the job security that comes with working for an established company. Contact travel agencies and tour companies in your area, but don’t overlook online job listings and the “Careers” pages of online travel companies such as Orbitz or Travelocity for places to get hired. Also contact hotels or resorts near you, which often organize in-house tours and travel for large groups visiting for weddings or conferences. On your resume and cover letter, highlight your travel experience and your training, and talk about your leadership skills, how you stay organized and any sales accomplishments you’ve achieved in other jobs.

Starting Your Own Enterprise
If you want to start your own enterprise, you might start by simply arranging flights, booking hotels, securing ground transport and finding local tour guides for a small group of friends going on short adventures. After calculating the cost of everything, add in a fee for your services, or go along on the trip and use the fee to pay for your own accommodations. Once you’ve done this a few times, create a business entity through your state’s department of revenue, and then create a website that details the types of travel accommodations you offer, places you specialize in and languages you speak, and use social media channels to promote upcoming trips. Another option is to network with groups such as Go Ahead Tours, which allow you to recruit the tour members on a prescribed tour, and then get free travel yourself when you recruit a certain number of people.

The Definition of a Leisure Traveler

It’s not unlikely to find “travel” under someone’s favorite things to do. This generic phrase can be used to describe a number of activities from a cruise around the world to a two-week trip to a state park. A leisure traveler is described in the travel industry as someone who travels for pleasure, generally for a period of seven days or longer.

Identification
A leisure traveler can be anyone of any age who enjoys traveling. This person is generally an experienced traveler out to seek adventure or explore a new area. Leisure travelers know the best places to go because they read travel magazines and watch programs about traveling. They tend to have other friends who are just as interested in traveling and share their experiences as well. They travel as much as they can afford to.

Function
The function of a leisure traveler is simple; a person travels for pleasure. It is one way they relax from everyday life. Some people seek different types of travel for various reasons, such as for an adrenaline rush or to lie on a beach and find a calm center. For some people a vacation is the only way to forget about problems or work for awhile.

Benefits
Many leisure travelers tend to have a lower stress levels because they take time to relax, unlike others who constantly work or may not be able to afford to travel. Leisure travelers may also be more educated or aware of the world around them. They may speak foreign languages if they are interested in international travel.

Effects
Leisure travelers play an important part in the economy. When people travel for leisure, they spend money on travel, accommodation, attractions, restaurants and more. This money is important for economic growth, especially in a recession. These travelers will also spend money on things like luggage, travel health insurance and other related items.

Types
There are a number of different types of trips that leisure travelers may take. Cruises and packaged holidays are the most common. Adventure vacations like kayaking or hiking in the mountains are also popular.

How to Become a Leisure Travel Organizer

Leisure travel organizers take care of all the details so individuals can enjoy a relaxing vacation. Starting a business as a leisure travel organizer requires an ability to negotiate on your client’s behalf, attention to detail and outstanding communication skills. A leisure travel organizer should have a passion for travel and a knack for staying on top of travel trends and vacation hot spots. A leisure travel organizer should be able to listen to his client’s vacation wishes and put together a vacation package that fits the client’s needs and budget.

Research the travel industry. Discover what you can charge clients for your leisure travel services. Learn more about the services provided by competing travel agents, travel planning services and other leisure travel organizers. Decide if you will specialize in travel to one specific region, or in one specific leisure travel niche such as adventure travel.

Invest in education. Individuals just starting out in the travel industry should consider becoming a Certified Travel Agent (CTA) or Certified Travel Counselor (CTC). Individuals who have experience in the travel industry should stay up to date with travel trends, Internet tools and resources. Travel schools and resources are available on the American Society of Travel Agents website.

Secure any business licenses and register the business as required by your local government. Consider registering the leisure travel organizer business with the Better Business Bureau to provide customers with greater confidence when working with you.

Consult with a lawyer and accountant to discuss legal and financial issues involved with running a leisure travel organizer business.

Decide if you will run your leisure travel business out of your home or an office. An office should be conveniently located in a commerical area that allows potential customers easy access to your services.

Establish clear fees and policies for booking travel. Be sure to share this information with clients before booking trips for them. Decide if you will offer clients travel insurance, in addition to your travel organization services.

Promote your leisure travel organizer business by advertising in the local phone book and the travel section of your local paper. Build a Web presence by creating a website promoting your leisure travel services and special trips. Use press releases to promote vacation destinations and special packages offered by your business.

What Is a Travel Club?

A travel club is an established consortium of individual business owners and corporations in the customer service and travel industry that join together to form an affiliation of wholesale travel packages. Vendors in the travel industry, from hotels and clubs to airlines and travel agents, use a travel club to market their products, and by using these free advertising strategies, can offer discounted prices to their members. There are several different types of travel clubs, ranging from luxury leisure travel to affordable adventure travel and a whole slew of others.

Benefits
The benefits of belonging to a travel club can be immense. Most memberships come with several free trip offers each year, which can sometimes be an all-expense paid tour, cruise or beach resort vacation. Travel club membership offers monthly benefits and cheap trip options, as well as providing member profiles for saving trip preferences, forums, chatrooms and monthly newsletters to increase their members knowledge of the various travel club offers. The benefits of joining a travel club can range anywhere from unlimited flexibility in travel options, trip packages in over 6,000 destinations, low cost hospitality exchanges and savings on all the extras that go into planning a trip like car rental, hotel reservations, airline tickets and discounts on food and drinks. Travel club membership also works like airline mile rewards programs, giving you additional benefits for traveling more. Travel club membership can save individuals up to 75 percent on general vacation packages each year.

Types
There are several different types of travel clubs, from women’s only clubs and travel clubs for people with disabilities to sport-specific travel clubs like ski or golf travel to clubs for traveling singles. Most travel club memberships require a one-time nominal fee, while other clubs may require annual or monthly membership fees. While there are many travel clubs out there for luxury and discovery travel vacations, not all of them are for leisure vacationing. There are also several travel clubs that coordinate professionals, like doctors and teachers, with professional services related travel opportunities. Another unique type of travel club works on an exchange program. Ambassador Exchange and Hospitality Club is one such travel club. It is a registry-based club that arranges adventure and hospitality exchanges to travel enthusiasts.

Significance
A travel club offers travel enthusiasts a convenient and more affordable way to explore their passion. With the vast array of travel club options and types, just about every traveler can find a club that is unique to their individual tastes. An important factor is convenience. A travel club allows members to maintain up-to-date profiles based on their travel interests that help the club to weed out potential offers and trip options for them. A travel club also helps to link like-minded individuals, like traveling singles and people with disabilities, which helps to simplify the travel planning. With a vast array of travel tools, a travel club simplifies the travel planning process by keeping everything its members need in one easy to access site.

Misconceptions
Belonging to a travel club does not mean you will get free trip packages and special offers on every trip you fantasize and dream about. Travel club membership offers discounts on trips that are sponsored by vendors within their affiliation. Also, free vacation packages are not completely free. While many of these packages will offer a free hotel stay or free airline tickets, there is almost always some portion of the trip that will be paid for by you. Taxes and fees, as well as booking fees for resorts, tips and most food and drink options are usually in addition to the free package and you will have to pay these fees out of pocket.

Warning
Like with any special offers and discounts you find on the Internet today, travel club options should be thoroughly researched for legitimacy. There are many travel-related Internet scams and con artists working on the Internet today and preying off the vulnerability of trusting individuals. Be sure to check a companies reputation by conducting a basic Internet search like checking the Scam Busters website, contacting the Better Business Bureau, or by simply calling the company in question to ask for more information and an annual report. Before giving out your credit card information and paying a membership fee, be sure you know that the company is legitimate.